Starflyer 59

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Starflyer 59
Background information
OriginRiverside, California
Years active1993–present
LabelsTooth & Nail, Somewherecold, Velvet Blue Music
MembersJason Martin
Trey Many
Steven Dail
Past membersAndrew Larson
Eric Campuzano
Jeff Cloud
Wayne Everett
Joey Esquibel
Richard Swift
Frank Lenz
Josh Dooley
Gene Eugene
Matt Johnson

Starflyer 59 is an American alternative rock band from Riverside, California that was founded in 1993[2] by Jason Martin, brother of Ronnie Martin of Joy Electric. While Jason Martin has written nearly all of Starflyer 59's songs, the band has included a number of different musicians over the years, including Jeff Cloud, Frank Lenz, and Richard Swift. The band's sound was initially identified as an outgrowth of the shoegaze movement of the early 1990s, but the band's music has gradually evolved to the point of little resemblance to that of its early days.


1993–1997: Formation and "shoegaze" era[edit]

Starflyer 59 was signed to Tooth & Nail Records, their original and current label, after Jason Martin gave a demo to Brandon Ebel when the two met at a music festival in 1993. Shortly afterwards, Ebel contacted Martin and offered him a record contract.[1] The band was one of Tooth & Nail's original signees.[3] In 1994, Starflyer 59's debut album, Silver, was recorded and released.[1] In mid-1994, Starflyer 59 released a follow-up EP to Silver entitled She's the Queen.[4] Both Silver and She's the Queen exhibited heavy shoegaze influences with significant usage of reverb, phaser, and delay.[1][4][5]

In 1995, Starflyer 59 released their second album, Gold. The sound was similar to their first release, while Jason Martin continued to add layers of guitar riffs to each song.[1][5][6] This album is considered instrumental in developing the "shoegaze" sound. In 2016, Pitchfork Media ranked Gold as the number 41 best shoegaze album of all time.[7] Lyrically, the album continued the trend of somewhat depressive and lovelorn content in contrast to the message of the band's Christian record label.[1] In 1996, the band released a live album via Velvet Blue Music entitled Plugged.[1][8]

For Starflyer 59's next studio album, Americana (which was released in 1997) several changes to the band were made. Bass player Andrew Larson departed and was replaced by Eric Campuzano (The Prayer Chain). In addition, Wayne Everett, also of The Prayer Chain, became the band's studio drummer. Campuzano left the band before it began touring to support the new album. Replacing him was Jeff Cloud, who had been Starflyer's touring manager.[1][8][9] Americana had a more rock bent than the band's previous two albums with more uplifting and explicitly religious lyrics.[1][8]

1998–2001: Change in sound with The Fashion Focus[edit]

The release of The Fashion Focus in 1998 signaled a significant change in the direction of the band's sound, largely due to the influence of producer Gene Eugene. Where previous albums had emphasized guitars and loud rock and roll, The Fashion Focus was a significantly softer album. This album featured the introduction of keyboards in the music, which replaced layered guitars. The new sound was more pop-friendly than earlier albums, while not abandoning the signature Starflyer sound. The song "Too Much Fun" would be the band's last song in the early shoegazing style. Everybody Makes Mistakes, released the next year, continued in the same direction as The Fashion Focus.

On November 21, 2000, Starflyer 59 released Easy Come Easy Go, a two-disc "best-of" set. The first disc consisted of the band's most popular songs from their first five LPs (three songs from each album), while the second disc was a collection of rarities, B-sides, and eight songs from a live performance. 2001 saw the release of Leave Here A Stranger, Starflyer's next full-length album. The band's sound continued to evolve, as Leave Here A Stranger would come to be lauded and praised by many music critics as Starflyer 59's best release to date. After the untimely death of Gene Eugene, Martin called on long-time musical hero Terry Scott Taylor to take over production of the new album. In a tribute to the Beach Boys' monumental album Pet Sounds, Leave Here a Stranger was recorded in mono.

2002–2008: Extensive album production[edit]

From 2003 to 2006 Starflyer 59 released one full-length album a year, all of them self-produced. The first of these albums was Old. Old maintained a more pop-oriented sound that had begun with The Fashion Focus, but was also more guitar-oriented than Leave Here A Stranger. However, the music of Old was still significantly softer than the band's early work. In 2004, I Am the Portuguese Blues was released. With this album, Starflyer 59 returned to the heavy guitar format that was so prominent on their early albums Silver, Gold, and Americana, as well as to the monochromatic album covers that had characterized these albums. I Am the Portuguese Blues was not a true follow-up to Old, but instead was a set of older songs that Jason Martin had written for a follow-up album to Americana. The material was originally shelved when the band shifted gears and instead recorded The Fashion Focus. This confused many newer fans and critics who were familiar with Starflyer 59's more recent pop-friendly work. The album is generally thought of[by whom?] as an EP or side project and not a proper Starflyer 59 studio album, and to date is the last time guitar distortion was featured on a Starflyer 59 recording.

