By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Los Angeles band Stars In Stereo wants to make Christmas a little brighter for those children in need.
The band, www.starsinstereo.com, has teamed up with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program on its national tour supporting Halestorm. The tour on Dec. 15 comes to House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn Ave., Chicago. Also on the bill is Redlight King.
The first five fans who bring an unwrapped toy to the House of Blues at 6 p.m. will receive a pair of tickets to the show along with a copy of Stars in Stereo’s debut self-titled album. A representative for the band wearing a Stars in Stereo shirt will be stationed outside the box office/will call window to collect the toys and give out the tickets that night.
After the 10 tickets have been claimed, any remaining fans that have brought a toy will receive a copy of the band’s CD. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are available at www.livenation.com.
I had the chance to talk to lead singer Bec Hollcraft and guitarist Jordan McGraw about the tour.
Q - Great talking to you. The Toys For Tots tour kicked off recently. What made you want to be part of this tour? Is it a good fit that you are supporting Halestorm, which is another female-fronted band?
Jordan - Ya this tour is pretty amazing! Who wouldn't want to tour with Halestorm?! We've been out with them before and just love them and their music.
The Toys For Tots aspect of the tour is actually just something we decided to do on our own when we found out we were touring around the holidays.
Q - You are touring in support of your debut album, which debuted at #12 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. In sitting down to make the record, what were your goals and do you think you achieved them?
Bec - When making this record, all we wanted was to make something we were proud of, songs that we would want to tour the world performing. We are always striving for better but are so happy with how the record has been doing so far.
We achieved making an album we are extremely proud of, still working on the world tour though.
Q - The video for the single "Every Last Thing" has received more than one million hits on YouTube. Why do you think it has connected with people so well? What was your concept for the video?
Jordan - We just hit one million hits on Thanksgiving. We were pumped!
It's our first million of anything. A few extra shots were had that night that's for sure.
As far as the connection, our aim was to either gross people out, piss moms off, or hook people right off the bat and I think it worked. The comments are pretty funny everything from, "I missed most of the video because I was cringing at the violence" to "DON'T LET YOUR KIDS WATCH THIS!" to "That was like a movie!"
Pretty fun to see.
Q - Bec, you had signed with the Sony Japan label before becoming a part of Stars In Stereo. You had never been in a band before. What made you want to be part of the band?
Bec - I had a great time working in Japan and loved my label, but I was ready for something new. I always wanted to be in a band, it was just about finding the right people to do that with.
I feel so lucky we all found each other.
Q - How do you think the music you were making before joining the band compares to the music you are making now?
Bec - I am so much more grown up now, obviously because I'm older but also this band has inspired me to speak from the self that was scared to for so many years. The music is more mature and it's a lot heavier than what I used to do, and I love that.
Q - Jordan, what do you think she brings to the table? Did your styles just naturally fit together?
Jordan - She's the best singer I've ever heard. This band wouldn't be Stars In Stereo without Bec.
Plus, when we all sat down to write for the first time it felt like we'd been writing together forever. Perfect fit.
Q - Bec, I understand that Meredith Brooks wanted to work with you after hearing a tape that you had made, saying that you had a "powerhouse" voice. What was it like working with her and what advice did she give you?
Bec - She guided me and gave me so much advice that I would have been lost without. She pushed me to be a better artist and I am very grateful.
I was only 13 when we met and she really helped me grow up. She never went easy on me which at the time sucked but those lessons are paying off now.
Q - What are the band's short-term and long-term goals?
Jordan - We just want to tour, make new music, and keep learning and getting better at what we do. We see more and more people singing along at shows and there's no better feeling.
We have our first few headlining shows coming up which we can't wait for! Dec 17th at Firebird in St Louis, the 19th at Marquis in Denver, and the 20th at Black Sheep in Colorado Springs.