Got the news Saturday that former Lillian Axe guitarist Jon Ster had passed away. Jon was a very talented musician, playing guitar and keyboards as well as being a great singer. Jon will be missed all who knew him and his music.
I first heard of Jon Ster when he was in the Texas based band STIFF. STIFF formed in the early 80's and became one of the hottest touring acts on the rock circuit. Any time STIFF came through town you knew there was going to be a good time had.They had a high energy show and played a mix of covers and original material. Their original music soon became as popular as the songs they were covering and their fans wanted to hear more. In 1986 STIFF recorded some demos and in 1987 independently released a five song ep entitled "Straight Up". STIFF's sound was melodic and rocking.....with great harmonies supplied by Jon Ster along with lead singer Ron Taylor. The ep sold well but the band decided that they needed to make a move and in the same year Jon Ster along with fellow band mates , lead singer Ron Taylor and bassist Rob Stratton left STIFF and joined forces with New Orleans based band Lillian Axe.
Lillian Axe signed with MCA records and released their debut album in 1988, which was produced by RATT guitarist Robin Crosby. Their first video "Dream Of A Lifetime" received some attention from MTV and the band was on their way. Their second album "Love and War" is considered by most fans as their best work and again MTV gave the band some exposure with their single "Show A Little Love". After "Love and War" the band changed record labels and had a line up change and went on to release two more records, "Poetic Justice" and "Psychoschizophrenia". "Poetic Justice" was their biggest commercial success and included a cover version of the Badfinger song "No Matter What" and probably their best known song "True Beliver". Lillian Axe broke up in 1995
I saw Lillian Axe numerous times over the years mostly at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, OH and they were one of my favorite bands during the late 80's early 90's....they were one of those bands that never really broke through with major success but I always felt like the deserved to be huge. I had the opportunity to meet Jon Ster on several occasions and the one thing I remember most about him other than his talent is his quick wit and the big smile he always had on his face. He was a super cool guy and loved to laugh. Jon was one of those guys that made you feel comfortable as soon as you spoke to him and it seemed like you had known him for years. I can't remember the last time I saw Jon but a few years ago our paths would cross again when his band at the time Brand New Machine recorded a song for a Jellyfish tribute cd that also featured a song from a band I was in at the time.....I thought that was a cool thing to have happen after following Jon's career for so many years. I hope by writing this it will bring some attention to Jon's music and give people a taste of what he has done over the years.
Jon leaves behind a great legacy of music and a legion of die hard fans that will keep his music alive for years to come.. I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love from fans yesterday on Facebook posting pictures and memories of Jon. He definitely made an impact on many people over the years.
Now it's time to go put some Lillian Axe on the turntable and take a trip back in time.
RIP Jon Ster
Scott Carr is a guitarist who plays in the Columbus, OH bands Radio Tramps and Returning April. Scott is also an avid collector of vinyl records and works at Lost Weekend Records. So...if you are looking for Scott....you'll either find him in a dimly lit bar playing his guitar or in a record store digging for the holy grail.