AUGUST 31st 2017


Interview By: Metal Mom

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Music Entertainment Worldwide, we are here today with Jack Starr of Jack Starr’s Burning Star.

The band originally started back in 1985, then disbanded, what made you return with a new line-up, not finished what you wanted to get out to fans, or just love to put out music for us to enjoy?

Well first of all I want to thank Metal Titans and all our Canadian fans for their continued support of Jack Starr and my band Burning Starr. Yes our band has now been around since 1985 and though lineups have changed, what has not changed is our desire to make high quality well produced melodic heavy metal and no I am not finished and hope to continue making albums and performing for quite some time ,hopefully as long as the Stones

What made you learn to play guitar riffs on your own and not have lessons?

I have the sort of personality that doesn't like regimentation and rules and as far as music I am a big believer in what Beethoven said which was "the only rule in music is that it has to sound good" so for me when I was learning that was what I always strove for and I still do, if it sounds good I don't care how many rules of music theory I may have broken lol.

Do you still own your first guitar, and what kind was it, and who bought it for you?

My father and mother bought me my first guitar from a music store when I was 11 years old, I let it sit under my bed for a couple of years and when I got in junior high school there were some guys my age who played and I had a friend who showed my first song on the guitar and presto I was hooked and then several years later my  mom got me a really good guitar which was a Gibson 345 and then I started to make a lot of progress and started seeing bands like Black Sabbath, Ten Years After, Cactus and got to hang out with great musicians who lived in Long Beach New York where I grew up.

Your previous albums have been reissued one by one, did they do as well as you hoped? I don’t think you can ever get tired of the Power Metal sound.

The strange thing about reissues is that some of them do better than the originals, for instance in 2014 my first solo album Out of the Darkness was reissued and it made the top 20 on Amazon Germany, I am now looking forward to the reissue of Blaze of Glory which was Burning Starr's 3rd album, it will be released by the Greek label Cult Metal Classics. In answer to your questions all the reissues have done great and at this point almost everything I have ever recorded has been reissued at least once some have been reissued twice and the album Blaze of Glory will be on it third reissue when it comes out this year

You have a new album about to be released now, your seventh studio album, called “Stand Your Ground”, to be released through High Roller Records, are you excited for this release?

I am really excited about it and High Roller is showing that they are interested in making it a success and they have hired two publicists, one for Europe and one for the US, also from what I understand they have been taking out ads and are working this album which is what needs to be done with any record , so yes this is very exciting and as I write on August 19th 2017 we are six days away from the release of the album so for me and the guys in the band it is a very exciting time.

You call it an old school type metal album, but we can expect to hear some power metal as well right?

Well the answer is both, it is an old school metal album but it is in the power metal category which by the way some people credit me with being one of the pioneers of this genre of metal because of the music that I helped create with my first band Virgin Steele. This album in my opinion is 100 percent a power metal album and since this style of music is not very popular in America I started calling our music old school but truth be told there are a lot of young bands in Europe that play this style as well.

So tell us what to expect from “Stand Your Ground”.

I think you can expect almost 80 minutes of metal bliss, okay excuse my enthusiasm but seriously I think that we achieved our goal which was to make a very well-produced and hard driving melodic album with thought provoking lyrics. Of course, it's hard to say this without sounding like a conceited wanker so I think that I will leave it to the fans and critics to tell us if what they think but I will say that it is a quality product and it took us over five years to finish it

I don’t think you need to go back in time to the 80’s to appreciate good music, 2017 fans can still appreciate the talent behind the music, what was the best thing about putting this album together?

For me the best thing was how the songs came together and the unexpected surprises when for example Todd Micheal Hall the singer would come up with a totally different melody than we had written but a better melody and Ned and I would look at each other and say "damn this is cool" or when Rhino the drummer would find the perfect fill to connect two dissimilar parts together and I would be reminded of what Jimmy Page would say about John Bonham's ability to put a beat to the most abstract and sometimes nebulous riffs that Page would come up with. I believe that Rhino has that same ability on the drums he can make sense of riffs that don't make sense!!

I always wonder, once it is done, do you ever wish you had done something differently?

There are a few things I would have done differently but in percentage points, I got 95 percent of what I wanted on this album so I would say that is not too bad and for that I have to thank our engineer Kevin Burnes and our producer Bart Gabriel who were very helpful in helping us edit and put together this album. Bart has the ability to hear wrong notes from ten miles away and he knows ahead of time what parts will work and which parts need to be scrapped and Kevin has the technical skills to make tight edits and his guitar skills were used to the fullest on this album

Who writes your lyrics, and where does the inspiration come from?

