Sunday, October 30, 2016

Shooting Star

Origin: Kansas City, Missouri (USA)

Shooting Star Norman Dahlor - Charles Waltz - Gary West - Van McLain - Steve Thomas
Norman Dahlor - Charles Waltz - Gary West - Van McLain - Steve Thomas

Shooting Star [Silent scream - 1985] aor melodic rock music blogspot full albums bands lyricsSilent scream - 1985
Shooting Star [It's not over - 1991] aor melodic rock music blogspot full albums bands lyricsIt's not over - 1991 (with lyrics)


- Shooting Star is an American rock band from Kansas City, Missouri.

The band formed in the late 1970s. After gaining popularity in the Kansas City area, Shooting Star became the first American group to sign with Virgin Records. They recorded their 1979 debut album in England with producer Gus Dudgeon, best known for his work with Elton John and David Bowie. The band gained national exposure when a number of songs garnered moderate air-play on album-oriented rock radio stations in the US.

Shooting Star initially consisted of Van McLain (guitars, vocals), Bill Guffey (keyboards), Steve Thomas (drums), Ron Verlin (bass), Charles Waltz (violin, keyboards, vocals), and Gary West (lead vocals, guitars, keyboards).

Early history

Shooting Star was formed by childhood friends Ron Verlin and Van McLain in suburban Kansas City. They were next-door neighbors and instantly became good friends.

In February 1964, when the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, Ron and Van, like so many other kids around the country, were hooked and drove their parents crazy begging to take guitar lessons. They put a band together with their brothers, Craig McLain and John Verlin, and played along to Beatles records in Ron's dad's garage. Two years later, Van and Craig moved to a different school district and the band split up.

Upon entering Shawnee Mission South High School, Van and Ron met up again. With the 1950s nostalgia craze of 1971 brewing, they jumped at the opportunity to put together a band that played classic 1950s hits. After seeing Sha Na Na in the movie Woodstock, they added three dancers to the act and called the band The Shooting Stars featuring The Galaxies, the name inspired by Bill Haley & His Comets. The band played its first gig at a local school. Sock hops were so popular they received offers over the next three years to play frat parties, country clubs and schools throughout the Midwest.

Off to England

By 1974, Van began serious songwriting. The band decided to stop playing cover songs and perform their own music. Later that year, they recorded a four-song demo tape and planned a trip to London, England to shop their songs for a record deal. They left on January 6, 1975 and after three weeks of shopping their music to different record labels, they were offered a recording contract with Arista Records.

Upon signing, The Shooting Stars were then given the opportunity to play a showcase performance at the legendary Marquee Club in London. The club was the birthplace of such bands as The Rolling Stones, The Who, Rod Stewart and the Faces, Led Zeppelin, Elton John and many others. The band then made their way to Morgan Studios to record their first single, Take the Money & Run. Shortly after this record was cut, Steve Miller released his song Take the Money & Run, which became a huge hit. Arista Records then released The Shooting Stars from their contract and they returned to Kansas City.

In 1977 the band persuaded fellow musician Gary West (born Gary Hodgden) to join them as a singer and songwriting partner for Van. Gary, with his brother Ron West, had been a member of the premier Kansas City rock band of the 1960s, The Chesmann Square. After The Chesmann dissolved in 1974, Ron West formed the band Missouri and Gary West moved with the Chesmann's lead guitarist Jim McAllister to New York City. There they formed the group The Beckies with songwriter Michael Brown, formerly of the group The Left Banke, and former Kansas Citian Scott Trusty. The Beckies released one album on Sire Records. Upon Gary's return to Kansas City, he and Van began songwriting in earnest.

In 1978 they shortened their name to Shooting Star. And with Ron Verlin on bass, they added Steve Thomas on drums, Bill Guffey on keyboards and Charles Waltz on violin, keyboards and vocals. They started recording demos in Gary's garage, all the while playing gigs around the Midwest. After saving enough money and putting a press kit together, they tried to secure another record deal in New York City. Through connections that Gary had made while a member of The Beckies, the band booked a showcase at the now infamous punk rock club CBGB's. The representative for a New York management firm was in the crowd that night and offered them a contract. With a management deal secured, Shooting Star returned to Kansas City to continue writing new material.

