Interview with Jake Starr in Fresh Rag #3 - April 2002
Adam West: R'N'R Dirtier Than Your Mother's Panties . . . Jake Starr Speaks!
You may know him as the throat behind sleaze-rock band Adam West, but he also runs Fandango Records out of D.C. The following interview was conducted via e-mail. Questions by Holly and Stevie.
1. When and why did you start Fandango Records?
1. I started Fandango Records in 1993 with the sole intention of releasing the first Adam West 7" single. I'd always been a record collector since I was a kid, so I figured it'd be cool to press a limited single with some on colored wax and hand-numbered and all that geeky collector crap. So I did it. After that, I realized how easy and fun it was to release records, so I continued.
2. How many releases do you have so far?
2. As of February 2002, I have released 29 singles and CDs combined.
3. Do you have any special releases planned over the next year that you want people to look out for?
3. Actually, I plan to put Fandango on the backburner for awhile since I am so busy with Adam West, my job, and my new house. I simply don't have enough time and money to keep Fandango going strong. So for 2002, I have promised Gluecifer (Norway) and Thee Ultra Bimboos (Finland) that I would do 7" singles for them if they give me songs. Unless I hit the lottery, I ain't doing anymore this year!
4. Are there any other independent labels that you think folks should be aware of? I heard your friend Dave has a pretty cool label....
4. Yeah, Dave Champion's Nomad Record label is my brother label. We do co-releases all the time. Our first was The Crums 4-song 7" EP. Then we did the 2-volume Radio Birdman tribute CDs together. Also, my buddy in NYC Chris Subarton runs 007 Records and releases great rock-n-roll. Another friend of mine in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has a horror-punk label called Reanimator Records that releases cool 7"s too. And of course there's Black Lung Records in your neighborhood!
5. Are there any bands that you would like to have put a record out on Fandango?
5. I've been lucky that 99% of the bands that I've approached have said "yes" to doing a record. I asked the Mooney Suzuki and they said they'd get back to me, but I know what that means.
What was the first record you ever bought? How old were you?
6. The first record I ever bought with my own money was "Kiss Alive" in 1975. It changed my life. And then to see them live in 1978 with AC/DC (w/Bon Scott) absolutely hooked me to rock-n-roll. I never tell how old I am. Older than you but not as old as Stevie!!!! :-)
7. How are things going with your band Adam West?
7. Really really great! We got signed here in the USA and worked out a great licensing deal in Europe as well. Our label here, The Telegraph Company, totally understands that we're a rock-n-roll band. And our label in Europe, People Like You Records, is kicking ass too. They
pressed our new album "Right On!" on vinyl and ya gotta love that!
8. What's up with the line up changes? I heard that you had a new rhythm section when you recorded last time with Stevie at Cyber-sounds.
8. Right after we finished recording "Right On!" in April 2001, our bass player and drummer kinda left for different reasons. So Steve went back to bass from rhythm guitar and we started using temporary drummers. So now we're a 4-piece again. This band is "based" on line-up changes! Ha ha! I'm the only original member!
9. I understand that Adam West is going to be doing West Coast and European tours this year. How long will you be traveling?
9. We're going out to California for 3 dates to promote the U.S. release of "Right On!" We're playing with the BellRays and the B-Movie Rats in Los Angeles, then trekking to San Francisco and Long Beach. Just a short mini-tour. Then in late June, we return to Europe through July. We'll probably play some of the big summer festivals there. Europe is where it's at, touring-wise. We're treated like royalty over there.
10. Stevie told me about your obsession with Scandinavian rock and roll like the Hellacopters and Turbonegro. Care to explain?
10. Well, when I first got into Scandinavian rock in 1997, I was just blown away by bands like the Hellacopters, Gluecifer, and Turbonegro. Those bands over there know how to play rock-n-roll right! And remember: I live in Washington, D.C. This is the most UN-rock town in the USA. All the Dischord and emo shit has nullified any kind of rock-n-roll scene. And I'm talking about 60s garage/Stooges/MC5/Kiss/Black Sabbath... no one in this town knows or cares about any of that kinda music. So to hear all these Scandi bands rocking in that vein was like a breath of fresh air.
11. So why don't Adam West play Virginia Beach anymore?
11. It has been a while, hasn't it? Shit, I don't know why we haven't been down there recently. Good question! Larry always wants us to come down for the Monday nite Chicho's thing, but a Monday nite is hard for us because of work, y'know?
12. Do you have any parting words of advice for any aspiring rock and rollers who wanna start their own label?
12. Well, it's a lot of hard work, so make sure you love what you do. Don't expect to make money doing it either! But when you press a record and you're holding that record in your hand for the first time, it's awesome. I'm very proud of the records I've done. And also to be able to
release your friends' bands' records is a great feeling too. Just respect the rock and all will be alright.
-Holly, Fresh Rag #3, April 2002
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