Starr's frontman and guitarist remind me of peacocks. Maybe it was all the feathers they were wearing. But Zane Fix and Luke Luv are more than just a couple of pretty faces; they're also the Jagger-Richards, Tyler-Perry of a new generation. The coolness of their fusion of glam and heavy metal is compounded by the fact that they do not seem to realize what an important role they're playing in the resuscitation of rock. When asked if they're more Glimmer Twins or Toxic Twins, Luv replies, "We prefer to be known as the Jock Strap Twins, although we don't wear any underwear." Then the impeccably groomed guitarist rambles for 15 minutes about not wearing underwear.
Fix and Luv are old rock veterans?how old they won't say?who formed this band in 1997. Two years ago Starr was featured on the tv series Vampires?they played the evil rock band and premiered a song called "New Improved God" in the most-aired episode of the now-defunct show. "If the show would have flown," Fix says, "they planned to bring us back again, since there was such a response for us." But success has so far been elusive. The cultural climate has not been ready for them. That might be changing now, as the pop-culture pendulum seems to be swinging back to rock. As Fix says, "When you go out and play the clubs and you see people who have never seen or heard you before, they're into you. We've gone out and played an all-ages show in Staten Island, and these kids out there with the baggies on are out jumping onstage and in the mosh pit totally digging it. To them it's brand fucking new."
They've been cutting demos in the studio and are shopping around for a record deal. Until they become big they'll have to keep their day jobs (in a trucking firm), and deal with Brooklyn girls like me who get wet at the low spark of high-heeled boys.
So you guys are from New York. Zane, you're from Flatbush originally, right? Where are you from, Luke?
LUV: I'm from Westchester County. But I cannot divulge exactly where, otherwise the mass surge of people would create a population explosion, and I would have to hide out.
I saw you guys perform at CBGB and you kicked ass. I love the armbands with the giant star.
FIX: I used to do this in my old band Lovemaker, and our symbol was a heart. So when Luke and I discussed forming Starr I said, "Fuck, we'll just take the heart out and have new ones made," and we were in business. They have a little fascist appeal to them.
They do look a little like a swastika.
FIX: Yeah, but that ain't no swastika there. We are not fascists, not Nazis, we're not into that. Because I'm a Jew, he's a Spic, our drummer is a guinea, and our bass player is Chinese. So we're very international and open to all.
LUV: We are the League of Nations of rock 'n' roll. When we made the armbands we said, "We are a gang here, especially when we wear these." And this is one of our most popular items. So many people come to see Starr and want armbands. So we already have the patent on it and we're going to start mass-producing them in different colors.
Who do you consider your peers among the bands out there now?
FIX: I don't know, man, in the clubs? There's no one else like us. We are the last of our tribe and the first of a new tribe. We truly represent the invincible power of rock 'n' roll. Hopefully, we will be the messiahs for the new generation. We want to bring back good old rock 'n' roll and put on a show to give the people what they came for. When you come to a Starr show you're there to have a good time and forget everything. You're gonna be up shaking your ass, you're gonna laugh, you're gonna boogie-woogie, you're gonna bang your head and have a good time. And that's the bottom line. Our kinship goes back to everyone from James Brown all the way up to Steven Tyler. We like a little bit of everything, right?
LUV: We love the Beatles, Elvis, the Temptations. Shit, Keith Partridge was the man as far as I was concerned. We are Broadway, the Fourth of July and the millennium all in one. When you come to a Starr show, that's the deal. No matter what, you're going to be entertained. We're going to give you 150 percent whether it's one of the clubs we do play or Madison Square Garden, where we will play. We do it for the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd.
Speaking of smell, Zane, I notice that you shave your armpits, and that is a beautiful thing.
FIX: Good hygiene, baby, good hygiene.
LUV: Nothing looks as horrible as that babushka hanging down. Somehow with the makeup and the clothes it just doesn't go.
Do you ever get chafed by your leather pants? I know if I wear leather I get yeast infections. I can only wear them for a few hours at a time. Do you guys ever have any problems?
FIX: Our drummer Mr. Niki Shea is always getting chafed. Otherwise no, you get used to it, from years of experience. You get calloused down there.
My girlfriend Tracey saw your presskit and asked me if you were boys or girls.
