New Music Showcase: Scream Idol – Movie Mary

Nearly 30 years ago, a band named Star Star was born in LA but raised in NY crawled out of the gutter and released one classic record, The Love Drag Years. Over the decades, the band met with tragedy, relocated, rearmed, and is now reborn as Scream Idol. Frontman Johnnie Holliday recently sat with me to talk about this new band and their incredible debut release, Movie Mary.

Please press the PLAY icon below for my Conversation with Scream Idol’s Johnnie Holliday:

On the new lineup and name change – The person that’s playing drums with us now is this guy Jack Kennedy. He’s one of the first people we met when we came over here to Europe, and we played with him for a few years, and we had a little breakup and now we’re back together again. So he’s a long-time band member. He played with (bassist Weeds and me) when we were Star Star now, this. Now, as far as the change in name, the thing we’ve started feeling, and actually we’ve started feeling it years ago, that the Star Star was that band that did The Love Drag Years, and that we’re not a representation of the band that called themselves Star Star anymore. It was a natural evolution of the band, but being that there was a break in recording and releasing stuff all those years we just kind of felt that we were at the point where we just didn’t represent the band that originally named themselves Star Star, so we decided to make a fresh start. 1:09

On picking up influences from LA, NY, and Europe – It’s certainly unavoidable to be influenced by things you’re exposed to over time, it’s growing up. The thing that we’ve tried to do whenever we’re writing songs or creating or whatever you wanna call it, is we try to not have anything in mind. We don’t say, “Well, let’s write this kind of a song”. I don’t like to have any kind of direction when I’m writing, I just kind of accept what comes out, and that’s where you can really be more true to you, things that influence you without really copying them. When you don’t have a set goal of what you’re trying to do, you just kind of let the process leads you there. Me and Weeds can jam for like 12 hours in the house, man, just sitting on the couch. Wherever the whole Jam Session leads is what we’ll accept at the end. 3:37

On if he thought the band would ever be able to release the record – I don’t know, man. It’s hard to say. I never really had a good picture of what was going on, especially after we left the States. There was a lot of turmoil when Jay (Hening, guitar) and Deon (Molyneux, drums) died, and then we realized we were alone. We just never really imagined where it was gonna lead. We just kind of figured, “Okay, what do we need to do? We need to get a drummer. Okay, now what do we need to do? We need to record some songs, we need to start getting something happening on the scene”. Being that it’s a gradual process, you never realize where you’ve really come until you look back to where you were and. We just never imagined what could be. We just kind of went with what was going on at the time, which is kind of a bad thing too, maybe that’s one of the reasons we took so long recording the album and stuff. We just got caught up in this thing of partying and doing these parties and shows, and we were getting a lot of big shows and we were playing constantly, and we just got caught up in this thing of, “Well, let’s record another song. Let’s change this song. Let’s redo this”. It just went on and on, man, and perhaps if we did have some kind of clear-cut goals, it would have made it a little quicker, the process would have been quicker…You think that you’re doing okay because you’re playing., you’re seeing that something’s happening. We were recording and writing, and we felt we were progressing, but the thing is, it just kept going on and on. Then Mickey Mess finally, our ex- guitar player, came and he said, “Look, man, it’s over. Stop, this is the album, all these other songs that you’re working on now, that’s the next album. Forget it. It’s over. Stop”. And that’s when we finally stopped and said, “We have an album”. 4:58

On if the songs on Movie Mary were written for the record or are older tracks – It’s a combination of both. Some were like something that may have started years ago and then changed over time and finally ended up this way. We redid some of the songs that we had done years ago that never really got a fair chance. It’s basically a combination of things, things that we’re writing now and things that we had written over time. I think every artist does that, you always have things that might have been written 20 years ago, and all of a sudden you had a chorus and it’s a new song or something. 7:22

On the Act numbers on certain songs – Well, it’s a very personal thing of how we categorize the songs based on at what stage they were when we finally finalized them through the recordings. We were doing “Kids City” in another version, and then doing it another version. Hence, “Kid City Act III”, because this is the third version. So it’s a personal thing, and it also had to do with some of the licensing things, we had to have a different title than the way we recorded them in the past, and so there was a thing with that too. 8:18

On the slight change in style of the last two tracks on the record – Those are the latest things that we’ve written. That’s pretty much what is most likely to come out in the next few months, next year, with the new stuff that we’re doing now. It’s close to that stuff than to the more hard rock and stuff. I don’t wanna disappoint guitar people, there will always be guitar. I could never look at my mom in the face if I didn’t have enough guitars on the album, 9:27

If the band was able to record in person or by file-sharing – We did the file-sharing thing to finally get the mix. We recorded these songs at least six or seven times over the years, it was that cycle of re-doing them, “I can do this better, I know now how to really do it”, it’s just a never-ending thing. It was a bad thing that we got into this really bad cycle, of just not finalizing anything we were doing that’s been our problem the last few years. I’m glad it’s in our past. 10:23

On trying to play during the pandemic – We’re really concerned that the situation is really gonna be hard. We were talking with one of the people from the distributor’s office the other day, and he said, “The problem that you guys have right now is the pandemic”. We always had offers to do shows all over Europe, and we did a bunch of them through the years, and just these last two years or so, the phone’s not ringing. It’s like most of the shows are bands that are very close or local bands, I’ve noticed that even with the opening acts for a lot of the bigger tours or the festivals, I’ve noticed a lot of the bands or just local or bands that are very close. It seems like there’s not much traveling and promoters, I don’t know if they’re wary of spending money to really set up big shows and fly bands out and book hotels. I understand how it is, the insecurity of laying out for a big show and not knowing what can happen by the time the show comes around, what the climate is like, what people’s psychology is like, if they don’t wanna go to a show, if they feel comfortable enough crowding themselves into a show, there’s a lot of factors, and it seems like it’s really influencing us. 11:23

On if he sees the band coming back to the US to play – Absolutely, man. Yeah, sure. We have this whole marketing campaign that’s gonna be kicking in now, you know how it is with the album and stuff. So once we get all the radio campaigns and all that stuff going, of course we want a tour, man. The thing is, how possible is it gonna be? Even if we just go to LA, New York, and some of the major cities and do like a mini-tour, maybe we’ll just end up doing that, like I said, we’ll see how things pan out…I wanna play so bad. I just got a call earlier today about this festival going on this summer with Liam Gallagher and Iggy Pop. I was like, “Are you kidding me? Of course we/re gonna play!”. 12:57

On what’s next for Scream Idol – The thing is we’re constantly recording, we have a whole bunch of stuff recorded now, so once we finalize that. This one won’t take as long this time. But we’re constantly recording and writing, that’s something that never stops. Now, we’re also very heavily rehearsing, ’cause we rehearsed practically every single day, we don’t really take many days off during the month. So we’re heavily into that and we’re just hoping that we can just continue to just play. That we can play shows and stuff, and then we can somehow support ourselves doing it. We’ve been lucky so far. Hopefully, we can keep it going. 14:15

On the contemporary feel of the record – As far as having some kind of contemporary feel, I’ll say this, man, we never stop doing what we were doing like 30 years ago. We didn’t lose touch with that. We still kept going out and drinking and we were always listening to new music, so like I said, it’s unavoidable that you’re gonna be influenced by the stuff that you’re constantly exposed to. We never dropped out of the scene, we’re still doing it. 16:15

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