Hailing from Houston by way of Alameda, California husband and wife team Dave Starr and London Wilde have taken their band WildeStarr through three albums with their latest, Beyond The Rain coming out on December 8th. Both have extensive background experience with Starr’s former band Vicious Rumors and Wilde’s self-taught vocals and studio experience. Their music is a strong blend of power and symphonic metal. Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, their second album was titled A Tell Tale Heart which features a raven with its heart ripped from its chest. Beyond The Rain is part concept and part tribute to Wilde’s late brother Gary who took his life right before Tell Tale came out.
They’ve released a lyric video for Beyond The Rain, “I was telling the story of me and my brother’s musical journey,” Wilde says. “About the discovery of music and how it helped us deal with childhood problems. Metal is a very empowering sound. It gives a feeling of personal power like a protective shield.”
It tells Gary’s story, “My brother was a musician who took his life in his studio the same year we released our second record. That really hit me hard. We’re kind of a symbiotic twin spirit, similar dreams and goals as musicians. There’s a lot of musicians who never achieve their goals. I wanted to tell the story of his life, key emotional events on this journey and it turned out well. I wanted to include him on this record. That’s really what the album was about.”
Starr says the next record would’ve been more straight forward, but because of the tragedy, it morphed into a conceptual piece.
“He was a child prodigy winning guitar competitions, auditioning for KISS and Ozzy Osbourne, but nothing happened for him,” Wilde recalls. “Sometimes you’re your own worst enemy. Being a musician, you face a lot of rejection. There’s this side that’s not talked about. I wanted to explore that. I know what he was thinking. The level he wanted to be at, compared to [where] he was. I know how hard that was for him.”
Some of his words are used in the lyrics, “Some are paraphrased, some are key words that stuck in my head. Sometimes reading someone’s journals doesn’t necessarily translate well. I tried to fit them in and stay true to the emotion most of all,” Wilde says.
Both musicians believe Gary’s spirit participated, “I absolutely do. That’s something I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t expect how he influenced Dave and (drummer) Josh. They’re familiar with his style, but Dave was actually playing his guitar. There was one solo that really had my brother’s style, not Dave’s. I told him and he said his DNA’s on the guitar. I do think he was a part of things in spirit.”
Gary left a treasure trove of instruments, guitars, basses and amps, “I’m a Les Paul guy but I did use a custom Strat of his on all the tracks with a Les Paul. A Les Paul on one side and a strat on the other. That was another thing, we didn’t plan but it’s a guitar with his DNA literally on the fretboard. It’s kind of nice to think there’s some mojo connected with that,” Starr says.
The experience changed their point of views of an afterlife, “I’m opened minded. My leanings were, when you’re gone, you’re gone,” Wilde says. “With this experience, I’ve changed my mind on that one. I wasn’t expecting the experiences I had and it took me by surprise.”
“That’s the ultimate question in life. What lies beyond and nobody knows the answer. It’s all about belief and faith. Both my parents had passed away recently and I haven’t had contact with them, but my sister and daughter have. I’ve had a few things happen in my past, kind of supernatural. Maybe we’ll be ghosts floating around after we go. Haunting people, pissing people off, who knows,” Starr says.
From a young age, Wilde was self-taught, “I’m a good listener. I started recording myself at a young age just to hear myself. I practiced a lot, spent a lot of hours, rehearsing. It didn’t come natural, I had to really work hard at it.” Practice paid off as Wilde doesn’t practice or warm up anymore, belting out when ready. “I hit record and go.”
“I know musicians very schooled academically but can’t write a song if their life depended on it. I come from the generation where we put albums on turntables, slowing them down to 16 RPM’s to decipher guitar parts,” Starr says.
They want a big, bombastic wall of sound that penetrates the ear. With Starr playing all guitars, “I try to make things sound as big as possible.”
“I think Dave and I are the same in that I don’t like a song that slowly builds.” Wilde likes tunes that deliver the money shot immediately without the wait. Which reflects in their music. “I guess I have a flair for the dramatic, so does Dave.”
Wilde’s a big Poe fan and was inspired and challenged to write material for A Tell Tale Heart including a never finished video for the track Transformis Ligeia due to a hard drive crash and moving to Texas. With only fragments remaining maybe it’ll be salvaged. “The important thing was to go forward, finish the next record and keep momentum going. It’s like a little scab in my heart whenever I think about losing all that work. It was really looking pretty cool but things happened.”
Starr discussed his touring days with Vicious Rumors, “I was in the band from ’84-’93. We got signed to Atlantic after doing the first two albums for Shrapnel [Records]. We toured with Death Angel in 1990 in Europe and on the next album with Savatage in Europe.” Unable to tour in the US, they played clubs. “That’s the way it went. The shows and tours with Death Angel and Savatage were great.”
Currently, WildeStarr doesn’t tour as they’re content releasing records and operating other businesses. In the past, they tried putting together a live version but to no avail. For them, time is better spent making more music.
Fans have suggested a live WildeStarr DVD performance or streaming show. It’s a possibility but their focus is getting the record out. For fans craving content they’ve recorded a long-form video discussing album details.
“It wasn’t our original idea to be a studio band but that’s the way it ended up.” They enjoy their privacy in their Texas fortress with family, “Never say no to anything, but it would have to be the right circumstance.”
Being a DIY studio musician works for him, though Starr misses certain aspects of touring, he’s been sober for 12 years and doesn’t miss the craziness or the road dog days. “We’re happy making the best music we can as a studio band. That’s all that matters to both of us.”
They planned on releasing an album, every two years, with no intention of Beyond The Rain taking four years but moving from San Francisco to Houston for family, interrupted a lot in their lives. “The next one won’t take as long.”
Starr has had contact with three of his biggest influences Judas Priest, KISS and Thin Lizzy meeting Scott Gorham from Thin Lizzy. “Having a really nice heart to heart with him about different stuff and Phil is something I’ll never forget.”
While in Vicious Rumors, he played with Paul Stanley on his solo club tour in ’89, “He was a super nice guy. One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, certainty an icon.”
“I talked to Glenn Tipton on the phone when he was doing promo stuff for Jugulator. I lived next to this record store and the guy says, come over, I got Glenn Tipton on the phone.”
Wilde got an up close and personal moment and touch with the Metal God. “After Halford left Priest, he had Two. I went to see him in a small club. I was in this coffee shop and he just walked in, there’s Rob Halford. I could’ve walked up and talked to him but lost my nerve. Other fans went up to him, he was very nice.”
“We were front row at a Priest show in 2004. They weren’t allowing anyone in front of the stage. I was watching their security guard. When he was busy I ran up to the stage, held my hand up, Rob grabbed it. He was walking and singing with me. I had the look of euphoria on my face, God take me now,” she chuckles.
Beyond The Rain comes out December 8, “We’re talking the possibility of another video, we hope so.”
Wilde’s favorite tune is Cold, “That’s the one I enjoy listening back to the most.” Starr’s favorite is When the Night Falls, “It’s a great song. I like them all.”
Starr says he still has his Screamer Magazine shirt from the NAMM show in ’90, “Wanna say hi to all the great Screamer fans. Scream to all the Screamer people!”