The Hollywood Stars are back. During the 1970s, the glitter rockers toured with The Kinks and supported such artists as The New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, Ramones, and even disco legend Sylvester – while future superstars like Journey, Van Halen, The Runaways, Quiet Riot, and The Knack all opened shows for the Stars. Yet their history on records has been a checkered one. Their 1974 debut album for Columbia Records remained shelved until 2013; a 1977 album on Arista came and went without the attention it deserved. Now, a “new” album recorded at the legendary Sound City Recording Studios (immortalized by Dave Grohl in the 2013 documentary Sound City and a recording home of artists ranging from Fleetwood Mac to Barry Manilow) is set for release on August 23 from Burger Records.
Sound City, featuring ten tracks cut in 1976, will cap off a summer that will also see the newly-reformed group take the stage on the Sunset Strip at Hollywood’s Whisky a Go Go on July 18. This lineup, the band’s fourth, features original members Scott Phares (vocals), Ruben De Fuentes (guitar) and Terry Rae (drums), plus Michael Rummans (bass) from the second roster. New recruit Chezz Monroe on rhythm guitar rounds out the band.
The first iteration of The Hollywood Stars (1973-1974) was managed by the notorious impresario Kim Fowley, who engineered the band’s signing to Columbia. While the initial group broke up in 1974, their songs attracted the attention of superstars Alice Cooper (“Escape”) and KISS (“King of the Night Time World”). Mk. II formed in 1976, with Mark Anthony ascending to the role of lead vocalist as well as continuing in the capacities of rhythm guitar and songwriter. Fowley introduced the Stars to Canadian producer Neil Merryweather, who booked them into Sound City to begin work on a new LP. Working with Merryweather, the band completed ten songs including the power pop explosion “All the Kids on the Street” and the AOR-inspired “Sunrise on Sunset.”
“Houdini of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Shotgun,” and the Merryweather-helmed version of “Escape” will debut on Sound City. “Too Hot to Handle” and “Habits” were previously issued on a limited-edition 7-inch vinyl single in 2017. The five remaining cuts were all re-recorded for the 1977 Arista LP The Hollywood Stars produced by Harry Maslin (David Bowie, Melissa Manchester), but premiere on Sound City in their original versions.
The press release for Sound City notes, “The band have always preferred the Merryweather mixes to what eventually appeared on the Arista LP and are keen to see them finally released. ‘Neil was a lot more into where we were coming from,’ says [Terry] Rae. ‘He was there mixing our live sound at The Starwood. Sound City is almost like a live set – all those songs were cut at the same time. In comparison, the production of the Arista album went on for a long time, and our power pop roots lost out to the type of syrupy string arrangements that were prevalent on major label albums at the time.'”
The Hollywood Stars’ renaissance will continue with a newly-recorded album, which will feature fresh band compositions as well as songs penned by the late Mark Anthony. In the meantime, the Stars take the stage at the Whisky on July 18, and Sound City arrives in stores from Burger Records on August 23. You can peruse the track listing below! The album is currently available for pre-order from the label at the link below; we will update with Amazon links once they are active.
The Hollywood Stars, Sound City (Burger Records, 2019)
- Sunrise on Sunset (Mark Anthony, Kim Fowley, Skip Battin) *
- I Can’t Help It *
- Escape (Mark Anthony, Kim Fowley, Alice Cooper)
- So Blue *
- Too Hot to Handle
- All the Kids on the Street (Mark Anthony, Kim Fowley) *
- Make It to the Party (Ruben De Fuentes, Mark Anthony) *
- Shotgun #
- Houdini of Rock ‘n’ Roll #
(*) Denotes previously unreleased version
(#) Denotes first-ever appearance
All songs by Mark Anthony unless otherwise noted
Produced & engineered by Neil Merryweather
Recorded at Sound City Recording Studios, Van Nuys, CA, 1976