Local stars Starkz ready for stardom 


Don’t wait until Saturday, June 24, to decide to see modern-rock band Starkz at Juanita’s. Past performances indicate that tickets likely will be gone well before Saturday night’s show, which Starkz headlines with Shadowline and Failsafe.

“Not only has Starkz sold out every time we’ve played Juanita’s in the past three years, we’ve sold out Juanita’s more times than any other band that’s ever played there, including selling out an unprecedented weekend, which no band has done before,” says Butch Stone, who is managing the Fort Smith-based band along with his son Dennis.

Kim Stephens, a New Orleans-based regional A&R and promotional representative for Atlantic Records, will be at Saturday’s show, Stone said. Starkz has been under a promotional contract with Atlantic for three years, and Stephens and the label have stayed with Starkz after major changes in Atlantic’s New York front office last fall.

Lead guitarist Brian Stark said, “We’ve worked with Kim for over three years, and that seems to be extremely rare for an A&R guy to spend three years with a band, but he really likes us. There is an urgency among the band for something to happen soon, everybody agrees that we need to move into the [bigger] arena, and we’re ready. He tells us he can do what it takes to get into that arena and be released on Atlantic in 2007.”

Stone says Starkz has sold more than 6,000 CDs locally as well as in Nashville, Memphis, Tulsa and Dallas. “It was not an official CD, but was just something we wanted to put together for the fans, done up nice, with 10 songs,” Stark said. “We’ve recorded eight more songs under Atlantic and four or five more in our home studio. Those are being combined with some earlier songs on another EP.”

Local fans will hear those newer songs and probably nine or 10 of the older ones, said Stark, who looks forward to another throng at Juanita’s on Saturday.

“It all goes back to the philosophy of the band, how we’ve constructed ourselves,” Stark said, explaining the group’s Central Arkansas popularity. “We’ve done our homework and taken our time to make sure our songs are correct. It’s all about making sure that you constantly give people a good show, and we’ve had big support from the radio in Little Rock, putting our songs in rotation.”

The rest of the band consists of lead singer Isaac Hedinger, drummer Scott Stark, bassist James Jones and rhythm guitarist Lee Actkinson. Starkz’s modern rock sound can be access at www.myspace.com/starkz/.

“Myspace is an amazing too,” Brian Stark said. “We have more than 60,000 hits and are fast approaching 100,000. With myspace, you can throw out messages to people in the zip code area where you’re playing and message hundreds of people about the show coming up. it’s just a huge thing and a really important tool that record companies look at.”

Failsafe is a modern rock band out of Memphis, while Shadowline is led by “The Edge” disc jockey Matt Cruz.

The all-ages show starts at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 through www.ticketalternative.com or by calling 877-725-8849.


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