Virgin Records
Six months later, the band's management arranged for them to play another showcase at the famous New York club Tracks. Three record companies, Atlantic Records, Virgin Records and A&M Records, made offers to sign the band. Virgin, then a small British record label, prevailed. The label was looking for a rock group to break into the US market, and Shooting Star became the first American band on their roster.

In May 1979 the band returned to London to record their eponymous debut album with producer Gus Dudgeon of Elton John fame. The album Shooting Star was released in January 1980, and the band embarked on a national tour opening for Robin Trower and Triumph. With their debut the band gained popularity with the songs "You Got What I Need," "Tonight," "Bring It On" and "Last Chance." "Wild In the Streets", a B-side release, was a staple of live show encores; the song was eventually released on CD as a bonus track. "You Got What I Need" ended up peaking at #76 on the Billboard Hot 100.

With radio success, Shooting Star returned to the studio in 1981 to record Hang On for Your Life (July 1981) with producer Dennis McKay. The album generated FM airplay with the songs "Flesh and Blood," "Breakout," and the title track. "Hollywood" was released as a single and climbed the Billboard Hot 100, topping out at #70. Meanwhile, the album logged a surprising 30 weeks on Billboard's album chart and sold a respectable 200,000 US copies. In support of the album, the band toured extensively with ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, Todd Rundgren, Jefferson Starship and Journey. They appeared on the radio shows Rock Line, King Biscuit Flower Hour (KBFH), The Source and Westwood One and also began headlining showcase clubs across the United States, setting attendance records as they went.

In 1982 the band began recording their third album, III Wishes (July 1982), at the legendary Caribou Ranch studio near Boulder, Colorado. At the helm was Journey producer Kevin Elson. Without missing a beat, they returned to touring with such acts as REO Speedwagon, John Mellencamp, Jefferson Starship, Kansas and others.

1983 saw their continued collaboration with Kevin Elson on their fourth album, Burning (June 1983). This record produced radio hits "Straight Ahead," "Winner" and "Train Rolls On."

In 1984 the band was asked to record two songs for the movie soundtrack Up the Creek. The songs were "Get Ready Boy" and "Take It."

Later that year, the band experienced the departure of bassist Ron Verlin, who had become disenchanted with the music industry. Bassist Norm Dahlor was recruited to take over for Ron, and the band began to record their fifth album, Silent Scream, with producer Ron Nevison. It was released in April 1985 and produced the radio hit "Summer Sun." The band's accompanying music video was popular on MTV and other video channels. Van, Norm and Steve were also the backing band on Ian Hunter's single "Great Expectations." The band then toured with Heart, Bryan Adams and ZZ Top.

I'm getting out
In 1986, after almost a decade of touring and five albums, Shooting Star decided to go on hiatus. A farewell show was played on December 27, 1986 at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas and after a few more concerts, Shooting Star went their separate ways in March 1987.

Gary West, with Van McLain's help, began work on demos that were more in a pop/rhythm and blues direction. CBS Records signed West but then lost interest. Guitarist McLain, in a 2013 interview with Goldmine Magazine, explained why the group disbanded: "We signed with Geffen and we put out Silent Scream. Geffen got into a fight with all the radio promo guys, and they fired them the week our album came out. We had 200 adds on radio, out of 300 reporting stations, the first week. 'Summer Sun' was being added everywhere, and it looked like the album would be a smash. After the fight with the promo guys, it dropped to 40 stations. What do you do? We really worked hard on that record and it was the one. It just crushed Gary when it all fell apart over something that ridiculous; It literally drove him out of the music business. You put your heart and soul into this stuff, and you expect these business guys to come through for you. We got hosed four or five times. Over the next several years fans from around the world were frustrated by not being able to find Shooting Star records, which all went out of print, while the band continued to receive radio airplay". Being dropped by CBS further discouraged Gary and he left the music business for good after this.

