Home » EXCLUSIVE – Michael Holdaway interviews rock/punk band Starcrawler

EXCLUSIVE – Michael Holdaway interviews rock/punk band Starcrawler

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EXCLUSIVE – Michael Holdaway interviews rock/punk band Starcrawler

Allow me to introduce you to Starcrawler! Not since Band X has there been a rock/punk band that has authentically captured the edgy underground music scene, culture and style of Los Angeles and wrapped them in such a delicious audio-visual package, just like these Gen Z’ers.

Critics have called them a “stoner metal quintet”, “stunned SoCal grime rock”, compared them to Black Sabbath and The Runaways and accused them of having “all their DNA tied to the 1970s”.

I got an interview as the band prepares to go on tour with English rock band Bush.


Thank you, Starcrawler, for agreeing to this interview as you’ve gone on an amazing tour with Bush! Congratulations! So tell us how would you describe your music and who would you compare your style and/or sound to?

Henry Cash: I really don’t know how to describe it. We just play what feels natural to us and a lot of times it ends up crossing genres so it’s hard to describe it. I usually just tell people to listen to a few songs to see if any of them connect with them or not, and if they do, that’s great, and if they don’t, that’s fine too.

What kind of music played in your home growing up and who played it?

Arrow de Wilde: My mom played in a lot of the bands or artists that she was friends with and worked with at the time, so I grew up listening to a lot of Elliott Smith, Beck, The Raconteurs and stuff like that. My dad played for me in bands like The Beatles and The Monkees, which made me have a hardcore obsession with the Beatles when I was young.

Henri Cash: To be honest, there was so much music playing in our house as kids that it’s hard to narrow it down to anything in particular. I would say out of the hundreds of records, some things that I enjoyed the most were probably Elvis Presley, The Ramones, ACDC and Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Tim Franco: There were a lot of CDs that my parents would play in the car or radio stations that would gravitate towards playing them in the car. My mom played a lot of classic rock music from her parents’ generation. Music like The Beatles or The Eagles, K-Earth 101 was a station that was always on, and there was the Practical Magic soundtrack, which I was fascinated by and she had that too. This started my love for Harry Nilsson. My dad would play more modern rock and turn me on to stuff like “Icky Thump” by The White Stripes, or Demon Days by Gorillaz, or anything on KROQ like The Scorpions or Van Halen.

Seth Carolina: Classic rock, southern rock, country and then whatever was on the radio at the time.

Bill Cash: Same as Henri.

Arrow and Henri, you went on your first UK tour when you were in your final year of high school. Did you have supervision or was it a free for all?

AdW: I guess we didn’t have much supervision, but the tour was very short. It was amazing. We came back from the last show straight to prom, which I think is iconic, haha.

starcrawler – Photo by Gilbert Trejo

Henri, there seems to be an unspoken expectation regarding the length of education one should have to be successful in any career. You opposed this theory. You dropped out of high school to pursue the band. Can you talk about this personal decision? Advantages and disadvantages?

HC: Pros – I got to stop wasting hours of my days and nights in an outdated education system.

Cons: I don’t know much about science books and I’m not sure what y=mx+b means.

When were you sure you made the right decision?

HC: I knew from kindergarten that I wanted to leave school. By the time I left, all the musical influences around me had also left the education system early and seemed to be doing well, so I never really thought about it.

As a band, I love your choice of covers, especially Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know”. Mike Campbell (Heartbreakers guitarist) plays and appears in the video. How did this historic rock moment materialize?

AdW: My friend, Gilbert Trejo, made a music video for his band Dirty Knobs, and around the same time we were asked to cover a Tom Petty song with a bunch of other artists for this Sirius XM thing. So we thought, heck, why not ask him to be a part of it. The worst he can say is no! Luckily he was super upset and since the pandemic was still bad, he recorded his parts separately from his home studio and sent them to us. Overall it was a very pleasant experience.

BC: To be honest, I don’t know how everything we do materializes. I just get a few heads-up days if I’m lucky and stick to a clear schedule.

How does Seth, as a musician, fit into a band that is already established?

SC: It’s beyond perfect. Since we were already close friends with the band, it all felt so natural. There were definitely a lot of learning opportunities joining a band that had played hundreds of shows together without me.

Are there any pressures or benefits that aren’t so obvious that you’d like to mention?

