Interview with WildeStarr’s Dave Starr

Melodic/symphonic metal is a style that has experienced a noticeable surge in popularity of late, and the latest band that fits snugly in this style is WildeStarr – comprised of guitarist Dave Starr (who originally came to the attention of metalheads as the bassist for such acts as Vicious Rumors and Chastain) and singer London Wilde. The group’s debut album, titled ‘Arrival,’ was issued last year on Furnace Maximus Records, and has racked up some impressive accolades from notable names of the rock world, including current UFO guitarist Vinnie Moore, who raved, “Dave and London open up a big ole can of melodic heavy metal whoop ass on this one. At times the tunes remind me a little of Dream Theater. This CD definitely rocks heavily!” Mr. Starr recently chatted with GuitarSite.

How and when did you start playing guitar? 

I started when I was around 10 years old, but I was never serious about music until about the age of 17. That’s when I saw a friends band play in High School. Then I got KISS ‘Alive!’ and freaked out big time. The rest is history!

Who were your early influences?  

KISS, Judas Priest, UFO, Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, etc.

How about some background info on the band?  

Singer London Wilde and I have known each other for 20 years or so. She met me when I was playing bass in Vicious Rumors. After the last VR album I did in 2006, I really wanted to play guitar and have my own band. London and I had started to write songs together around 2003, I just need to finish up some commitments with other bands on bass (CHASTAIN and VR) then we really got serious about WildeStarr.

Let’s talk about the new album, ‘Arrival.’ 

I did all the guitars and bass myself. Lots of heavy guitar riffs, harmony solos, incredible vocals, very polished production and song writing. It’s the best CD I have done in my career, and I have made some great albums over the years.

Please describe your guitar set-up. 

On the WildeStarr “Arrival” album, I used 2 guitars: a 1977 Gibson Les Paul Custom, and a 1977 Greco Jeff Beck Les Paul. Both guitars have EMG 81 and 89R active pickups. I use D’Addario EXL140 10-52 strings tuned to C, TonePros bridges, and X-Hvy Cool Picks. I used a Tech 21 SanSamp GT-2 pedal for all the rhythm tracks, and a Line 6 POD XT split with the Tech 21 SanSamp GT-2 for the solos.

Do you follow a practice routine? 

Not really. I play when I need to, or when I feel like it. I have been really busy doing lots of promotion for the new record, so I can go a few days without playing here and there if I need to. Right now, when I pick up the guitar, I am working on song ideas for the next WildeStarr CD.

What do you think of modern day rock guitar, and who are some of your fav guitarists? 

To be honest, I don't listen to much modern music or much music at all. I am so busy with WildeStarr. When I do, it tends to be the classic metal/rock that I have followed for years. Favorite guitar players: KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, Ace Frehley, Scott Gorham, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker. I could go on and on!

What advice would you give to other guitarists?

Play music for the fun of it and the enjoyment. Not because you want or expect to be big and famous some day. And stay away from drugs and booze. I have been clean and sober for close to 5 years now, trust me…life is better this way!

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