Flashback to 1973. Two years before Kim Fowley would unveil his teenage Runaways to an unsuspecting world, the rock ‘n’ roll Svengali of the Sunset Strip was assembling the Hollywood Stars. Fowley conceptualized the group as a West Coast answer to the New York Dolls — having the energy and excitement of mid-60s pop and rock, with the crunchy guitars and attitude of hard rock.
The “teen appeal” original lineup of the Stars comprised Scott Phares (vocals), Mark Anthony (guitar), Ruben de Fuentes (guitar), Terry Rae (drums) and Gary Van Dyke (bass). These young men had caught a buzz off the British Invasion of the prior decade, and by the late ‘60s they were active participants in the garage and psychedelic explosions which brought forth such Southern California sensations as the Byrds, the Doors, Love, the Seeds, the Music Machine, and countless others.
Rising to prominence during the glitter rock days of the Starwood and Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco, the Hollywood Stars struck upon a songwriting formula which featured hooks and choruses as indelible as the bubblegum hits of a few years prior. However, the Stars’ approach was energized with the power pop drive of the Sweet and the Move, and the glam swagger of Cockney Rebel and Hunky Dory-era David Bowie.
Flash forward to November 2018. Forty years after the band’s breakup, the Hollywood Stars reconvened for a one-night-only event at the Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles. The time-defying lineup included founding members Phares, de Fuentes and Rae, alongside later bassist Michael Rummans and new guitarist Chezz Monroe. The audience was enraptured at the sight of this legendary band springing back to full-blown rock ‘n’ roll glory. The Stars themselves enjoyed the experience immensely. Was this the last stand of the Hollywood Stars? Don’t bet on it.
Hollywood Stars - “King of the Night Time World” reunion video (2014)