Reissues Take the Piss Out of Slimy Jersey ’70s Band’s Catalog

Recommendation from Poison, Bon Jovi, and Mötley Crüe slobbers for Starz, mid-’70s Joisey metal act, as inspiration. It’s difficult to hear. Starz had a blaring bluntness, rarely duplicated by others, delivered in a handful of signature tunes—woman-hating set pieces for young, dumb, and full of cum “boys in action.” Conveying of the general themes: “So Young, So Bad” (couples “playing with dolls” to “playing with my balls”), “Subway Terror” (the singer likes to “dirty up” a victim’s “skirties” before he throws her onto the third rail), and “Pull the Plug,” the only endless blooz wail of amore and euthanasia for a loved one trapped in the iron lung. As end-stage care metal, its oxygen rebreather to the beat is second only to the ambulance siren in Bloodrock’s “DOA.”

The young Starz-men, who seemingly boasted on their first album of tasting like milk shakes when given head, are found in a four-CD reintroduction from Ryko. Plotting the curve, the records rate thus: Starz—A-grade stomps of large hook; Violation—more of same with 12-string-polished “Cherry Baby”; Attention Shoppers—the lead guitarist’s hair is gradually waving goodbye, leadership panics, and blue-movie power rock is forsaken for sap pop; Colosseum Rock—hammer-down riffing mostly minus the old juice.

The only thing missing is “Piss Party,” a publicity-getter aimed at shoving their semi-pretty boy, Michael Lee Smith, singing non-euphemistic filth over melodic hard rock, onto the airwaves. Most heard it as a radio broadcast concert committed to a promotional bootleg (or as Smith said, “you read about it” in cheesy rock mags). “PP” was a rap from a dirty paperback plus choruses: “Judy and Doris were casually sucking Bill when Bill decided to piss on both of them/The girls went wild licking the urine off each other. . . . They said, ‘Michael, if you come on over to our place/Michael, come on over and piss in my face!'” The national infrastructure for the networking of outrage and correction might have retrieved Starz’ career—but it was only 1977, and still under construction.

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