LUV: Well, that is kind of funny. We had an experience, Zane and I, where we did a show at a club and our truck broke down. We were standing out on the corner and guys were driving by whistling and everything, and we said, "Ya know what? We have no time for this, we just want to get home." Ya know what, we take care of ourselves, and what's wrong with that? We like to look good, it's that simple.
But you play such raw rock 'n' roll and have such manly power.
FIX: It goes back to my old drag-queen days. You have to be tough if you're going to strut that stuff.
You used to play with Billy Idol, didn't you?
FIX: For a little while I did play the bass, and we've all been around.
LUV: We've all played with name players, jammed with certain guys, but what makes Starr really powerful is we enjoy what we do. We are true to the core, we do it because we really love it. Zane is Zane 24/7. That is not an act. Him offstage is the same as onstage. The only difference is offstage we don't wear as much makeup and our platforms aren't as high.
So you don't get dressed up like this when you're working your big-rig trucking company?
LUV: Well, it's funny?we really are Platform Movers.
FIX: We do have a trucking company, and that's how we support ourselves. You have to do what you gotta do. Don't quit your day job till the night job pays. And that's where it's at. Who said that?
Jerry Garcia. I can't believe you quoted him.
LUV: I respected the Dead because they were successful and still did what they wanted to. They didn't yield to anybody.
FIX: Nowadays you have a lot of crybabies.
They're all a bunch of pussies.
FIX: They are a bunch of pussies, and it's all bullshit, man. Hey, you know fucking Kurt Cobain? It's a damn good thing that guy shot himself in the fucking head because he had the world in the palm of his hand. He couldn't handle it. Fuck him, ya know? Roll over Beethoven, and make some room. You can say Kiss are pompous assholes or old men, but I have respect for those guys. The simple fact is they give the people what they want and are thankful for their success. They are thankful for the fans, because without people that enjoy your music, your shtick and your act, you'd be fucking driving a cab.
So you're from Flatbush. The country. That's what we call it. Did you go to James Madison High School?
FIX: I graduated from James Madison High School.
I'm not going to ask what year. You are so well-maintained. So preserved and fresh.
FIX: You know, baby, I'm an old Jew from Brooklyn. It's all the years of drugs and alcohol. We are pickled and frozen.
Zane, your girlfriend Kazomi Kikuchi designs all your clothes?
FIX: Yes, she designs all our clothes, and I think that's what gives us our special edge.
LUV: Absolutely. We originally came out and we're dressing pretty much the way we have all our lives. Then Kaz came in, and took it to the next level. We're polished.
You guys really are the real deal. I was so blown away, I almost came at one of your shows.
LUV: When we play get ready to wine, dine and 69, baby! And don't forget maybe a little reaming and tag-teaming.
What you're doing now is a new progression of 70s glam and 80s heavy metal.
FIX: It's old school with a new twist. We're bringing it to a new generation.
LUV: Let's face it, music is just a repeating cycle with things extracted here and there, souped up to a different level. Let's have fun. Did we have fun in the 80s? Yeah! Let's have fun in the year 2000.
FIX: The 90s were a rough fucking time for rock 'n' roll, man. Maybe this is the right time for what we're doing. I think people are dying for this kind of shit. It's proof positive that bands like Kiss and Aerosmith were the biggest bands at the end of the last decade. People are dying to rock. And face it, those are the old guys, there has to be room for new blood.
LUV: And we can jump higher, run faster, spit farther, piss longer and sleep heavier.
I love watching you walk down the street, Zane. You have such a strut. You're like Tony Manero to me, especially since I'm from Bay Parkway. And I dig how your accent comes out in every song.
FIX: That's cool. You know you can't get rid of that Brooklyn accent. And you know I'm a Jew, which is why I wear my hair so big, to hide my horns. Actually, religion is not something I'm concerned with, neither are nationalities or races. If you're cool, you're cool, and that's that. Just don't fuck us over, man.
You all wear great boots.
LUV: As long as we have the boots, we'll walk out naked.
