Starz In The 00's? Page 2
by Martin Popoff
I asked Richie to give me a few comments on the band's brief, four record catalogue. "Those first two two albums are a toss up for me, because I loved the songs moreso on the first album (Starz '76) and I like that tight quick sound that it has. But the second album (Violation '77) has like an eerieness to it. You almost can't put your finger on it, it's almost sci-fi sounding? And I don't even know how we did it. We breezed through recording. We just did albums in four to six weeks. We weren't like Fleetwood Mac who spent six months mixing each tune."
1978's Attention Shoppers! was a departure into pop that torpedoed the band but good. "Yeah, all true," offers Richie with obvious regret. "That's a long story. Attention Shoppers! was a big problem actually. And we don't look back on it fondly, although there are people who like it. I'm always surprised. Our manager said, 'you know, these two albums, they aren't good enough.' And I was like, 'what are you talking about!?' And he said, 'yeah, these aren't good enough. You need more pop songs. You have to write a whole album of pop songs, and you have to get away from this hard rock thing.' And I was like, 'you know, we're already building a great following as a hard rock group. If we do a light album, everybody's going to hate our guts. They're going to feel that we sold out, blah blah blah.' And everybody in the group said, 'you know, look, this is too much pressure. Let's just go in and not write songs based on anything except just writing some songs.' So we went ahead with it and did it that way and it kind of came out . . . I mean, there were some hard rock songs on there and there were definitely some that weren't, and they didn't become hits. And I said to the manager, 'now we've done what you asked, they aren't hits, we're through.' And basically we were through. And we put out Coliseum Rock ('78), which was a very overlooked, very good hard rock album. And it was overlooked because people thought it was the same as Attention Shoppers!. Although the title should have really tipped them off."