The Goldstars
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The Goldstars

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"Spin Control"

***
DEAD ELECTRIC, "KICKS" (DEADELECTRIC.COM)

***1/2
THE GOLDSTARS, "GOTTA GET OUT!" (PRAVDA)

***
THE GO, "THE GO" (LIZARD KING)
The so-called New Garage revival roars on with considerable grit and gusto, but while the most celebrated of these bands hail from Detroit (from the Gories to the Go, with the White Stripes at the head of the class), not all of the genre's prime purveyors boast Motor City zip codes.


Dead Electric is firmly rooted in the classic Detroit sound, with a heavy Stooges influence, but it came together in summer 2002 from the ashes of Chicago's Plastics Hi-Fi and Young & Pretty. The group makes its recorded debut with a D.I.Y. EP, offering five faster-louder-snottier slices of fuzz-driven kick-butt grunge, including the incendiary title track.


The Goldstars also have deep roots in the Chicago scene; in fact, they're a supergroup of sorts, featuring guitarist-about-town Dag Juhlin (the Slugs, Poi Dog Pondering) and members of the New Duncan Imperials and the Krinkles. Like Dead Electric, they kick out the jams with thunderous passion on their debut album, but they display a lot more wit in the lyrics and some great Farfisa organ underscoring the melodies of tunes such as "Where's My Ring" and "Babblin' Brook."


Meanwhile, back in Motown, the Go (which once counted Jack White among its members) has released a strong, 14-track, self-titled effort that colors its particular brand of oil-stained, "Nuggets"-inspired rock 'n' roll with hints of T. Rex glam-pop, Southern rock, and blues (on the White Stripes-style "Summer's Gonna Be My Girl").


These discs don't offer much in the way of diversity, but that isn't exactly the point: This is old-fashioned party-rock circa 1966. Just grab a six pack, disconnect your brain, and lose yourself in the sound and fury.
Jim DeRogatis
- Chicago Sun-Times


"Review by Rutledge"

Listening to the Goldstars’ energetic, Nuggets-inspired, “meat & potatoes” rock n’ roll tunes, I can’t help but think this must be a GREAT band to see live. I bet ya they get on stage and just SMOKE! That isn’t to say they aren’t pretty good in the studio as well, but I think you probably know what I mean. Would I listen to this record a lot? Probably not. But if the Goldstars came to rock my town, I’d wanna be there for sure...taking in the raunchy, goodtime dance party amongst the drunken working stiffs lookin’ to escape their shit jobs and horribly disappointing lives.

No, this band isn’t doing anything original. And yes, there are countless groups out there right now doing the garage/rock n’ roll thing. One could even say that this genre is coming dangerously close to being “played out”. But still, I can’t help but like this album. Rock n’ roll isn’t about originality; it’s about pure energy, gutsy attitude, and winning melodies. Duh!

The Goldstars are a Chicago super-group featuring Skipper and Goodtime from the New Duncan Imperials, Sal from The Krinkles, and Dag Juhlin from The Slugs. And what they bring to the table are some serious CHOPS. These guys aren’t overprivileged little hipster shits who just discovered the Sonics six months ago; they’re road-tested rock n’ roll veterans who know their 60s R & B and CAN REALLY FUCKING PLAY. And they’ve written some damn catchy tunes to boot (“Where’s My Ring”, “Hurry Up and Wait”). I’ve run out of things to say about this kind of music, but suffice it to say that the Goldstars do it better than most. Let me consult my Book of Rockwriter Clichés and come up with a few relevant to this album: raw, high energy, Farfisa-driven rock n’ roll with hints of Motor City muscle....a wild, no-frills romp that owes nothing whatsoever to the past 35 years of “musical progress”...a disc that damn well ought to get you dancin’ and shakin’ mere seconds after you push the “play” button.

If the songs weren’t so good, this album would be filed under “tired, derivative retro crap”. But the songs are good, so let’s just say that Gotta Get Out! is the latest in a long line of “timeless rock n’ roll” gems.

