Life After Starz: The Skatt Brothers!

Sweval, second from right, formed Skatt Brothers in 1978.
Okay, sure, maybe you already know that Starz were a criminally underrated hard rock band from New York who were managed by the same guy as Kiss (Bill Aucoin) and made four great (yes, we said "great") albums for the same label that made stars out of the Beach Boys and the Beatles (Capitol Records).

You might even know that it was they who wrote and recorded the Top 40 hit "Cherry Baby" in 1977, not some teenybopper like Shaun Cassidy or Rex Smith, who just so happened to be brother to Starz singer, Michael Lee Smith.

Crazy how two seemingly different worlds can be so closely connected, yet so far apart, especially once you consider that bassist Orville Davis played in both Rex's band and the last incarnation of Starz to record for Capitol Records.

All most bios on Starz will tell you about the man he replaced, Peter Sweval, was that, prior to Starz, he'd been in a band called Looking Glass, who'd hit #1 with "Brandy, You're A Fine Girl", and had died of AIDS in 1993.

While we die-hard Starz fans wondered where our heroes had disappeared to and if they'd ever resurface, momentarily satiated by an all-too-brief Hellcats EP in 1982, unbeknownst to us, bassist Peter Sweval had made a rambunctious return to the Top 10 that completely escaped the attention of most who would have truly appreciated it.

All those years of thinking the poor guy had fallen off the face of the earth had been for naught.

Sweval hadn't fallen off the earth at all, he'd just gone disco.



With Sean Delaney (who'd been instrumental in bringing Starz to the attention of Aucoin and had since gone on to write for and work with Kiss), Sweval formed the Skatt Brothers, signed to disco powerhouse Casablanca Records, and released the album Strange Spirits in 1979.


One of the album's tracks, "Walk The Night", would hit #9 on the U.S. disco/dance charts and go on to become a favorite on the Chicago house music scene in the mid-80's. A video for another song, "Life At The Outpost", was filmed in Australia using precisely zero members of the band. After a lengthy scoruing of youTube. we can find but one clip of the band performing yet another song ("Oh, Those Girls") on Australian TV show "Countdown".

"Walk The Night" would rise to prominence in 2008 as part of the musical soundtrack to the video game "Grand Theft Auto IV".

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