Backstage Pass Radio

S3: E5: Larry Barragan (Helstar / Santa Oscuridad) Dreamless Sleep & Vampires

August 23, 2022 Backstage Pass Radio
Backstage Pass Radio
S3: E5: Larry Barragan (Helstar / Santa Oscuridad) Dreamless Sleep & Vampires
Show Notes Transcript

Date: August 24, 2022
Name of podcast: Backstage Pass Radio
Episode title and number:  S3: E5: Larry Barragan (Helstar / Santa Oscuridad) Dreamless Sleep & Vampires

Artist Short Bio - Helstar is an American heavy metal band formed in Houston, Texas, in 1982 by guitarist Larry Barragan. They were an influential force in the American power metal genre emerging in the mid-1980s.

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Larry Barragan

Sun, 8/14 11:37AM • 1:55:27


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Randy Hulsey, Larry Barragan, Adam Gordon


Randy Hulsey  00:14

If you are a metalhead, this is your show tonight, guys. Hey everyone, it's Randy Hulsey with backstage pass radio, and I'm joined this evening in the crystal vision studio by a musician that put live metal on the map in Houston, Texas back in the early 80s. I will be joined by the dark metal guitarist Daredevil, Larry Barragan of the band hell star and Santa us good radar when we come back.


Adam Gordon  00:39

This is backstage pass radio, the podcast that's designed for the music junkie with a thirst for musical knowledge. Hi, this is Adam Gordon. And I want to thank you all for joining us today. Make sure you like subscribe and turn the alerts on for this and all upcoming podcasts. And now here's your host of backstage pass radio. Randy Halsey.


Randy Hulsey  01:08

Larry, what's happening, brother? Welcome to the show, man. Thank you, Randy. Thanks for driving all the way out from no man's land. What part of town where are you coming in from?


Larry Barragan  01:18

I'm coming in from the south side. So it's a about an hour away.


Randy Hulsey  01:22

Okay. And traffic wasn't too horrible, right? It's Houston. You never know what you're gonna get when you actually get in the car and get on the road. It can be what do they say a box of chocolates? Yeah, never know what you're gonna get. So I've known of hell star, dating back to the 80s. I grew up in South Houston and also played in the few bands on that side of town. And I was trying to remember back but I had never formally met you until I think it was maybe five or six years ago. I'm horrible with dates. But I believe Sister Mary tarantula might have been playing over at the Republic house, and I walked up and I said, Are you Larry? And you said, Yeah. And I said, Well, I'm friends with Rob Trevino. And anyway, it was it was a very brief introduction. You probably don't remember it. But I think that was the first time that I've met you. Back in the day. Right. Now. What part of town did you grow up in?


Larry Barragan  02:23

I grew up in the in the East End. That's they call it magnolia. It's right. I guess a couple of streets away from Mason Park and 75th Lawndale 75th. Kind of that area.


Randy Hulsey  02:38

So you were you were kind of further up 45 Then right towards downtown.


Larry Barragan  02:43

I was in a loop. Yeah. Okay. So grew up there. Was that actually was born even closer to town, which was awful, like navigation and Milby area. Okay. So, we, I was, I guess my first like, when I was from newborn to five years old, we live next door to this bus farm. And I remember like, in the morning, they they would take off and it would be all this exhaust in the in the backyard. And then when they would come home, you know, you know, afterwards, it's all this exhaust in the backyard. And I think my grandpa, my grandparents raised me. So I think my grandfather was like, I don't think this is good for him. So let's move on. Right. So then they moved out a little bit. Okay,


Randy Hulsey  03:31

out meaning further south.


Larry Barragan  03:34

Further south, but still on the east end.


Randy Hulsey  03:37

I gotcha. So what what schools did you get zoned to like, like, what was your elementary school, your intermediate school and your high school?


Larry Barragan  03:45

I was in elementary school, I was at Brisco. And then, then then I went to DD and then I went to Milby and I like to go to meal B, because it was closer. I was supposed to go to Austin, but, you know, I could actually walk to middleby because I guess I was on the, at the edge of that of the Austin school zone. And so I use my cousin's Hajra. So and, yeah, that's how I went to me.


Randy Hulsey  04:15

Interesting. Yeah. Well, so back back when you went to school, at Milby was it was it pretty rough back in the day or did it get rough after you left? Do you remember that? Because I think I think Milby was always kind of had this reputation of being a pretty pretty rough school or


Larry Barragan  04:31

DD I thought was rougher. You know, that's, that was the junior high shirt, but when I got to middle V. I don't remember. A lot of like fighting or anything like that. I do. Remember there was a shooting. I do remember that. Because I was in the parking lot getting high. And then all of a sudden on the radio and said there's been a shooting MLB high and then my buddy and I were like, somebody got shot. Let's go. Let's go see.


Randy Hulsey  04:58

Let's run to the prom.


Larry Barragan  05:00

Let's run. Let's run to the school. Right, see what's going on. Yeah, we walked into the hallway and people were screaming and crying. And I was like, what happened when you know? Everybody the teachers, like get out. So, that was, that was the one kind of bad thing that happened. I think later on there, it did get a little bit rougher, but not while I was there. And you know, most people, like kind of left me alone I was metalhead. So yeah, there weren't a lot of us. And so, you know, you're, you're kind of used to just being on the outside. You know, there's the jocks. You know, all the people


Randy Hulsey  05:39

were scared of you.


Larry Barragan  05:40

I don't know, they were scared of me. They weren't scared. They were just like that. Metal funny. But yeah, you only have a core friends that actually listen to metal and then everybody else is, you know, doing, you know, the pop thing and all that. And, you know, who could blame them? You know, but when you I guess when you kind of grow up? In that neighborhood, you don't even know that you're in a rough part of town. You just it's relative. Right? Yeah. You just feel like normal to you. Yeah. Yeah. Until you go back. Yeah, later.


Randy Hulsey  06:18

And they're like, Wow, I survived.


Larry Barragan  06:20

Yeah, you know, I have I have a funny story about that is that I had a friend that he was living out Cypress area, and I didn't come over to my house. And I actually, when my first got married, I just we I basically moved around the corner, you know, from where I was staying with my grandparents. And, and I invited him over to watch football, and we were going to barbecue or something. And he came by and, and he gets there and he goes, Wow, man, there's notice there's a lot of like police cars in the area. And I was like, Oh, really? I never noticed. And he was like, yeah, like, every corner, there was a, there was a cop car. And I was like, Oh, wow. Okay. I mean, I don't I don't know, you know, but then, you know, he goes home and whatever, we go to his house, and everything's cool. And then we, my wife, and I decide, Hey, let's go ahead and move. You know, get the kids into a better school. And we move and then, I guess maybe like three months later, we came back to the old neighborhood. And yeah, we're like, wow, this is the get home. And we didn't even notice. We didn't even know. We didn't know we lived in the ghetto.


Randy Hulsey  07:42

Yeah, you get you get so comfortable with your surroundings, though. It's just it's the norm. Yeah, for sure. Honestly. Yeah, for sure. Let's, let's roll back to 1982 ish. Okay. This is the year I think that it all began for elstar. Correct. Yep. What the listeners through how the band formed. And who were the first musicians that were added to the hell star lineup back in the day.


Larry Barragan  08:16

Well, basically, Hector Pavana, and I were in another band, three piece band called Black Rose. And we did like a lot of rush and stuff like that. But at some point, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal came to the, you know, to the US and I was totally down with it. You know, I, I bought that Iron Maiden sight unseen. I just saw the cover when like, I gotta get this badass. And so I started wanting to do more of that. And he was like me, you know, I'm not really down with it. So he actually said, Yeah, you guys go your, your own way. And I hooked up with this. They were a little bit older than then Hector and I, it was the the other guitar player was John Diaz. And the bass player was buddy tomorrow. And they were in another band from the area as well. And so we got together and we started playing. And John Diaz was actually the, the guy who came up with with the name Health Star, okay. And I thought, Oh, that's cool, you know, and I said, let's, let's do let's let's drop one of the ELLs and that way we'll have a center letter that we can maybe do something with the logo or something like that, and that's the only reason we dropped the L Okay, you know, just to make it look kind of different proportion of different, I'm sure. And so we we kind of started playing some songs and back then we were doing obscure stuff we were doing budgie we were doing like diamond we were doing, Saxon. I think we did like scorpions can't get enough and another piece of meat and I want to say we did animal magnetism, too, but I'm not sure. We were doing UFO. So, like a lot of people were, I think we even did made and we of course, we did stuff from Black Sabbath from heaven and hell. And when we play, you know, people thought, I guess that's our originals because they hadn't heard of any of those bands. And we'd say, No, it's this man. So we started turning on all these people to different different bands from that of that time. And we actually did some angel, which as well. And so what happens is the original guitarist John Diaz and the bass player at the same time, they decided like, well, I'm going back to school. And like I said, they were a little bit older than us. And, you know, bass players like MMA, I guess I'm out too. So now, it's like Hector, and myself again, like, Ah, no, we're all alone again. And so the original bass player that we were jamming with comes back, that's spa Medina. And he's, he's on the first album, burning star. It's Hector, myself. And then we team up with this, another young guitarist Tom Rogers. And then it was like this constant, merry go round looking for a singer. So we went through maybe two, three singers until we end, then we saw James. And then we played like this battle of the bands thing. And the singer that we had at the time was good. It was really great. But he couldn't remember any of the lyrics. And so it was


Randy Hulsey  11:54

like, Well, I know the feeling. I know the feeling.


Larry Barragan  11:57

It's like, well, that's not gonna work, man. So then James had a band that he was playing in. And when I saw him, I was like, that's the dude we need to hook up with. And he says, that I went over to his apartment, and, you know, told him Hey, the band, you're in sucks, you need to join our band. I don't remember that. But then again, you know, that was many years ago, so and then he you know, he thought about it like, Yeah, I think so. Maybe I should at least go audition and see what you know. If this is something I want to do, and he came over we did we auditioned him with I think we played like, kill the king from Rainbow. And I think we did neon nights. And you know, a lot of kind of Ronnie do error stuff. I mean, he had kind of that feel to his voice. Yeah. But then he could really hit those high notes like coffered and stuff. So we felt like well, it's the best of both worlds. You know, we got this guy that can, can do like the high screens, and he can also do the cool like, not grouse, but just that cool, raspy voice, you know, and yeah, and then we never, you know, we just started writing songs. And I mean, we didn't even know what we're doing. Really? Yeah. You know, you're just kind of trying to mimic those other bands that that, you know, that are influencing you. And, and, and still trying to learn the instrument. I mean, I didn't know I was in key or out of key I go back now and listen, Bernstein like, oh, god, that's so bad. So how to key you know, but I mean, that's sounded good back then. So, I mean, you listen to a lot of those guys from that era that like, Whoo, yeah, that's a key too. Right. Yeah. So everybody was kind of recording and but, you know, going for it and, and, and learning how to play along the way, you know, so


Randy Hulsey  13:56

you talked a little bit, you thought you threw out some names, like, you know, Saxon and UFO bands like that. Would you cite those as influences to you? Like, I know, from the young age, you mentioned also earlier that, you know, it was you were into the metal you're a metalhead in school, right? But what what influenced you? You know, if I look back and say, Well, what influenced me, you know, I can't say Led Zeppelin and you know, bands like that, like what was influencing you from a young age? Right?