---Lord Rutledge, opinionated asshole
newwavebaby@yahoo.com

- New Wave Baby


"Review by Mike Bennett"

The highest compliment I can pay The Goldstars is that if you put this disc in a five-CD carousel with discs from some of the original late-‘70s/early-‘80s garage rock revivalists (like The Lyres, The Chesterfield Kings, The Fleshtones and The Vipers -- Hey! That's four right there), they would sound like they belonged. While many garage rockers nowadays seem to stick with one or two basic ideas, like a lot of the original revivalists, The Goldstars can play it hard, but know that garage rock can be quite poppy.
So this is a record made for WLS Chicago (the city The Goldstars call home) circa 1967. The band has a great front man in Sal (a/k/a Matt Favazza), who used to man the drum kit for promising power poppers The Krinkles . In fact, since the band debuted a couple of years ago, Sal has found a bluesy vocal style that compliments his exuberant stage presence. Skipper (keyboards) and Good Time (drums) of The New Duncan Imperials are also spot on, with Good Time frequently laying down an old-fashioned dance beat and Skipper adding color with everything from warm deep organ sounds to tinny Farfisa-alike runs. These three started the band with original guitarist The Raven, just jamming to songs from the Nuggets box set. Though The Raven had to leave, his ultimate replacement was Dag Juhlin, who has fronted the beloved Chicago band The Slugs for 20 years.

Juhlin's one songwriting contribution, "Hurry Up and Wait", is one of the clear highlights of the collection. The song has both a strong opening riff and a Zombies-cum-Animals melody, with Sal doing the angry young man thing at the mike. The chorus is a simple R & B shout out. Garage rock is built on pithy phrases, and the title of this song is a perfect example. Skipper's tinny keyboard solo provides a nice last respite before the last bits of bile (catchy bile though) get spewed at the end, along with a nice final freak out guitar solo. Yet that song crawls when compared to "Oh Yeah". Good Time plays at a galloping pace on a song that is rhythm, rhythm, and more rhythm. It sounds like the early J. Geils Band hopped up on speed.

The band can also get low down and gritty. Live staple "Devil Queen" is a bluesy howl in the tradition of laments like The Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else". Here, Skipper plays a warm organ part, which combines with Juhlin's dramatic guitar part to give the song the proper foggy nefarious feel. Album closer "Gotta Get Out" is also pretty salacious, with Sal really exaggerating his vocals, which works on this song.

Like the garage bands of the ‘80s, The Goldstars are not afraid of pop. So there is some more lighthearted stuff here, on two delightful cover tunes. They do a fine job on The Gestures' "Run Run Run", with a deft performance, particular behind the skins. "Open Up Your Door" is more of a blend of garage and pop, which is all the better suited to their approach. The backing vocals are really strong here.

The Goldstars are a retro breath of fresh air for the Chicago music scene. Despite a legacy of great garage rock from bands like Shadows Of Knight and labels like Dunwich and Qull records, Chicago has fallen way behind Detroit when it comes to bands playing this classic rock and roll style. I hope The Goldstars can keep it rocking and other bands will join ‘em in spreading the gospel of the beat.
- Fufkin


"Review by Mark Guarino"

Get set for the British Invasion at your neighborhood bar. The Goldstars, a group of Chicago veterans from the New Duncan Imperials, the Slugs and the Krinkles, collaborate on songs with that familiar stripped down but maximum rock sound. The essentials that made groups like the Faces and the Kinks working-class heroes are here: gritty playing, catchy riffing and choruses meant for shouting along with. Guitar ace Dag Juhlin (also of Poi Dog Pondering) lends some tasty color as does the crazy carnival organ of Skipper. Sal's brusque vocals toughen up songs that veer into psychedelics ("Devil Queen"), surf rock ("Run Run Run") and a close cousin to "Twist and Shout" ("Open Up Your Door"). For those seeking dumb fun that's timeless. - Daily Herald


"Review by Chad Cheatham"

