STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For 21st Century Media
In the mid 1980’s, the Philly music scene was a vibrant and fertile breeding ground for a few of that decade’s most celebrated recording artists. Out of this sea of creativity emerged “Pretty Poison,” a highly charged, upbeat electronic dance group led by vocalist and principle songwriter Jade Starling. “There are a lot of amazing groups that came out of Philadelphia,” reflects Starling while on tour in Orlando, Fla. “We’re very proud to be a part of that, and, hopefully, we’re going to get our star on the Philadelphia Walk of Fame. I know that there are talks of it. We’d be very proud. That would be quite an accomplishment.”
Formed in 1981, Starling and her fellow band mates (Whey Cooler (producer, songwriter guitarist, and keyboards), Bobby Corea (drums), and Tony Henry (bass). Louie Franco (guitar) and Kaya Pryor (percussion)), made a splash with their 1984 hit “Nighttime.” After reaching number 14 on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play Chart, Pretty Poison landed a recording contract with Virgin Records.
Their 1987 single and biggest selling record, “Catch Me (I’m Falling),” peaked at number 8 on Billboard’s Top 100 hit chart. The record also reached number 1 on the dance charts, earning the band its first Gold and Platinum honors. The song was also featured in the films “Hiding Out” (1987), “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” (2008) and “Piñero” (2001).
More recently, “Catch Me (I’m Falling)” was featured on AMC’s smash hit “Breaking Bad” as well as an episode of MTV’s “Ridiculousness,” exposing the group to a new generation of fans.
Starling released her debut solo album “Captive” this past August, featuring collaborations with Lee Dagger of the English remix team Bimbo Jones (Lady Gaga, Rihanna Kylie Minogue), Laszlo (Selena Gomez, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Bieber & Nicki Minaj) and French DJ/remixer Franck Dona (Universal France).
“Whey Cooler is still writing and producing with me,” said Starling. “We are really a duo and we built a band around us. Whey co-wrote and produced “Captive,” as well as all our Pretty Poison material. He is a multi-instrumentalist, but plays keyboards live.”
“Captive” has been getting such favorable reviews. Everyone loves it. We just recently hit #14 on the Billboard Dance Chart with my second single from the album called “Think About U.” The first single went Top 20 as well. It’s called “Insomniak.” We’re gearing up for the third single already. It’s called “Better and Better.” I’m really excited. It has been a real blessing. It is a really great record.”
Starling maintains a rigorous performing schedule, with regular appearances at various festivals, casinos and arenas throughout the U.S., including “The Free Style Dance Explosion.”
In support of “Captive,” Starling and Pretty Poison will appear on various concert stages around the country into 2015.
“I truly believe music can help heal people,” said Starling. “I think that’s part of the reason that I do what I do, because music makes people happy. It’s uplifting and joyful, not only for me the artist but for the fans. There’s nothing like seeing people smiling, dancing and laughing and having a good time.”
“We have been doing electronic dance music fused with rock since day one,” said Starling. “Now, I feel it’s a full circle moment that we continue to do electronic music. Now it’s got a genre, EDM. We are still doing what we do.”
“Although it is electronically driven, we do have a DJ that participates. We do like to have the opportunity to bring live elements to it – like guitar, bass and drums — a real band — and fuse it with a DJ.”
Thanksgiving weekend, Friday and Saturday, rock and roll fans will converge on the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa., for the inaugural “All Things That Rock Expo.” The Expo will feature 20,000 square feet of all types of music memorabilia, including rock, metal, jazz, R&B, alternative, classical, new age, blues, soul, soundtracks, folk, comedy, disco, new releases, imports, out of print, etc. CDs, records, videos, music memorabilia and pop culture collectibles from the 1950‘s to today will be available for purchase. Expect live entertainment, including a Saturday only performance by the Monkee’s Mickey Dolenz.
Both days will feature autograph sessions and photo opportunities with celebrity guests, including Peter Criss (founding member and original drummer of Kiss), Mickey Dolenz (The Monkees), Artimus Pyle (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member and original drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd), Ed Kowalczyk (former lead vocalist for the band Live), Denny Laine, (Paul McCartney & Wings and the Moody Blues), David Uosikkinen (The Hooters), Vinny Martell (Vanilla Fudge), Billy J. Kramer (Liverpool star from the 60’s), and Richie Ranno (the band Starz).
“I’m very excited, and I’m honored to be at this event,” said Starling. “I feel very flattered. There are a lot of male rockers on this and not many females, and so they thought they should have, quote un-quote, the sexy chick there to spice things up a bit (laughs).”
“I believe the reason that we have so many fans is the fact that we do stay in touch with people,” said Starling. “We don’t forget. We appreciate. They are the ones that make you. They drop off and it could all fall apart. We just try to keep them engaged and keep putting out new music.”
“I think it’s a beautiful way to bring these icons together,” added Starling. “It’s a great way for fans to meet them up close and personal. This is going to be a relaxed atmosphere to meet your favorite rock star where you get to talk to them for a few minutes.”
Emceeing the two-day event will be Eddie Trunk, host of VH-1’s “ “That Metal Show.” Gary Shrum, consignment director of entertainment and music memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, will be on hand offering free appraisals of items that attendees wish to bring. Puppet Guy Lee Zimmerman will entertain the crowd with his Incredible Rock & Roll Marionette Show. Attendees can also tour the Gibson Guitar Bus and meet the “Rock Girls Bikini Bod Squad.”
IF YOU GO
What: All Things That Rock Expo
Where: The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center located at 100 Station Avenue, Oaks, (PA Turnpike to Route 202 south to Route 422 West).
When: Event is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 28 and Saturday, Nov. 29
Admssion: Tickets are $10 in advance (+ $1 service charge).
Info.: For more information call (610) 389-1807 or visit. www.AllThingsThatRock.com.
To stay up to date with Jade Starling and Pretty Poison visit www.jadestarling.com.