In July 1989, V&R Records, the band's own label, acquired the rights to release The Best of Shooting Star. This release marked the first time that any Shooting Star record appeared on CD and included two previously unreleased songs, "Christmas Together," a 1985 single which had been played on Kansas City radio, and "Touch Me Tonight," a new song by Van which peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #67. Enigma Records, a heavy metal label that was starting to acquire more mainstream artists, bought the rights to the album and retitled it "Touch Me Tonight: The Best of Shooting Star." In the November 4, 1989 issue of Billboard, the album secured a trivial place in rock music history by becoming the first album to reach that magazine's pop albums chart without being available in a vinyl record format.

The band also released the first two albums on one CD called Shooting Star/Hang on for Your Life; it omitted two songs from the albums ("Stranger" and "Sweet Elatia"). This CD became a collectible until the release of the band's entire catalog on CD.

A return...with Enigma
With the success of The Best Of and fans' desire for new material, Shooting Star was offered a new recording contract with Enigma Records. Returning to the group were original members Ron Verlin, Van McLain and Steve Thomas. The other members were Dennis Laffoon on keyboards and vocalist Keith Mitchell. Charles Waltz was originally slated to rejoin but had moved to California and was busy with another band, Toledo Waltz, while Gary West had left the music business entirely. Thomas played drums on "Touch Me Tonight" but departed shortly afterwards as he was unable to commit to music full-time during this period. He was subsequently replaced by Rod Lincoln. In Los Angeles the band made a video for "Touch Me Tonight." It received extensive airplay on MTV, making their request chart and rose to #67 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was the highest charting single of the band's career. The song also appeared in the Dolph Lundgren movie I Come in Peace.[1]

In February 1991 the band released their sixth effort, It's Not Over. During the recording of this project, Enigma Records went bankrupt and the group decided to finish it on their own. Released on their own V & R label, the album received critical acclaim throughout Europe and helped broaden the Shooting Star audience. After the album's release, Ron Verlin was replaced on bass by Eric Johnson (not the famous guitarist) and the band toured with Bad English, Bryan Adams and 38 Special. After selling about 10,000 copies of It's Not Over, the group was contacted by JRS Records (whose parent company was SCS Music), which agreed to take over distribution of the album nationally. But the group became dissatisfied with JRS, claiming they did very little to promote the album, and filed a lawsuit against them on October 14, 1992 in Johnson County, Kansas District Court.

By 1993, disappointed over the collapse of Enigma, the JRS fiasco and the general decline in popularity of classic rock music, the band went into semi-retirement but resurfaced each year to play occasional concerts with Verlin back on bass.

In 1997 the violin became a part of their sound again with the addition of violinist Terry Brock (not the same guy who performed as a background vocalist with Kansas on their Drastic Measures tour).

In 1998, after recovering from a battle with esophageal cancer, Van was asked to perform at a cancer benefit concert in Chicago. On stage were members of Night Ranger, Cheap Trick, Survivor and 38 Special. Van received a heartfelt response from the fans and his friends on stage, which rekindled interest in playing again. Upon returning home from the show, he began writing songs and contemplated recording them.

In the summer of 1999, while vacationing in Nashville, Tennessee, Van was reunited with producer/engineer Kevin Beamish. Among many others, Kevin's list of credits include REO Speedwagon, Jefferson Starship, Elton John and Clint Black. Kevin and Van had met 20 years earlier while Shooting Star was recording its first album. At that time, Kevin was a young engineer for Gus Dudgeon. Out of this chance meeting grew the plans to record and release Shooting Star's seventh album, Leap of Faith (July 2000). The recording took place at Sound Stage Studios in Nashville, Tennessee from December 1999 through February 2000.

20 years and counting
Shooting Star celebrated their 20th year as recording artists in 2000 with the release of Leap of Faith and a fall tour.

Shane Michaels joined as the band's new violinist in May 2000, replacing Christian Howes (1999–2000), who had replaced Terry Brock. Original drummer Steve Thomas returned to the fold in late 2003 and singer Keith Mitchell left in the summer of 2005 after reported voice problems.

