Cover Photo By: Meredith Kaminek
STARCHILD – SEALED WITH A KISS
By Jim Price
When many rock fans hear the name StarChild, they tend to think of legendary Kiss frontman Paul Stanley, nicknamed the “Starchild.”
Stanley was an early hero to aspiring rocker Jerry Martin, enough so that when Martin first formed his current Harrisburg-based band with wife and bass player Sharon Starr, they chose the name StarChild and started the project as a musical Kiss tribute. Inspired by the sound and style of classic 1970s Rock and Roll Over and Love Gun-era Kiss, StarChild not only covered ‘70s-era Kiss classics, but Martin seriously studied and dissected that trademark Kiss sound, and started creating original music with that vintage Kiss flavor. StarChild captured that Kiss vibe so convincingly with the original songs from their first two albums, Volume I and Volume II, that fans at the group’s shows often mistook the songs for outtakes or unreleased songs from early Kiss albums.
As StarChild moves forward with their current line-up – Martin on lead vocals and guitar, Starr on bass and vocals, X Bomb on lead guitar and Brandon Reece on drums – they continue to draw inspiration from that 1970s hard rock era, but are evolving from it. According to Martin, their newer song material is taking on a darker tone, and their forthcoming new album, Volume III, will show a further evolution into a style and sound that is uniquely StarChild’s own.
“I’m grateful for the whole Kiss thing and we did it for a reason,” said Martin. However, “We’re not a tribute act, and we’re not a cover act.”
X Bomb adds, “We’re sounding like StarChild now.”
With Reece, the newest piece of the group’s puzzle, now in place behind the drum kit, StarChild strives to continue to grow their own sound and identity, bring more original music to the central PA music scene, and expand their sound and live show beyond the region and across the state. The group continues to add new songs into the mix, and all four band members are contributing to the group’s songwriting.
StarChild’s live show is quickly winning over new legions of fans. Inspired in part by Kiss’ action-packed concert atmosphere, StarChild strives to entertain audiences and provide their own high-energy, visual spectacle. The group’s charismatic leader, Martin takes command from the get-go, firing up crowds into the spirit of a Saturday night rock’n’roll party; and he lives to perform, often breaking out acoustic guitar to keep the music going during the group’s set breaks. Armed with her trademark purple and black Daisy Rock Heartbreaker heart-shaped basses, Starr has evolved into a poised, confident performer, and recently has begun sharing lead singing duties with her husband. Since his addition, X Bomb has brought his own excitement into StarChild’s presentation with a glam-like presence and his blend of scorching solos and jagged riffs. And Reece “adds a new power and punch to band,” according to X Bomb, as he integrates his own distinctive drumming style and energy into StarChild’s live onstage persona.
Explaining the current state of the band, Martin proclaimed “The four pieces just fit musically now.” He added that the current line-up’s chemistry is the “best it’s ever been.” And as for the band’s goal on stage, he declared, “It’s all about having a good time.”
Next up for StarChild will be the release of Volume III in early spring. Expected to contain ten songs, the disc is being recorded with Derek Euston in Harrisburg’s Green Room recording studio. The group will continue to create and develop more new songs. According to Starr, “Always expect something new and exciting.”
StarChild appreciates the support they have received so far. The group thanks all of their fans, especially devout followers like Jim Martin, Jeffrey Allen, Jody and Greg Quigley. They also thank all past members for helping the group evolve to where they are now. They appreciate the radio support they have received from Michael Anthony Smith and 97.3 WRVV’s “Open Mic” program in Harrisburg, WZZO in the Lehigh Valley, Rocky 104.9 and Rocky 99’s “Homegrown Rocker” program in the Altoona/Johnstown area, internet airplay via Kelly’s Kiss Hour internet radio show and more. And the group thanks Robin, Rachel, Jim, Meredith and the staff of Pennsylvania Musician Magazine.
Be on the lookout for StarChild’s concert-like live show spectacle as the group expands its geographic reach across the state.
According to Martin, “We’re just getting started.”