Montreal indie-rock group Stars are set to return to the Maritimes this week for shows in Moncton, Halifax and Fredericton. The band is currently riding high (did they ever really ride low, though?) on the strength of their critically acclaimed eighth full-length record – There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light – as well as their fantastic new single “Ship To Shore.”
Last week, we had the chance to chat with Stars guitarist – and Moncton native – Chris McCarron about the group’s journey so far and why the band will not be hanging up their touring shoes anytime soon.
First things first, how does a guy from Moncton end up playing guitar for Stars?
I joined the band in 2011 after stints with Land of Talk and The Dears. I had heard the band was looking for a guitarist, jammed with them and then fell ass backwards into the group. It wasn’t too much of an adjustment period though, especially where I had Land of Talk and The Dears behind me, I more or less knew what I was getting myself into with the band.
Great to see you guys coming out for a few shows. I’m pretty sure the last couple of times you’ve been out, it’s been for a one-off appearance at a festival in Halifax or Fredericton.
Honestly, one of the last times I played Moncton was at the old Esquire Tavern in 1998 or 1999. So many bands plan tours across Canada but then tend to stop at Montreal, or maybe Quebec City, and overlook the Maritimes altogether. Aside from going back home to see my family, I’ve been away from Moncton for the last 20 years.
The Esquire Tavern years of the 90’s were kind of magical in their own way. If only because it was such an unlikely venue to host shows. But there was also this great sense of community, too.
Absolutely. I recall that era fondly and saw so many bands there, including Elevator To Hell and Orange Glass. It was an eye-opening experience to become a part of the city’s music scene and witness what was going on.
A little while ago, I saw something sent out from the Stars Twitter account that hinted you guys might have been contemplating throwing in the towel. Is the end of the band nearing?
I don’t think so, no. There’s no denying the industry is changing and has changed immensely over the last 20 years. Even from the time we released No One Is Lost in 2014 through the new album, things changed again. Nobody is buying MP3s anymore and the promotional cycle behind an album is much shorter than it ever was before. It’s a little scary to think about what’s going to happen because these days, it’s not so much about albums as it is what playlist you can be on and how long you can stay on there. It’s getting harder to tour but fortunately for us, people are still coming to shows. That’s the one connection that can’t be replaced – seeing a band in person.
The very fact that the band released “Ship To Shore,” a new single, when your album isn’t even six months old perfectly illustrates how rapidly things are changing.
People are consuming music at an almost unprecedented pace, and so it’s wise to have something new available when you’re getting ready to go on tour. Bands need that content and push to help promote their next endeavour.
STARS 2018 Tour Dates:
April 12 — Moncton, NB — Tide & Boar Ballroom
April 13 — Halifax, NS — The Marquee Ballroom
April 14 — Fredericton, NB — Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market
April 15 — Portland, ME — AURA
April 16 — Boston, MA — Royale
April 17 — Providence, RI — Fete Music Hall
April 19 — Fairfield, CT — The Warehouse
April 20 — Philadelphia, PA — Union Transfer
April 21 — Tarrytown, NY — Tarrytown Music Hall
April 22 — Millvale, PA — Mr. Smalls Theatre
April 23 — Washington, DC — 9:30 Club
April 24 — Charlotte, NC — The Underground
For a complete list of Stars tour dates, be sure to visit their website.