Experience unequivocally sets rock and roll bands apart from each other – especially on the independent and mid levels. The Goldstars, from Chicago, have entries in the musical almanacs to show where they’ve been and what dues they’ve paid. Resumes include The Slugs, New Duncan Imperials, and The Krinkles – presently though, Dag, Skipper, Goodtime, and Sal drag tape-measure tails of time-developed skills across their Goldstars debut, Gotta Get Out! A macrochip of rock and roll circuits sit inside this album, firing off silicon bullets and successfully networking organ-driven struts like “The Rattle” with punk quickies such as, “Oh Yeah.” They manage to web in vines of variety - the harmonic surfer guitar, LSD come-down, “Run Run Run” is a good example, but the real heartshockers on Gotta Get Out! are the straight-up rock and roll shooters, such as the title track and “She Don’t Like.”
The Goldstars don’t want to be squeezed into the already overcrowded bucket known as “neo-garage,” and rightly so – because they shouldn’t be – nobody should – fuck, haven’t we had enough labeling in the last couple years? We all know how fashionable it is in the media to market a branding or catch-phrase, but it’s getting to the point where artists need to make statements, as The Goldstars have in their online bio, dispelling misperceptions without sounding bitter, even though they have a right to be. Either way, when you boil everything down from stockpile of possible adjectives and bullshit ways to describe this music or this band, The Goldstars are a seasoned rock and roll band from Chicago and they’re fucking good – that’s all you need to know.
- The Crutch


"Review by Caveman"

The Goldstars come from Chicago, USA and this CD is their debut appearance. 12 songs of pure and wild garage punk with lotsa guitar and organ ala Fuzztones! In fact, there a couple of songs in this album that really made me think of the ‘In Heat’ period of The Fuzztones, like ‘Hurry Up And Wait’ and ‘She Don’t Like’ but generally the album is in the garage punk genre with some elements of 70’s Detroit (this doesn’t mean that they sound like The Stooges). And how wouldn’t they sound garage when the Goldstars are covering 3 garage punk classics from the 60’s era: ‘Open Up Your Door’, ‘I Think I’m Down’, ‘Run Run Run’. The Goldstars were formed by Skipper (organ/bass), Goodtime (drums), who were in The New Duncan Imperials and Sal, ex-member of a pop outfit named The Krinkles. After a couple of guitarist misfires the band joined Dag Juhlin, ex-member of The Slugs. Gotta Get This CD! - Thee Cave


"Review by Edwin Letcher"

Good time, barbarian, 60's influenced garage rock and roll from a band out of Chicago. I was expecting something a little more in the arty glitter vein, based on the name and cover graphics, but I was pleasantly surprised. The band that comes to my mind the most often is the Fleshtones. It's more of a general energy level and attitude sort of thing, rather than a sound alike issue, since these chaps rely much more heavily on a dirty organ sound. I am also reminded of why I was so fond of the J. Geils Band's first album while this disc does it's merry dance in my player. I guess the reliance on solid rock and roll with a rollicking bar room feel accounts for that. Edwin Letcher - Garage and Beat


"Review by Allan Harrison"

This is another of those records in which the clichéd saying "never judge an album by its cover" is wronged into ancient myth. A band called "The" somethings? An alluring woman caked in Warhol-esque color tweaking? Song titles like "Devil Queen", "Where's My Ring", and "Oh Yeah!"? Surely this can only be trashy, beer-fuelled garage-rock, right?
Right! Boasting members of the New Duncan Imperials, Poi Dog Pondering, The Krinkles and The Slugs, Chicago's Goldstars make a primal, blues-tinted garage rock'n'roll racket that sounds like, well, everything you'd expect a primal, blues-tinted garage rock'n'roll racket to sound like. What might seem like a lack of originality, however, is more than made up for in sweat-addled ballsiness and the kind of wickedly disciplinarian tightness harbored by only the most regimented and impassioned of rock'n'roll ensembles. There are some decent tunes here, too -- the neat vocal harmonies of "Run Run Run", for example, showcase the Goldstars' nifty way with melody (not to mention rock histrionics), while "I Think I'm Down" swaggers so harshly that it may well shake a few hips from their hinges. Frontman Sal (no surname necessary) is the icing on the cake, his smooth and impassioned vocals the perfect complement to the soulful guitar bluster. Even more suggestive of a somewhat wayward rock'n'roll personality is Sal's endorsement of "Entertainer's Secret" throat-relief products on the inner sleeve. Ladies, form an orderly queue -- this man is rock 'n' roll!