In July 2006 the group released the album Circles with Kevin Chalfant (ex-member of 707 and The Storm) handling the lead vocals, but since Chalfant was unable to commit to touring, he was replaced in 2007 by Ronnie Platt.

Original keyboardist Bill Guffey (aka William Guffey III) died on April 12, 2007.[2]

Violinist Shane Michaels left the band in June 2008 to concentrate on another project, Flannigan's Right Hook, and was replaced by Janet Jameson.

Bassist Ron Verlin, who'd left the group twice before (in 1984 and 1991) and had taken temporary leaves of absence since his return in 1994, departed permanently in 2009; since then, Laffoon has covered the position of bassist.

Shooting Star was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall Of Fame in 2009. The band performed with the McLain, Thomas, Lafoon, Platt, Jameson lineup, with special guest Ron Verlin on bass, and for two songs, original vocalist Gary West. Other former members were on hand that evening, but did not perform.

Ronnie Platt left the band in 2011 to work with Chicago band Arra. His final performance with Shooting Star was in September 2010. Shooting Star vocal duties were then split between Van McLain and Janet Jameson for all 2011 tour dates.

Van McLain spent the first part of 2012 focusing on a solo project to be released by Alligator Records before returning to Shooting Star in the second half of 2012.

Keith Mitchell returned as lead vocalist in 2012 but left again in 2013 due to health problems. Janet Jameson also left the band at this time. Todd Pettygrove then joined in June 2013 as the new lead singer.

Shooting Star returned to the UK in October 2013 to play "Firefest", the melodic rock festival that takes place each year at Nottingham Rock City.[3]

In July 2014 former Shooting Star vocalist Ronnie Platt joined Kansas as the replacement for departing lead vocalist Steve Walsh.[4]

Marking 35 years since their first album, Shooting Star released Into the Night in July 2015, which was initially available as a free download at the band's website.[5]

Van McLain, Dennis Laffoon, and Steve Thomas also perform in the Overland Park, KS area as a trio – The Star Blues Band. -


- Kansas City's SHOOTING STAR enjoyed the attentions of the emerging Virgin label as one of their first Hard Rock signings. Fronted by former THE BECKIES member Gary West (known as Gary Hodgden in his previous outfit), the brother of MISSOURI's Ron West, SHOOTING STAR was dispatched to England to record their debut album with noted producer Gus Dudgeon.

The initial, self-titled effort, released in 1980, found SHOOTING STAR comprising West alongside songwriting partner guitarist Van mcLain, bass player Ron Vernin, violinist Charles Waltz and drummer Steve Thomas, with the addition of keyboard player Bill Guffey. This version of the group remained intact for the second outing, the Dennis McKay produced 'Hang On For Your Life', which reached no. 91 on the US album charts, eventually selling over half a million units. By the time of recording the Kevin Elson produced third album, 'III Wishes', Bill Guffey was no longer involved.

The band's national profile improved in 1984 with the inclusion of two tracks, 'Take It' and 'Get Ready Boy' for the movie soundtrack 'Up The Creek'. The 'Silent Scream' album found Norman Dahlor replacing Van McLain. The record was produced by Ron Nevison, with some tracks worked on by Greg Ladanyi. The band regrouped in 1991 with a brand new album, 'It's Not Over', and a revised line-up. Gary West had left the group and been replaced by Keith Mitchell. Dennis Laffon also joined the group on keyboards as did drummer Rod Lincoln and a live album followed. The band would still be active although although a projected American tour in 1997 with NIGHT RANGER was cancelled due to McClain being taken ill. SHOOTING STAR bounced back with the album 'Leap Of Faith'. Originally issued in 2000, the record was re-issued two years later adding the poignant track 'Let's Roll', a NEIL YOUNG cover version inspired by the final words of 9/11 hero Todd Beamer.

SHOOTING STAR lost the services of Keith Mitchell in August 2005.

