From the twilight of music’s pre-digital era come definitive collections, remastered from vinyl releases, by one of the best 80’s rock bands: DC Star.
From the sweet pop harmonies of “Blue Sparks” and sing-along chorus of their hit song “Is It You?” to the bone crushing thunder of “Fortuneteller” and “I Wanna Rock Tonite” their sound was truly unique. Their high energy performances captivated audiences and inspired a new generation of rockers throughout the northeast.
DC Star consisted of vocalist Kenny Taylor, David Simmons on guitars and vocals, Jeff Avery on guitars, keyboards and vocals, Henry Farmer on bass guitar and Glenn Jones on drums.
The drummer on their first single Pat McGowan was replaced by Glenn Jones in 1978. The band developed an enviable, power packed reputation and their success was highly attributed to the hard work of their personal manager David A. Sherbow.
Between 1977 and 1986 DC Star released 2 singles on Secant Records, an EP picture disk and full length album on Escape Records; the later of which was added to and re-released on Atlantic Records ATCO subsidiary Mirage. Their first singles were penned by Jefferson Antel and he and David Simmons co-wrote 5 tracks on the EP. After 1980 the majority of their music was co-written by David Simmons and Ray McCrory.
The group signed a development deal with Media Max New York in 1980 and spent the next 5 years working with band members of Billy Squier and Billy Idol and producers Michael Brauer, Hilly Michaels, and Caltric Simone. They also did 2 projects at RCA working with producer Eddie DeJoy. As a result of winning Miller High Life‘s national “Rock to Riches” contest in 1983, they got a two year promotional deal and recorded radio commercials including “Welcome to Miller Time” and Miller’s banner 1984 ad “Made The American Way“. They also released songs on 7 of Baltimore, Washington & New York’s most popular radio station compilation records.
During their impressive 12 year career DC Star provided opening support for iconic bands including Journey, Judas Priest, The Ramones, Twisted Sister, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, Zebra and many others before headlining some of the same arenas. The band set up their headquarters in Baltimore Maryland to cover the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast and was based in Norwalk Connecticut to cover New York and New England. In their heyday they employed a full time road crew of 6 and office staff of 3.
When the national drinking age went up in 1985 the rock scene took a massive hit. Compounded by shifts in music and changing trends the club circuit all but collapsed along with many groups whose largesse depended on it. Vocalist Ken Taylor left the band in 1987 and was replaced by Sean Crosby and then by John Frederick. Drummer Glenn Jones also left in 87 and was replaced by drummer Myles Evans. In 1988 DC Star stopped gigging full time but the original five band members reunited for shows in the Baltimore, Washington and New York markets annually until 2002.
David Simmons took deteriorating master tapes from DC Star’s records & recording sessions to Les Lentz @ LSP Studios in 2001. The two of them digitally remastered tons of analog material and created a CD in 2002 tentatively titled “The Best of DCStar Records.” No sooner was it completed than singer Kenny Taylor became seriously ill and the group was unable to support the new release. After receiving radical treatments Ken Taylor’s health improved. By 2003 he had returned to teaching vocal lessons and working on solo projects but was still unable to perform.
In 2008 Sam McCalsin, the president of Retrospect Records, tracked down members of the band. Sam and copyright holder David Simmons agreed to co-produce 2 collections of the band’s material. Technical details and setbacks held up the project until the 2 CDs were finally launched early in 2010. They were “The Best of DC Star – Record Classics” and “The Best of DC Star – Volume 2“.
Unfortunately after years of fighting the ravages of leukemia valiantly Kenny Taylor passed away May 21, 2011. More information can be found on Ken’s memorial blog here. With his death the world surely lost one great vocalist.
In order to avoid needless issues arising from a 2014 copyright dispute with Unidisc Music, “The Best of DC Star – Record Classics” and “The Best of DC Star – Volume 2” were taken off sale by mutual agreement and replaced by two new releases.
DC Star’s 1985 Mirage / Atlantic record “Rockin’ In The Classroom” has been digitally re-released by Canadian label Unidisc Music and a newly remastered anthology of DC Star’s earlier record releases “The Best of DC Star Records 1977-83″ is now available from David and Goliath Music!
Even if you didn’t party through the 80’s with DC Star, one listen will throw you back to when rock was fresh and new but just as today the road to stardom was paved with heartache, heartbreak & hardknocks.
David & Goliath Music
Music Producer / Songwriter / Guitarist for DC Star
* From D&G Music *
The Best of DC Star
Records 1977 – 1983
– FEATURING –
Blue Sparks, Is It You, Don’t Call Me Punk, No Friend of Mine, Wastin’ Time, Stop the World From Turning, Both Feet on the Ground, Keeper of the Keys, Love Me Love Me Drive Me Insane, Makin’ Time
* From Unidisc Music *
“Rockin’ in the Classroom”
– STUDIO TRACKS –
I Wanna Rock Tonight, Rockin’ in the Classroom, Do You Know What I Mean, Feelin’ Good to Me, Fortuneteller
-LIVE TRACKS –
Comeback to Me, Tell Me Like It Is, Call Her The Wild, Welcome to Miller Time, Livin’ in a Rock and Roll Whirl