SC: There’s always pressure coming into an established band as a new member, whether it’s from the members or the fans. I wanted to find a balance between my original style and the already established Starcrawler sound. All in all, joining Starcrawler has been nothing but a benefit.

Starcrawler – Photo by Cameron McCool

Arrow, you’ve mentioned that some of your inspiration to perform comes from watching videos of icons like Cheri Currie, Iggy Pop and Kiss. Talk more about the importance you place on giving your audience a great live performance.

AdW: Creating this band, it was really important for me to put on a show. I was sick of going to concerts only to see dudes staring at their pedals. The world, or at least LA, needed more excitement. We wanted to create a world that was ours that people could walk into for one night and forget about everything else.

Are any of the other bandmates inspired by the performance skills of other artists? If so, who?

HC: Jack White has been a hero of mine for as long as I can remember. Playing a few shows with him and having him and everyone else in Third Man’s constant support over the past few years has really meant a lot to us. It was super inspiring in many ways.

TF: I’m definitely inspired by a lot of musicians’ stage performances, like James Brown or those BBC performances like Neil Young or Harry Nilsson. I don’t know if it translates to my own presence, but it definitely fueled my passion for music.

BC: Malcolm and Angus Young, Clarence White and Lloyd Green. I credit Gen Z’ers with the revival of rock and roll. Thank you all for being a big part of it and making it your own. In a recent conversation with record producer Nico Constantine, he said, “If rock ‘n’ roll is to regain the vitality it deserves, its new crop of artists must bring the younger generation along for the ride.”

As a band, you have a good portion of the Gen Z demographic. Any secrets on how to get them to stop devouring the pop playlist on the streaming service and experiment with Rock n Roll?

AdW: I don’t think pop music will ever go away, but I’ve noticed a lot more people are interested in rock than a few years ago, so that’s definitely cool. Rock was invented for all the freaks out there who felt like they didn’t belong, so as long as there’s still some market for it, that means there’s plenty of freaks to go around. Which is good for us.

HC: I do not know. It may be a lost cause. I’d say stop listening to streaming services, but that’s not practical. I also don’t think it’s bad to listen to pop music. People should listen to whatever excites them. It doesn’t have to be rock. If you like a band’s song, maybe try listening to their records instead of just their hits and listen all the way through. You may find more that interests you. If you go to your local record store and see posters of what’s going on and go see live bands that come through your town that you don’t know much about, you might broaden your palette.

BC: I guess they need to stop making pop playlists so good first. Second, I think that anyone who gets excited about music will always naturally listen to new things and gradually expand their own taste. Anyone who wants to get involved in rock music now more than ever has that opportunity. Forcing the genre on people who aren’t actively seeking it would probably be illogical.

Bill, in 2020 you were in the band X’s music video. I’m curious to learn more about what that means to you personally. Also, did anything noteworthy happen during the filming process.

BC: I had a lot of fun participating in the video and working on it with my friends. I bleached my hair to play Billy Zoom and still haven’t gone back to my natural hair color.

Yyou all have different looks. Mention any influences, philosophy or inspiration?

AdW: Sable Starr, Michael Monroe, Katie Jane Garside, Angeline, Johnny Thunders and Victorian Ghosts.

HC: I’m trying to get in the mood of Dwight Yoakam if he was in a Tim Burton movie and also hadn’t showered in a month.

TF: For most of my life I wore handmade clothes or whatever my family bought me for Christmas. My mother instilled in me the importance of at least coincidence. I also got great clothes from close friends. More recently, I’ve become obsessed with tuxedo print t-shirts and have started building a collection of them. Now I’m just under 60. The more ridiculous the better.

BC: Garth Algar.

Starcrawler – starbender – Photo by Cameron McCool

Congratulations on your latest release titled She Said, the first album on your new label Big Machine. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being on an independent label versus being on a major label?

HC: I love all the labels we work with so it’s great.

BC: I agree with Henri.

Would any of you like to comment on the difficult process of writing, recording and releasing this work, as most of it happened during the pandemic?

AdW: It was definitely weird not knowing if we’d even get a chance to play a show again, but all we could do with the time we were given was write, so we did.

Thank you all!


Follow Starcrawler on the links below and watch their videos which are brilliant.

Readers, please feel free to leave a comment and tell us what you think or suggest an artist interview. I’m always looking for up and coming artists who will soon become household names.


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