2005's Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice saw the band change their sound yet again, to a style that seemed a more natural follow-up to Old than I Am the Portuguese Blues had been. For this album, Starflyer 59 was cut down to two members: Jason Martin and drummer Frank Lenz. It would be the first studio album since Americana to be recorded without bassist and ideas man Jeff Cloud. Despite having only two band members, the songs on Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice have a full sound. This is largely due to the inclusion of guest string players on many of the album's tracks. Also in 2005, Starflyer 59 re-issued digitally re-mastered versions of Silver and Gold, with bonus tracks. The re-issue of Silver came with the tracks of the band's follow-up EP, She's The Queen. Gold was reissued with the Goodbyes Are Sad 7 inch single and three of the four tracks from the Le Vainqueur EP. Many of these extra tracks, however, had been included on the 2-disc set Easy Come, Easy Go.

Frank Lenz left the band near the end of the recording process, leaving Jason Martin as the only member. Josh Dooley re-joined the band as second guitar, the first time in the band's history with a guitar player other than Martin, and Trey Many joined as the drummer. This threesome toured very briefly behind Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice with an electronic bass track.

The band released their follow up to Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice titled My Island September 12, 2006, along with a music video for the album's single, "I Win". As the years go by, Starflyer 59 continue to release albums that seem to be a natural progression of the previous album, with the exception of I Am the Portuguese Blues. In 2007, Starflyer 59 had a special promotion among the most devoted fans, where they would release a total of 10 7-inch vinyl records over a period of months. Each 7" would contain a song from the forthcoming record, as well as a B-side that would be released only for the promotion. The 10 vinyl records, known as Ghosts of the Future, came with a custom wooden record box, and early buyers were rewarded with inserts signed by Jason Martin and Scott Hatch. Their 11th full-length album, Dial M, was released on October 28, 2008. Dial M consisted of the first track of each vinyl record from Ghosts of the Future, remixed and cleaned up. The album was significantly influenced by the passing of Jason's father, affectionately referred to in the song Mr. Martin.

2009–present: The Changing of the Guard and further projects[edit]

The band released The Changing of the Guard on August 10, 2010.[citation needed] After the passing of his father, Jason Martin took over the day-to-day operations of his father's trucking business in Riverside, California. Because of this responsibility, Starflyer 59 no longer actively toured as of 2010.[citation needed]

The band's next album, IAMACEO, was released on December 17, 2012 (Jason Martin's 40th birthday).[10] This album was crowdfunded through Kickstarter.[11] When the fund-raising campaign began on March 6, 2012, all the funds necessary for the project were raised within just a few hours.

In July, it was discovered by fans that T.W. Walsh - who mastered and performed on IAMACEO - had added a new Starflyer 59 release under the 2015 section of his website.[12] In August, a member of the Facebook fan group mentioned that he talked to former Starflyer 59 bassist Eric Campuzano about the new Starflyer material. Campuzano said, "The new Starflyer 59 album is going to be killer. Lots of the older style coming out. The demos I've heard are amazing."[13] When mentioned in the Starflyer 59 fan forums,[14] musician Mike Adams hinted at a new Starflyer 59 record, saying he knew "every intimate detail about the new [Starflyer 59] release," and that it was coming out in October 2015.[15] He also shared a mysterious image that fans presume to be album art.[16]

On April 26, 2019, Young In My Head was released through Tooth & Nail. It was released on CD and vinyl, including limited edition versions, as well as digitally.[17] For this recording, Jason's son (credited as C. Martin) played drums, and longtime member Steven Dial played bass. TW Walsh provided synth as a guest musician.

On May 14, 2020, Velvet Blue Music released the single "This Recliner" to promote the EP Miami, which was released on June 19, 2020[18] and included three new songs and two reworked versions of songs from Young in My Head.

