Wikkid Starr singer Toney Richards recalls L.A.’s glam scene from 1992 to 2001 and outlines band’s history
Wikkid Starr frontman Toney Richards has provided his recollection of the L.A. glam scene from 1992 to 2001 along with his band’s history and future plans which include a new single titled “Out In The City” in the next three weeks and a new album titled Sudden Impact, which will be released in September 2019.
Speaking exclusively to Sleaze Roxx, Richards outlined the band’s history as follows (with slight edits):
“Ashlyn Childs and I got together in early 2007 and discussed starting a project that would be impactful and revive everything that we had been a part of, during our respective careers playing in rival bands in Hollywood through the whole decade of the ’90s. It was a rough time for glam bands in L.A. because the whole Seattle grunge scene had taken over in 1992. The grunge scene started a stripped down, flannel wearing, heavy drug use type of movement where people would walk around being depressed and hating their lives. It totally sucked in regards to the lifestyle that they were promoting. It was the polar opposite of what the ’80s was all about, which was happy, care free and enjoying life to the fullest (sex, booze and rock n’ roll).
The underground glam scene was thriving throughout the ’90s in Hollywood. There were lots of good glam bands that played during the ’90s and early 2000s and beyond. Heart Throb Mob, Ambush, City Boy Girls, The Mistakes, Guttersluts, Suicide Alley, Foxy Roxx, Mistress, Dead Girl, Darling Dead, Spiders & Snakes, D-ZIRE, Revlon Red, Demolition Dolls, Epoxy Glow, Rebel Rebel, Fizzy Bangers, Mother Mercy and a whole bunch of others that I can’t remember right now. What sucked is that we never got the the recognition we deserved because we were all being looked at in the States, as being dated or “has beens” or novelty acts. It was also during this time that tribute bands and cover bands started invading Los Angeles. It was bizarre because L.A. was always a place where you had to write original music to be impactful and respected. The ’90s changed all that. The glam rock genre was considered yesterday’s news and not the new flavor of the month, which at the time was grunge and then switched over in the mid to late ’90s to the obnoxious rap-metal genre, which thank God was short lived, with bands like Limp Bizkit making people feel sick by being overplayed on Top 40 radio.
This was the live backdrop in Hollywood of how Ashlyn and I gained a mutual respest for each other by playing in rival bands during the ’90s. I was in Pistol Whip, Slammer and then Road Angel before I joined D-ZIRE in late 1995. Ashlyn was in Suicide Alley and Darling Dead. The scene as we knew it, in my opinion, was over in like 2001 but if you talk to people like Marky DeSade, the lead vocalist for Revlon Red and the original singer for the Peppermint Creeps, he will tell you that the glam scene never really died out… and that it kept going even after 2001.”
In terms of Wikkid Starr‘s history, Richards stated:
“When Ashlyn and I started writing songs for Collision Course, we found out right away that we had great chemistry and could write good, catchy songs that sounded really good. Ashlyn and I started recording in summer of 2007 but unfortunately by the end of year in 2007, Ashlyn disappeared and lost all contact with me due to personal reasons that I will not discuss. He was going through a lot at that particular time in his life and I’ll leave it at that. South Bay engineer Bill Krodel, owner of Media Kitchen Studios in Gardena, CA. was intrigued and impressed by what we were doing. Bill liked our songs so much, that he offered to help us out by turning us on to world renowned drummer David Raven. David played with people like Slash, Nora Jones, Keith Richards and many other top notch artists. His resume was very impressive. When David came into the studio to record the drums for “Zombie TV”, “Feed Me” and “Karma”, Ashlyn and I couldn’t help but be blown away by how good he was.
We knew that we would have our work cut out for us finding a drummer that was on David Raven‘s level. Bill was no slouch either. He had an impressive resume himself having worked with Don Dokken, Gilby Clarke, and bands like Ratt, Great White and Bullet Boys. Bill was super funny and would tell us all kinds of stories about people he had worked with. It was unfortunate that he passed away on September 19, 2008 at the age of 59. Bill passed away from complications from aplastic anemia disease. It was at this time that I was faced whether to continue on with this project or completely abandon it and move on to something new. When I played the songs that Ashlyn and I wrote together to friends that were fellow musicians, I would always get positive feedback like, “Why aren’t you finishing this album? These songs are really good.”
It took me a year and a half after Bill‘s death to figure it out. I decided to finish what I had originally started with Ashlyn in March of 2010. That’s when I began writing new songs. The two that stood out were “Feels So Right” and “Shooting Star.” I worked with Gutter Boys guitarist Brian Abretski on “Feels So Right” and Flamenco guitarist Giorgio DeLamus Bankells on “Shooting Star.” Brian had jammed with me in 1994-1995 when he played guitar in Road Angel with me for a brief stint. Drummer Richie Rivera, who had done a gig with me, along with guitarist Damon Valley under the name Bang Sherri in 2001 at one of the Glitter Glam Fests at The Coconut Teazer played drums for me on “Feels So Right” and “Shooting Star.” Richie now plays drums for Janet Gardner, the [former] vocalist for Vixen, on her solo project.
My long-time friend and engineer Raphael DiGiorgio, helped me finish the project when I contacted him to record, mix and master at his Diamond Dream Studios in the Carbon Canyon area of Orange County. Raphael also played bass on “Feels So Right” and “Shooting Star” as well as keyboards on “New Beginning” which is an acoustic instrumental that features myself on guitar and “Shooting Star.” DiGiorgio and Richards co-produced the Wikkid Starr debut release Collision Course. The last song on the album was a collaboration between German musicians and brothers Marcus Plattner (guitar) and Andy Plattner (drums) and myself on vocals. That song is “Get It, Got It, Good.” Raphael DiGiorio played bass on that song.”
With respect to the band’s future plans, Richards advised: “Wikkid Starr has been a five piece band with two guitarists since February of 2019. We are currently working on our new album, Sudden Impact, which will be released at the end of September. We have decided to release a new single “Out In The City” within the next three weeks. Stay tuned on when the release date will be. It will be a special version that will be different than the album version.”
Wikkid Starr‘s “Karma” video:
Toney Richards & Ashlyn Childs played in rival bands in the 90s, Childs in Suicide Alley and Richards in D-ZIRE but in the mid-2000’s, they teamed up to writ…