Larry Barragan  14:29

Well, I was lucky, I have an older brother, he's five years older than me. So he, he kind of paved the way for all the music that I was listening to, and he introduced me to Led Zeppelin into Black Sabbath into deep purple. And so the zeppelin thing was cool. But there was something about the Black Sabbath and the Deep Purple and rush all the way up to like 2112 that, that that angst and darkness, that really, I liked it, you know, and, uh, Um, so those were the bands I kind of gravitated to Judas Priest. My favorite album was stained class. So when that came out, I was like, blown away. Yeah, I think I even cried when I listened to that one, you know, it was so good. And and then, you know, there's Iron Maiden and in those bands, that's when I was already really playing guitar by that time. And so listening to Iron Maiden and Angel, which and I always tell people like Angel, which you hear that all over that first album, you know, if you really listened to it, you're like, oh, yeah, that's like, that's like something that angel which did on their own? Yeah, totally ripping them off, because they were, you know, that's what we want it to be like, you know, we liked that they had like that darkness. And it was, and it was still pretty, you know, heavy and fast for back then, you know, and it just, you know, just continue to to, like I said, Learn the instrument. And the better you got the more complicate complicated the, the music got as well. So then, you know, you start to be yourself finally, you know, and that's where, I think, right around distant thunder, I think we're starting to kind of know, like, No, this is, this is what we want to do. And this is how we want to sound.


Randy Hulsey  16:25

What do you think the draw was for you? To the dark metal to the dark stuff. But what was the draw? Was it the, was it the theatrics of it? Was it the the look, was it the actual music? Or was it a combination of all of those things?


Larry Barragan  16:40

I think it was probably a combination of everything. And just, you know, I looked up to my brother, and that's what he was listening to. So I wanted to listen to so he was a metalhead too. Then he was. Yeah, he was. He was probably back then. It wasn't a metalhead. I mean, everybody listened to heart rock. Yeah, sure. And so that's what he was listening to. And he actually was I wanted to be a drummer. And he actually talked me out of it and said, No, no, you don't want to be a drummer, man. I was like, Yes, I do want to be a drummer. And he said, No, you don't want to be a drummer. And I was like, Yes, I do. And he had like that Jedi mind trick going on and goes, no, the drummer is always in the back. Yeah, you don't want to be up front. You want to be in the front. Do you know, man, I don't know. And he's like, Dude, you want to be Jimmy Page, Richie Blackmore, Alex Lifeson these guys, where are they? From? You know, so I was like, okay, so then then it was the struggle to actually get a guitar at that time. You know, my, my grandparents were, you know, I would live with them. And, and they were, my grandmother was like, No, you know, absolutely not. I don't want you to play any instruments, because I knew these guys that were in a band. And they were coming home from a gig in their station wagon, and they kick the roll off the road and everybody died. And I was like, Well, what does that have to do with me? I'm 12. And she was like, no, no, no. And I begged her and begged and begged her and then finally one day i i asked my grandfather make this wouldn't get to, I've told this story many times I make this cut out this piece of plywood like the shape of an explorer. And I found this long piece of wood, stuck it on there. That was my neck. I painted it. Okay. And I said, Well, if I'm not gonna get a guitar, I'll just pretend and pretend man or guitar. Yeah, and I didn't even know that was air guitar back then. I don't think that was even invented either. I was just doing it because I loved it. I wanted it so bad and and when Tom has in my in my room and not splashing I have a stereos have probably had it all full blast. And my grandfather had been banging on door for me to come to dinner. And, and, and I would I wouldn't turn off guy. Yeah, I didn't hear him. And so he opened the door and he flashed the, the lights to the room, and I'm like, Oh, crap. And I turned around, and I had this towel on my head because I wanted long hair. You know, so I had this talent, man, I'm looking at him. And he's like, Hey, man, come and eat. And I said, Okay, you know, I didn't think anything about it. And as I sit down and at the table, and it's like, I'm, I'm sitting here, my grandfather's to my right, my grandmother's cross for me, and, and he says, tomorrow, go go by him and guitar. Wow. You know, and goes, he saw the love. Yeah. And then she was like, Well, I don't know. And he said that, you know, don't. I already said, go buy more. And he said, Well, if you don't, then I am. And she already knew like, oh shit, you know, I don't want I don't want him to buy it because he'll buy something really expensive. You know, so she said, Okay, I'll get him one, you know, and that's where it really began, you know, but I'd already been listening to like I said, you know, all those bands, you know, deep purple, Black Sabbath. I mean, Black Sabbath. We've listened to A lot of that and you know, my my brother, he used to get like these weird like European compilation albums. So we have like Sweet Leaf and it have it have all these Black Sabbath songs, but they'd all be from like different albums. Okay, so it was I don't know if they were bootleg or what but he had the he had these these albums and I remember listening to him over and over and over again, you know, for engine just going like, Man Yeah, I will learn how to play that Iron Man, you know, that's cool. And yeah, it just took off from there. And, and then when you you know, I always tell people you don't have some issues at home or you don't have some kind of anger inside of you. You're not going to be a metalhead, you know, right. So that I guess there was some stuff going on in both of us, you know, my brother and I and, and that's why we gravitated to that heavy music, you know? And yeah, to this day, it's just like, you know, I don't want to say like, my life is great. And, and so I can gonna write like, you know, lighter music or anything. It's just, you know, it's been ingrained in me for so long. I'm sure that's all i Yeah, I know, really, is I want to play heavy stuff. You know,


Randy Hulsey  21:18

you think do you think you could write a lighter song? Or do you think you'd struggle with that?


Larry Barragan  21:25

I would probably struggle with you know, just because your brains just Pro I just can't I just wouldn't mean, I couldn't write the lyrics. I think, you know, we have a kind of a Baladi song with Santa scooty that, but I didn't write the lyrics to that. And no, I just, I don't know what it is. I just, I've always liked that. That kind of Stephen King and Clive Barker. Yeah. You know, those writers where you're, you know, they make dark Yeah. Dark and make you think and diabolical. Yeah, they, you know, scares you. Yeah. You know, I remember reading the stand and somebody coughed next to me, and I was like, Well, man, get away from me, you know, kind of do or you'd hear cat outside. And you think like, I just read that cemetery and that universe out there, you know, so? Yeah, it's just, I guess it was just fun for me to after a while. It's just fun to be in that world doesn't


Randy Hulsey  22:23

make sense soccer world, but


Larry Barragan  22:26

as far as writing it, writing something, love song or something. I mean, I love my wife, but I don't know if I could write a song. That would be you know, do justice.


Randy Hulsey  22:38

Well, there was no right or wrong answer for that question. I was I was curious more than anything. I think that the brain becomes trained to do things a certain way. And it's hard to break that normalcy, right? It's hard to break out of that mold. From a from a chronological walkthrough and we'll hit kind of high level you guys have done a lot over the years. And if I'm off on any facts or any dates, I'm I trust that you'll set me straight and say that's not right. Randy. You know, this is this is what I recall. Right. But you guys released your first studio album, I think that was burning star back in what at Forest? We were on there before, and that was on Combat Records. Right. Right. And how long did you guys that was? So that was the first album with combat then. Right. Okay. And I guess you had some pretty cool labelmates back then. Right? What Exodus and Megadeth were on combat, were they were they a


Larry Barragan  23:40

death? Agent steel? Bath three, I can't remember who else was on that label. The rods I think I think the rods were on that label as well.


Randy Hulsey  23:54

Now maybe I'm wrong, correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think so. These days. I've had a lot of guests on my shows. And there's a lot of collaboration going on these days. Right? With with labelmates and I'm hooked in with Frontier records right now. I'm going to be having Joel Hoekstra from Whitesnake and Trans Siberian Orchestra on my show next weekend. And he's playing with Tommy Aldridge on drums and Michael Sweet on vocals, and they have a couple other guys in the band. But then he'll turn around and play with these other guys and they're all labelmates on frontier records, right? So I don't know was was it like that back in the day like on combat? That you remember where you have? You have labelmates like these guys, and were you collaborating back then? Or did you just kind of get in a room and do your own thing and say kind of fuck the world we're hell star and we're doing hell star and we don't want to Yeah, back close. all night. Yeah, back then


Larry Barragan  25:00

most bands did their man. Okay. No, you didn't really? I mean, you could you would meet the other guys. I remember. I think Raven was on that on that label as well. And I remember being up in upstate New York and they were recording. And we I don't know how we ended up hanging out with him for a little bit, but it was you would meet bands, but you wouldn't. There was not you know, the label wasn't pushing like, hey, maybe you should you should play drums and this guy should play guitar and maybe this guy should good singers. Yeah, like that. There wasn't too much of that going on. I know James did. I think it was. Me, I wouldn't say it was one of Carl Kennedy's. I think it was a solo album. He did. And James sang a song on one of them. That was like, the only time that that I can think of that, you know, somebody else went and did a song with some, you know, someone that, you know, that makes sense. But um, as far as like any of the other bands or wasn't really too much of that everybody was kind of like, well, this is my band. Yeah. And it you know, fast forward to today where everybody's like, well, you know, I'm in this band. I also do this band over here. I do this band to do this other band. Yeah. You know? Yeah. Very common. Yeah. Now, yeah, it's extremely common. But back then, I guess. It was like that whole thing I was telling you earlier about where, you know, you just had like, this tunnel vision, and this is the band I'm in and we're gonna, we're gonna make it, you know. And there wasn't. I can't remember ever being asked to do a solo on anybody's out like that. But I mean, you know that. That's all changed. Oh, yeah. For sure. Times change.


Randy Hulsey  26:53

I mean, right. Yeah, I've


Larry Barragan  26:54

done many guest appearances now. So I even wrote some lyrics for Jason McMaster. And evil united. I didn't want to have lyrics for for that. That's, that was pretty cool. Nice. Yeah. Yeah,


Randy Hulsey  27:12

I found out the other day that I don't know what made me think of that. You mentioned that name. And I don't know why it sparked a memory of trying to get bobzilla on my show from damage plan. And we haven't been able to secure a date. But when you said McMaster that made me think of him for some reason. But anyway, going back, the first arena show I think came like three years after you guys formed in December of 85. And you open for striper on the soldiers under command tour, I believe.


