WILDESTARR “Wilde Kingdom” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

A band that starts out hot and gets steadily better with each release is a virtual impossibility to find in any music scene, much less heavy metal. Yet Wildestarr have managed to do just that. They hit the scene with the intriguing “Arrival” in 2010, followed it up with the excellent Poe-influenced “Tell Tale Heart” in 2013 and in 2017 have unleashed their best record yet, “Beyond the Rain”. Why did it take so long to release? Thereby hangs a tale…

Wildestarr are unique in more ways than one. Founding member Dave Starr was a member of the US power metal kingpins Vicious Rumors for many years before striking out on his own with Wildestarr. The band’s powerhouse vocalist London Wilde happens to be Dave’s wife and man, can this lady sing! One of the best female vocalists I’ve heard and very different than the usual evening gown wearing Goth metal singers. The band is rounded out by drummer Josh Foster.

“Beyond the Rain” is an intensely personal album that revolves around the death of London’s brother Gary due to substance abuse. I can’t think of a better or more powerful tribute than this album, which is packed with powerful but melodic metal tracks. I wanted to shine a light on these guys to make sure they get their due so I talked with Dave and discovered the many secrets of this outstanding band…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Hello, Dave! The new Wildestarr album “Beyond the Rain” is a very personal album for you guys. How difficult was it for you to create?

DAVE STARR: It took a long time for us to put all the pieces together. Our last album “Tell Tale Heart” was released in 2012 so it was five years before we finished “Beyond the Rain”. “Beyond the Rain” is a kind of concept album about the suicide of my singer London’s brother Gary. As you may or may not know, London is also my wife. I do all the musical and guitar parts for Wildestarr and I actually had started on the music for the new album right about the time “Tell Tale Heart” was released. Gary had just passed away and we actually dedicated that album to him. London does the lyrics for the band and it took a while to process and deal with what had happened to Gary, who was also a musician. We also had some other issues during this period. We moved from the Bay Area of San Francisco to our new home in Houston and it took a while to get settled here. But this album was always something we were very heavily involved with.

WC: Was there ever a point where you had to step away from the album because it was so intense?

DS: Not so much for my part, but for London, I do think she had to kind of occasionally step back and look at things in a different way. I wasn’t as personally involved with Gary, but what happened to him really affected me through London. I struggled with my own demons, but I finally got clean and sober back in 2006, after the debacle with the Vicious Rumors album “Warball”.  Taking the extra time helped us do some unique things on “Beyond the Rain”. One of the tributes I did for Gary is I actually played one of his guitars throughout the album. His Strat wound up being in the left channel while my own Les Paul guitars were in the right channel. That was kind of a cool way we put him into the whole album.

WC: It had to be a therapeutic experience…

DS: You know, I think it was. The music I wrote was going to be what it was, but London decided she wasn’t going to curl up in a ball after all this happened. She wanted to do something inspired by her brother’s struggle but give it a positive spin. You know, some people might think it’s crass to write about something so personal and tragic, but I don’t agree at all. I think art is a great way of working through grief and difficult issues. I remember Brett Favre, the Green Bay quarterback, had his father die suddenly in the middle of a season. Brett Favre didn’t curl up in a ball, he went out the next day and toasted the Raiders, if I remember right. You try to take a negative and turn it into a positive.

WC: A lot of great works of art have been inspired by tragedy.

DS: Yeah, exactly. It happens all the time. I think it’s one of the best ways of dealing with it.

WC: You and London are husband and wife. Is the band woven into everything you do or do you take time just to be a couple and forget about Wildestarr?

DS : Well, the band is naturally a huge part of our lives. We are musicians and music is part of what brought us together. But we do have other things going on in our lives. My mother-in-law, London’s mother, just moved in with us not long ago. She’s getting up in years and we want to help take care of her. We’re involved in a real estate business here. We also have six dogs! We are kind of unique being a husband and wife team in a metal band. I don’t know of another band that has that situation, I might be wrong. I don’t say that we “forget” Wildestarr but there are times when it kind of recedes a bit.

WC: “Beyond The Rain” is a concept album, but the songs are very focused and punchy. There are no big epics or tons of orchestration. It seems Wildestarr has become more stripped down with each new album. Do you agree?

DS: I’m not sure I do. I’ve always written music pretty much the same way. I know “Beyond the Rain” is a concept album lyrically, but I didn’t approach it much different musically than the other albums we’ve done. I do think that maybe the guitar solos are a little more straightforward on this album. We’ve always tried to write to create a wall of sound. I love guitar harmonies and on our first album “Arrival”, most of the solos were harmonized guitars. I think I dialed that back a bit on “Tell Tale Heart” and I know I did on “Beyond the Rain”. The guitar solos are more oriented towards single guitar. But really there is no big change in our writing.

WC: Was there one song on the album in particular that meant a bit more to you than the others?

DS: I feel pretty close to all of them. I know London’s favorite was “Down Cold”. It has a cleaner, catchier feel to it before picking up intensity. I think that was her favorite to sing in addition to having the most meaning to her personally. I guess for me it would be the last song on the album, “When The Night Falls”. I love the guitar harmonies on that one and how epic it is. It really reflects the glory of Gary’s life and music.

WC: The cover art on “Beyond the Rain” is phenomenal. What’s the story behind it?

