The history of [a]Starlings[/a] was as short as it was wretched....

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Guildford Civic Hall

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Guildford Civic Hall

The history of [a]Starlings[/a] was as short as it was wretched. Their first album – 1992’s ‘Valid’ – was a whining, self-obsessed account of singer Chris Sheehan‘s withdrawal from heroin. Their second, 1994’s ‘Too Many Dogs’, had even fewer laughs.

Sheehan had originally been part of successful teen band The Exponents back in New Zealand. When he touched down in London, however, that all changed, as he quickly acquired a reputation as an egomaniac and a hard drug user, eventually installing himself in a flat on London’s notorious Shoot-Up Hill.

Critically, his band were reviled from the start, and by the time of ‘Too Many Dogs’, Sheehan found himself alone (the rest of the band having quit to play with The Jesus And Mary Chain) and bitter. The result was one of the most cynical, misanthropic and downright nasty albums ever recorded.

A fiesta of unadulterated hatred, it relayed Sheehan‘s dislike for drugs, his friends, the music industry, children, parties and, well, just about everything. A remarkable achievement, but not one that could stop the album sinking without trace. Following a brief attempt at a solo career Sheehan disappeared and was last spotted playing with The Sisters Of Mercy. Life, it seems, doesn’t get any better.