Starcastle Biography

This progressive rock band evolved from Mad John Fever, formed in Champaign, Illinois, USA in 1970 by Steve Hagler (guitar), Herb Schildt (keyboards), Gary Strater (1953, USA, d. 19 September 2004, USA; bass) and Steve Tassler (drums). The line-up was completed by ex-REO Speedwagon vocalist Terry Luttrell and guitarist Matt Stewart with the sextet then changing their name to Pegasus. This proved short-lived as another Illinois band called Pegasus threatened legal action, and Starcastle was finally settled on as the band’s name. After being championed by the local WGPU Radio Station in Champaign, Starcastle was signed by CBS Records in 1974. Their music, which incorporated elements of Yes, Emerson, Lake And Palmer and Rush, was characterized by multi-vocal harmonies and complex, but carefully executed time-changes. Following their self-titled debut they teamed up with producer Roy Thomas Baker for 1977’s Fountains Of Light and 1978’s Citadel. The lukewarm reception afforded their fourth album Real To Reel hastened the end of the band’s CBS contract.

Gary Strater and a number of different musicians toured under the Starcastle name during the 80s, before the guitarist finally called it a day in 1986. The original members reconvened in the mid-90s in tandem with the musicians who had toured with Strater in the previous decade. Sadly, Strater died in 2004 having never seen his band achieve the recognition their talents deserved. The remaining members regrouped for a tour in 2007.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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