The band returned with a brand new studio album, 'Circles', in July 2005, released through the Italian Frontiers label. SHOOTING STAR keyboard player Bill Guffey died in April 2007 from complications due to a liver transplant in late 2006. -


- SHOOTING STAR is maybe one of the best Classic AOR bands ever, because most of their albums are as good as the well-known acts such as JOURNEY, SURVIVOR, KANSAS... They released quite a lot albums, starting in 1980 and ending last year with 'Leap of faith'. The music has always been a mixture of pure AOR and Pomprock, close to afforementioned acts, yet with an own identity. Finally I had the chance to do an interview with bandleader Van Mclain, and he had to tell me a lot about the past 25 years...

Q.Hi there, first let's get back to the late 70s, what were your first music experiences (as in when did you start with playing an instrument, or wanted to become a musician)?

A. i started playing guitar when i was 6 years old the next day after i saw the beatles on ed sullivan. i played in bands through school in kansas city. when i was 18 years old i moved to london england with ron verlin our bass player. we formed a band and looked for a record contract. we did a demo of a song i had written called take the money and run. arista/bell records signed us on the strenghth of that song and we recorded a single. we did it at the famous morgan studios (rod stewart,yes ect.) and we were really excited being a bunch of guys from kansas city. about 3 weeks before it was to be released steve miller came out with his song take the money and run ,same title different song, and that killed our record deal.

we moved back to the states and hooked up with gary west.gary and i instantly hit it off as songwriting partners. we formed shooting star with gary west -vocals and keyboards, van mclain-vocals and guitar, ron verlin -bass,
steve thomas drums, charles waltz-vocals violin and bill guffey on keyboards. we started playing around the midwest of the us and after about a year we moved to New york. We found management and then showcased and picked virgin records to sign with. we were virgins first signing in the US.

Q. Did you play in a band before SHOOTING STAR?

A. only garage bands around kansas city. nothing exciting.

Q. When did you form SHOOTING STAR?

A. the version of the band that played on the first album formed in 1978. the first album came out in january 1980

Q. Then please tell us all about your wonderful first album (LP went to #147 in the US charts, while one of the singles "You've got what I need" went to #76)< tell us about the songs, production, sales, just funny stories of that year 1980...

A. we recorded the first album with gus dudgeon (elton john, chris rea) at his private studio in the english coutryside. it was one of the most beautiful places i have ever seen. it was an old millhouse on the thames river that gus had totally redone and built a world class studio. there were swans on the water and a waterfall. it was incredible. gus was a great producer and really great to work with. when the album was released in the US we had modest success with the first single but nothing great. we toured with robin trower and cheap trick for about 6 months but when the single faded we headed back to kansas city to start writing the next album.

one day i got a call from a radio program director in chicago who called to congratulste me on our success. I was confused. i didnt know what he was talking about so i asked him what he meant. He couldnt believe i didnt know that a song called last chance was number 1 on the US radio charts. I started checking around and sure enough last chance was a big radio success. that was the good news. the bad news was that virgin had gotten in a fight with atlantic records ( their US distributer) and had no distribution in the US. We had the number 1 radio song in the country and no records in the stores. we lost all of our momentum on the charts but we built a new and loyal fanbase. we should have sued virgins ass off but we didnt because of promises about what they would do on our next record.

Q. Your music was 'pompy AOR', which bands influenced you (KANSAS, JOURNEY and SURVIVOR I guess)?

A. our biggest influence was the beatles. we really werent influenced by kansas but everyone thinks that because we had a violin player. we liked 70s genesis and yes. believe it or not we loved ac/dc and i think that showed up on our 2nd album hang on for your life.

Q. One year later 'Hang on for your life' was released, another great album that went into the billboard hot 100 LP charts, please tell us all about that record?

A. we recorded that album at randy bachmans of BTO home studio in linden washington with dennis mckay. we were pissed off at our managers for screwing us and pissed off at virgin and i think that anger came through in making hang on for your life really rock! that album stayed on the us album charts for over 1 year and helped us build a loyal following even though the record companies failed to deliver a hit single.

Q. Did you play live by that time, if so, with which bands, and tell us funny stories about bands you played with?

A. we toured for an entire year opening for jefferson starship,zz top, molly hatchet, blue oyster cult and foghat. we also headlined clubs and were the #1 drawing band in1982 for small venues in the US.

