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Interview: Star Collector
Guitar Pop From Canada
Star Collector is a rock and roll band from Vancouver, BC who've toured Canada, the U.S. and Europe. They've recorded five albums with producers Garth Richardson (Catherine Wheel), Kevin Kane (Grapes of Wrath), and Evan Foster (Boss Martians, Sonics). Their sixth album, Attack, Sustain, Decay... Repeat, is out now.
Vic Wayne Interview
There are a lot of great bands playing guitar pop around the world these days—but there are many different terms for it. How do you describe your own music?
Vic Wayne: There certainly are! Guitar music ain’t dead… it’s just “resting… or pining for the fjords” (quotes Python because… always worth it).
Seriously, though, I’d describe what we do in Star Collector as mod-influenced-turbo-fueled-crash’em-bash’em-rock n’ roll with a twist of ‘80s and lyrical introspection mixed in for good measure. Our mainline is the rockier side of power pop, but we toss tons of various influences into our musical cauldron. The new album is sprinkled with The Bunnymen, Petty, naked acoustic, a 6+ minute psych-rock thing… man, there are even disco strings on one tune, for criminy’s sake!
How do you feel about genre labels in general?
Vic Wayne: Well, the obvious answer would be to say, “There’s no place for them, as they pigeonhole an artist!” (must be said in a crusty, harrumphing tone for effect).
I do feel, however, that if someone refers to a song or artist as, say, jangle pop, other folks immediately get a basic idea if it might meet their own personal tastes. If someone says, “Check out this thrash metal,” a fan of Big Star (ie; me) should get the idea and might politely decline.
That being said, I do think genre labels are limiting. We go off on all sorts of tangents in our band, which I’m quite comfortable with and happy about.
“My lyrical heroes: Lennon, Townshend, Weller, McCulloch. I love McCulloch’s imagery, Lennon’s raw emotion, and the ferocity of spirit and ability to cut to the emotional core of whatever scenario Weller and Townshend tackle.”
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Vic Wayne: I grew up a lover of all-things-mod (the ‘60s and beyond), but also have an affection for ‘70s rock and 80s new wave. Tops for me: The Jam, The Who, The Beatles (d-uh?!), The Kinks, Big Star, but also the original Alice Cooper Group, Led Zeppelin, 70’s Aerosmith, Echo & The Bunnymen, Simple Minds, Julian Cope, Stone Temple Pilots, Oasis, Sloan, The Odds, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, The Grapes Of Wrath, The Pursuit of Happiness—the last three I have personal relationships with but, even if not, I’d love their stuff. A couple lesser-knowns I love: The Rosenbergs and The Lucy Show (check ‘em, folks!).
My lyrical heroes: Lennon, Townshend, Weller, McCulloch. I love McCulloch’s imagery, Lennon’s raw emotion, and the ferocity of spirit and ability to cut to the emotional core of whatever scenario Weller and Townshend tackle. I’m also a big fan of wordplay, double entendres, and turn of phrase (tribulations of an English major).
Fave songs/albums? Hmm.. damn tricky but ok, I’ll bite: “The Real Me” (The Who); “She Said She Said,” “Tomorrow Never Knows” (The Beatles); From All Mod Cons to Sound Affects (that three album run by The Jam is fucking amazing, imho); “Lucky Man” (The Verve); From Love It To Death to Muscle Of Love (Alice Cooper Group), “All Kinds Of Time” (Fountains Of Wayne). Fave song to sing in the shower: A tie; “Lips Like Sugar” by Echo & The Bunnymen and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. (I also love to air drum the big drum roll in the middle!)
What's the local music scene like where your band is based? Any other local bands we should know about?
Vic Wayne: The Vancouver scene has a bunch of good bands, but the number of mid-sized venues has dwindled since the Oughts, unfortunately. The pandemic definitely didn’t help either. A few current local artists I dig: Odds, Danny Echo, The Tranzmitors, Mother Mother, Underwater Sunshine and I just discovered a cool band, The Sylvia Platters (great name!). Probably missed some here, but I’m sure I’ll hear about it from them when this piece runs! Ha ha.
What's happening for your band right now? What's next?
Vic Wayne: Our journey’s been interesting… We did four albums between ‘96-‘08, worked with GGGarth Richardson (Catherine Wheel), Kevin Kane (The Grapes Of Wrath), Dean Maher (The Odds), toured Europe three times, played David Bash’s IPO Festival from Liverpool (The Cavern!) to L.A. to Portland to our hometown (where I helped him get it going). Busy, bizzy, busy!..
However, prior to the release of Game Day (2021) we’d taken a hiatus for a few years and then just did gigs for a few more. I started writing again in ‘17 and since then it’s been full steam ahead, damn the torpedoes (slyly quotes Petty) again. Game Day quickly found a home in the fantastic global power pop community, which didn’t exist to the degree it does now when we did our first four albums (save for David’s IPO, Bruce Brodeen’s Not Lame, Ray’s Kool Kat, and a few others). We’re hugely grateful and, honestly, things have been amazing these last few years.
We just released album number six, Attack, Sustain, Decay… Repeat on our own label, Clockwise Records (the label’s seventh release) with a new-ish fab bassist, Tone, and Adrian, our Animal the Muppet drummer, in tow, as well as my hugely talented brother, Ad, who lives in Portland, OR. It’s available on Bandcamp, and CDs through Kool Kat and Jam Records.
Steve, our guitarist, has become a budding Scorcese and our video for the second single, “Beat It To Death”, came out April 7, hot on the heels of the first, “Feel It Comin’ On.” The album features co-writes with Steve, Ian Person (The Soundtrack Of Our Lives), Adam and a bunch of my own tunes. Special guests: Ian, Kevin, Paul Myers, Derek Macdonald (Bad Beats), Kate O’ Brien, and Wayne Lundqvist-Ford (Ice Cream Man). The reviews have been extremely kind thus far and I’m thrilled with how we’ve expanded our sound on this record.
Things have never been better and we’ve even written a bunch more songs so, Sunday, Monday, Happy Days!…*wanders off humming the theme song*
Three Artists Recommended By Vic Wayne
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