Larry Barragan  27:55

I don't know which I know. We were we were starting to err on remnants of war. Okay, so I don't know, that was at six. So I don't know what I


Randy Hulsey  28:04

think. I think it was soldiers under command. I remember there was a lot of stripes every Oh, yeah. Yeah. Black and yellow ones, right. Yeah. Well, I always thought that that was that's kind of an interesting pairing. Right. Like, you get striper, the heavenly guys and then you get hell star the devilish guys, right. You know, that's, how did that come about? Like, that's an interesting pairing. I would have never dreamed that that would have come out.


Larry Barragan  28:27

I have no idea. Really. I remember I remember thinking like, this could be good. Or this could be really bad, you know? Yeah. And, and it was a little bit of both, you know, the, the, the people who were there for for striper and, and believed that we were like this, you know, evil band. You know, they were, they were booing they were like, No, you know, I don't know not, you know, I don't want to hear this stuff. And you know, there was people there that were like newest and they were they were excited for us, hey, they're playing you know, the Coliseum. I just saw do here, you know, a couple of weeks ago so so for us it was it was that to like wow, we get to play at the Coliseum? Yeah, yeah, that's the hometown arena. And I mean, everybody dreams to do that and, and we were fortunate enough to do that. But it was it was like a like I said it was a mixture of both and man we didn't we I remember we went to soundcheck and I'd say I had at that time I had. I ran 300 watt head Marshall heads with six cabinets. And I think Rob Trevino ran 200 Watt no maybe had 100 watt and 50 watt and four Marshall cabinets. And then Jerry had like just big wall of bass cabinets and OS Fox walked over to me and he said hey are all those on And I said, yeah, he's all all six cabinets are on. said, yeah, he's How do you have them hooked up? So I showed him, you know, like I have, you know, I was thinking I was bringing some y thing. I don't know how, you know, I just showed him how I did. He's like, wow. And I said, What are you running? And he said, I have a, he goes, I have a 50 watt half stack. And I was like, but I see all these speakers, you know, all these cabinets, because I know there's nothing in them. So facade. Yeah. And I was like, oh, no, these all work. Interesting. Yeah, it was funny. And I got to to actually meet Michael Sweet at a at a wedding. And I told him about that story. And he was like, What, When was that? I don't remember that man. But I want to talk to us about that. And so I haven't seen them again since then. But yeah, I want to I'd like to hook up with AWS again. Your Do you remember my six martial speakers? You know?


Randy Hulsey  31:04

Well, the interesting thing is, I think I mentioned to you earlier, I had Michael Sweet on my show. It was probably a month and a half ago. And I think they will be here. I talked to him yesterday. And I think they'll be here in I want to say September and there'll be rides warehouse or wherever I think warehouse. Yeah, so just FYI, yeah. If you're looking to get out there, yeah, I'm gonna go have a couple of guitar signs. So I'll I'll be there. But yeah, Michael was a great guy. Nice guy. He's one of the ones that I did the marathon interview with that went like two hours. So now sometime around, I think it was at seven, you guys relocated to LA? What took you out to LA?


Larry Barragan  31:46

We just wanted to be cool. No, we wanted to be closer to where all the labels at you know, and everything was happening there. And so we thought, well, let's go there. We were already in talks with metal blade at that time. So yeah, it just made sense to hey, let's, let's go to LA and and, and see what we can do in and see what kind of bugs we could we create out there. We played a few shows out there. And we did we did get eventually we did get signed. And we did Justin thunder out there. With Bill mature as first time we we worked with Dylan teuer. And yeah, I mean, that's that was the main thing. And then you know, have to feel the guys in the band. Were like, look, you know, I don't know if it's too expensive or whatever they were. They were wanting to come back to Texas. And that's why we ended up coming back.


Randy Hulsey  32:47

Gotcha. Not Do you feel like do you feel like you out from a mental perspective? And I don't know that. Houston is known for as a kind of a metal scene and maybe it is I don't know, you educate me if I'm wrong, but do you feel like hell Star had outgrown Houston from a from the from the type of music that you were playing? And you had to get out of here to make something happen? Or did you just know you had to go because LA was the place to be Hollywood was the place to be?


Larry Barragan  33:18

I think the ladder because we had a good following. We would play shows here. They were packed, sell out. I mean, I remember playing cardies right after remnants of war came out. Excuse me. And I remember pulling up and like saw his line all the way around the corner now, like those guys are standing for. And then when we drove by, they're like, hey, you know, hell star and I was like, Oh, shit. They're here for us. And it was like, the first time that I felt like, oh, man, you know, we've we've kind of accomplished something here where we're, we're known we got a sought after we have been following and people were standing in line to see us and and that was really, really cool than a lot. You know, I still have to say, we have to go back further. Back to burning star. When we went to San Antonio for the first time. That was that show actually woke up the people in Houston because San Antonio was rabid. They were they were already smashed up against the stage and head banging. And, you know, it was that experience for us was it was like, Well, this is what this is what it's supposed to be like. And we actually had some friends that followed us that went out there for that first show and they came back like man, you know, Houston's got to like kind of pick it up. And so then that's how that whole the whole South Texas nor the whole Texas scene kind of started up where it wasn't just us. Then it became San Antonio Slayer, Watchtower militia, Juggernaut, you know, all those bands, they all start kind of came up at the same time. So we had like this Texas scene. And so yeah, that kind of carried over to Houston. And so when reminisce award comes out, it was like that, you know, it was like, all these kids smashed up, up against the stage, and everybody's like, screaming, and head banging. And, yeah, it was fun, you know. And I don't think that at any point, we felt like we outgrown the city, but you know, American American fans are fickle. You know, so, once like the 90s came up, you know, that, that, that ebb and flow? You know, you still had some people that were metal heads, but you have fans that I guess they feel they, you know, I outgrew that I want to listen to this now. Yeah. And you know, that it has become something that, you know, I don't really like I don't like the whole big hair, and I don't like the, you know, the guys looking like girls, and so they were like kind of smashing everything together as metal when really it wasn't you. But


Randy Hulsey  36:27

and we'll talk and we'll talk a little bit about that the, the fan base here versus overseas, right? Oh, we'll talk about that a little bit at the time. Of the move to LA. You know, we talked a little bit earlier about Rob and my connection with Rob. Did he leave the band before you guys went to LA, he didn't go to LA with you that he


Larry Barragan  36:49

originally came out with us, okay. And then then he came home with a promise that he and our drummer at the time, Renee, we're going to pack up their stuff and then go to to LA and we'd all meet up. And then and we were waiting for him, you know, contracts was about to be signed. And they were like, we're not, we're not going after all. We don't want to go. And so, you know, James and I are like, man, now what are we going to do? We've already, like all our savings went to getting us there. So we had nothing that get us back. Yeah. And so we're like, okay, so we, you know, we talked to Mike Bailey, who was, you know, VP of metal blade, and he said, Let's just regroup. You know, what, we'll, it's not going to be quick. Now. I mean, we don't have a band. So let's try to find a guitar player. We look for guitar players in in that area. And they were all kind of trying to do that rat, you know, Van Halen, and they just didn't, they didn't blend very well. And as far as drummers, it's kind of same thing. And Frank Ferreira actually played in a band called carrion, from San Antonio. And we'd actually approached him before. But this time, he was out there already. And so we're like, hey, well, let's hook up with him. And see if he wants to join the band. He, you know, he did. And then James came home, and he was at a party. And that's when he met Andre Corbin. And, you know, they started talking and Andre was a fan. Obviously, he knew all the songs when when he came for, for the audition. So I mean, it was kind of hard. It's kind of hard to like, go like, well, not let's let's keep looking for guitar player when this guy was already. He was it was a great guitarist, and he already knew all the songs, you know, so it was like, Hey, we can actually speed things up with was this guy, you know, and so yeah, then we had, we had some songs written, he had some really good songs as well. And that's what we recorded distant thunder. Okay. And, yeah, we just, you know, it was Toby Lamia, we were trained. We're rolling, man. And sometimes, you know, somebody falls off the train. We're gonna keep rolling. Yeah, we did. Yeah,


Randy Hulsey  39:20

you have to? Well, I had lunch with Rob probably about a month ago. And and then I'd spent some time out in Vegas with he and his wife Carrie. Great. People love him. I don't I don't see him that much. But it was interesting because when we were out in Vegas, I was out there with another one of my best friends that I also had on the show. It was kind of a deviation for from the norm for me, because this is really a music podcast, but I have my buddy John Colossi on the show who was a fighter in the UFC at the time. And he was out in Vegas with his wife Kathy and me and Rob OB carry were out there. And you know, we were all hanging out partying and stuff. And Johnny was, at the time when he was fighting he was he was a big metal guy. He loved the metal stuff. And I think Rob had given him a CD with one of hell star songs on it. And that was going to be his walkout song to his fights in the UFC. I have to ask Johnny, if that ever happened or what the deal was, but I don't, but that's kind of the intention back in the day that he was going to walk out to a health store.


Larry Barragan  40:29

So yeah, I've never, I would have known because I get the publishing. Okay, I get all the publishing reports. And then it would it would show up. Okay. Yeah. And I don't think I've ever seen anything like, Yeah,


Randy Hulsey  40:40

I'll have to ask Johnny about that. Yeah, they, they had talked about it. And there was a CD offered up, but it may have never materialized I don't know. But the trip to LA, I guess, was really not long lived for you guys. So


Larry Barragan  40:56

it's a couple of years. Yeah. Okay.


Randy Hulsey  41:00

Was there something that kind of forced you back to Houston?


Larry Barragan  41:04

Like I said, there was maybe we didn't talk about that a couple of guys in the band were just said, you know, it was expensive. And so they weren't like, man, we and you know, we kind of want to go back home and be where, you know, we can live with a live Yeah. And so, begrudgingly, we came back out, James, and I really didn't want to come back. But we could see where the other guys were coming from. And then we had fought so hard to get the band to where it was. As well as that. Yeah. You know, we didn't want to start again. Yeah. Even though eventually that's what happened. But yeah, we, we came home and you know, we I think that's when we went to Europe for the first time and toured with the with, did a couple of shows with inveigh and played with tankard did did a few weeks out there and yeah, that was a great experience. Yeah,


Randy Hulsey  42:08

I wasn't sure if the the move back to Houston had something to do with the metal blade signing or or anything that had to do with metal blade. I don't know if that's what brought you back or not. But


Larry Barragan  42:20

no, I mean, we we were we were signed to metal blade and we did the next album, okay under metal blade, but you know, we recorded it back home at I can't remember the name of the studio. Sugarhill does that word King kings X did?