On October 15, 2021, Starflyer 59 released Vanity through Velvet Blue Music digitally, as well as on CD and vinyl.[19]

Side projects[edit]

Jason Martin's side projects include:

He has also produced albums for Fine China and MAP and performed work as a studio musician and guest musician on several albums.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions


1994 Silver
1995 Gold
  • Released: June 27, 1995
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
  • Reissued in 2005
1997 Americana
  • Released: March 11, 1997
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
1998 The Fashion Focus
  • Released: October 6, 1998
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
1999 Everybody Makes Mistakes
  • Released: November 16, 1999
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
2001 Leave Here a Stranger
  • Released: June 9, 2001
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
2003 Old
  • Released: May 20, 2003
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
2004 I Am the Portuguese Blues
  • Released: February 24, 2004
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
2005 Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice
  • Released: April 12, 2005
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
2006 My Island
  • Released: September 12, 2006
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
2008 Dial M
  • Released: October 28, 2008
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
2010 The Changing of the Guard
  • Released: August 10, 2010
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
  • Released: January 8, 2013
  • Label: Self-released
2016 Slow
  • Released: June 17, 2016
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
24 17
2019 Young in My Head
  • Released: April 26, 2019
  • Label: Tooth & Nail
20 4
2021 Vanity
  • Released: October 15, 2021
  • Label: Velvet Blue Music
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


  • She's the Queen (1994)
  • Le Vainqueur (1995)
  • Fell in Love at 22 (1999)
  • Can't Stop Eating (2002)
  • Old Demos (2003)
  • The Last Laurel (2004)
  • I Win (2006)
  • Minor Keys EP (2009) (digital-only release)
  • Miami (2020)

Live albums[edit]

  • Plugged (EP) (1996)
  • Live at the Paradox (EP) (2002)
  • Never Play Covers (2005)
  • Live at Schubas II (2006; offered only on

12-inch releases[edit]

  • "Gold" (1995, Tooth & Nail Records)
  • "Americana" (1997, Tooth & Nail Records)
  • "The Fashion Focus" (12-inch + bonus 7-inch) (1999, Velvet Blue Music / Burnt Toast Vinyl)
  • "Everybody Makes Mistakes" (12-inch + bonus 7-inch) (1999, Velvet Blue Music / Burnt Toast Vinyl)
  • "Leave Here a Stranger" (2001, ABC Group Documentation)
  • "Portuguese Blues" (2004, Burnt Toast Vinyl)
  • "The Last Laurel" (2005, Republic of Texas Recordings / Somewherecold Records)
  • "Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice" (2005, Burnt Toast Vinyl)
  • "Dial M" (with bonus track) (2008, Burnt Toast Vinyl)
  • "Silver" (2009, Crossroads of America Records)
  • "Old" (2010, Crossroads of America Records)
  • "The Changing of the Guard" (12-inch + bonus 7-inch) (2010, Burnt Toast Vinyl)
  • "IAMACEO" (2013)
  • "Slow" (2016, Tooth & Nail Records)
  • "Young in My Head" (color variants: black, outlaw gold, old blood red) (2019, Tooth & Nail Records)

Singles (7-inch vinyl)[edit]

Box sets[edit]

  • Easy Come Easy Go (2000)
  • Ghosts of the Future (2007) (10-record 7-inch vinyl box set, released on Burnt Toast Vinyl)
  • Ghosts of the Past (2009)

Appearances on Compilations[edit]


  • When I Learn to Sing (songbook/fake book) (2005)



Former members and players


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Cummings, Tony (February 8, 2009). "Starflyer 59: Creative fixtures of the US Christian underground". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  2. ^ Bush, John. "Starflyer 59 | Biography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  3. ^ O'Connor, Christopher (February 12, 2004). "God Forbid". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Burr, Matthew (December 3, 2005). "Starflyer 59, "She's The Queen" Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Leslie, Camilo Arturo (January 23, 2001). "Starflyer 59 - Easy Come Easy Go 1994-2000". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  6. ^ Gotrich, Lars (June 8, 2016). "Jason Martin Explains Starflyer 59's 'Slow,' Track By Track". NPR. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  7. ^ "The 50 Best Shoegaze Albums of All Time". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "Interview with Jason Martin from Starflyer 59". The Blue Star Journal. 1996. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  9. ^ "Starflyer 59 Interview June 2002". True Tunes. June 2002. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  10. ^ "Starflyer 59". Facebook. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  11. ^ "Help Starflyer 59 Produce Their First Independent Album". Kickstarter.
  12. ^ "Complete Discography". TW WALSH MASTERING. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  13. ^ "New SF59 material in the works". Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  14. ^ "New SF59 material in the works". Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  15. ^ "New SF59 material in the works". Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  16. ^ "New SF59 material in the works". Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  17. ^ "Starflyer 59 "Young In My Head" Pre-Order Now at Tooth & Nail Store - News". Indie Vision Music. March 6, 2019.
  18. ^ "STARFLYER 59 – Miami : Velvet Blue Music".
  19. ^ "Starflyer 59 Pre-Orders Up Now on Velvet Blue Music for New Album - News". Indie Vision Music. September 8, 2021. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  20. ^ "Exclusive: Hear Lo Tom's Expertly Crafted Debut, "Overboard"". Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  21. ^ "Starflyer 59 (Top Christian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  22. ^ "Starflyer 59 (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 11, 2019.

External links[edit]