The downside of white-trash soul music being bled through a frenzy of loud guitars is that there's only so much relentless strutting the ear can withstand before one song seems to fold almost unnoticeably into another. Even given Gotta Get Out!'s brisk thirty-seven run-time, it's not long before the Goldstars' restless energy and tireless, amps-to-eleven zeal becomes much of a muchness. Still, as long as you're of the opinion that rock music should gravitate toward the same attention-span plain as the average tits-out beer commercial, Gotta Get Out! may well float your world, bake your boat or rock your potato (delete where applicable).
- Splendid E-Zine


Discography

"Gotta Get Out!" (Pravda) 2003.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Though The Goldstars have only been a presence on the sturdy Chicago club scene for a few years, their personal history intertwines throughout several decades. That the four-piece band should find themselves together in this configuration at last seems almost pre-destined.

As 2/3 of the internationally renowned trash and
thrash rock outfit, The New Duncan Imperials, Skipper (keyboards/occasional bass) and Goodtime (drums) continue to litter the world’s stages with their crunching, countrified collision of highbrow
references and lowbrow arena rock gestures. As Pravda Records’ anchor act, they’ve created an overripe catalog of sly, slamming rock tunes, dressed in a protective coating of schlock, but underneath reveal themselves to be casually brilliant satire, dexterous and deftly executed.

Though he finds himself at the front and center of The Goldstars lineup, vocalist/bassist Sal first made his mark on the local stage as the hard-hitting drummer for the defunct but still highly regarded Krinkles.

Growing restless during The New Duncan Imperials’
ever-increasing downtime, and The Krinkles no longer in operation, Skipper, Goodtime and Sal decided to finally make good on their long-kicked around notion to get something musical started between them. Something that reflected their collective desire to return to a no-frills brand of rock and roll that would cull from their record collections, and their own personal musical calling cards: Goodtime’s legendary drumkit muscle, Skipper’s grinding Farfisa, and the unbridled rock instincts of Detroit-bred frontman Sal.

After a couple of guitarist misfires, the trio turned
to their longtime friend, Dag Juhlin. One of Chicago’s most versatile guitarists, Juhlin has fronted the loose-limbed pop rock quartet The Slugs (another Pravda Records staple) for 20 years, while finding a decade within that time to play, tour and record for revered club and radio favorites, Poi Dog Pondering. Juhlin’s “grip it and rip it” style found a perfect home in the context of The Goldstars, and the band’s live shows immediately took on a new spontaneity and
energy.

Soon The Goldstars began relying less and less on the “Nuggets” box set for material as more and more of their highly charged three-minute/three-chord scorchers began populating their sets. Their next step was obvious: the studio.

Setting up camp in Chicago’s legendary (but now,
sadly, no longer in operation) ACME Studios, with
engineer and co-producer Kris “Chainsaw” Poulin, The Goldstars quickly laid down the dozen tracks that make up their Pravda Records debut, “Gotta Get Out”. From the fuzzy, primal stomp of “Babblin’ Brook” and “She Don’t Like” through the swaggering pop crunch of “Where’s My Ring” and the short, sharp, punk headspin of “Oh Yeah!”, through the molten neo-soul of “Hurry
Up And Wait” to the closing rave-up/meltdown of the closing title track, “Gotta Get Out” careens with the raw, beer-fueled controlled chaos of The Goldstars’ live set, accented by the band’s collective and considerable studio prowess.

Packing 12 songs in under 40 minutes, “Gotta Get Out” is a roaring introduction to a band that confirms that rock and roll, in the right hands, remains a potent and timeless life force.