Q. '3 wishes' from 1982 was maybe one of your most succesfull releases, please tell us all about it?

A. we recorded 3 wishes with kevin elson (Journey) at fantasy studios in berkley california. kevin became a good friend of ours and we had a really great time in the studio. lots of practicle jokes. we had the guys from journey working in the studio next to us. we would sneak in to there studio and turn the heat up as high as it would go.
then we would wait for them to go inside and we would lock them in. they would have to get someone to open the door from the outside and they would be covered in sweat. we had fun!

Q. 'Burning' is not your strongest release, but still it contained some great songs, why did you put the cover "Reach out I'll be there" on that album?

A. we just always liked that song and we used to play it in the bars in kansas city. we tried it in the studio one night and we thought it sounded cool. We werent really thinking of what people would think. we just liked it.

Q. In 1984 you did two songs for the movie 'Up the creek', please tell us about them, and also how you got involved in the movie business?

A. virgin was working with geffen records now as their US distribution. david geffen was and still is very involved with movies and they asked us to get involved with up the creek. we met the producer spencer proffer (quiet riot) and we recorded 2 songs,take it and get ready boy for the movie. get ready boy was going to be on silent scream but we went ahead and let the movie have it. We also got to be the backup band for ian hunter on a song called great expectations. that was really cool because we were big mott the hoople fans. when the movie came out we were really excited to see it and we were invited to the premiere. i thought the movie sucked and we were disapointed. it also came out the same week as poice acadamy which was a big hit in the states. the funny thing is up the creek still plays on cable tv all over the world and i still get royalties for that piece of crap! isnt life funny.

Q. We're now in the year 1985, and you released your best album ever, the ultimate AOR classic 'Silent scream', an album that still to this day is held high here in the European AOR scene as an instant classic, everything just sounded brilliant, how did you get RON NEVISON as producer?

A. we got ron nevison trough john koladner at geffen records. gary and i worked for a solid year writing those songs. we really put everything we had into making that record and we had very high hopes for that album. we had the US tour opening for heart when they were hot. the single summer sun came out and got 135 adds to radio the first week. it looked like it finally was going to break big for us and something happened and i still dont know what but i think virgin ran out of money. i read richard bransons book and he says they were out of money around this same time period.the lables wouldnt return our calls. kalodner wouldnt return our calls. what looked like a sure fire hit dried up and died. we were devestated because we felt this was the best record we could ever make. I guess in europe it did well but not well enough to keep us going . gary west decided to get out of music altogether because of his disapointment. even though we made our best record it didnt pay off and i blame virgin records for this.

Q. And please tell us all about that fantastic LP 'Silent scream' (the songs, the sales, funny stories when recording)

A. silent scream was recorded in england,malibu california, san fransisco california and los angelas california. we had a lot of fun recording it and got to travel to a lot of great studios to make it. lying on the beach in malibu in the morning and recording at night was really awesome! we had been touring alot and i think we were just on our game when we made that album. when we were cutting basic tracks in england we were in touch with the engineer of our first album, stewart epps. he was working with jimmy page on the firm album. we decided to have a competition with who would finish tracks first. i dont think the firm knew but we knew through stewart what tere progress was we won the competition easily and we were feeling pretty cool until stewart told us that all of paul rogers scratch vocal tracks were kept for the album . What an incredible singer! oh well at least we beat them at something.

Q. Although RON NEVISON produced many gold records (SURVIVOR, HEART), your album didn't sell as much as those huge AOR bands did in the 80s in the USA, while you had the same kind of high quality AOR on your records, why do you think you didn't become as succesfull as bands like SURVIVOR, JOURNEY, HEART, REO SPEEDWAGON...

A. i know it sound like an excuse but we should be the poster boys for "stay away from bad record companies" we just never had a push from virgin like other bands got. Was it money? i dont know you will have to ask them.

Q. Anyway, then it became quiet around SHOOTING STAR, what did you do between 1985 and 1989?

A. gary and i wrote some songs but gary just wasnt willing to trust record companies with his life any more so he got out of the music business and started his own company doing house inspections.

