MRM recently had the chance to interview metal legend Jack Starr. Starr spoke about his origins, career and new album titled “Souls of the Innocent” – due out on July 15!
MRM: Where are you “calling” us from today?
Starr: I am calling from Central Florida.
MRM: How have you been holding up during these crazy times?
Starr: Doing good, thanks for asking. I think that music keeps me sane. [Laughs]
MRM: I saw where you were born in Paris, France. How did you end up in the U.S.?
Starr: My father was in the Army in WW2, and he stayed on after the end of the war for another 15 years working for the government. And then met my mother. I came along and then he decided he missed the U.S., so off we went. And I had to learn how to speak English when I was ten years old – basically by watching Gilligan’s Island and Bewitched.
MRM: What was your first concert as a spectator?
Starr: My first real concert was Black Sabbath at the Action House in Island Park, New York. It was the first tour of the U.S. and they were amazing.
MRM: How did you start in the music business?
Starr: I one day decided I wanted to play guitar, and I started a band with some friends from school. And we were pretty good for teenagers, and we got our first gig opening up for Blue Oyster Cult, when they had a different name.
MRM: Could you tell us about the formation of Virgin Steele?
Starr: I started the band and came up with the name because I wanted a name that sounded like heavy and soft like Iron Butterfly, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, etc. We were a bunch of guys from Long Island who didn’t like what was on the radio at the time except maybe the drummer who was more open minded than me. I remember he told me how much he liked the song “Let’s Hear it for the Boy,” but thankfully he liked metal more.
MRM: Why did you end up leaving Virgin Steele?
Starr: We had a mutual parting of the ways. And it was for the best because I wanted to pursue a more guitar driven music and Dave, the singer, preferred a more keyboard progressive sound.
MRM: Could you tell you tell us about being an influence to Metallica?
Starr: Two of the guys from that band stopped by our backstage tent at an European festival that they played and we also were on the bill. And we were shooting the breeze and they said they liked a song from the first Virgin Steele album called “Children of the Storm.” After they became famous, I remembered that they had said that and it ended up on the bio. There is a picture of me with them from that festival.
MRM: How was it forming a blues band?
Starr: I love playing blues. It comes more naturally to me than metal, and it’s not as demanding. And I don’t have to remember a lot of complicated parts when I play blues.
MRM: Do you like playing blues or metal more?
Starr: I really like both and even when I play metal it can get pretty bluesy.
MRM: Who all is in the current lineup of Burning Starr?
Starr: Ned Meloni (bass), Rhino (drums), Alexx Panza (lead vocals) and Jack Starr (guitar).
MRM: What could you tell us about your new album “Souls of the Innocent” which is set to be released on July 15?
Starr: It’s a very good metal album in the old school sense of what that means. I got interviewed by an 11 year old kid last week, who has a metal website called Jam Man, and he kind of said it best “’Souls of the Innocent’ sound like what would happen if Iron Maiden and Judas Priest had a baby.”
MRM: And could you fill us in on the plan for Global Rock Records to reissue your past releases?
Starr: I am really thrilled that all the previous Burning Starr albums will be released and for me it’s a very cool thing to see your life’s work recognized and honored. So yes I am very happy with that.
MRM: Will you be out on the road any time soon?
Starr: I think for sure we will be out on the road in 2023 and maybe even sooner for some American dates.
MRM: Thanks for the interview! Anything else you would like to add?
Starr: I want to thank everyone for reading this. And I would say check out the album, it’s a very nice slice of metal – well produced, well played, well written and arranged songs with good performances by everyone involved including the wonderful production of Kevin Burnes.