Scream Idol – Trash Rock a Go Go!

STAR STAR has morphed into SCREAM IDOL, a scary montster for a new degeneration. We’ve asked Johnnie Holliday (vocals/guitar) a few questions about this new incarnation and the STAR STAR days…

You were one of the first bands I interviewed for Veglam back in 2002. I remember thinking it was so cool to be able to talk to you by email since “The Love Drag Years” is one of my favourite albums. A lot has changed since those days for the music world and especially rock’n’roll. How have things changed for you and your music?

-I like much less of the music I hear at clubs now…and…being that I’m the only guitar player now… we only do songs that can be played with the guitar hung very low. We’ve become so comfortable as a trio that I can’t even imagine playing with another guitar player again. Musically we’re closer to what we sounded like when Mickey Mess and I started Star Star. Long before the Love Drag Years of course.

Can you tell us about the name change, going from Star Star to Scream Idol, will you ever play under the name Star Star again?

-We feel too far removed from the band that was Star Star to continue using that name. We felt like a different band for a while now. I’m not saying that we’ve matured or that we’ve cleaned up or anything crazy like that… but, we definitely feel a rush breaking out as a new band man! Will we ever play under the Star Star name again… hmmm…. kinda’ like if I’ll ever fuck an ex-girlfriend again.

You have re-recorded a few songs from your first album “Go Go Girls In Love”, can you tell us why you have chosen to do so? Did you ever think about a re-release of the album?

-When we did that album I had just started singing and we were in this high lifestyle that didn’t allow us to focus. We’ve always felt that those songs never had a fair chance. So we re-did them….. not that I can sing much better now, but, at least I’m a little sober now….ok, maybe not….but, anyway, yeah, we re-did them the way we sound now..

How do you record music in 2021? Do you have your own home studio?

-We carefully set up our recording situation. We basically bought the gear that we use in the studios. We also built a vocal isolation booth that’s also a guitar booth and a laundry room. Technically speaking…we run Universal Audio and Avalon pre’s through UA and Apogee converters.

Can you tell us why you’ve chosen to cover The PARTRIDGE FAMILY’s “I Woke Up In Love This Morning”?

-The first time I heard that song I thought it was the best chorus ever written..and the singer David Cassidy had the coolest hair on TV. It doesn’t have many chords and I could look cool playing it…and we thought we could bring a fresh feeling to it.

You also covered The SISTERS OF MERCY’s “Vision Thing” live. Have you ever thought of recording it?

-Oh yeah man! We’ve already recorded it. Actually we’ve recorded a Sisters Of Mercy medley that we’ve been playing live. It’s gonna’ be released as a dance Maxi Single along with some club remixes later this year.

STAR STAR was a great mix of rock’n’roll, glam and punk. “Soul Sucker” says “Not a punk, not a rocker…”, is this how you feel in the rock’n’roll world today?

-Music has lost its spirit as it conforms to the guidelines of social and streaming platforms. It has strayed from the culture that influenced generations. The music industry has also been cultivating a mindset so that bands will endeavor to sound like other bands. Do you know where that leads? Check out this years Grammy nominees… that’s where it leads. Generic music without attitude or style! It makes clubs less cool, less chicks, less colorful personalities, more straights, less fun, less artistic spiritual freedom. I feel heartbroken by artists condoning censorship…I feel sad for this generation that is discovering the world through regulated mediums… I feel pissed at punks and rockers that parrot establishment narratives. Other than that I don’t like to talk about what our lyrics mean

I’ve read that you were also a club owner in Greece and I remember seeing some cool flyers about glam/goth/punk nights. Can you tell us more about that?

You didn’t see flyers for that club. It was strictly word of mouth. It was a simple metal door on a street in the center of Athens that led to a staircase going down to the club. We only opened on Saturdays and it was always packed. It was also like 70% dance floor. It was a dark wave, goth, industrial, fetish club so we made sure the atmosphere was comfortable for the regulars. The flyers you did see were for parties that we host at clubs in various cities. We do DJ sets, get drunk and meet chicks… sometimes we’ll arrange fashion or music promotions. Those “Trash City Nights” events always attract very interesting crowds. They are nights of madness

Speaking of Greece. How come you’ve chosen to move there?

I had an uncle that was like a father to me. He became sick and I wanted to spend the time he had left close to him. Weeds, Jay and I decided to do it together and make a new start in Europe. Obviously after Jay’s suicide and my accident it wasn’t such a great new beginning…. but we turned it around man.

These last two years have been difficult for many musicians but have you played live with the SCREAM IDOL line-up before Covid?

We’ve played many shows together as Star Star. Jack was our first drummer when we first got to Europe. We parted ways for a while, then reunited when he got back from Brazil… and Scream Idol was born

I learned in your great interview with Suits and The Platform Boots that you lived in Hollywood. Do you think that New York was better for STAR STAR?

Probably not. We struggled with bad habits everywhere we went. I preferred the scene in LA. Going back to NY was more to straighten up and start fresh, and not so much a musical decision.

Star Star

Last but not least. It happened more than once when pronouncing your name in France that people thought I was talking about French singer Johnny Hallyday who was over famous here!: )… Ever heard of him?