Randy Hulsey  42:37

I think so? Yeah,


Larry Barragan  42:38

I think so. Yeah. We were we we were tricked. We said, Man, we listen to the king's exile minutes. It sounds so good. So we gotta go to that studio. So we went. And Bill material flew down. And we went into the studio. And we looked around. I was like, man, it's not. This is where kings x. And so we asked like the owner, like what? Kings X recorded here, right? And they're like, he's like, Yeah. On this board, and he has no have Oh, no. Where's that board? He goes, now they brought all their stuff in. And we're like, Oh, dang. You know, we had already booked time. So we said, All right. Well, I guess what? We'll have to just do it. You know,


Randy Hulsey  43:20

it was was the buzzkill that you weren't going to get that same kind of sound? Or? Or was that? Was that why you guys were a little bummed out to find out that they brought all their own gear. And,


Larry Barragan  43:32

um, we were but you know, Bill's Pro and he was like, he just said, We'll make it work. Oh, it'll be fine. We're sure we'll be fine. And I said, Okay, so we don't have to look for another studio. And he's like, now. I think the studio rate was really good. And he was like, now we can at least do we can at least do the the not the drums, but we'll do vocals, guitars and bass here. And then we'll do the drums somewhere else in a nicer room. And I want to say we did that at Digital Studios maybe? Can't remember. Yeah, I'd have to look at the album. Yeah, but I remember we did not do the drums in the same studio. But it was fun. You know, it did have a cool vibe to it. I talked to to Doug Pinnick years later and I told him Yeah, we recorded there and he was like it never cool studio man but didn't you like it? I was like well, I mean, I would have liked it more if they would have left the board that you recorded on and you know he laughed or whatever but every time I see those guys are they're always real cool to me and real friendly and stuff. So yeah, you know, it's funny how you you become friends with some of these guys that you think now people are like oh you know don't panic, you know things X are in and your friends you know your your peers or whatever and You know, don't take that stuff for granted some because you know, you can quite easily become fanboy like, writer. Yes, you know, but they're real down to earth and almost everybody that, you know, I've, I consider a peer and a friend is like that.


Randy Hulsey  45:16

Oh yeah, yeah, I did an interview not too long ago with Randy St. John the drummer for sweet Sabbath, right. And he was tied in with Ty Tabor for quite some time on I think he played on like three of Ty's solo records. But you know, he had that tie with kings X, whatnot. You know, when you when you mentioned, I'd love to have Doug on my show. So, Doug, if you're listening Yeah, kind of thing you mentioned in Vegas earlier, and I was gonna say you guys toured with some great metal bands like anthrax. inveigh was one anthrax Slayer talk a little bit about the tour and what not about all of them. But what was there one of those that stuck out in your mind is like, man, it was really cool to be out with those guys kind of thing.


Larry Barragan  46:00

But I love playing with anthrax. They were, they were really cool guys. They were they they treated us like family. You know, they didn't. They weren't, like, Hey, we're going to be on our bus and not talk to that band. They were they were out there with us. Actually, I had met Scott. We were in New York. And and God was that before after? No, it was before it was it was. It was like that at around 85. We had met them already. And they had invited us to their rehearsal studio. We got to see him jam out just after they were working on some songs. And yeah, it was impressive. Even back then, you know, these guys are loud. Yeah. And so when we did end up playing with them again. Yeah, there was there was already kind of a connection, some camaraderie there. And, and, you know, Scott came over and even gave us like, tips on on our tone like, Hey, man, you need to turn this up and turn this down a little bit. And, you know, use this pedal. I use this pedal. And so we looked at like, we're buying those, you know, so? Yeah, he was he was real helpful. There was no like secrets. Like, this is my tone, and nobody's gonna grab it. I mean, even at a young age, I think Scott realize it, like, you know, the louder that tone is, it's in your palm, you know, it's in your it's in your your finger, how you, you know, hit the strings and how you actually fly around them and whatnot. Yeah, you know, he said, you could play on my rig. You won't sound like, you know, yeah, so he already knew that. And yeah, he was really, really cool. I liked playing with him. I like playing with with Megadeth a lot to that. We did a few shows with them. And, and they were all nice guys. Back then, you know, Dave was pretty, he was pretty angry still. You know, he was just the whole Metallica thing. It's still because that was on T cells. So that was the second album. And so he was still pretty pissed, you know? Sure. But um, but he was nice. He was very nice guy and you know, Dave Ellefson again, you know connection with him and and he was he was great you know, all those guys were really really fun.


Randy Hulsey  48:23

When those guys gave you advice, going back to that tone thing real quick, you know, like turn this down turn that up. Were you were you have the mindset. Were you an open minded guy like okay, I'm gonna take your advice are you like, hey, motherfucker, don't you know don't tell me how to make my sound you know, this is my sound like which which was at the ladder or the first


Larry Barragan  48:44

No, I mean, at Scott Ian broke even even back then it was Scott he and I remember, you know, listening you know, watching them in soundcheck and going like God, that tone monster scene is crushing. And you know when he said this is all I'm using right now. Oh, go I'm gonna go out and buy that and I did. I bought a TC electronics distortion pedal. And then he ran also a course tc electronics course pedal. But he never ran the course. It had like a little had like a little extra gain to it. Okay, like a little it was a tiny little knob, little Gain knob. So he ran. He ran it just to give the distortion pedal a little bit more crunched, but not I get you know, it wasn't like overly saturated. It just gave it just a little bit. And so he said, That's why I run these two pedals. I was like, well, that's really expensive. Did you buy that chorus pedal just for that one. But it made a huge difference in he was like, Well, you know, that does make a difference. And so yeah, that's when we got rid of the boss overdrive pedals and, and we went to the GC electronics pedals. I used them for a long time.


Randy Hulsey  50:02

I'm a big fan. Like I have two of their products on my pedal board for my shows. And I'm a big TC electronics. Yeah,


Larry Barragan  50:11

I wish I could go back and buy him. And I think I don't even know if they make them anymore. But I would I would buy the exact same two pedals if I could.


Randy Hulsey  50:20

Interesting. Yeah. What happened to the old pedals? Do they just break over time? Or,


Larry Barragan  50:24

you know, things change? You just start to try different stuff? Absolutely. Yeah. Again, you know, if somebody would say like, Hey, man, don't sell that stuff. Just put it away. You know, you might, you might have a studio one day and you need it. Yeah. And yeah, so I mean, I wish I still had my boss overdrive and those TC pedals. And, you know, a lot of stuff guitars I've gotten rid of over the years. Yeah.


Randy Hulsey  50:47

I, I said that a long time ago, I made the mistake of selling a guitar and I kicked myself for the longest time. And from that point on, I made a pact with myself. You buy it, you keep it? Yeah. Like, and I do. I do. And sometimes I probably have too much. But, you know, you never have to go back and say, Damn, I wish I still


Larry Barragan  51:11

and yeah, man. Yeah, I have a there's a I had a 10 string, BC rich bitch that I sold. And I, it was just, I mean, it's one of those guitars I just don't play, you know, it's just on the wall. And I wanted to buy more gear for the studio. And so I parted ways with it. You know, I didn't want to but I just saw like, man, you know, for the money that I need. I'm gonna have to get rid of something. Yeah. And so I went ahead and did that. I wish I could have kept it. But there was there was no way and one other guitar got rid of was it's an LTD. One of the eclipse guitars, I've been kind of a project guitar changeout pickups and machine heads and whatnot. And my, my, my teach my wife is a former teacher. She's retired now and and she had seen this story on the news about another teacher from her district that he lost everything in a fire. And he's like, he lost these kittens and everything. I mean, pictures. Now, one thing he had was like, what was on his back when he when he got out of the apartment? And they said that, you know, he was talking he said, man, what, you know, one thing that I just bought a guitar offender and it you know, it's gone. And, and she said, What do you think? And I said, I think I'm gonna have to give this guy a guitar. So I gave him that one, you know? So? Yeah, I hadn't. I had never told him really anybody in public and media. I didn't post that on Facebook or anything like that. But yeah, I gave him one. And that was one of my better guitars too, though. You know, I gave him so. But I was happy about that, you know?


Randy Hulsey  53:02

So it makes you feel good to do things like though it was I had to, you know, absolutely. It's a calling I get it. I get it. Well, in 1990, or sometime around 1990. You guys had disbanded for some time. But it was, what a decade and a half later that you and James reunited to put Hal Starr back together again. Talk to the listeners a little bit about where the relationship with James formed. Where did you find James or where did James find you?


Larry Barragan  53:34

There in the neighborhood? You know, he was he was from the hood down? Right? Yeah, he was from north side. So it's he grew up in that rough area as well. And he grew up listening to like his favorites. Were like, scorpions. Alice Cooper, UFO. And then you know, obviously do anything to do did and in raw PA for so. Yeah, we, we we'd seen him in in other bands. And we're like, at first we're like, oh, man, that guy's really good. Good singer. I liked that guy. And then when it like I said, it came to a point where like, I think that guy should be with us, you know? And that's, that's what happened. You know, we, we, I approached him, you know, do you want to jam out? You want to audition? We're looking for a singer. And, yeah, we never turned back and we've been brothers ever since. And you know, like most brothers, you know, that. Sometimes, you know, you don't see eye to eye all the time. And they're when I left the band. He was quite hurt, you know? Because he felt like man, I know. Now I'm all alone. You know, there's nobody left. And he just didn't. Maybe he understood but he didn't like it. You know? Should, and I don't blame him, you know, he like, but I had to do what I had to do you know how to walk away for a while to, to, to, you know, make a life, you know, behave be able to, to, to afford a house to, you know, have a family and in you know, have nice cars and stuff like that, you know, I crave those things, too, you know, and I didn't want to. I just didn't see that. You know, like I said earlier to you, I didn't know that I could do both, you know, I just saw that I had to leave to do what I wanted to do what I had to do. And I wish that, you know, somebody would have pulled me aside like, Hey, man, you can still do this. And do the other for sure. You know? And I mean, like, now we I do both, you know, I save up my time. And when James says, Hey, let's there's just show in Europe. I save up my time and like, okay, you know, when is it you know, how many dates is it? And I the downside of that is that I have used a lot of my personal time that I could have gone on vacation with my family to go on tour with elstar. So there's a there's always that give and take, but you know what, I


Randy Hulsey  56:24

think they understand too, right? They


Larry Barragan  56:26

do. I mean, my wife's great, you know, and she she actually finally got to go on a on one of the tours with us and and she came back saying, oh, never go again. I'll never do that again.


Randy Hulsey  56:40

What does she not what did she not like about


Larry Barragan  56:41

he just didn't like the how it's just non rigid. It said Yeah, stop. Yeah. And like a you know, we got to get up let's go to the we got to catch a sprinter is going to take us to the airport, and from the airport, they're gonna pick us up in the nose printer. And then they're gonna take it to the, to the state to the to the festival, and then you get to the festival and they're like, You go on in 20 minutes, you know, and you're like, Oh, crap, you know, so very strange. Yeah. So you're now you're just like, put on your rock and roll close and you're up on the stage again, and then you play and then you're like, Okay, now we can kind of relax or you know, eat and drink and you know, party or whatever. But but there's a there's a lot of that stuff going on in between that, you know, people just don't see. And yeah, she got to experience it, you know, firsthand like, man, that's crazy. He know. Yeah.


