“Souls Of The Innocent” continues Jack Starr and the band’s commitment to U.S.-style Power Metal while new vocalist Alexx Panza continues the band’s tradition of uncovering excellent vocal talent.
Burning Starr’s current album, “Souls of the Innocent,” is the band’s tenth. They have in the mix some thunderous drums by Rhino (former drummer for Manowar); killer vocals by Alexx Panza; agile guitar playing by Burning Starr bassist Ned Meloni, and some classy blues/metal guitar by ex-Virgin Steele guitarist Jack Starr.
Burning Starr is:
Ned Meloni – Bass
Jack is part of the great heritage of metal guitarists, and this interview with Rock the Joint Magazine discusses his time in music, his roots in Delta blues, the audition with Kiss, and a lifetime of musical madness. Jack also fills us in on the new album and why it is so much better than good !
Although Jack Starr is known for being a metal guitarist, he acknowledges his roots go back to the great blues guitarists of the past. He told us he considers BB King one of those legends, and Muddy Waters another. It’s interesting how the blues style of those players impacts the music of the modern day, how George Harrison infused blues into The Beatles’ sound. Jack commented on how Harrison was, at the time, an underrated guitarist, but he played a sound that continues to influence so many modern musicians. That Delta blues sound influenced modern metal so much that Lemmy described Motorhead as an extension of blues music, and Gene Simmons frequently speaks about how BB King created the modern guitar sound.
Jack Starr is something of a legend in his own right. This is a guitarist who has done so much in the business, and on the new album he is supported by one hell of a team.
Jack- When Virgin Steele put out its first album in 1982, we were asked by the record company to say a few words about it and why people should buy it … I remember all of us discussing the various influences we had and what the songs were about. I recall one member saying people should buy the album because it has some great songs that were very heavy and had cool riffs, I recall someone else in the band saying the vocals were killer and the drums were like. thunder and that metal fans would like it, Someone else said the guitar playing is really great. But what I remember most is when the bass player uttered these simple words: “Buy It…It’s Good.”
The new album is better than good ! It comes with a new album deal with Global Records. It is a meeting of like minds, with a label keen to get behind Blazing Starr. Global Rock CEO Brian Adams added: “It is a pleasure to announce the addition of such a great guitarist and artist as Jack Starr to the already planned for Global Rock Records in 2022. Along with the already assigned Bangalore Choir, Lillian Axe, Impellitteri, Oliver Dawson’s Saxon, and a host of other metal reissues, the team of inspiring artists is complete now that Jack is on board.”
Global Records is committed to getting behind the new album, “Souls of the Innocent,” which takes the sound of the band back to the “epic metal” sound of No Turning Back.
To Rock the Joint Magazine the sound is similar to Iron Maiden and the new age of British Heavy Metal. Jack describes the new album as “epic, heavy and melodic.” He is extremely proud of it and considers it right up there with the best he has done. In the magazine we loved the song Atilla, and the pulse of the album is the drum mix turned up to the max and ably supported by the drumming of Rhino (Manowar). Jack considers Rhino one of the best drummers out there—”in the top ten metal drummers today, he brings to the table a really heavy way of playing drums.” This is an album that delivers on all fronts what fans of Blazing Steel want. This is no-compromise metal in the vein of Manowar and those epic power metal bands.
The power of the drums we discussed as being akin to the classic Kiss album, Creatures of the Night. Jack Starr knew the drummer on that album, Eric Carr, and we discussed how great a drummer he was. Jack had auditioned for Kiss around the time of Creatures (when Ace Frehley had gone AWOL), and Gene had come to see him play in a club. However, although his playing was right up there, Gene had commented how looks were part of the fashion show of a Kiss audition. Jack was a bit on the small side for their “look.” At that time, Kiss were looking more for a shredder, and settled on Vinnie Vincent (and then Mark St. John) in a revolving door of guitarists they had at that time. Jack had no hard feelings toward not being picked, as he was never a shredder and things have worked out great for him. He is more of a Kiss fan now than he was, liking the Crazy Nights album!
Touching on things Kiss, Ken Kelly, the late and great artist (he passed away in June 2022, much missed), created not only the Destroyer and Love Gun covers for Kiss albums, but also three of the classic Burning Steele album covers too, along with Rainbow Rising and Manowar. His blend of fantasy and sword and sorcery takes metal into the Saxon world of Beowulf and the legends of old. Jack was very happy with the cover for “Souls of the Innocent,” although Ken Kelly was not used for this one, it retains the whole distinctive legendary/sorcery imagery.
The musicians in Burning Starr have remained with Jack for four years now. “Souls of the Innocent” is a mature album, lyrically; it certainly doesn’t sing about girls and romance; it delivers on a theme in line with the epic metal genre. Many of the tracks were written with bass player and long-time band member Ned Meloni, “a phenomenal bass player and collaborator.” Jack loves the “methodical” way that Ned works, arranging the music and guiding the tracks along.
Burning Starr has attracted some great vocal talent over the years. Jack commented that where some bands are recruitment agencies for guitarists, his band has worked as such for vocalists! Looking at the albums, they had a fine “bluesy” singer in Rhett Forrester, and The Voice contestant Todd Michael Hall (now with Riot V) was with Burning Starr for three albums. Now they have a new guy in Alexx Panza (from Italy), whom Jack ascribes to having infused the band with energy and the enthusiasm of youth! Alexx draws a vocal style from Dio, and having a new vocalist gives the new album its own feel for those following the band through.
Fans of Burning Starr are loyal, and the band has a strong following that Jack is proud of. Speaking to him, it is clear how much knowledge he has of the industry. Jack acknowledges his roots and how “standing on the shoulders of giants”, this album presents the best of his work and Jack notes how small differences, such as the use of Bodner amplifiers in the studio, have made a fuller sound, creating incredible music in a digital age that has helped make the huge sound without needing to spend a fortune on the recording process.
And at this stage, we suggest you check out the album. We’ve linked one of the videos below, and “Souls of the Innocent” is out now!
E.M. C Chambers