Yes, of course I was asked that question a lot when I did a French press tour. I listened to a bunch of his stuff. Pretty good songs but not enough guitars!

https://www.starfuckerstar.com/

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Scream Idol “Movie Mary”

SCREAM IDOL is the new incarnation of STAR STAR, The fabulous late 80s glam rock’n’roll band that should have been huge in a perfect world. Singer/guitar player Johnnie Holiday has been living in Greece for a long time now keeping the STAR STAR name and music alive through the years but some change was needed and although SCREAM IDOL has STAR STAR‘s glittery blood running through its veins, this is also the start of something new. This is still rock’n’roll with a glam edge but with a more modern approach and sound. “Movie Mary” opens with a new and refreshed version of “Pizza Pattie”, a song that was released on the first STAR STAR album “Go Go Girls In Love” but didn’t have the production it deserved. “Teenage Doom Disciple” heads more into the glam industrial territory bringing The NEWLYDEADS to mind while “Kick It Down” and “Soul Sucker” both mix heavy rock guitars with a glitter pop sensiblity. You’ll get to hear more new versions from “Go Go Girls In Love”: “Kid City Act III”, revamped as a 70s gam song that could have been recorded in Blade Runner, “Sarah Soda” called “Sara Soda Act IV”, a poppy glam punk song as well as the title song “Go Go Girls In Love Act I” and “Baby Boom Act IV” and its ever catchy vibe. Speaking of catchy, just listen to the PALTRIDGE FAMILY cover “I Woke Up In Love This Morning”, this one won’t leave my mind… The album ends on a gothy dancefloor note with “1000 Years To Deep” and “Movie Mary” both reminding of the best of MARILYN MANSON (that is to say his post-human glam album “Mechanical Animals”.) “Movie Mary” manages to mix an underrated past to a brilliant present and can appeal to early STAR STAR fans as well as a new generation in search of decadent and danceable music. This is exactly what I needed to listen to these days! /Laurent C.

screamidol.com
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Star Star (2002)

I was more than happy to find a STAR STAR website and to know that Johnnie Holliday still had something to say. If you didn’t know the band when ‘The Love Drag Years’ came out, then it’s never too late and you can start here!…

So, what is the Star Star line-up in 2002?
well there’s Weeds (bass) and me of course. I’m playing more guitar and singing less now ’cause our new guitar player Vice sings alot as well. He’s from Chicago and isn’t really adjusting to being here that well. Then there’s Jak our drummer. He’s from Athens but he doesn’t really adjust to anything very well.

Star Star went through some really bad times, have you ever thought about giving up?
The only thing we thought about was changing the name of the band. It would’ve been harder on us to quit than to continue.

I remember that when “the love drag years” went out, many metal heads thought that it was too punk for them and many punks thought that it was too metal for them (only glamsters were happy 🙂 ), do you think that people are more open-minded now?
Well there is definately more of a blurring of the lines as to what music people identify with now. Generally speaking however I can’t say that I think people are much more open minded today…..and frankly, I don’t believe that people make up their own minds about what they like anymore. It’s done for them by the MTV’s, record labels, etc.

Can you tell us a bit about the new songs? Are they in the same vein than before (musically as well as lyrically)?
Yeah…..you know, you can’t escape yourself. However the chemistry Vice and I have both as guitarists and singers definately gives us alot of new elements, which expand on what we were doing before rather than changing it.

On some Internet auctions, some people would spend a lot of money to get your first release “go go girls in love”, did you know that?
I’m horrible on that album, but if you promise not to play it for anyone I’ll send you a copy.

Do you think that the Internet has changed a lot of things for musicians?
Absolutely, but as time goes by alot of the internet’s power will be taken away from the bands. You already see search engines and directories charging money to give you a higher or preferred listing in their search results, overlooking sites which may be more relevant to a particular search. The internet was a level playing field for everyone but it will move away from that to reflect real life. I could go on and on about this but I don’t want to start ranting……..my ranting gets rave reviews y’know….

Are you still influenced by the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”?
*smile* I never knew I was untill the press started saying so. It’s unavoidable when something has been a big part of your life. We had fantastic nights at the Waverly and later the 8th Street Cinema (theaters in New York City where “Rocky” played) that defintely left lasting impressions.

What bands do you like nowadays?
Well I’m back to liking the stuff Bowie is doing again. It’s no Ziggy or Diamond Dogs of course but y’know. I saw Smashing Pumpkins in Rotterdam and became a fan. I liked some stuff that Babylon Zoo did and I do like some of the Marylin Manson stuff. It’s been a while since I heard an album that I can listen to while staring at the cover for hours and hours…..and…..if you must pry……I like songs with girls in the video……I’m a victim.

You live in Athens (Greece) now, what are the advantages/drawbacks compared to the United States?
The only thing that makes any difference for us is that you can smoke freely here. The drawback is that “Camel Wides” aren’t available here.

Do you know when you’ll have a new album out?
A five song EP with three new songs and some live recordings will be out late this year. We start mixing in April and if it goes really well there may be more than just two live songs on it…..then it wouldn’t be an EP right?…..what would it be?……hmmmm

Anything else to add?
Thanks a lot for your time.