The X-rated rock of
Stevie Starlite

By Russ Spataro

       Asking someone's opinion of Stevie Starlite is like trying to find a parallel between night and day. Depending on who you talk to, words like---outrageous, hilarious, offensive, funny, and tasteless have all been used to describe his show.

       The Starlite show has been billed X-rated rock (if there is such a thing), combining a multitude of off-colored jokes with vintage rock & roll. Some people are turned off by his brand of humor, while others think he is one of the funniest performers in the Chicago area.

       Stevie grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago and has been playing the Midwest's club circuit (in various groups) for more than 14 years. He also has three record albums to his credit. Don't Touch My D.A., Fuzzy Dice, and Old Brown Eye Is Back. He will soon be working on a video entitled "Belair." Featuring a '57 Chevy.

        A tribute to his popularity, you can always expect a good-sized crowd when he is performing at any of the Chicago area clubs.

       Sometimes lost in the comedic madness are a fine group of musicians; featuring Steveie Starlite, handling guitar and vocals; Jimmy Johansen on drums; and Gordon Patriarca, the bass guitarist.

       If you've never seen a Stevie Starlite performance, and you enjoy the Richard Pryor/Don Rickles-style comedy - combined with some good old rock & roll - then be prepared to laugh harder than you have in years.

BEAT: Why do you limit you music to that of the '50s & 60s?

STEVIE STARLITE: "Because that's where it all started. I think people come see me to laugh and forget about their problems. I feel the old rock & roll music is better suited for mixing with comedy."

BEAT: Are your jokes and bits planned or are they spontaneous?

S.S.: "I have an idea on what I'm going to do, but most of it is spontaneous. I never really sit down and plan routines."

BEAT: Have you ever had any problems as a result of your jokes?

S.S. : "Oh sure! I got pulled off stage by my beard once. Another time we had just finished a set and I was in the back room when this guy walks in and sticks a gun in my ribs telling me that I owe his girlfriend an apology for insulting her. I said to him, sure anything you say. I remember playing Champaign, IL at an outdoor concert and after three songs and a few jokes, the audience started throwing rocks at us. Of course we stopped playing, but before we walked off stage I made a few more remarks to the crowd and that really set them off. The police had to escort us out of town."

BEAT: You've been performing at the Chicago area clubs for some 14 years now and you've seen it at its best and at its worst. In your opinion what happened?

S.S. : "I think it was the club owners' attitude toward the people. I've walked into clubs where the washrooms stink and are so filthy that you don't even want to use them. People were spending good money for drinks and cover charges, so I thing many of them just got fed up going to these places."

BEAT: You don't seem to put any of the blame on the groups themselves. What about the groups that are always late in starting their shows or the ones that play for only 25 minutes and take a 45 minute break? Don't you think people got a little fed up with that too?

S.S. : "Oh sure, that had a lot to do with it too...I always start my show on time and I always play more than I'm suppose to. I feel if someone pays $3 to see me, or if a guy is with his girlfriend, then that's $6, I owe it to them to put on the most show I can."

BEAT: Do you consider yourself a serious guitarist?

S.S. : "Not really. I've been playing guitar for more than twenty years now and I see these 17 year old kids who can blow me away, so its pretty hard to think of myself that way,"

BEAT: Were you the class clown when you were in school?

S.S. : " I probably spent more time out of school than I did in. As a matter of fact at my ten year high school reunion, I was voted the "Still Crazy After All These Years Award."

BEAT: What are the groups future plans?

S.S. : "At the end of August we will be playing in Toronto for several weeks and when we get back we'll start working on our video."