Love Your Local Band


LYLBHotStoneStarsHot Stone Stars prides themselves on getting out there and playing music that they wrote from the heart, the old-fashioned way: jamming together until the songs take shape. The real trick is getting people there to hear it.

“If people get to our show, they love us,” says bassist Michael Lazarus. “They follow us and like us and friend us. But getting them there in the first place, that’s a whole separate challenge.” “It’s almost like, the music is the easy part. In our case, something unique happens. I’ll get together with the band and a half hour later, there’s a new song.”

The group started a couple of years ago as the brother and sister songwriting team Star and Stony Stern. Lazarus joined on bass, and they were complete when they enlisted Holland Barry on drums. They’re nearly finished recording their debut album. Musically they are as raw and bare bones as rock comes, but singer Star brings a lot of soul influence to the group.

“We started playing this straight-up heavy rock style that contrasted with her voice in a way that highlighted it. It works. That’s why we call it hard rock and soul,” Lazarus says.

Still, they know they have their work cut out for them reaching an audience, especially the younger generation.

“Kids are spending a lot of time making music on their computers. Hot Stone Stars is about using songs to emotionally reach people. It takes a lot to bang that out. How do you explain that organic process to someone that’s just trying to put together beats in a computer?” Lazarus says. “Our struggle could be very common to a lot of other artists.”

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9. Crow’s Nest, 2218 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. $5. 476-4560.

Contributor at Good Times |

Aaron is a hard-working freelance writer with a focus on music, art, food, culture and travel. In addition to Good Times, he's a regular contributor to Sacramento News & Review, VIA Magazine and Playboy. When he's not working, he's either backpacking, arguing about music or working on his book about ska. One thing's for sure—he knows more about ska than you.

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