With three No. 1 hit singles and 11 top-100 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the span of three studio albums from 1985 through 1989 and a compilation album, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas is arguably the most decorated band to appear at Chingawassa Days since the festival’s inception.
“I like so much about touring,” lead singer Thomas said Monday. “I just like traveling.”
Thomas said being on stage is still fun, and touring is more relaxed and fun than in the band’s 1980s heyday. Touring then was a six-month monster away from home with an entourage of dozens.
Starship formed in the mid-1980s in the wake of the dissolution of Jefferson Starship, but the new band immediately established its star credentials with “We Built This City,” the first single from their debut album, Knee Deep in the Hoopla. “We Built This City” did something that no song by Jefferson Starship or Jefferson Airplane had done — reached the peak position on Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“It was very unexpected,” Thomas said.
Looking back, the tour in support of Knee Deep in the Hoopla is like a blur, he said. The band was touring constantly while also preparing for their follow-up album. Now touring means flying out for a gig or two and returning home.
Starship’s next single, “Sara,” repeated the chart-topping feat in 1986, as did “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” in 1987 from the album No Protection. Other top-100 singles include “Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight,” “Before I Go,” “It’s Not Over (’Til It’s Over),” “Beat Patrol,” “Wild Again,” “It’s Not Enough,” “I Didn’t Mean To Stay All Night,” and “Good Heart.”
Having three No. 1 singles in a span of two years was like being “in the zone” playing golf, making shot after shot, Thomas said.
“You just kind of get on this run,” he said.
When that happens, it’s important to not over-think it — just enjoy the success. Continuing the golf comparison, thinking about it too much can lead to a triple-bogey after a streak of pars and birdies, he said.
Scoring multiple No. 1 hits was the result of several factors, he said.
“It’s always a combination of timing, great songs, and getting lucky,” Thomas said.
Lead singer Mickey Thomas has been a part of 19 top-100 hits, including his time as a member of Jefferson Starship.
Starship’s breakout hit, “We Built This City,” is probably still the band’s best-known song. Just last fall, the song provided the music for a montage in the hit movie The Muppets.
Thomas said he was amazed by the staying power of the band’s top hits. He said he recognizes “We Built This City” has taken some lumps from music critics, but what matters to Thomas is the reaction the song gets from audiences.
The headline act is far from the only music at Chingawassa Days. Eagles tribute band 7 Bridges Road and Aerosmith tribute band Last Child will perform starting at 7 p.m. June 1 after a community barbecue and ice cream social.
Music continues on June 2 with former Marion residents Oliver Good and Travis Moore at 1:15 p.m. at the gazebo stage. The opening acts on the main stage that night are Vegetable and Clearview, returning after performing in 2011.
Chingawassa Days is June 1 through 3 in Central Park, Marion. A button is required for entry and costs $25 through Saturday or $35 afterward. June 2-only buttons are available for $6, but that doesn’t include the Friday events or Saturday night concerts.
Buttons can be purchased at Central National Bank, Marion National Bank, Tampa State
Bank, Carlsons’ Grocery, Marion Pharmacy, and the Marion City Office.