Jacksonville, FL. (Top40 Charts/ By Laura
Jenney/ Mindsweep Entertainment & Promotions) - If EVER there was a punk/hard rock band deserving of both national and worldwide attention and acclaim, (in both my professional and personal opinion as both a music industry exec and a lover of great music); as well as deserving an award or two in several different categories, there is no question that New York City's hard driving punk/rock band Stark, (also known as Stark NYC), definitely should and could be considered as major qualifiers and contenders. ...For a number of reasons.
The hard hitting powerful punch delivered by the surprisingly full, tight and rich sound coming from the members of only a three piece band; speaks volumes about the high quality of their musicianship for any genre. There may have been a number of great three piece acts throughout music history, but very few and far between are those that can create such full sound without leaving 'something' lacking. For the genres of punk and/or hard rock, it's even tougher; and only the best hard rocking musicians can pull it off; such as members of legendary bands ZZ Top and Gov't Mule, (back in the day when Gov't Mule consisted of only Warren Haynes, Matt Abts and Allen Woody). Only a very few other hard rock bands throughout music history have ever been able to accomplish this. One can now add the band Stark to that very short and elite list of outstanding three piece hard rock bands with that innate ability after their 2008 released and independently produced CD, titled "Put it to Your Head".
Several other exceptional elements screams even louder about the band Stark's high quality of musicianship which sets them in the forefront of other bands of their multi-genre prowess; one of which is the uncommon depth of songwriting mastery on this CD. In fact, listening to, and reading the skillfully written lyrics, (which are included in the liner booklet of the CD, and written by Stark's immensely talented lead vocalist/bassist Lani Ford), one can easily assess that while simultaneously creating several of the 'ultimate punk songs', they are also in fact addressing head on, some major social issues, such as child neglect/abuse, (and it's effects, such as the struggle for self esteem/respect, fighting self destructive tendencies, having to repress one's emotions and get on with the business of surviving by instinct and believing enough in one's own abilities and utilizing them for the shear sake of survival), and also addressing head on such social issues as alcohol and 'other' addictions, and loving and dealing with someone with those addictions, and so much more. Which to me, is beyond respectable! (How many punk bands can one say that about? And how many hard rock and/or punk bands do you know that help others by creating awareness about these issues by addressing them head on within their music?)
Talk about a 'stark' contrast from the norm of the genres of hard rock and punk!
...Exploring even deeper, (by listening to their music), than the very cute, (yet sad), photo of a three year old Lani Ford on the cover of the CD, dressed in a cute little frilly dress with a plastic machine gun stuck to her head and standing by a shovel, one realizes that Lani Ford and the band Stark have pioneered an entirely new genre; "a thinking person's punk", if you will; and indeed, "puts it to your head" on their latest CD.
What is more, the entire CD, (either through the accidental or intentional genius of Lani Ford's songwriting skill), unveils itself as an entire story; which, not only in my opinion, but also the opinions of a fast growing multitude of fans nationally and worldwide, makes Lani Ford and the band Stark well worthy of an award for excellence in songwriting. In fact, after listening to the entire CD and story of Stark's "Put it to Your Head", one almost feels compelled to give a loud applause or even a standing ovation. (Straight shooting, and I'm so not just saying that to be nice). After listening just once to this CD, listeners will definitely be further compelled to want to experience this band performing live.
The thing is...The more you listen to this CD, the more you like it.
Another noteworthy element evident in Stark's music off their latest independently produced CD, "Put it to Your Head", (recorded in January of 2008 at School House Studios, in NYC, part of the historically renowned Tin Pan Ally Group, and engineered by the band's Guitarist, Joe Hogan), is not only that it is as good as it gets when it comes to the genre of punk, but also shows off Stark's ability to perform fluently in a number of other genres and styles, generating an enormous amount of broad audience and marketing appeal. Examples of the extreme versatility Stark possesses are exhibited in Track 1, "18 Again", which is a perfect example of 'the ultimate punk song', complete with starting the song out hard driving from 0 to 100 in one second flat...flawlessly I might add, which is no easy feat for any professional musician; and noticing, (again, and with no pun on words), the stark contrast in Track No 2, "I Pay (Man in the Moon)" which has what can be described as having a classic late 60's style, 'heavy hitting rock/hippy head music' vibe.
Another example of Stark's immense amount of versatility and broad marketing appeal can be heard in Track No 3, "Dreams Come True", which exhibits the timelessly cool style reminiscent of the late fifties/early sixties rock; yet Stark still maintains the ability to maneuver into the cutting edge of contemporary hard rock/punk in overdrive on Track 5, titled "Nothing's Wrong" and on Track No 6 "Co-Dependent". These are just a few examples of Stark's ability to appeal to a vast audience of rockers of all ages and styles, making Stark well worthy of the national and worldwide attention and acclaim that they are steadily gaining, as well as being worthy of many justly deserved awards that are no doubt to come.
Lani Ford - Lead Vocals and Bass: Besides Lani's impressive abilities as a songwriter...good Lord Almighty that woman can sing! Lani delivers with extreme prowess, the ability to both belt out a song with both passion and skill, but also with nuance and dynamics to burn. She has the ability to put forth and combine at times, amazing amounts of both grit and grace. Lani can go in a New York second from being THE vixen of punk or hard rock vocalists, to exhibiting extremely smooth and even sweet vocal capabilities, and then on being even seductive in her capabilities as a vocalist in a number of genres. Now THAT's talent! As a bassist she is equally as skilled and impressive, bringing to table very solid and tight bass performances for the band Stark as heard through their latest CD and in their live performances. Lani is endorsed by Daisy Rock Guitars.
