Lone Star was a Welsh rock band formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1975. An embryonic line-up consisted of former Iona members, Kenny Driscoll and Tony Smith, former Quest bassist Ray Jones, and drummer Jim Mathews. The band took on the Lone Star moniker in early 1975 with the addition of new rhythm section, Pete Hurley on bass and Dixie Lee on drums, and noted guitarist Paul "Tonka" Chapman (a cousin of famed Welsh rocker Dave Edmunds), whose credits included the bands Universe, Skid Row (where he had replaced Gary Moore), Kimla Taz, and most notably, UFO, in a short-lived 1974 dual guitar configuration alongside Michael Schenker. Canadian keyboardist Rick Worsnop completed the line-up.
Lone Star recorded a studio session for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show in early 1976, and signed to CBS Records, releasing their self-titled Roy Thomas Baker-produced debut album in August 1976. It charted at No. 47 on the UK Album Charts and was supported by a UK tour with label mate Ted Nugent. A second BBC session was recorded and broadcast around the time of the first album's release. The band's profile would get a further boost with a BBC Radio One In Concert broadcast, recorded at the Paris Theatre in London on September 23, 1976 while on tour as openers for Mott.
1977 saw original vocalist Kenny Driscoll replaced by 20-year old newcomer John Sloman (ex-Trapper). The band's third BBC Studio Session, with Sloman now on vocals, was recorded in February 1977, and broadcast in July of that year on Alan Freeman's Saturday Show. This was an experimental quadrophonic broadcast trialling the BBC's Matrix H system. The band's second album, Firing on All Six, produced by Gary Lyons and released in August 1977, bettered its predecessor and reached No. 36 on the UK charts. That same month, the band would undertake their most high profile gig yet with an appearance at the prestigious Reading Festival on August 26, followed by a live broadcast on the BBC's Sight & Sound programme on September 29, recorded at Queen Mary College in East London whilst sharing a bill with Canadian guitarist Pat Travers. Both the BBC In Concert and Sight & Sound broadcasts were released in 1994 as the BBC Radio One Live In Concert CD.
Break-up and further activities
Driscoll formed/joined Hiding Place. They recorded one studio session for the BBC on 19 December 1977, which was broadcast on 5 January 1978 on The John Peel Show, this session appearing to be their only recorded output. As well as Driscoll, Hiding Place included Tich - Guitar, Vocals - Dave Dawson - Bass, Vocals - Rob Allen - Drums, Vocals - Paul Abrahams - Keyboards.
Lone Star would be in a holding pattern for a period when Chapman was called upon by UFO to fill in for the absent Michael Schenker for part of their U.S. tour with Rush. Upon his return the band began to prepare and demo material for a proposed third album but already on shaky ground and beset by management problems, Lone Star splintered in late 1978, CBS having pulled the plug due in part to the rapidly changing musical climate. Chapman re-joined UFO for good and went on to make 4 studios album with the band before joining UFO bassist Pete Way in Waysted in the mid-1980s and settling in the US. Chapman now works as a guitar teacher in South Florida where he is also a member of Gator Country, featuring members of the original Molly Hatchet.
Drummer Dixie Lee toured with Wild Horses in late 1978 before teaming up with John Sloman in the short-lived Pulsar. Lee also cut some demos with an early incarnation of Blizzard Of Ozz and briefly joined Welsh metal act Persian Risk in late 1983. Sloman would join British rockers Uriah Heep for their controversial Conquest album in 1980 before forming John Sloman's Badlands with guitarist John Sykes in 1982 and guesting with Gary Moore on the Rockin' Every Night Japan live album. Sloman embarked on a solo career in the mid-1980s and has released a couple of solo albums since.
Driscoll and Hurley reformed Lone Star in 1979 and tried unsuccessfully to obtain a new recording contract. They played some gigs in 1980, including shows at Bournemouth Winter Gardens, Keele University and Nottingham Boat Club. Driscoll next fronted Tom The Lord, an outfit that also involved ex-Iona/Quest bassist Ray Jones, guitarist Tich Gwilym (Kimla Taz), and drummer (Rob Allen) but the band disintegrated in the formative stages despite interest from Epic Records. Driscoll would briefly join Gary Moore's band in 1980 and sang on the Live At The Marquee album. He currently fronts the Kenny Driscoll Band, a Welsh pub/club band.
Following Lone Star's demise, Tony Smith teamed up in Screen Idols with former The Rats trio - drummer Mike 'Woody' Woodmansey (David Bowie, U-Boat), bassist Geoff Appleby (Hunter-Ronson Band), and guitarist Keith 'Ched' Cheeseman - and vocalist Michelle Nieddu. The band's sole album, Premiere, came out in 1979. Following the departure of Nieddu and Cheeseman, Smith would take over lead vocals on the band's third and final single, Routine b/w Power Supply, issued in 1980, before Idols called it a day. The guitarist next turned up in Los Angeles, CA alongside fellow Brit Kal Swan (ex-Tytan) where the two formed Lyon, quickly renamed Lion, although Smith was not part of the band's recorded output. Smith can now be found in the band The Daggers doing the live circuit around Wales.
Pete Hurley was part of Welsh roots rockers, The Red Hot Pokers, all through the 1990s and joined Sloman in a project called Beat Poets in 1999. Hurley released Dancin' Mood with the Pokers in 2001, the group also being credited with backing both rock'n'roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis his sister, Linda Gail Lewis, live and in the studio on different occasions. Recording the You Win Again album in 2000 with Linda and Northern Irish icon, Van Morrison, would lead to The Red Hot Pokers becoming Morrison's new live band, with Hurley also contributing bass to Van's 2002's Down the Road album. Hurley is still an in-demand session player who works with a number of different acts.
Rick Worsnop returned to Canada in 1979 to pursue a career as a software developer. He currently alternates solo keyboard recording with voice acting, and teaches systems analysis for a consulting company in Toronto.
A third Lone Star album, Riding High, was released by Paul Chapman, on the Zoom Club label in 2000. Produced without the participation of other band members, it consisted of demos recorded by Chapman plus previously-unpublished Lone Star material.
- Tony Smith - guitar (1975-1978)
- Kenny Driscoll - vocals (1975-1977)
- Ray Jones - bass (1975)
- Jim Mathews - drums (1975)
- Pete Hurley - bass guitar (1975-1978)
- Dixie Lee - drums (1975-1978)
- Paul 'Tonka' Chapman - lead guitar (1975-1978)
- Rick Worsnop - keyboards (1975-1978)
- John Sloman - vocals (1977-1978)
- Lone Star (CBS, 1976)
- Firing on All Six (CBS, 1977)
- BBC Radio One Live in Concert (Windsong, 1994)
- Riding High (Zoom Club, 2000)
Note: Lone Star and Firing on All Six have been re-issued as a double album by BGO Records.
- "Hey Baby" / "Turn It Up" b/w "A New Day" / "A Million Stars" 7" (CBS, 1976) promo-only split EP w/ Ted Nugent
- "She Said She Said" b/w "Illusions" 7" (CBS, 1976)
- "Hypnotic Mover" b/w "All of Us to All of You" 7" (CBS, 1977)
- "Seasons in Your Eyes" b/w "Lovely Lubina" 7" (CBS, 1977)
- Lone Star MySpace
- Lone Star @ Music Might
- Lone Star history @ AlexGitlin.com
- Lone Star history @ UFO.Dave-Wood.org
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