Randy Hulsey  57:30

Well, I think it's like corporate America, like a lot of people think they hear you say, oh, yeah, I've got this business trip. I've got to go out to California for this business trip. And they're like, oh, man, I'm jealous. You know, but they don't realize that you're working from sunup till sundown. And you might have time to eat a dinner and then go to sleep in the hotel and get it up and do it all over. It's not a vacation. Yeah. And it's kind of like it. I think people see the glamorous side of, you know, a band go into Europe to play a festival. While it sounds like and it is really cool. There's no doubt, but it's a grind to that the typical fan doesn't see the grind behind this. Yeah,


Larry Barragan  58:09

I mean, yeah, for playing in front of 40,000 people doesn't that doesn't suck, but you know, the Yeah, the all the other stuff. That's so you know, the, yeah, it's who it's one of the guys with Slipknot said, you know, I play I get to play God for, you know, 90 minutes. Yeah. And then after that, you know, I'm crap. You know, I, I'm just rambling. Or, you know, I'm just, you know, I go to Taco Bell and eat something real quick. And then we're, you know, getting back on the bus. Absolutely. We've learned long ago that when, when in Europe, we don't drink all our beer. When we get there, we and we don't even drink it. While we're there we wait and wait, wait, wait, we'll have few. And then when it's like, Alright, time to load up the bus. Like we grab all that beer and food. And then we take it on the bus and then that's when the real party starts for us, you know, so, so and you do that every night you accumulate all these good beers. That's that's, that's a that's a tip for you kids. That's right.


Randy Hulsey  59:17

So so Rob and Russ Daley on came back around the remnants of war record. What brought these guys back? Do you remember?


Larry Barragan  59:27

Well, Russ. Russ was playing with me and, and, and Rob, Rob and I in Trinity black. Okay. So when the whole remnants of war thing came about? I don't know why we didn't ask Renee or whatever. I'm not really privy to that backstory of what happened. But, um, Jameson he was was used Russ. Russ had already played with James on some other projects. And so that's when we did that 25th anniversary reunion for reminisce award. That's why Russ was was invited to do that. And, and he's a great drummer as well. So good friend. And so yeah, we started after doing all the remnants of war thing, James said, Hey, this label wants to know if we want to do an album. And then then he comes back and said, Hey, this festival in Europe wants to know if we will, if we want to play like it needed in Italy, I think in Isles like okay, yeah, it sounds good. And so we did we did that tour, and then we did keep it true. And in Germany, they wanted the exact same, you know, we want you to do Romans war beginning in. And so we did that. And then, yeah, then the labels like, whoa, We'd like some new music. And that's when we started writing. King of Hell. And, yeah, the rest is kind of history, man. You know, we've just kept writing and recording since then. And, and, you know, now I have my studio at the house. So facilitates a lot of stuff, absolute cost down and puts a little bit of change in my pocket to you know, because I'm doing the engineering and whatnot. So absolutely. Yeah, it's been a it's been it's been a journey, you know, from that first. King of Hell. Yeah.


Randy Hulsey  1:01:32

Well, Russ is a great guy. Him and his wife Shelly used to come down to I was in professional hockey for 17 years and and Ross and Shelly and the kids used to come down. And I'd see him at the games and whatnot. And Shelley was actually a client of mine for some time. So I've known those guys for I mean, but the arrows left in 2012. So it's been, you know, at least 10. I've


Larry Barragan  1:02:00

probably seen you on the ice because we used to go all the time, too.


Randy Hulsey  1:02:03

Yeah. Good time. Yeah, I missed the I missed the show down there for sure. Talk to me about the current lineup of hell


Larry Barragan  1:02:11

star roll right now. It's, it's James Rivera, it's myself. Andrew Atwood on guitar Carrick, Smith on bass and Mikey Lewis on drums and Mikey, Mikey played with with a kind of like, a form of elstar with James when I wasn't in the band at that point. And so, you know, there was he's kind of he's been in the family and some stuff with some scheduling stuff that we're Russell couldn't do a show and so at last minute, and so we asked Mikey, hey, can you fill in and then Mikey came in did a great job. And then when some other stuff happened, and so we're like, I guess, you know, Russ, in the band, we've been part ways. And so we're like, Well, I'd like to have Mikey in the band. And so that's how Mikey joined them. And we asked him and he agreed and so he's, he's been in the band, probably the longest drummer we've had in the band really fast, fantastic drummer really, down to earth guy and, and, you know, Andrew Atwood, we I think Mikey had actually played with their band which Garrick and Andrew are in another band called Scourge and and might get filled in for them at one point and then when we were looking for you know, replacement for Rob because Rob was was basically upfront with us he said, Hey, you know, I can't do these out of town gigs and then it got to a point where he just said, Man, I'm gonna walk away and we said, okay, but he had already put Andrew in place he had a he showed him all the songs on solos, all his stuff. And so then it was like, Well, I mean, it's a no brainer, I mean, he'd already knows everything. And he had already been doing the out of town shows with us. So when when that decision was made, it was it was easy. We know we just kept going and and he was on on the last album bipedal along with Garrick and and Mikey there was a we put in between then we did an album called this wicked NAS where we had at that point, no bass player. And we had a friend in Slovenia that we sent him the tracks. He learned the songs played the bass tracks for us and send them back. So then after that, that's when Garrick actually joined the bank.


Randy Hulsey  1:04:50

I got you. You guys have played all over. Right What? Talk to the listeners a little bit about what does what the experience is like to be able to hop a plane and go across the planet, right and showcase your art? What what does that experience? Like?


Larry Barragan  1:05:10

I mean, I don't take it for granted. I mean, there's bands that want to do that, you know, a lot of bands wish they could do that. And for me, it's yeah, it's still exciting to get on an airplane. And you know, you're in Germany and, or usually when we go to to Hamburg Airport, and every once awhile we land in, in Amsterdam, sometimes, mostly, it's Germany. But yeah, it's cool. I mean, you show up to the shows, and there's people with their little backpacks in their out of their vinyl that they want you to sign. And yeah, it's it's special, you know? It's quite exciting. It's tiring, you know, but it's exciting. You know, I love doing it. If I if I didn't, I would have quit already exams, you know, I would have just said, like, you know, you know, I don't want to do this anymore. But I mean, at some point, everybody walks away. Yeah. So I don't know when that time is going to be for me. But for now, I mean, I can still play and like, it's still writing, I feel like I can write some pretty good stuff still. So I'll keep going, you know, until I get to hit that wall, where I just don't have anything left and near where


Randy Hulsey  1:06:29

I think you'll know, I mean, I think that's our humaneness, we will fail it or we will know when it's time, I can tell you that I was playing. And I've said this a million times for the people that listen to all my shows, they've heard me tell the short story. But pre COVID, I was playing about 130 shows a year. And when I dove into the radio show here. I had no idea how much time it's gonna take, like, it's the editing and just everything that goes into it. It's stupid. It's a time suck. And I literally had to drop my shows back to like, 60, probably 6065 a year. So I cut them in half. But it's a grind. But I think, you know, we're talking about you'll know, when you've just had enough. You know, there's days when I felt like, Man, I just need to stop playing and focus on this because it just takes so much and I just keep going and going and never slow down. And you know, I'm 56 years old. Now, you know, we don't have the same stamina that we did when we were 28 years old. You know, where you just stay up till all hours of the night and get up at 6am It doesn't mean anything I need my eight or nine are asleep at night.


Larry Barragan  1:07:39

I need to I need a few hours. Yeah, exactly.


Randy Hulsey  1:07:41

Metals huge in Germany, isn't it? It's great. Yeah. What do you think the what do you think that is? Like, what what is it about Germany that just brings out the, the metal and people


Larry Barragan  1:07:54

I think. I think they're, they're not a they don't follow trends. I mean, I guess they there are musical trends that that happened. But they're still very true to the original. Okay. I mean, I played a festival and there was a guy in the in at the festival and I was like, This guy has to be like 75, maybe 80 years old. And he's at this festival. And, you know, you see all these young kids at the festival and it's just dangerous. Keep passing it down, passing it down, passing it down a loyalty thing. Yeah, we're here. You know, it's just hard to pass that down. You know, like, you want to show your kids this kind of music. And if they're, you know, they're, if they're social, they're not going to like that music very much for very long. They may like it a little bit because, you know, you're like it's a school, you know, Judas Priest. And but then they start hanging out with their friends and their friends are like, that's weird. You know, listen to this, you know, I don't know Justin Bieber. Yeah, I don't know. I don't even know what's poppin I mean, you know they're not they're definitely not going to you know, listen to the new Exodus


Randy Hulsey  1:09:18

Yeah, they don't they don't like go to the playground and say hey, did you get the new x Yeah, album,


Larry Barragan  1:09:22

persona non grata bro you know, so


Randy Hulsey  1:09:27

hilarious. Yeah, I had a buddy here that, that I played a couple of shows with here and there, but he was a he's from Galveston Island. And every year he goes over to France and he plays France for like, he stays there literally for like eight months out of the year. And it's interesting. Because he's like royalty over there. Right? They already have a beer brewed after him with his name on it. He's got endorsements. He's got all these things, you know, when he comes back here and he's kind of like He's kind of like everybody else, you know, we just got play shows, yeah, we know who you are kind of thing. But over there, it, they listened differently. And they're loyal. And it's a following over there. And I saw that with you guys. You know, you packed good crowds here, but when you go over there, it's just like off the charts right. And


Larry Barragan  1:10:21

I mean, and you know that it also helps to have a good package. You know, like the last time we were there. We did a couple of festivals, but then we did, you know, some one off shows with with flotsam and jetsam. And so that was a really great package deal, you know, so yeah, you're gonna play some really good crowds with those two bands together, you know? Yeah, that's what makes it fun. You know, and those guys are great guys and plaatsen were really, really cool.


Randy Hulsey  1:10:51

Now that James was in that band for


Larry Barragan  1:10:54

a short period of short, you didn't get to record with him but he did do some some shows get did get to tour with them. I was just thinking


Randy Hulsey  1:11:01

something made me think of this. So I was playing a show the other night, over at the back backyard grill. And there is a guy that is in there. Sometimes when I play and they say everybody has a twin. This guy is James. This guy is James. This guy has long hair. Black hair. He's a Hispanic guy wears the long black coat in has black fingernails in it's like yeah, it's like he he lives. I mean, he dresses those vampire teeth. I don't know because I've I've looked and I'm because here's the thing, they're in the reason I bring this up. I don't know James. I've never met James. I mean, I've seen pictures. I've seen videos of him but I've never liked study James, you understand what I'm saying? And so little details that James I'm not that familiar with. So as I look at this guy, I'm like, is that James because this guy looks just like him. So I was gonna ask you. What part of town does James even live in?


Larry Barragan  1:11:58

Oh, man, he lives off of he lives near here. Don't tell you 90.


Randy Hulsey  1:12:05

No way. Yeah, that's where I was playing. Like, I wonder if that's him.