Texas born Lani Ford's talents do not end on the stage or in the studio, as Lani Ford starred in the LD Filmworks 1999 cult classic horror film "Zombie Cult Massacre", and Lani in fact, enjoyed a long stint as the Traffic Reporter on WNYW/Channel 5's esteemed morning program "Good Day New York"; where she can still be seen filling in once in a while.
Lani Ford is an absolutely unstoppable force when it comes to creating and performing music!
At the time Lani was ready to record this CD after a great deal of heart, soul and musical sweat was poured in to creating the music for this CD, the band was in the midst of personnel changes. Whereas such a setback might have totally derailed most projects, (and artists)... NOT LANI, she had the fortitude and determination to forge onward with the project. From there, Lani carefully found, gathered and selected pro musicians with 'the right stuff' for the project to go into the studio and record with; and from there, found and put together the right performers for the band Stark and for the tour to promote the CD.
Though the original guitarist on the CD is an impressively accomplished guitarist known simply as Josette; and Rob Endemann performed on drums for the CD, "Put it to Your Head". Stark's current line up performing with Lani Ford at the helm is:
Joe Hogan - Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals: Joe Hogan is not only one smoking hot guitarist, with fingers fast enough to create enough friction to burn up a fret board on guitar; but Joe Hogan also exhibits an immense amount of versatility to master guitar in a number of genres and styles.
A brilliant example of Joe's versatile finesse and ability as a world class guitarist shines through in the contrast in styles between Track No 1, and in the outstanding guitar work in Track No 3 ("Dreams Come True"), of the CD, which Joe has to flawlessly match or exceed while performing on the tour to promote this CD, and in all live performances with the band Stark.
Such skillful versatility in a number of styles and genres IS the defining mark of a truly great musician.
Joe Hogan definitely makes that mark in the band Stark, and all throughout the tour to promote this CD.
The fact that Joe Hogan is also credited with engineering the album, further attests to Joe Hogan's considerable talent.
Eric Robel - Drums: Every pro musician and music industry exec alike will attest that any band is only as good as their drummer. Eric Robel no doubt, plays a huge part in what makes Stark a truly great band and definitely contributes greatly to give Stark their very definitive edge as a band. As a drummer, Eric Robel has a very well defined trademark style on drums that stands out.
Once familiar with his sound and style as a drummer, one would not even have to read the credits on any project he applies himself to, to know it is him.
Eric is unquestionably a lead footed force that keeps his bass pedals to the metal, with fast hands, super tight chops. Part of his signature sound is his very notable cymbal work in which he rides his cymbals like a die hard biker on a poker run that knows he has the winning hand.
"Put it to Your Head" is the band Stark's second CD. Their first, titled "The Curse", released in 2004, also earned the band a great deal of acclaim and a large number of fans, not only in the New York City area, but also nationally and worldwide. The band has one song that is expected to be released soon on a compilation CD titled "Goldies Garage Volume 1" on Wicked Cool Records which is owned by Little Steven Van Zandt of both Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band as well as the hit TV series "The
Sopranos" fame, and of course his own highly acclaimed syndicated radio program "Little Steven's Underground Garage".
Stark's influences include: The Pretenders, Blondie, Patty Smith, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Van Halen, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, The Clash, The Ramones, Motorhead, ZZ Top, Nirvana, Metalica, Heart, and a number of other greats.
The band Stark is also steadily gaining and maintaining an impressive amount of mainstream, internet, college and satellite radio airplay, not only in the NYC area, but also nationally as well as worldwide.
And can be heard regularly on Sirius Satellite Radio's "Goldie's Garage Radio Show" hosted by Genya Ravan; as well as having been featured on the esteemed Jim Breuer Radio Show, which is also on Sirius Satellite Radio.
Stark is also in the beginning phases of embarking on a massive press, media and radio campaign, so fans everywhere can call up their local radio stations and request their favorite songs of the band's latest CD "Put it to Your Head".
And of course, we at Mindsweep Entertainment & Promotions will be further updating fans on news, upcoming tour dates etc., in the coming months in even more articles on the band Stark, as not only will we be working with this outstanding band, we are fans as well.
If you haven't yet heard any of the music off of Stark's latest hard rocking CD, fans can do so either by visiting the band's official My Space site at http://www.myspace.com/stark, or by visiting the band's official website at www.starknyc.com; as well as gain info, check upcoming concert dates, etc. Fans can also check out a number of Stark's hard rocking videos either on AOL Video or on You Tube.
Lani, Joe and Eric have already been delivering to fans Stark's high caliber live performances on the East Coast, Texas and in the UK. However, currently the band Stark is seeking and accepting concert dates as well as sponsorship for 2009 tour dates to promote this CD; and plans are in the works to kick off a more extended US leg of the tour on the West Coast beginning around February/March, and from there, perform on tour dates in the Midwest and in even more venues and events throughout the Southwest.
After touring the US, Stark would very much like to extend their tour beyond US borders and embrace fans in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, and on to Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Australia, The Czech Republic, Russia, a number of Asian destinations including and especially Japan. With a great appreciation for all of their fans, Stark would love the opportunity to perform anywhere and everywhere fans demand.
Concert and festival promoters, venue owners as well as sponsors and headlining acts that would like to increase their ticket sales by having Stark open or co-headline with them on their tour dates can contact Management at Starknyc@hotmail.com.
Fans can purchase Stark's smoking hot CD "Put it to Your Head", which is available now at CD Baby, iTunes, Digstation, other purchasing outlets as they come aboard, and of course, at their live performances.
Putting it to your head from Mindsweep Entertainment & Promotions ...if you haven't purchased Stark's new CD "Put it to Your Head" yet, we strongly recommend you do so. ...(OR ELSE!)