Attention Shoppers!’ missed the power pop explosion of 1979-80 and how different things might have been for Starz if released just a couple years later, however, the result is an excellent power pop record.
Written by: Eric
ALBUM: Attention Shoppers!
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Michael Lee Smith – lead vocals * Richie Ranno – guitars * Brendan Harkin – guitars * Peter Sweval – bass * Joe X Dube – drums
<TRACK LISTING: 01 Hold On To The Night * 02 She * 03 Third Time’s The Charm * 04 (Any Way That You Want It) I’ll Be There * 05 Waitin’ On You * 06 X-Ray Spex * 07 Good Ale We Seek * 08 Don’t Think * 09 Johnny All-Alone * 10 Texas (bonus, Rykodisc issue) * 11 Wind (bonus, Rykodisc issue)
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The Starz logo is easily one of the most recognizable hard rock images the ’70s produced next to Kiss and of course the mighty Angel emblem. Man, they looked awesome and those were some heady days back then.
With Kiss, Angel, Piper, Rex, The Runaways, Legs Diamond and Starz all vying for our short teenage attention spans, hormones (The Runaways) and allowance money.
I bought ’em all of course and to this day I still play all the Starz albums at least four to five times a year, but something I’ve never understood is why the group’s third album ‘Attention Shoppers!’ has received so much criticism.
Perennial opening act for Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and anyone else that would have ’em matched with minor airplay for ‘Cherry Baby’ and ‘Sing It, Shout It’ from the previous ‘Violation’ album, the time was right for Starz to go a little more commercial and capitalize on their hard work. Was that so bad?
Yes, the album sounds a little under produced and maybe the band should have bucked up to Aucoin and Capitol and waited for Jack Douglas instead of going it alone, but that’s all water under the bridge now.
However, the result is an excellent power pop record and from the brilliant radio rock opener ‘Hold On To The Night’ which received minor airplay (I recall hearing it a few times on AM radio) to the colourful tale of teenage lust and Starz forte – ‘She’ as well as (Any Way That You Want It) I’ll Be There’ which is as close as the band ever came to The Hollies.
‘Attention Shoppers!’ missed the power pop explosion of 1979-80 and how different things might have been for the band if released just a couple years later. ‘Waiting On You’ and in particular ‘X-Ray Spex’ have a calculated Cheap Trick feel who were already making big waves back then, although from here on the quality dips slightly.
And I’m still not convinced ‘Good Ale We Seek’ should have been included on the record. A weird cut to say the least, a better choice in my opinion would have been ‘Texas’ which was the flip of the (Any Way That You Want It) I’ll Be There’ 45 and a fun slice of ZZ Top inspired boogie more in keeping with the upbeat mood of the record.
Not everyone in the Starz camp was happy with the new direction and the label did a half ass job giving ‘Attention Shoppers!’ the promotion it deserved. Brendan Harkin and Pete Sweval were out of the band following yet another grinding tour and ‘Coliseum Rock’ returned Starz to their hard rock roots although it would be their last album for the 70’s decade.
Since then, Starz have done a reunion tour and Richie Ranno has done a fantastic job keeping the name alive with a constant supply of Starz and related material available on their web site for hungry fans – including this reviewer.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)