Larry Barragan  1:12:09

Yeah, as probably was him was he wearing a little round glasses?


Randy Hulsey  1:12:12

I think it was I think at one time maybe. So you have to ask him when you leave here text him and say hey, do you ever go over to backyard grill and then let me know if I ever see him again. My introduce myself. Like I didn't want to go up to him and say, Hey, you're not James Rivera Aryan. And then you know, look like a dick or whatever. Just probably Yeah, you have to text him and ask him. Let's talk about the other band for just a minute. And I know I butcher the name of Santa askwoody. Dog. Yes. Santa scooty that okay. Yeah, I can't do the whole rolling thing. Like I'm dads can't do it. But this is this is kind of a cultural thing. The band right. At Spanish lyrics kind of thing. Right. Talk to the listeners about the band and kind of what sets I'll probably just gave it away. But what sets Santa apart from from hell star?


Larry Barragan  1:13:09

Well, the sentence booty that started instantly enough. Rudy Roccia, who is also the guitarist for longevity, a big to handle. Okay, ban. You know, Grammy nominated three times. So I mean, there's, I mean, he's the real deal. And we're friends, you know, and we, we went to, you know, we go out, we went to go see, some friends play in a tribute rock in a spaniel tribute. And so we're sitting there listening to it, and it's like, oh, just, this is cool. But there's nothing really like rock, you know, and Rudy goes, we should put a band together and, and do it in Spanish and beat rock. And I was like, you want to Yeah, I'm down. And so the bass player walks off the stage, and that's race release. And I said, you know, Hey, man, you wanna be in our band? And he's, like, are you guys putting a band together? And like, Yeah, we're gonna do like, like a, like a hard rock metal, but Spanish. And he was like, Yeah, I'm down. Let's do it. And so I went home, I wrote a couple of songs. Rudy had some songs. I took those songs kind of produced them up and and then, you know, the band was put together fairly quickly with the singer in that band happened to also be now the singer and Santos booty laugh wandering mirrors, and inrae new high mirror SEO from just around he was playing with I don't know if you have to know Eric Halpern. He was playing in mindcrime for a while. And so that's how you know Ray knew him. So everybody seasoned, you know, our first rehearsal didn't seem like a very much like a first rehearsal. We ran through the songs like, you know, everybody knew their part. And so Oh, you know, really when once we started writing and started getting into it? Yeah, we just felt like, Hey, man, this is this is for this is metal in our language. You know, we're not. I mean, as far as Houston goes, there's a couple other bands ran on that is I think I just butchered their name.


Randy Hulsey  1:15:26

But well, you don't want me to say it. The uncles I surely would. Yeah.


Larry Barragan  1:15:31

It was just like two or three bands that are doing it, you know. And so there's a void. And yeah, I mean, this is the, this is the language that our grandparents and parents used to yell at us in and, you know, this is what we spoke when we you know, before. I mean, I remember I went to kindergarten, I didn't know any English, you know, I spoke Spanish. And yeah, you know, I learned it. At school. I learned English at school. And my grandma, oh, my grandfather used to sit me in front of TV make me watch the news every day. Because he felt like, Okay, if he's gonna learn, there's not a lot of slang. Yeah, the news, you know, so we'll make him watch that all the time. Sure. So I could tell you the weather man, my time is fine. Don't go out there man storm today. But um, yeah, I mean, that was the, you know, the, the music that we listen to, in the in the morning on on Saturday mornings, when, you know, my grandmother was cleaning up, and, you know, all the mariachi songs and in that Rancheros, and, you know, and and, you know, you know, Rudy plays in the Taliban, you know, so all of that is in Spanish. And so, yeah, I feel like, you know, it is a cultural thing we were, we're trying to do the right thing and represent, you know, our culture and in a proper way. I would like to think that some label will finally realize that Spanish is the second language, you know, the United States, you know, I mean, there's it, it's ripe, you know, somebody can you know, if somebody takes a chance on us, we could, yeah, we could do something. But, you know, we'll see, we'll just keep plugging along. And we've been steadily writing songs, we put out the first EP, shortly after we kind of got together, we were probably still learning the songs as we were recording that. And then the second EP, kind of, you know, there was a little bit more of a cohesive style there. And then, you know, we're working on the third one, and what we want to do is take all three EPs and then combine them into one cohesive album. And so we've gone back and rerecord stuff from the first and second EP to match what is going to be the third EP, and then eventually a full length, you know, okay, and we've changed some stuff on you know, those other those first songs too, because, you know, yeah, I had the guys were coming back going, like, Ooh, you know, I kind of play that different now. You know, I'd like to rerecord that the way I do it now. And so, yeah, I mean, I own the studios. Come on, let's do it. You know, so, yeah, we've been doing that. It's fun. It's not. It's not that technical, you know, metal, like hell starts, you know, straightforward, hard rock metal, which is was our goal to begin with, you know, we didn't want to, you know, do a bunch of, you know, acrobats. You know, we, if I want to do that I just keep doing Hellstorm you know, so sure.


Randy Hulsey  1:18:43

Would you say that it's a little that, that that band is a little less heavy than hell star? Yeah. Is that a fair statement? Or a fair assumption that it's a little less heavy?


Larry Barragan  1:18:58

Yeah. Because it's, it's, it has more of a straight kind of hard rock metal kind of. I mean, I mean, you could play, you play on my Nagla on my health star, and then, you know, like, the heaviest song that Santa has, and you'd be like, Oh, these just this is way, way, way different, you know, but if you put maybe Santa scooty died on with, you know, scorpions, or maybe even except, you know, then you could say, oh, okay, I can see some similarities here. You know, and you know, that yeah, that's, that was more of our goal. I wouldn't say we're like 70 sounding. We're 80s just different, you know. We just wanted to be like good, hard rock metal, you know,


Randy Hulsey  1:19:51

do you think that you could ever incorporate the accordion into that at all? No. Never And here's the crazy thing that I say that tongue in cheek right so I had a gay Garcia out of San Antonio country, our great country artists spent time out in Nashville was on that Nashville Star shows kind of like American Idol. And he was like, first runner up of 65,000 singers. The guy's really good, right? But it's interesting, because if you listen to his country stuff, it sounds very traditional country. But then he did something with Ram Hara, and, and a couple of other guys and they added the accordion and like took a whole different life. I mean, it sounded really, you know, like, like mariachi almost kinda, you know, so it's cool when you add that? Yeah, I don't know, right? That's the word I was looking for. So when you add that instrument in there, that's what brings out that that flair that flavor, right? So I figured you guys wouldn't have the accordion. Because when I mean


Larry Barragan  1:20:55

instruments, you know, but we have some intros where you know, we do the the trumpet, I think we have more of a Spanish sound. Over a Mexican sound, I don't know if the, if I can explain that, right. Because I do a lot of the writing in some of the songs I've written are in a melodic minor, which is a harmonic minor going up, and a natural minor going down. And for those of you who don't know, it sounds like Spanish, you know, it sounds like, you know, that's what kind of gives it that, that Spanish sound. And so I've, I've done that a lot in, in the songs, so it has that flair to it, okay. And that, again, that goes back to listening to, you know, that mariachi stuff when when we were young and, and being able to incorporate that into into our music. It's funny, because there's a band called mela cash, and they are Middle Eastern, I believe. And they, they're metal, but they can, but you can tell like, when they try when they're writing, you can hear their culture in the song you can. It's like, I couldn't copy it, you know, because they grew up with that absolute no, right. And so I see our songs almost the same way and said, you know, they probably, yeah, they probably know, the scale or whatever, but they don't know how to make it sound, the way we make would make it sound because we grew up with that, you know, we, we heard those, those chord changes in those apps, certain keys and stuff like that. So it's, it's, it's been a very interesting, again, a very interesting journey with that man to and, and, and just being able to kind of, you know, overcome just the fact that we're, you know, singing in Spanish to predominantly white crowds. Yeah, you know, and we just played the crater rally in Somerville. And I mean, I don't know, shoot, I don't think there were very many


Randy Hulsey  1:23:09



Larry Barragan  1:23:13

My wife me in the band. And, and the rest, you know, everybody was kind of like, what the hills is. You know, and because the intro and actually the guys in the band were like, are we using the intro? Are we using that same intro? Because what it is, is it's a it's a vCenter vCenter Fernandez, mariachi singing a very popular song in Spanish, and then it goes into these, like motorcycles revving and going because the first song is about riding a motorcycle. Okay, so, so everything are we going to, or we can use it intro, you know, I don't think these guys are going to like it now. It's like, care. That's our intro. So. So I started up, I started up the intro, and I had a friend. He was in, he was in the audience. And he said, the guy behind behind him was like, What the hell's this? And he said, he turned around, and he said, man, just wait, you'll like it. And then when we started, you know, we actually started playing and then and he said, That guy was like, Oh, shit. All right, you know? And then he was like, Hey, man, these guys are singing in Spanish and, and he was like, yeah, they didn't see in Spanish, you know? So he gets a kick out of it, too, because he likes to see everybody's reaction. And yeah, we played a show with Saxon and we, we opened up for him. Were the main, you know, the main support. And yeah, everybody didn't No one knew who we were. And we started playing. And little by little you could just see everybody's like head started like, oh, yeah, this is I liked this. And then by the end of the night, it was like you Yeah, you know, and, and I had never really been a part of that where we actually went over a crowd like that, you know. And so yeah, it was a that was really special night to watch it happen. Sure you know where people were like I think I liked it and then oh, I really do like this and then afterwards they, you know, they made a beeline and we saw man, we saw a lot of merch that night. So, yeah, it was really, really a cool experience. And, you know, I


Randy Hulsey  1:25:30

listened to everything I could get my hands on from the band, and I enjoyed it. Like, I didn't know what the hell you're talking about in the song because I don't speak Spanish. But that's neither here nor there. Right. I just, I thought it was, you know, everything was well put together. And it sounded good. Like I could. In other words, I didn't listen to it and say, Oh, I can't understand it. I'm turning it off. It's like what you said, you give something a chance. And you're like, Ah, I did. Yes. You know, now if I could understand it, that would make it even better. Right. But, you know, I enjoyed it. Well done. Cool. Thank


Larry Barragan  1:26:07

you. Yeah, it kind of goes back to like, bands like Ramstein, and you know in loudness, when when loudness first came out, they didn't do anything in English. It was all Japanese, but I didn't care. I was like, Man, I can remember jam and jam. Yeah. And then same thing with you know, Ramstein. I'm, I love Ramstein. And I don't understand. I mean, they have a few songs in English. But you know, for the most part, it's all German. Sure. I don't speak it. But I did it, you know, for sure. For sure. So I see ourselves in that same light, you know, that it can be done. Just, you know, just got to get to the right people. It's


Randy Hulsey  1:26:45

the power of music at the end of the day. It's not it's not always about the message in the music or over analyzing the message, write music, that always helps, no doubt. But sometimes the music itself can just touch a person or inspire a person. So yeah,


Larry Barragan  1:26:59

I mean, we played in, we played in San Antonio, same thing. We asked her Is there any other band we can maybe play with? It's speaking, you know, plain metal and Spanish. And they were like, No, you're the ones that I know.


