Before monsters and bad romances, Catholic schoolgirl Stefani Germanotta expressed her love of performing at a New York City nightclub where she wore a leopard g-string and an Indian headdress while shimmying to Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” with her go-go dancing partner. Known as Lady Gaga and The Starlight Revue or simply “the ultimate pop burlesque rock show,” the two barely-dressed ladies hit the stages of some of Manhattan’s top venues, including The Bitter End and Mercury Lounge, channeling their inner Ziggy Stardust. With heart-stopping shows involving hair spray cans lit on fire and stripper couture, it’s no wonder that the two Warholian entertainers were highly sought after. Soon later, Germanotta would be recognized by millions as Lady Gaga, the newly crowned queen of pop whose songs about fame would make her the biggest star in the world. Yet few people know that it was Lady Starlight, her partner in crime, that inspired the lady behind gaga. Even after winning two Grammys, she continues to collaborate with the rock ‘n’ roll DJ that taught her everything she needed to know about performance art-and we couldn’t be more thankful.
Lady Starlight, who continues to spin throughout the world and now sell custom fashion designs at her online shop Consume, speaks exclusively to Clubplanet about that fateful night she met her famous friend, why rock ‘n’ roll is making a comeback, and what it takes to be a lady.
Clubplanet: How did you get your start as an artist here in New York City?
Lady Starlight: Actually, I went to school here. I studied at SUNY and have a degree in philosophy. I then did a study abroad program and went to London where I lived for two years. I couldn’t get a visa so I moved to New York City. I came and felt right at home. To me it was all about the art and fashion. Every time you leave your house you saw people just walking down the street wearing something really unique or sexy. It was very much like the whole 70s, glam look. It reminds me when David Johansen (of New York Dolls) said that it was happening on the streets. It was like, whoa! That’s how I began my performing career by just walking down the street. Then, I started go-go dancing because I was really into the mod scene and the all-night dance parties. I looked exactly like Peggy Moffitt everyday. It was all about getting dressed up, going out, and partying every night. Then me and my partner started doing more performance art. We took it to the next level.
Clubplanet: How did you and Lady Gaga meet?
Lady Starlight: When I was go-go dancing I worked at St. Jerome’s on the Lower East Side and she was dating the owner. When we met, she ran up to me and we just instantly connected.
Clubplanet: As a DJ, you were playing a lot of hard rock?
Lady Starlight: Yep, all vinyl, heavy, classic rock. Iron Maiden is actually my favorite band. Lady Gaga was just in awe by what I was doing and asked me to be on stage with her. We then just started blending ideas. At the time she was already working on her album and a lot of what’s on The Fame were songs that we’ve performed. We worked on these acts for Lady Gaga and The Starlight Revue, which had Gaga rocking the keyboard and me on beats. We also did go-go dancing and onstage performances that featured disco balls and hairsprays being lit on fire.
Clubplanet: What’s your most outrageous experience you’ve shared with Lady Gaga on stage?
Lady Starlight: At one of our most memorable gigs, we were so hung over from the night before that both of us just vomited right before getting on stage. We were so miserable, but it turned out to be a really good performance! Plus after vomiting, we were a lot slimmer in our costumes so we looked great. I never had a flatter stomach!
Clubplanet: You mentioned how your music as a DJ is all about rock. Yet, in one of your past interviews you stated that there wasn’t a rock scene as far as nightlife goes. Why do you think this is the case?
Lady Starlight: There still isn’t one. I’m ready to bring it back. New York City has changed dramatically over the years. I live in Ridgewood, Queens, which is great because its right by the L train, leading me straight to the city…but living in New York City is extremely expensive, especially for artists. They’ve been moving to Brooklyn and before you know it, Staten Island will be left and everyone will be getting on that ferry. I think that rock has long dominated the subculture and then there was this new generation of young people who said ‘Hey wait, electronic music is kinda cool.’ It was like, forget the whole grunge period. People are so focused on the media now that you don’t really hear about rock impacting nightlife anymore. The media definitely changes your perspective. I do think that Rock Band is going to change the way people see and hear rock music. Yeah, it’s hard when people recognize a song only because of Rock Band, but on a positive note, thank God for it.
Clublplanet: Do you see rock coming back to nightclubs?
Lady Starlight: I’m doing everything I can to make that happen. I also think that Rock Band and Guitar Hero could really play a part in that.
Clubplanet: If you could collaborate with anyone musically who would it be and why?
Lady Starlight: Ultimately, I would love to collaborate with Iron Maiden.
Clubplanet: What’s one thing that few people know about you?
Lady Starlight: I’m really into fitness, especially running. I love wearing running gear.
Clubplanet: Talk a little bit about Who Shot Candy Warhol.
Lady Starlight: That was when me and Gaga got back together and did these Warhol-meets-horror mini films that were played during her Fame Ball tour. I honestly don’t know what happened to them after that.
Clubplanet: Do you see yourself doing more films with Lady Gaga in the future?
Lady Starlight: I would love to. Filmmaking is one of my favorite things. During Lady Gaga’s tour, I was producing short films for the show, like Heavy Metal Parking Lot. It was actually my first time doing something like that. It was crazy at the time, and I could only imagine how it is now with the fans. Monsters everywhere! I don’t know if that would be a good idea or not, but I would like to incorporate more film in my work. I just love making art. As far as the next tour goes, I can’t say much, but it’s going to be really good. Let’s just say that Gaga and I have been exchanging ideas. It’s going to be awesome, that’s all I can say.
Clubplanet: What are your thoughts on guys and gals wanting to look like Gaga when her style was influenced from you?
Lady Starlight: It’s crazy. I couldn’t believe that it was happening, knowing that the biggest star in the world was inspired by me and isn’t afraid to say so. I always wanted to touch the world like that. My whole life has changed and I’m just so honored to be part of it. She’s always been so great on talking about me. Madonna didn’t do that. You don’t really see pop stars giving credit to anybody when it comes to who inspired them and Gaga has always done that. I’m very grateful for that. Giving credit where it’s due rarely happens in the music industry.
Clubplanet: What does it take to be a lady?
Lady Starlight: The opposite of what you think.
Find out what Lady Starlight has to say on going “Gaga Glam” here!