FIX: We are bootniks. Girl, just got back from fucking Japan, all right man. And I'm going to tell you something. In Japan, you go in the store and that's it. Platform boots in every size. I was saying to Kaz when we were over there, "If Luke was here he'd have a fucking heart attack." There are so many platforms, and everyone is wearing them. Everyone has their hair teased and dyed every which way. It's like what the fuck is up with New York? It's happening over here! Rock 'n' roll is alive and well and glam, the imagery, is happening over in Japan. I don't know if that's a good barometer for the future. I think this country is caught up in?I don't want to badmouth no shit?but I think that rap really took over the industry, the subconscious and the culture of this country. Hey man, rap is crap with a silent C. Some of it's cool and all, but man, I don't know what happened. Maybe it's the industry, or the way things went. Maybe it's politics or religion, I don't know. And do you know how they kicked it all up together? With our boys from Aerosmith.
I dragged my friend Dead Dog Dave to your show with me. He said you guys were like a cartoon, and I said no, they are the real deal.
FIX: We are like a cartoon?that's fair and I respect that. I think we are cartoonists in certain respects, and that's cool. But we are real because we believe in what we do. This ain't no act. Like Luke said earlier, this is the way we know and love rock 'n' roll.
I got into rock 'n' roll for the sex and the drugs.
FIX: You know the old saying: I can do without the sex and rock 'n' roll, as long as the drugs are there.
So what's your drug of choice?
FIX: I don't do drugs anymore, but I will proudly waive the banner. I was a stone-cold rockhead. Crackhead.
Smoking the hubba?
FIX: Yo baby, I was doing it up. And you know what? That was my downfall.
LUV: My drug of choice is marijuana and alcohol. But let's not leave out the mescaline.
FIX: He is a firm advocate of the mescal. I've done peyote out in Marine Park. My friends would break the peyote up and mix it in with lemon Dannon yogurt. Then we would ride our bicycles out and wake up in the middle of the field. I remember once we did that and woke up all bitten up by ants. How did that get there?
How long have you guys been together?
FIX: As Starr, I'd say it's been about three years now since Luke and I conceived and formed Starr. It's been a while. Niki Shea, our drummer, is the original drummer, and Kenny Max our bass player is the replacement for the original bass player. We've been together for quite some time and have had our ups and downs. We stick together, since we believe in what we're doing.
LUV: Zane and I were both playing at the time in what everybody considered the two premier glam bands out of the city. We thought that was all nice, but we wanted to take it to the next level. So Mr. Fix and I had a little tete-a-tete together, and said instead of washing anybody else's old dishes, we're going to start messing up some new ones.
FIX: Buy some new china!
So Luke, are you single and looking for action?
LUV: Luke Luv is a single man with a mission. On a mission. And sometimes in the mission. And into missionary style, too.
FIX: And sometimes he is on intermission.
So which blue-black do you use? I use Clairol Hydrience.
FIX: I have tried the new Hydrience. What I have been turned on to recently is a Japanese hair dye that is all natural. It's made by Bigen. It's a vegetable dye and very good, and doesn't have any of the alcohol or ammonia. It doesn't smell or burn your scalp, it's great. When I want a good, fresh, Superman blue-black, the Hydrience is better than the old Miss Clairol, Nice 'n' Easy stuff. That shit fries your hair.
That old stuff is always on sale for three bucks. Everything out now is close to 10 bucks a box.
FIX: I can't believe the price of Hydrience! The Bigen is only two and change, and you can get it all over Chinatown or any of the Japanese markets.
You should start a beauty column in the paper. Answer questions every week.
FIX: I know all about makeup and hair dye. We got all the tricks. We use Cinema Secrets from Hollywood. That's our makeup and secret. You know what? It doesn't melt when you're sweating and schvitzing onstage. It really holds up like a mask. After you sweat you just dab down the sweat, break out the powder, and you're fresh as a daisy.
LUV: You feel like you just douched.
FIX: We also rehearse in our platforms every time so that we are smooth in them.
So you'll die with your boots on?
LUV: Zane, make sure the boots are on, makeup is on and my lips are done right. And just a jockstrap, nothing else, which says "The Ultimate Reamer" in nail polish, please.
FIX: I think you can burn me up and then put my ashes in the pipe and get the last hit. Then you'll be cool to go.
LUV: I think I'll take you up on that. Hey, pass Zane over here. Shit, he's potent! He's still got it in him.
Starr plays Rock Candy at Don Hill's on Wednesday, Feb.2. 511 Greenwich St. (Spring St.) 344-1390; and CBGB on Saturday, Feb.12. 315 Bowery (Bleecker St.), 982-4052.