Randy Hulsey  1:27:14

You can't like the Spanish speaking Capital of Texas, right there.


Larry Barragan  1:27:17

No, you can't go anywhere in Harlingen. I


Randy Hulsey  1:27:20

mean, but that's going down there. Yeah. Well, you guys will fit right. Down in the


Larry Barragan  1:27:24

valley. Right. We're going down there in September. So yeah, but yeah. And they were all walking up to what's going on? I understood everything. It was great. You know, and, sure. And so, yeah, that's definitely a market that we want to continue to hit, you know, absolutely. And, and grow there. Hopefully,


Randy Hulsey  1:27:43

it's gonna be a good move for you guys to go down to the valley and play. Yeah, we had to get,


Larry Barragan  1:27:47

you know, support. Prior to COVID. We had, like shows lined up that we were going to do down there. And, and then it hit. Yeah. And then everything just got canceled. And like, you know, we put out the EP DOS, but, you know, he can't play and kind of get keep it going, and it kind of died. And so here we are, you know, couple years later going like, okay, let's kind of resurrect this thing. And it's frustrating, you know, yeah. Everybody, you know, was, everybody feels that we should be further along than where we are. But you know, when you have two years of crap, you know, life's been derailed for everybody. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, I know, we're not the only ones but you know, yeah. It sucks. It still sucks. No, no, no. last two


Randy Hulsey  1:28:36

years. We'll never get back. Yeah, make the best of it. Let's talk for just a minute about the guitar. You. You talked a minute ago about harmonic minors and all this. And a lot of listeners would probably say that you just spoke Greek to me. I don't know what that means. But when did you start playing? But you remember what age if you picked up the guitar? Remember grandpa was about your guitar, but I didn't hear you say what age


Larry Barragan  1:29:03

1313. Okay, yeah. And the funny thing about that was you have to realize how, how much I looked up to my older brother, my older brother's name is Mario. And, and, and so a lot of the stuff he would say to me, I just doubt that was gospel to me, man. So he said, he said, Oh, man, well, you got your guitar. Yeah, but time you've been playing about five years, you'll probably be pretty good. You'll be good enough to play in a band probably by then, you know, and I was like, Yeah, okay, cool. So I had like this goal, like, five years, by time and then playing for five years, I should be able to play in a band. So three years into it. You know, I'm playing in in high, that's all I did. I'd wake up. I'd play a little bit, go eat breakfast, go to school, come back. I'd play do your homework. I'd eat dinner. I play some more. And sometimes I'd fall asleep with You know, I just played and so there was no or kind of gets around that guy, you know, I went to his house, he plays, you know, he can play or whatever. And he's, these guys were like, hey man can you know, a play something for us? So I played with him like, Hey, man, we got banned you and you want to do one jam with us and I was like, man, man, I've only been playing like three years. And they're like, Okay, so I said, then in a couple of years, and they were like, oh, okay, and they walked off. And then again, you know, some other friends say, man, you know, we want to put a band together, you know, you wanna play guitar for us? And I was like, man, no, I can't man. I've only been playing for like three years. And so I got a call from somebody, and my brother happened to be sitting there. And I was like, Nah, man, I've only been playing like three years. And I hung up. And he goes, what was that? And I said, Oh, well, these guys want me to be in their band. But I told him, You know, I've only been playing three years haven't been playing for five years. And he goes, you're such a dumbass. In the back of the dome, and go jam with the man, you're good enough to jam with those guys now. And I was like, but you said, you know, five years? And he was like, No, man, no, you go, you're good enough. Go, go do it. Go do it. So then with his blessing, you know, I was like, Cool, man. So then that's when I kind of started playing with with, with other, you know, players and, and that's when you really start to get good when you start playing with others. Yeah, because you're, yeah, it's one thing to play with a record. It's perfect. It's another thing that like, be out there live and be like, well, I can't quite hear the snare drum or I can't hear to the finger now. Yeah. And then all the drummers. He's speeding up and slowing down, you know, you got that, that push pull thing with the other guitar player, and it's just, you just learn, you know, that's like, the most important thing is to actually play with people and learn off of all that all that live atmosphere in that groove and all that stuff. You No,


Randy Hulsey  1:32:06

absolutely. And I told my son, Brandon, who? I've always said that he's 10 times the guitarist, I am. But he's, he's kind of this. He's almost like a closet player. Right? He, he's good. But he doesn't have it. Maybe he doesn't want to, I don't know, but he doesn't have that desire, or the nerves to be on stage with all eyes on him, right? You either have that or you don't I think you can overcome that after time. And I told him, I'm like, dude, just get out there and play, just get out there and play and, and I often think of that, how much better would this kid be kid being 30 years old? How much better would he be? If he spent time jamming with people that were as good or not better than him? Right? It makes you step your game up. Like, whether it's shooting basketball or playing the guitar. Like if you play with people better, you got to gotta get better, a little bit at least right? You know, you're not going to get worse or regress. So I always, always encourage him to try to get out and I always me, it shows or what I


Larry Barragan  1:33:05

write. I always tell people, especially, you know, young guitarists, like, don't, don't look at just envy as like the barometer or whatever. Or if you know Randy Rhoads or, you know, all these guitar players up here, because you can actually learn from someone who just started playing a couple of months ago, they're going to know, they're gonna learn that yeah, they're gonna have some little weird lick that all of a sudden you're like, what was that? Yeah, you know, so I always tell young players like just listen to everybody and look at other kids and you know, all the other musicians around and look at them and you you'll, you'll find that there's something that you can learn from it, every single one of them no matter if they've been playing for, you know, like a billion years like me, or I agree or you know, just started playing, you know, a year into it or something. There's always something


Randy Hulsey  1:34:01

100 Is there a brand new guitar that you play exclusively?


Larry Barragan  1:34:06

I play well, I don't play exclusively but I play ESP guitars, okay, but um, I also have an endorsement with Jackson so I mean, they're not full endorsement so I can still play what I want to play. Okay. I do play mostly the DSP guitars they've been really really good to me Jax has been really great to me too, you know. So yeah, I play those those two brands for sure. I haven't ventured off and you know, do other guitars or whatever. Because, I mean, those guitars are really really well made. I play one that I I just bought one did. It's the bottom of the barrel for ESP. And so what I went back and did was I I just got it. I put new pickups in it new machine heads, new nut, new tail, tail piece and bridge. And now it's like, you know, it's $1,000 guitar. So their guitars are made so well that you can do that with the bottom of the barrel. You know, so yeah, it's kind of a little project guitars is now one of my favorites. I play it all the time.


Randy Hulsey  1:35:24

What's your string of choice? JJ is okay.


Larry Barragan  1:35:28

I just think they're bright. And they last forever do them. I did. I used to be a DIA Dario guy. But um, I just didn't think they last the tone was.


Randy Hulsey  1:35:43

They went that fast.


Larry Barragan  1:35:44

I just thought that yeah, they died a little bit quicker than the GHS. And you know, when you're like for me, and we're playing multiple shows in Europe. I'd like I like to go a few shows before having to change strings and I just did think the the Darius did were were that stream show when I switched over GHS. I noticed like, I could get, you know, maybe four shows out of set. Yeah. Whereas with the DIA Dario is I was getting like, two,


Randy Hulsey  1:36:09

okay. Well, I've always said that strings are kinda like, it's kind of a dumb analogy. But it's, I think it's a fair analogy. When I say strings are a little bit like a beer brand, or a cigarette brand. It's like the first cigarette that you ever smoked. That's your brand. With it forever. Right? If you're if you started out drinking bud, Budweiser as a 13 year old, you're drinking bud when you're at let's just the deal, right? And I've always been an elixir string player, because I'm a Taylor player. Right? And it's it's a coded string. It's what I'm familiar with. And I remember Carlos from Sister Mary tarantulas like dude, because he was asking me about, hey, I want to buy this Taylor. I want to talk to you about the Taylor blah blah, blah. And we were talking about it and he's like, Dude, you gotta try the DIA Dario strings on that Taylor and I might pull Carlos is great. You know, man, let me let me take his advice. And I threw a set of Dia Dario is on there. It's like, I couldn't get them off fast enough. I just don't like an uncoated string. It's just different, right? Yeah. And it's not that they're not good. It's not that they weren't great. It's just that I didn't like the feel of them myself. And that's why I go back to that. I'm a marble smoker. I'm a Coors. Like.


Larry Barragan  1:37:25

I've used everything. You know, Ernie Ball. Black Diamond. What else did I use? I don't think I did my results. Dr. Strings are those God but you know,


Randy Hulsey  1:37:42

what Ernie balls always been like, this seems like the quintessential string like they I remember those from the late 70s, early 80s. You know, Ernie Ball, Ernie Ball Super slinky. And yeah, and so those have always been great for electric guitars, but I don't know what they do by way of acoustic I've just never ventured outside of elixirs for for my for my acoustics Talk Talk to me a little bit about tunings for the bands that you're playing in Are you playing half step down full step down. Are you playing standard? What do you what do you play? Or does it does it change right?


Larry Barragan  1:38:23

Well, it's not that's pretty standard. Okay, you know, all everything is standard Health Star The first four albums are standard in the last albums are all a whole step down hole step.


Randy Hulsey  1:38:36

And what am why for the listeners that are not guitarist, why would a Why would a band or why would a guitarist tune a whole step down?


Larry Barragan  1:38:45

We do it because it just sounds heavier. You know, just like that old. Like when you listen to like Black Sabbath master reality that's actually a whole step and a half down really, you know, that's in C Sharp and that was for way back then then that's why those songs sound so you know, doomy and heavy and dark you know, because of that tuning Yeah. When you listen to like Lord of the word of this world and all that all that whole albums like that. So that was mainly we were just wanting to make it heavier James can seen in standard he proved that because you know, the the we do have one song that we put out Blackwings of solitude that's an standard and he's saying great over you know, it wasn't it's not like, oh, he can't you know, hit the nose. Yeah, he can't sing in standard he can you know, it's just, we want it to just be in that tuning. We like it


Randy Hulsey  1:39:44

that makes sense. Well, and I two and a half step down because there's some notes that I can't hit so I do it more from a vocal perspective than I do. A sound perspective.


