Head in the Gutter, Eyes in the Stars

L.A.’s Starcrawler say rock ‘n’ roll will never die

Been feeling a serious lack of electric guitar in your music lately? After all, electric guitar sales have slid more than 20 percent since 2008. According to LA scuzz-rockers Starcrawler, however, rock ’n’ roll’s linchpin instrument is alive and well, and so are the blues roots of rock itself.

“Every rock guitarist has to be into blues or they don’t have any groove,” says Starcrawler lead singer Arrow de Wilde, daughter of music photographer Autumn de Wilde.

Together since 2015, Starcrawler released its self-titled debut in 2018. The album metabolizes the Sunset Boulevard degenerate hard rock, punk and glittery gutter-glam of the 1970s. 

The song “Pussy Tower” is an old-fashioned rock n’ roll ode to getting cheap and easy head, while “Full of Pride” is a four-chord punk tune that would fit nicely among ’90s-era buzz bands.

This year, Starcrawler contributed a cover of the Ramones classic “Pet Sematary” to the soundtrack of the latest film version of Stephen King’s book of the same name. The Ramones’ eponymous debut album was the first album de Wilde bought with her own money, she says. 

“I listened, and I was like, I know why people love it,” she says. “I played it non-stop.”

De Wilde grew up on The Beatles before discovering Riot Grrrl punk. Once she discovered Ozzy, though, it was all over: one listen to the Ozzy album Blizzard of Oz, and she was obsessed.

Otherwise, her band listens to everything from Beach Boys to Sonic Youth.

Before Starcrawler, de Wilde had never sung in a serious band — surprising, given the raw intensity with which she fronts Starcrawler. Sometimes she performs in a hospital gown like a recently escaped mental patient. At others, she contorts herself into grotesque rock-star poses that make Iggy Pop seem, you know, kinda mellow.

de Wilde knew the band was something special when it played its very first show.

“I didn’t think I knew what I was going to wear. I knew kind of what my attitude was going to be,” she says.

“We played a really tiny stage, 50 people. It was packed, out the door, really shitty sound system. We didn’t really tell anyone.”

Once the band started, though, she thought, “This is our thing.”

Starcrawler plays with Death Valley Girls 9 pm Wednesday, May 15, at Sessions Music Hall; $12 advance, $14 door, all-ages.