Q. In 1989 a best of was released, and it also included the fantastic new song "Touch me tonight", a superb AOR song, please tell us all about it, and I believe it was made for a movie right?

A. in 1989 none of our albums were available on cd. ron verlin our bass player and i decided to press up 10,000 copies and sell them over the next year or so . we added a new song i had written called touch me tonight. it had a new singer keith mitchell. we sold all 10,000 copies in 1 week. enigma records asked us if they could take over since we were selling it out of our garage. we made a video and it made it to #1 on mtv requests. the cd sold very well and was by far our most succesful release we toured with bad english and brian adams. everything was looking great until enigma went bankrupt. they had spent a huge amount of money on the christian heavy metal band stryper. it didnt sell and it took them down. that really sucked because they were a good small lable that believed in us.

Q. 2 years later SHOOTING STAR returned with a complete new CD entitled 'It's not over', a superb pure AOR/Melodic Rock release, please tell us all about it?

A. we had already started recording its not over in our studio in kansas city. i produced it myself and we decided to go ahead and finish it on our own. we sold about 100,000 copies on our own lable and we toured with alot of different bands but it was right when grunge was coming out so sales started to slow down .it really was the first album for keith mitchell,dennis laffoon and rod lincoln.

Q. In the early years you had a violin player, why did you drop him on the 'It's not over' release?

A. charles waltz moved to los angelas and started his own band called toledo waltz and had some success with that so he didnt come back for the new version of shooting star

Q. I also heard that Gary West wasn't involved with the band anymore back then, but still he played on the 'It's not over' release, right?

A. He did not play on its not over but several of the songs were songs we had written together. some of those songs were supposed to be on silent scream but didnt make it but we thought they were still good songs so we reworked them a little and used them on its not over

Q. You were quite popular in your state Kansas, I believe you even played as headliner in 1989 for more than 16,000 fans!

A. we are still very popular in about 20 us cities. wherever we are still getting radio airplay. we just played about 10 dates in 2000 seat halls in the us as headliner. all but one show was sold out.

Q. Anyway, then it became quiet again, although your label V AND R RECORDS did re-issue all 5 albums onto CD, please tell us about those re-issues?

A. we recieved the rights to sell all 5 of the original shooting star cds in 2001. we have put them out in the states and we are negotiating with now and then records to release them in europe allthough you can buy them off our websight now

Q. Where was the 'Live' CD from 1992 recorded?

A. in kansas city at a large theater.

Q. You toured with NIGHT RANGER in 1997, can you please tell us all about that tour?

A. we actually did not tour with night ranger. in 1997 i had esopagus cancer. i had major surgery and radiation and
chemotherapy. in 1998 after i recovered kelly keagy of night ranger and jim peterik of survivor asked me to come to chicago and play a cancer benifit for a young boy with cancer.i said yes and i was so blown away with the crowds response to my songs that i decided to put the band back together and record another album.

Q. Last year you released a complete new CD entitled 'Leap of faith', can you tell us all about it?

A. i was at a party in nashville tennesse and i ran into kevin beamish (produced reo speedwagons big albums) he asked me what i was up to and we decided to do a new album together. This is our newest release leap of faith.
it is my second favorite album shooting star has ever recorded. we worked on it in my home studio in kansas city and in nashville. and dont worry/it aint no country album!

Q. Is this last CD going to be issued through a bigger label, and do you have connections with Europe to release it over there?

A. we are trying to find a label to help us in europe. we also would love to tour in europe because we never have but we have no idea how to go about it. Maybe some of these things will get straightened out soon.

Q. Have you been writing new songs yet, will there be a new album in the future?

A. i have been writing new songs and we will probably do a new album later this year. we are doing a lot of touring this summer so it will depend on when we come off the road.

Q. Finally, what are the plans for the future for SHOOTING STAR and do you plan some other musical stuff...

A. we are going to play as much as we can in the coming months. we want to get the word out that the first 5 albums are available on cd. i do alot of producing other bands in my studio and i have several projects coming up after our tour. this is going to be a big year for shooting star!

Thanks for answering the questions, all the best and hope to speak with you in person someday soon. -


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