Larry Barragan  1:39:54

I'm sure it's easier for James to you know, putting out a lot of wear on on his voice trying you know, Seeing Brinstar in a standard, yeah, I mean, but


Randy Hulsey  1:40:05

Well, is there issues with to staying in tune when you're a whole, whole? One and a half steps down as they're staying in tune issues? Or not? Really,


Larry Barragan  1:40:14

I think you just got to use thicker strings. I mean, I use a, I think it's a 50 to 52 to 10. Okay, so and then on my standard guitars, I'm using a nine. Okay, and I was using 10s on the standard guitars too, but it just, you know, the older you get, it's just harder to warm up. It's just harder to bend, you know, because it just wears you down and the arthritis. So, I was, I was talking to a friend of mine and, and he said, Man, I've, and he's a shredder. And he said, I'm, I've gone to a lighter string, you should try it out, you know, and say, Well, if he's doing it, I guess I'll do it in and it has been a lot better better for vibrato and whatnot, because it's not that tension. Oh, yeah, for sure. But I do find myself going like, I think I like the tone of the of heavier strings still. So I don't know, if I want to do like a hybrid where the like, the low strings are the 52 still, and then the, the higher strings are going to be the, you know, whatever. I don't know what the G string is. But you know, you end up on a nine. So again, people are probably like, I don't know what the fuck these guys


Randy Hulsey  1:41:33

show, we can talk whatever we want. It's interesting that you say that because I started out with a medium gauge string, because, okay, I'll get more sound out of this. But then I realized it's an ass weapon on the fingers like, so I went to a light medium. And I think now I play a light. So I've gone from light or from mediums all the way down to light gauge strings. And it's just so much easier. During the course of a the difference between my shows and your shows you go out you play. I guess it might be relative. Relative. I mean, there's some shows that I play are four hours long, right? It's like, it's like 40 Goddamn songs. And after a while. I mean, the fingers start to get tired. And the voice certainly gets tired after that long. So where did you guys go? And you were 9090 minutes or something? I


Larry Barragan  1:42:24

think the longest we've done is two hours. Yeah.


Randy Hulsey  1:42:27

So talk to the listeners about what's new and exciting from the hell star camp, anything new that we need to talk about. Yeah, new music, new tour, where


Larry Barragan  1:42:37

we're getting ready to we're getting ready to finish writing some some new songs for an upcoming album. That's hopefully it'll, it'll be released next year. You know? Like, everything has been just keeps getting pushed back, push back, push back, because, you know, there's still this thing called COVID. And it's still wreaking havoc in Europe. And that's where our label is. Yeah. So yeah, but we're writing. We have festivals in Mexico that we're going to be doing. So I mean, we're still busy, almost too busy to write sometimes, you know, I have to tell James like, Amen. You know, we we got to write, you know, so, but you know, you're getting offers. And so, yeah, that's going to be that's going to be the challenges is, you know, writing the songs in between, like doing these one offs, or whatever. James also has a pan that he put together called metal wave that has recorded now in its 80s New Wave songs, but in metal, and it's James Rivera, and myself. Garrick Smith from hell star on bass. Maurice against Wyler and Yan Kimmel, and Rene Luna, who actually played on remnants of war. They round out the band and we're doing stuff like Echo and the Bunnymen, but it's metal. But, you know, like, James wanted the band, he wanted the songs to still sound like the originals, but metal. So yeah. And so we were like, okay, so you know, we don't thrash them out or make them really, really fast or anything crazy. But you know, they're paid to sound. I mean, they're metal they, but they still sound like they haven't lost the essence of the song. So that was really important for him that got signed. I don't know how but he got signed, and that's supposed to come out at the end of the year. So we'll see. We'll see what happens with that. We've been playing some shows here and there. We were doing a special show with Ed Reyna and James Rivera. I just say


Randy Hulsey  1:44:57

that somebody drank all my beer when he came over here. didn't want to go on the record. So when he listens to your interview, I'll say Larry's not drinking all my beer ag I hope you hear me. He was a bad


Larry Barragan  1:45:11

he's great, but they, you know, like, it's cool because you know, you would think like, Oh, you, you know you put peanut butter in my truck me. I got one of those things were like, Hey man, you know, deal rules and like I know the Ozzy rules. They've gotten together and what they want to do is, oh, what we're going to do is we're going to play a show all the hell star guys are basically the band. James will be doing the deal years, and he will be doing the Ozzy years, and we're gonna we're gonna be playing July 2, at Scout bar. Okay, so with that, that's, that's going to be fun.


Randy Hulsey  1:45:56

What What would the listeners be looking for? From a promotional kind of thing? What's the band called? Is it just


Larry Barragan  1:46:03

it Telstar? Okay? He'll start doing the non attribute but I guess we're playing homage to Black Sabbath, you know, that was one of our influences. Definitely. All those songs that we're playing. I was like, oh, man, yeah, I remember playing that song when I was a kid. And you know, so. Yeah, it's gonna be really cool. I'm looking forward to that. I think it's gonna be cool for ag you know, to get back on stage and do send a while yeah, so and you know, you know, our thoughts are with Todd and absolutely. And that family taught Bishop by the way so yeah, I think it's going to be kind of strange for for ag to to you know, for sure come into this like, oh, it's two guitar players and it's just totally different you know, vibe you know, so I hope he has fun and he enjoys it. We're going to try to make it as fun for him as possible Absolutely. So that that's happening James does he does this thing called metal extravaganza that is basically how star to backing him up and and we do a lot of priests and a lot of Sabbath and UFO and we do some Saxon we do some except we do we do all those bands that you know, we we wouldn't do an angel which song that we grew up listening to, you know, and it's funny because the, the two guys the OG guys in band, Andrew and Garrick are they're extremely, their knowledge of metal is way more than mine. And they're, they're much younger than than us. But yeah, they're, I mean, they know all the all those songs do like the back of their hand. So it's really, really cool. They're like old souls, you know? Yeah. And then I think the scourge that's, like, again, that's Andrew and gehrig's band, they're out playing and I believe they're writing new music as well. So inside the studio, we're, we're recording, we've finished writing, but we're recording the third EP, which like I said, it's going to be one an LP one, one LP at some point. And hopefully, we can get that signed and, and really, really get it out to the, to the masses, and, you know, maybe, you know, South America or Spain or something like that, you know, Spanish speaking countries and, you know, places across the US. And, like I said, we're going to Harlingen, and corpus. We're building a corporate show in September, we're playing a little little hangout called the Hellcat in July. I don't remember the date, but we're playing there too. So yeah, it's just busy, you know? Yeah. And I like it like that, you know, James is 100 miles an hour or two. I mean, he's, I don't see him slowing down at all in them I Mikey's in in a couple of bands, too, but oh, man, I don't want to mess up their name. So I'm not even say it, but he's in another band to kind of death metal band that he's been doing. So yeah, we're, you're busy. You know, everybody in the band is just got something going on? I don't know. And that's cool. Because, I mean, music is what has always turned me on and, and it keeps me alive, man, you know, I don't know. I don't know life without those six strings, you know? Yeah. And, well, we


Randy Hulsey  1:49:39

have to do it while we can. I mean, we're not 20 years old anymore. And there's going to be a day like we talked about earlier where you can't load in you can't load out anymore, the stuffs too heavy without hiring people to do that and, and, you know, it's inevitable that it will come so you have to keep pushing as long as you can and just enjoy it as long as As you can


Larry Barragan  1:50:00

yeah and you know I have the studio so if I can just do if I can engineering produced and I'll do that you know absolutely I'll just keep doing it till there's no more nor breath you know that's right


Randy Hulsey  1:50:13

right on where can the where can the listeners find you guys on social media


Larry Barragan  1:50:18

you can find how star at on Instagram he'll star official on Instagram Hello star or God I think it's helped our official on Facebook not just Google Health Star Facebook and it'll bring it'll bring you to the page Santa scooty that same thing. Something scooty that official Santa or scooty that that metal on Facebook. And you can find us on all platforms, you know, iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, Spotify. Yeah, it's, uh, it's all out there. So there's, there's no reason to say like I couldn't find on LinkedIn. Right? You didn't look? Yeah,


Randy Hulsey  1:51:04

just a reminder. And just a reminder to the listeners. That's H E L S T A R hell star. Important to probably put the right spelling and


Larry Barragan  1:51:14

same thing with Santos Scuti, that sa N T ao s. And then no b. So there's two ways to spell or Scuti that, okay, so, you know, ours is without the B. Okay. Yeah, gotcha.


Randy Hulsey  1:51:27

Okay. Quick bonus question. If a up and coming guitar player wanted to learn to be a better lead player, specifically, what would you recommend to that person?


Larry Barragan  1:51:48

A jazz, I would say, practice to a metronome. You know, a lot, I mean, you know, timing of just the picking part of it. It's really important, I don't do it enough. Now, I mean, but when I was younger, that's all I did was, you know, we practice to a metronome. And I would play all the solos to a metronome on, you know, all the scales to the metronome. It can get a bit mechanical, but in the end, it really helps your picking. Okay, and that was something I picked up from Andre, Andre Corbin, he was a stickler for that, you know, he's like, you know, the accent on the first beat, you know, and, and just playing with a metronome. And, and, and yeah, I continued that on throughout my careers as a guitarist is, you know, when I feel like, Man, I'm not, I feel like I'm getting a little sloppy or something, I'll always go back to that, and, and practice to the metronome. Sometimes, you know, it can be limiting because you're, you're wanting to play faster. But, you know, you're like, I can't, I can't, you know, I can't get the metronome and have my fingers get to that point where the, I want the metronome to be. Sometimes you just gotta let it fly. At some point, you're gonna have to let it fly and go, like, you know, I'm just gonna play it like this. And you know, it maybe it's not quite on the beat, but you know, it's fast.


Randy Hulsey  1:53:18

Yes, for sure. For sure. points taken. Well, Larry, listen, thanks so much for for driving out to Cypress. I know it wasn't right around the corner. It's, uh, it's great to see a great to catch up with you. You know, I'm looking here. We're an hour and 53 minutes. Let's see how time flies when you get to talking about something that two people really enjoy talking about. But I do appreciate you being here and i i wish you and all the all the bands and all the stuff. You're doing continued success. And hopefully we'll get out of this COVID all the way and you guys can get back around the globe and do what you do best. Right? I asked that all the listeners like, share and subscribe to the podcast. Also, make sure to follow Larry on all the social media platforms including health As always, make sure to follow the show on Facebook at backstage pass radio podcast on Instagram at backstage pass radio, Twitter at backstage pass PC and on the website at backstage pass I remind you guys also that the most flattering thing that you guys can do for Larian eyes, go out to those social media sites and share the content. That would mean everything to us. And Larry, again, thanks for for joining me and being a gracious guest with your time and your stories. And I will see the listeners back here on the next episode of backstage pass radio.


Adam Gordon  1:54:50

Thanks so much for joining us. We hope you enjoyed today's episode of backstage pass radio. Make sure to follow Randy on Facebook and Instagram at Randy Halsey. Music and on Twitter at our Halsey music. Also make sure to like, subscribe and turn on alerts for upcoming podcasts. If you enjoyed the podcast make sure to share the link with a friend and tell them backstage pass radio is the best show on the web for everything music. We'll see you next time right here on backstage pass radio