Rockbrat Wonders: Whatever Happened To Jed Starr ?

Jed Starr

As a gig goer and hard rock/ heavy rock fan in Sydney in the 1980s, I saw guitarist Jed Starr on dozens of occasions in different bands. All great. I haven’t seen (or heard about) Jed Starr since 2002, and I’d be interested to know of his current musical activities if any.  Jed certainly had a few bites of the ‘success cherry’, yet ultimately, none came to fruition. He was always very close to ‘making it’ but fate can be cruel, and despite some great recordings, he never made it to the top.  Darren McCormack and his brothers Matt and Shawn grew up in Sydney, but by the early 80’s, he and his brothers and family were residing in Los Angeles, and in 83, they were playing the Hollywood Clubs. By the mid 80’s however, the family moved back to Sydney. As history has shown, he was a victim of poor timing, as the LA rock bubble was just about to explode and he was close, for the first time, to being at the right place at the right time and ‘making it’ (a recurring theme in his career). If they had of stayed in LA ? Who knows. Poor timing I guess. So anyway, by the mid 80’s, he and his brothers has all taken pseudonyms (Darren was known as Jed Starr, Matt was known as Big Bird, and Shawn was known as Snuff Beastly) and were playing the Sydney circuit with a couple of bands including ‘Kings Cross’ their glam/hard rock outfit, and also ‘Massive Appendage’ their speed metal band. By around 1987, they had a third band called ‘Festers Fanatics’, featuring the irrepressible Fester on vocals. Festers played largely covers. Great and inspired versions though. The McCormack’s had their own label called ‘Original Records’ and released albums by all these bands on their own label. I saw him with Kings Cross on several occasions, including supporting Stryper at Sydney’s Homebush Stadium. I used to spot him and his brothers everywhere. I spied them coming out of the Hordern Pavilion after Metallica in 1989, and even coming out of the Valhalla Cinema after the screening of ‘The Metal Years: Decline of The Western Civilisation’. I bought all the records, even the 7” of ‘Georgie Girl / I Can’t Take It’. In around 1990, McCormack moved to Melbourne and hooked up with a band called Killing Time. An amazing band. Heavy, funky, metal. Lots of hooks, grove and originality. I saw Killing Time on several occasions and they were always great. The bonus of having his former Kings Cross buddy Tubby on drums made it better still. The amazing ‘Ruby’s Mind’ (his tune) had the industry in a buzz, with labels falling over themselves to get the bands signatures. I bought the Mandelbroth Set and Dream Alone 12” EPs, for no other reasons than I was a Jed fan. ‘Dream Alone’ in particular showed off his melodic song writing and likeable vocals. After a couple of EP’s though, he was gone – as was Tubby on drums. Killing Time morphed into Mantissa and a heavier direction yet without Jed’s infectious knack for melody – it left me a little cold. In 1992, Mr. Rockbrat would run into him at countless Girl Monstar gigs in Melbourne, and he ended up producing their debut album, ‘Monstereo Delicio’. Post Killing Time, he fronted his own band, Starworld. I saw Starworld a couple of times, including a gig in the front bar of the Brookvale Hotel on a Thursday night (with Kings Of The Sun’s Anthony Ragg on bass). In around 94, he was the guitar player Jon Stevens chose to work with on his new, post Noiseworks solo career. I saw Stevens on ‘Hey Hey Its Saturday’, and there was Jed on guitar. I was sure that Stevens album would be massive, and Jed would go along for the ride. Nope, the album stiffed. Fate can be cruel. By the end of 96 I’d moved out of Sydney and lost track of his musical wanderings, that was until 2002 when I found myself sitting at the Railway Hotel on Chapel Street in Windsor. I was with Mr. Giglizard and we were having a few pre gig drinks prior to heading to Richmond to see Radio Birdman. Giglizard alerted me to the fact that Lucy De Soto was also in the pub and was talking to….none other than Jed Star, sporting long hair and long beard. In spite of suffering a stinking hangover the next day, what followed was a memorable evening spent with Giglizard (who had gone to the same high school as Jed) and Jed, where many old rock stories were told over several glasses. I recall Jed being impressed in both Giglizard and my knowledge of his musical output, and various gigs and venues we had seen him at over the years. He was also impressed that I had a copy of ‘Georgie Girl’ on 7”. He managed to sell his Peter Green ticket to Giglizard and then was gone – that’s nine years ago now. If anyone knows where 2011 finds Jed Starr, please let us know, and if you run into him, let him know that he is fondly remembered here at Rockbrat HQ.

9 thoughts on “Rockbrat Wonders: Whatever Happened To Jed Starr ?

  1. Totally agree Cowboy Col. Jed was an amazing guitar player and a victim of poor timing. Australia was a small pond – he shoulda tried his luck elsewhere instead of shitty surburban Sydney venues….oh and btw with regard to Killing Time/Mantrissa – they lost direction after he left, faceless. Best leave it there…

  2. Jed is believed to be now living in Queensland. He went from being basically homeless in the late 1990′s here in Melbourne to staying in Sydney in the mid-2000′s. It was such a tragedy, it made us cry. He had such immense talent & such great taste in music.

    1. I agree, and that’s the consensus with us here at Rockbrat. The decline in popularity of guitar based rock n roll from the mid 90’s onwards was not without it’s causalities who previously had no problems finding an accepting audience to ply their trade for. However dormant it may be, he still no doubt has the musical talent inside him – a comeback is never out of the question. So long as the fire is still there I guess. Anyway, he is always remembered fondly by us folks here – and others too by all accounts.

  3. hey rockbrat ! just wanted to let you know i last run into jed about the same time as you .
    We talked about the very issues you discussed. Having been a former member of kings cross
    {at the dying end of the band } i was privy to jeds playing night after night …and i was always amazed at his skill …though i struggled to keep up at the time ..i still consider it to have been one of the musical highlights of my life and i am proud to have played even a minor role in the history of a band that pre – empted the whole grunge/ pop / punk , thing by at least a few years – maybe more.That band could have been huge …jed knows that ..and i think it must have stung him big time ..but he is held in high regard by people in the know – still ,as he said dont pay the bills .
    I even said to him -‘how about playing solo in an italian restaurant ‘ he looked at me funny .
    as i said…many great memorys …but we cant live in the past ..still , i am very proud of my time with the McCormack boys .

  4. He inspired so many of us still to this day.
    I miss our chats at The Espy, such an authentic guy, so talented, and its a bloody shame that this industry can chew u up n shit u out at the drop of a hat.
    Most of us now either work in Allied health, Community services and or are studying just to pay the bills, and then we get hit with Covid 19,more respect to him I say, by the way, I wish he didn’t cut his hair, and that will be the only regret of knowing this great man!

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