Can We Have a "Where Is the Love" Thread for STARCASTLE, Too?

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Because I just listened to their self-titled debut album from '76 and I swear it is just about impeccable from the first moment to the last. The fact that they sound almost exactly like Yes for almost every moment of every song is actually charming. They really meant it! The smiling faces in the pictures on the back cover are charming and sincere! Their incredible chops also attest to their sincerity! And the fact that they were from Illinois is also charming!

Also, it's always Yes at their most tuneful, no? And the lyrics are all about the dawn and the planets and the sky and sky-related metaphors about love and life! If I could see a laser lights show designed to accompany any album, it would have to be this one!

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Friday, 11 March 2005 06:41 (sixteen years ago) link

Am I the only person who constantly gets them confused with STACKRIDGE? (I'm not sure whether I've ever heard either band, to be honest. Though I did hear the Korgis before.)

xhuxk, Friday, 11 March 2005 15:52 (sixteen years ago) link

Yep, there's plenty of Starcastle love in the midwest and east amongst the classic rockers. "Lady of the Lake" got really big airplay on AOR FMs.

Starcastle Fun Fact: The lead vocalist of Starcastle was in the original version of REO Speedwagon, another Illini band. He sang on the first REO album, now deleted. One of the best songs was a tale written from the point of view of a guard at a women's prison. "Don't mess with the prison women!" he sang.

George Smith, Friday, 11 March 2005 16:19 (sixteen years ago) link

i've totally been on a starcastle jag lately! i was gonna blog about them, but then i didn't.

lychee mello (Jody Beth Rosen), Friday, 11 March 2005 16:28 (sixteen years ago) link

pleeze nobody start a roadmaster thread, pleeze.

scott seward (scott seward), Friday, 11 March 2005 16:42 (sixteen years ago) link

Never bought a Roadmaster album. They were all over the place back when they were supposed to be all over the place. Always thought I'd get them later. Never did. Now I never see them.

George Smith, Friday, 11 March 2005 16:44 (sixteen years ago) link

you didn't miss anything. (actually, i only ever heard one album of theirs. based on that though...)

scott seward (scott seward), Friday, 11 March 2005 16:49 (sixteen years ago) link

I get them confused with Fireballet

mostly because they were the only two American prog bands I had LPs of back in the 70s. I remember not liking either band a lot, though I didn't dislike either. They were two more examples to me of why UK/Euro prog was so much better than American prog.

nickn (nickn), Friday, 11 March 2005 19:54 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm not a Yes expert or anything (and maybe I'm arguing with your teenage self rather than arguing with you now), but it seems to me that the argument that Yes were better than Starcastle maybe only amounts to saying that they were better because they invented it? Thing is, I'm not so sure that inventing *it* was really all THAT extraordinary in the case of Yes such that I might not think that the charm of a really good Midwestern band emulating them five years later is just as appealing (or even more appealing?).

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Friday, 11 March 2005 20:11 (sixteen years ago) link

Yes wrote more actually catchy songs than Starcastle. "Roundabout" beats anything in the Starcastle catalog. "Starship Trooper" worked off a descending riff and drone implemented by Steve Howe and it gets into the head. "Your Move" or whatever it's called.

If you liked Starcastle you would probably find Flash intriguing. Look into the first album. It was Peter Banks' band after leaving Yes and Tony Kaye signed on for the first recording. It sounds like Yes because, essentially, it's former Yesmen. "Small Beginnings" is the song that jumps out and hits you, "Hey, that's Yes." By the second album Flash were mostly finished although they hung in there for a third and a live one of varying quality.

Starcastle did better in the States, stuck to it longer, got more support.

George Smith, Friday, 11 March 2005 22:19 (sixteen years ago) link

Right, nothing touches "All Good People" or "Roundabout" on this album. But it's close!

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Friday, 11 March 2005 22:38 (sixteen years ago) link

Who's heard the second Starcastle album? I'd like to check that out sometime. The first one's good, but I've never been able to handle it with any type of regularity. It's almost creepy to me how much it sounds like Yes (not a bad thing, mind).

It's hard to compare Yes and Starcastle because Yes has "Close to the Edge," "Sound Chaser," "Tempus Fugit," "Starship Trooper," and on and on and on, whereas Starcastle's accomplishment seemed to be that, though none of their songs match the stellar heights of Yes's (not that many other band's ever do), they could recall the Yes experience in a general way, in sort of a surrogate way, allowing the listener taking a break from Yes, maybe so as not to burn out on them, nevertheless to approximate the Yes high. As the liner notes of their debut album have it: "Starcastle decided to realize their original dream without compromise. A totally disciplined lifestyle served as the foundation for their music, which yielded multiple voicing, counterpoint, countermelodies, and a decidedly refreshing approach to what could have been routine instrumentation." "Without compromise" seems to be limited to 'sounding like Yes,' as does "refreshing," whereas Yes were just completely nuts, actually without compromise up through Topographic Oceans.

#1 100% ILM Asshole, Friday, 11 March 2005 22:59 (sixteen years ago) link

Again, not a Yes expert, but I'm really interested in the way they were seemingly so accurate with the Yes thing, even down to guitar tones? I notice in the pictures on their web site that the bass player played a Rickenbacher.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Friday, 11 March 2005 23:45 (sixteen years ago) link

bass player played a Rickenbacher

That's critical. Gotta have a very bright, growling bass tone. Guitar -wise, semi-hollow (Peter Banks used a Gibson ES, Howe used a similarly big sounding guitar) into a very loud, chunky but fairly clean-sounding amp. Banks used Hiwatts. I thought Howe was a Fender Twin user but I might be mistaken, hmmm-hmmm.

In Starcastle, I never thought Luttrell sounded much like Jon Anderson.

George Smith, Friday, 11 March 2005 23:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Tim, if you like Starcastle, and haven't heard all that much Yes, you should check out The Yes Album sometime. Not saying you'll like it as much as Starcastle, but there's definitely enough overlap you'd find something there for you.

#1 100% ILM Asshole, Friday, 11 March 2005 23:51 (sixteen years ago) link

That's the only one I have, actually. I like that album.

Some pictures here. Gibsons in the photos from the Fountains of Light tour. Fenders, though, too, in the Live 1977 pictures. As for guitar amps, you can at least see one Marshall in the Live '77 photos.

Tim Ellison (Tim Ellison), Saturday, 12 March 2005 00:07 (sixteen years ago) link

sixteen years pass...

I recently found Fountains of Light and Reel to Real at a shop. the owner of the place was amused that anyone would pick them out, he told me about a Starcastle show he attended where this big lit up star slowly descended throughout the set. problem being it was only 3 feet tall. like something straight out of Spinal Tap

Fountains is actually a pretty solid album. Probably even better than the debut. I love all the slot machine sounds and "Portraits" is a real gem. You'd think a couple of these songs could've gotten some radio play. Every song outside of the 10-minute title track is written like a single. Reel to Real on the other hand is pretty bad, they just gave up on trying to be prog at all and instead just focused on being a real shitty version of Styx. It has one of the worst/most hilarious album covers though. It is one of those covers where you know the album itself cannot possibly be any good.

frogbs, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 17:43 (four days ago) link

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