Monday, March 12, 2012

Flash Metal Suicide: Stars from Mars

STARS FROM MARS 
That awesome demo I had
1988, self-released

"All my heroes are dead...I'm dying, too..." (Alice Starr)

"Do you remember the new romantics? Do you remember the stars From Mars? Do you remember promises, promises-I ain't broken none of ours..." (-Summer Favorites)

'Allo all my fellow forgotten rebels, former fuck-ups, failed rockstars, and Flash Metal folklorists. Today's no-class will be on one of the most beloved of all the nearly forgotten eighties trash punk bands, Los Angeles California's STARS FROM MARS. These guys never even made it as big as say, the Double O Zeroes back when their hair was all blonde, but sunset strippers who saw 'em in the clubs, will never forget how cool they were - totally disaffected, stand-offish bizarro decadents in a nighttime world all their own. Rubber suits and weird tattoos. I regret that I've done so much over the years to mar my own memory, cos I'm having trouble callin' up much in the way of autobiographical details and last I checked, there was almost zilch about them on-line. The Stars never became successful enough to get their own chapter in some mainstream rock encyclopedia, but that was alrite with us - in fact, it was the way that they seemed to always sabotage their own stardumb that impressed us the most. These guys were like the uncola of flash metal bands, in that they never gave a toss about becoming popular. It seemed like they reveled in making UNPOPULAR music. Truly underground rocknroll. We dug that thoroughly. Even if it was just a stance, we believed 'em. Lead singer, DAZZLE and his shady cohort, Alice, influenced me and alot of my friend's bands, growing up. Some of whom, then went onto fame and misfortune but ended up really impacting our entire little Sleazegrinding subculture.

Stars From Mars first sent me one of their early four song demo-tapes in '88 or '89, I guess-it was really fresh sounding at the time cos very few groups were doing any kinda music that reminded you at all of the Dolls or Dead Boys back then. It was all whammy bars and poodle perms. Stars From Mars, on the other hand, were trashy, fun, glamour pop with throwaway lyrics like "Kick Dat Cat". Me and Sleaze both waxed enthusiastic about these guys pretty much non-stop, throughout the first few years of our fanzine-ing careers, eternally rooting for these gender bending scuzz lords to catch as much lightning in a bottle in the studio as they did in all their photographs, but it never really happened. DAZZLE used to appear frequently in the pages of Propaganda, the glossy goth bible from back then, even occasionally gracing it's cover. DAZ cut an elegantly wasted, well-composed damned starlet profile like yer faves from  Hanoi Rocks and the Soho Roses, and Alice was just as swank.


They were one of them bands who were able to create a lot of buzz and excitement based merely on their
own shake appeal. They looked like they were gonna be big rockstars, they had that star flair down like vintage Bowie, Hollywood Brats, Queen, or Hanoi Rocks. They were regal subversives, sovereigns.

Stars From Mars were mostly a shambles live, and to my knowledge, they never seemed to get beyond the demo stage, recording-wise, but all those raw, early demos were an important influence on all us glammish punk upstarts back in the earliest daze of our own wasted years. Like alot of other wildly influential underground glam bands who never inked record deals, STARS FROM MARS were emulated by loads of Hollywood bands who did. I mean, EVERYBODY KNOWS that Gio from the Comatones is, irrefutably, the Greatest & Most Authentic Rockstar anybody's seen since Axl first started wearing bicycle-shorts in public and Izzy started racing BMX's, and  that Francois, the Dean Martin of Flash Metal, fumbled the ball, but the Comatones just never got it together to record and release a serious full-length that lived up to the promise of genius songs like, "Sexual Intellectual", "Routine Bleeds", and "Three Dollar Dress". Same with Stars From Mars. They'll always occupy an important space in the chrome hearts of those who know. Back in the late 80's, it was like, the trendy, affluent, college types had My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. The nerds and geeks had R.E.M. and They Might Be Giants. The jocks and preps had stolen "Pump" and "Mother's Milk". But WE had the Ultras and Motorcycle Boy and Stars From Mars.

HEY, REMEMBER...

Before the Evil Empire's State Radio Propaganda Monopolies drove all the cool music mags outta business and bought the underground, like it was real estate, it was the more obscure bands that never seemed to really go nowhere that always really stole our hearts anyhow. Like when we first got the fake indie "Live Like A Suicide" album and thought that Guns N Roses were always gonna be one of our little cult bands like Motorhead and Hanoi Rocks, only to be horrified, later, when they were embraced by all our ignorant adversaries. The bands that nobody else was ever that wise to became really important to us, as kids. The Misfits, before Metallica ruined 'em. Tex & The Horseheads. The Gun Club.Tigertailz from England. Soho Roses. Gunfire Dance.Thee Hypnotics. The Trash Brats. The Zeros. Alien Sex Fiend. Demolition Boy. Kill City DragonsDogs D'Amour. Underneath What. Angels In Vain. The Freaks. Motorcycle Boy...these were OUR BANDS, y'know?  Almost exclusively, to this day. Like my ace cat used to repeat nightly, "Nobody cares, nobody remembers." But all these fringe band's cult-followings seemed to grow ever more passionate as they remained obscure, it became more and more elite, like all the fanatics of the Glamour Punks or Viletones.


I don't even remember what Alice played when he was in the Stars, guitar, I suppose, but one gets the impression that he and DAZZLE were having the Errol Flynn time of their young lives back then-absolutely OWNING the vampire clubs of Hollywood, together, reigning princes of glam hedonism. They were effortlessly, but obviously, the rulers of the roost in any room either one of 'em ever set a platform shoe into. We all know that Alice went on to form the unvanquished, unforgettably stellar ULTRAVIOLETS (who had to drop it to Ultras to appease some lesser band that sucked) before drifting off into obscurity and guest appearances on Gidget Gein elpees. GIZMO, the drummer, was in one of those ephemeral Sunset Strip bands called Seaweed Eaters for awhile in the early nineties when grunge was first rolling in like a cloud over Hollywood. And apparently, the luminous DAZZLE started going by Dominique at some point. I know they played some big showcases for industry people in NYC in the old days cos a dear old friend of mine was there takin' pictures. Another chick I know who knew ALL the wayward waifs and would-be idols of west coast Flash Metal told me she heard that DAZZLE did prison time for drugs - this was NOT a cat who'd fair well behind bars, or come out "rehabilitated" , one shudders to think.

Other reports had him involved in porn (True! He is/was married to big-boobs star Elizabeth Starr. - Sleaze), and even less savoury rumours I won't bother repeating here. Another friend said the Stars From Mars played at some gay niteclub in Hollywood regularly. Who knows? DAZZLE, WHERE ARE YOU NOW? There's at least, ten or twenty of us raggedy old glam hags who still remember your flashy trashy, supernova star power, and songs like, "We Got Tonite" and "City Roller". STARS FROM MARS were among the most important of the "Shoulda Been Contenders" nasty punk, lips 'n' high heels bands that time forgot.


-Pepsi Sheen (remembers everything)
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