A buzz is building for Los Angeles alternative-rock quartet Star 69. This year, they have toured with The Heads, Magnapop, Local H and Lisa Germano, and this is long before their Radioactive/MCA debut album, “Eating February,” is in stores.
Lead singer-songwriter Julie Daniels, a Southern California native, formed the group through help-wanted ads in trade weeklies while living in London.
“I had every guitar player come into my house,” Daniels said recently. “That should have been a movie. It was just so funny. From the most metal guy to Brian Eno types, it was a potpourri, a plethora of guitar players. Such a bizarre mix.”
She settled on Richard Corden, then added bassist Warren Huart and eventually drummer Johnny Haro.
Daniels said she moved to London because she was tired of L.A.’s let’s-do-lunch scene. “I was just being a girl with no direction there, one of those lost girls,” she said. With few friends to speak of, she holed up for months to teach herself to play guitar.
“I sort of got sick of depending on other people,” she said, “so one day I said, ‘F— it, I’m going to learn how to play the guitar.’ I sat in my apartment for a year, I’m not kidding, and I played guitar every single day. I was like a crazy person.
“I wrote all these songs and I got a publishing deal. I put an ad in Melody Maker and put a band together. It sounds so crazy, but I swear to God it’s true.”
Before she knew it, Daniels was back in Los Angeles, laying down tracks for “Eating February” and labels already were scoping them out. Radioactive won hands down. Last month, the label issued a four-song preview EP.
“Eating February” is scheduled for a Jan. 28, 1997, release.
“All the times I was writing these songs in my apartment, I wasn’t thinking ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a rock star,’ ” Daniels said. “It just evolved into that, you know what I mean? It was a weird time in my life and I needed an outlet. Music was that outlet.
“A lot of these songs are sad. My mom was really sick and dying of cancer … she died two years ago. My head was into that. I was in my own world, and now I ended up here.”
The best part, Daniels said, is that few people know the songs are filled with anguish because the upbeat melodies disguise them.
Her gut feeling on the fate of “Eating February”?
“I think it has a fair shot,” she said. “I like it, I think it’s a good record. I don’t think it’ll be in the 99-cent bin right away. It has a really good chance, that’s all I can say. It’s really up to the gods or whatever.”
BWF (before we forget): Star 69 glitters on the Web @ www.radioactive.net.