The Stars Band, an inspirational group of musicians with learning difficulties, will have the support of Sheffield’s pop royalty at their debut album launch.
In their first headline gig at a major venue, they will showcase their album, We Are Stars - We Think Differently, at the Leadmill tomorrow (Thursday, May 30).
And supporting them wil be real Sheffield stars, including Heaven 17 electro pop legend Martyn Ware, performing a DJ set.
I Monster, whose tracks have appeared in films such as Shaun of the Dead, will be performing a set. Designer and DJ Pipes will also be gracing the stage.
Live support will feature the acoustic talents of Mike Hughes and boy/girl duo The Flaming Skulls
But the night will belong to The Stars Band themselves, whose ten-track album consists of self-penned songs and cover versions of classics, including Heaven 17’s We Don’t Need No Fascist Groove Thing and Radiohead’s Creep.
All the original songs have been written and recorded by the band, with support from producer, Hospital Records’ Chris Morris and musician Moony Wainwright.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch The Stars Band session at Sheffield’s Tramlines festival 2011.
The album artwork was created by Sheffield design company Peter & Paul, who have worked with everyone from Ninja Tunes to Sainsbury’s. Its cover was shot by leading photographer Johnny Carr, whose client portfolio includes MTV.
The album is dedicated to Eddie Jackson, who passed away in 2011. Eddie was a founding member of Under the Stars and resident DJ there, and the lead singer of the band.
Under the Stars would not have been what it is today without Eddie’s enthusiasm, charisma and endless ideas, says the band. His mother is now a director of Under Of The Stars.
A limited run of 1,000 physical copies will be available from alternative lifestyle store Balance on Devonshire Street.
There are 13 individual versions to collect as each band member appears in portrait form on the album cover.
Otherwise the album will be available from iTunes.
The Stars’ music is influenced by punk and new wave, along with lyrical themes inspired by the band members’ life experiences.
Chris Morris, who works as a music educator at Red Tape Studios, says: “It’s great to have worked on a project like this. Music is a great leveller - everyone knows music and we’re all experts at it. We all make decisions about music so it’s a great medium for everyone.”
For The Stars, music has helped them become more confident as people.
The band was formed as an off-shoot of the Under the Stars monthly club night for people with learning difficulties. As many as 500 people attend the monthly event, which features DJs and bands. Ruth Parrott was one of the founding members of Under the Stars.
“I was working at Sheffield MENCAP and decided that people with learning difficulties needed a proper night out,” said Ruth. “Now we get as many as 500 people coming to the nights from all over South Yorkshire.”
Backing vocalist Michael Hambrey said: “The band came out of the club night and it’s been really good fun.”
But the next two weeks will be particularly exciting for the band because their record will soon be released.
“It will be so good to see the finished product as we have achieved that as a team and it took quite a while to do. We put loads of work into it but we really enjoyed playing on the record and doing it together.”