My lyrics comes from various sources including the news and talking to people, this album is a celebration of personal liberty and the right to believe in whatever you want, we live in a free country and this is important to me, Stand Your Ground is a rallying cry for people not to give in to the forces around us who would enslave us, to quote one of the lines in the song "And if I die tonight answering freedom's call, I know my life was not given in vain " Freedom and liberty comes with a price and in the future our liberties will be tested and not only by governments who will become more and more controlling but also by technology which will become more invasive.

How do you go about designing the cover for the album?

We had the great Ken Kelly design our album, Ken is one of the premier fantasy artists on the planet and we picked this painting from his vast catalog of works because we felt that this particular painting embodied the message of Stand Your Ground.

Of the songs (12 of them), do you personally have a favourite, and why that one?

I have a few favorites, the title track for me is something I am proud of because of the guitar parts and the flow of the song which is very seamless and does not feel like an 11 minutes song and that for me is the mark of a great song when it keeps the listener interested no matter how long the song is .I also like the song False Gods because it has a very interesting minor key riff and the lead section is very melodic and you can hum the whole lead which is something I like to do and something that the great Gary Moore did a lot of .Also False Gods had some very cool lyrics which have a message against the material world we live in. "Say goodbye to the Gods of Money, Fortune and Fame's what you crave, one day you will finally find the fortunes that lie deep inside".

Does everyone create their own music for the songs, or does one person write everything and then the others learn it?

I answer to that, I have to say that the musicians in Burning Starr are all very accomplished and have played in well-known groups and I would not tell them what to play, they know what needs to be done and they have the talent to do it, so the way it works is that when one person writes a song they bring it to the band and then it get played and everyone makes suggestions and brings to the table all their talents, for instance when I originally wrote the song Stand Your Ground ,Rhino said "Jack you have to change the riff, it sounds too much like Free for All by Ted Nugent"  so I went home slightly discouraged but determined to come up with a totally originally riff that still had the intensity of the Nugent song and I came back and played it for Rhino who was once the drummer for Manowar and Rhino who is a person of few words just looked at me and said "now I like it " and Ned Meloni writes all of his own bass riffs and comes up with great stuff whether it’s for one of his own compositions or one of mine or a collaborative effort. This is not a group where one person tells everyone what to play, they wouldn't stand it and I wouldn't want to play with people that I have to tell them what to play lol.

With your last album “Land of the Dead” having such high praise, from the likes of Metal Hammer and more, did you feel any pressure for the new album, especially since some called it the best album of the entire year?

Land of the Dead our previous album did get some great reviews and we felt a lot of pressure to equal or better it ,I don't know if we have in the eyes of the world but I feel we have, at least equaled it and also this harder to do since Stand Your Ground is considerably longer than Land of the Dead so we took a big gamble in making it so long ,let's face it there are almost no double albums that people like all the way thru , but that said I think that people will like the majority of this album and that is not bad for an album that is almost 80 minutes long.

Tell us something about the band that we might not know?

Well one thing that people don't know is that after I left Virgin Steele and completed my first solo album I knew I wanted to be in a band again and I was searching for a name and one night I went to a local club and I was talking to a guy and I told him I was searching for a name for my new band and he said " Dude call yourself Burning Starr" at first I thought he was thinking of something spacey like Pink Floyd so I asked why that name and he said " Burning Starr because you burn on the guitar' so that's how the name came about ,I never saw him again I think he got married and moved to California I do owe him a big thanks and a round of drinks.

Do you plan on doing some tours once the album is released? Is it in the works, and do we get a hint of where?

To be honest there is no tour in the works but we hope as the album starts becoming more and more successful that it will create a demand to see the band and we can see about having a European tour or perhaps Scandinavia tour or both, we all love playing and meeting our fans so for us this is a very important thing.

When you are not working on music projects, what might we find you doing?

When I am not working on music, I like to read and enjoy life and take longs walks with my girlfriend Polly who is very supportive of my music, I also live fairly close to the beach and I feel blessed to be able to go there and enjoy the ocean and eat healthy seafood.  

Who do you think would be an excellent choice in band to tour with you?

I think that bands that play a similar music to us like Axel Rudi Pell, Riot, Jag Panzer, Raven, the Rods, Hammerfall, Manowar, Kamelot, Fates Warning, Edguy, Freedom's Call to name a few

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with us, we greatly appreciate it. We also wish you much success with “Stand Your Ground”

Thank you Metal Titans and a big hello to all the metal fans in Vancouver, Metal On, Jack Starr - Florida 2017


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