STARZ – Violation

Starz – Violation [Remastered] (2005, Rykodisc)
Original Release: 1977, Capitol Records

1. “Cherry Baby” … 3:47
2. “Rock Six Times” … 3:13
3. “Sing It, Shout It” … 5:13
4. “Violation” … 4:28
5. “Subway Terror” … 3:43
6. “All Night Long” … 3:29
7. “Cool One” … 3:41
8. “S.T.E.A.D.Y.” … 5:40
9. “Is That a Street Light on the Moon?” … 3:18
10. “Do It With the Lights On” (Demo) … 3:34
11. “Cool One” (Demo) … 3:22
12. “Rock This Town” (Demo) …  2:47

Michael Lee Smith – Vocals
Richie Ranno – Guitar
Brenden Harkin – Guitar
Peter Sweval – Bass
Joe Dube – Drums

Producer: Jack Douglas

Can someone tell me why Starz didn’t blow up huge??? Just on this album alone these guys should be viewed as rock ‘n’ roll legends! This is my first Starz release, I’ve had a number of their albums on my wish list for years but always hesitated to buy them. Well, I finally decided it was time for some new blood in collection and ordered Violation based on many reviews I’ve read saying this is their best release.

Well, if this isn’t their best, I really need to hear what’s better! Starz are often compared to KISS & Sweet and are noted as influences on the ’80s glam-metal scene and it’s easy to understand why. Violation combines pop and hard rock to near perfection and the KISS comparison is evident on a song like “Violation” (where if I didn’t know better, I’d swear that was Gene Simmons yelling in the background) and even the guitars at that times sound inspired by Ace Frehley.

The album’s opener “Cherry Baby” I’ve seen cited as the seminal Starz tune, but personally, while it is good it is a bit too poppy and glammy for me. Killer hard rockers like “Rock Six Times” and “Subway Terror” are the two finest songs on the album, in my opinion. The whole album is carried by the charismatic and smooth vocals of Michael Lee Smith. I really love his performance on “Cool One”, in which the whole tune carries a ’50s rock ‘n’ roll vibe.

And I’m not sure who was the main writer in the band but I love these lyrics! This is where the ’80s glam-metal influence this band had is apparent. Such naughty lyrics but they are humorous and witty at times (“Cool One”, “Rock Six Times”) but also downright creepy as well like on “Subway Terror” where the song is told from the point of view of a subway killer!

Consider me a Starz fan now and I hope to be adding more of their albums to my collection soon.

Highlights: “Cherry Baby”, “Rock Six Times”, “Violation”, “Subway Terror”, “Cool One”, “S.T.E.A.D.Y.”


Posted on December 5, 2009, in Starz and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Man, the first two Starz albums are both excellent. I used to have them on vinyl, now I have them on CD. I don’t know which one I prefer, their self-titled release or this one. Like I said, they are both great. Nikki Sixx is a fan, and Michael Lee Smith is actually the brother of Rex Smith (a useless bit o’ trivia for ya).

  2. Ginger from the Wildhearts played a couple of shows at the Viper Room in Hollywood this summer. At the second show, he invited Michael Lee Smith to the stage. MLS them proceeded to nail an amazing version of “Loveshit,” his singular voice still sounding strong and vital. Check youtube for the footage.

  3. I too, used to have this release on vinyl back in the day, along with “Attention Shoppers” and “Coliseum Rock”. This one was by far my favorite, with “Coliseum Rock” running a close second. I thought “Attention Shoppers” paled by comparison. Starz was an awesome band!

  4. I discovered Starz due to the magazine Hit Parader and picked up ‘Violation’ and love this album, why they never big is a mystery to me.

    I plan to pick up the rest of their albums on CD eventually, the one album I did care for was ‘Attention Shoppers’ which I felt was lackluster but he has been years since I have heard it.

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