DS: We have gotten a ton of comment on the album art. It is by an artist from Belgium named Jonas De Ro. I found him when I was searching on Google for art related to the title “Beyond the Rain”. I just started using Google to find pieces that were related to darkness and rain and I found this amazing artwork. Jonas is a guy who does digital artwork for a lot of big Hollywood movies like “Terminator: Genisys”, “Mission Impossible” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”. I sent him a message about using his art and thought he would charge some outrageous price that was out of my league. He actually made a very reasonable offer and we took it and I’m overjoyed we got this piece for the album.

WC: The detail on it is incredible.

DS: I know! I don’t know how digital artists create their work, but this is phenomenal. We have already gotten a ton of comment on it. I just posted some info on Jonas and his artwork on the Wildestarr Facebook page.

WC: Any live plans for “Beyond the Rain”?

DS: I get asked this question a lot and I’ll answer it as best I can. We see Wildestarr as pretty much a studio entity. We have yet to play live though the band has been around ten years or so. We focus on songwriting and getting the album out. As I said before, London and I have multiple things going on in our lives. We actually have three different businesses we are involved in. We’re both involved in real estate investment here in Houston. That takes some time and effort. I also have a business where I design electronic components for guitars and amps, Starr Electronics. And we have London’s mom here and those six dogs. It would be hard for us to tour with all of this going on. I did a ton of touring when I was with Vicious Rumors and lived the wild life with them. I’m 56 now and things are different. I’m not saying that we will never play live but it’s not our focus.

WC: I’ve followed your career and your albums have all been great. Do you really think you are getting proper exposure with Scarlet Records? I could see Wildestarr on Nuclear Blast or Metal Blade.

DS: This relates a lot to what I just said. If we signed with those labels, they would want us touring all the time. The labels are in trouble and most bands make their money touring. For us, we’re pretty happy with our domestic situation. We’re happy with each other and where we’re at. When I was with Vicious Rumors, we were on Atlantic Records for four years. Despite them being a huge label, our situation was far from rosy. And that was back before I got clean and sober. If you would have told me back then that I would be the person I am today and doing the things I’m doing today,I wouldn’t have believed it. But we’re happy where we’re at. I’m 56, happily married, got a nice house on four acres of wooded land and some irons in the fire. I don’t think a big label touring schedule would be great for us. Maybe we would double our album sales, maybe not. And it’s not like we’re not putting out great music. We’ve put out three strong albums on Scarlet and the latest is the best of the bunch.

WC: If you could ask any 3 people from history to dinner, who would they be?

DS: That’s interesting, let me think. I think Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy would be one for sure. I was a huge Lizzy fan and was lucky enough to see him play with them once. He’s a musical inspiration for me. I think another one would be Carl Albert, the former lead singer of Vicious Rumors who passed away in 1995. I still think about him every day. The last one might really shock people, but I think I would make it Adolf Hitler. Now don’t take it the wrong way. I’m not endorsing anything he did, but the chance to talk to one of history’s great tyrants would be hard to pass up. I’m a big student of World War II history and the chance to pick his brain would be interesting. If you look at Time’s Person of the Year, it hasn’t always been a hero. There are a lot of people who have affected history who haven’t exactly been shining examples of humanity.

WC: What was the last CD or release you bought just because you wanted to hear the band?

DS: Oh, wow, I can’t remember the last CD or physical release I got. I don’t bother downloading stuff, either legally or illegally. I’ve got a huge collection of metal and hard rock from the 70’s and 80’s I dive into a lot, but not a lot of newer stuff. Let’s see…I did get the most recent album from Battlebeast. Their lead singer has some incredible lung power…

WC: She reminds me of London in a way…

DS: That’s what attracted me to them. She does remind me of London. 

WC: In your entire music career, has there ever been a Spinal Tap moment that stands out in your head.

DS: There were a lot of them when I was with Vicious Rumors. We were touring almost constantly and crazy stuff happens on tour. I will go back to 1992 when VR was touring the world. We finished up in Japan with big shows in Osaka and Tokyo. The Tokyo show was being recorded for a live album and we had all sorts of officials from Atlantic in the audience. Anybody who knows me knows I take care of my bass, take care of all my gear. I never had problems playing live. Well, we get to the last song in Tokyo and my bass amp cuts out on me. Completely. There’s not a sound coming out of it during the last song. So I decided to pull a Pete Townshend. I just start swinging my bass at the stage and smashing it up. The other guys in the band are looking at me like I’m nuts. Which maybe I was. That’s the only time I smashed up an instrument on stage…something completely out of character for me.

WC: Well, I guess you can’t be in a heavy metal band if you don’t smash your guitar up at least once.

DS: That wasn’t the end of it. Mark the guitarist at the time picks up a piece of the smashed bass, a part of the neck, and tosses it into the crowd, where it hits one guy right in the face. And it hit him hard. The guy had to spend overnight in the hospital.

WC: Whoa, that’s some trouble!

DS: It was very hairy for us. The doctor said if it had hit an inch or two higher the guy would have lost an eye. We went to see him in the hospital the next day. His family was hot to sue us but we just managed to cool things down. That was a real Spinal Tap moment for me and not a real good one.

WC: Any last messages for the fans?

DS: Yes, we love to interact with our fans through social media. We encourage them to visit our page at We also have a Facebook page for the band where we’re really interactive and both London and I have our own personal Facebook pages we post on. We love to hear from our fans. And of course, please check out the new album “Beyond the Rain”…we’ve got samples on all our social media pages.