Stardust Birthday Party is the follow up to Ron Gallo’s debut album, Heavy Meta, a “garage rock album whose emphasis on lurid fun doesn’t sacrifice depth,” said The Guardian, giving it four stars. Mojo called it a “Shrieky-voiced, Jad fair-esque solo set of mid-70s Bowery oddball punk.” It was Gallo at his angriest, most disillusioned self. Amidst the typical political and social chaos in America and going through a break-up with a partner who suffered from addiction and mental illness, Gallo funneled his frustrations in to this frenetic debut.
A life-altering, seismic shift in Gallo’s life is what led to Stardust Birthday Party – a counterpoint to Heavy Meta and a spiritual 180. The girl he’d been seeing had taken herself to South America at the height of her addiction, found a healer and had miraculously come out on the other side in 2016. It got Gallo’s interest piqued in an inward path and he began reading, searching. On a whim in early 2018, he booked a trip to California for a silent meditation retreat. Despite his initial discomfort, something significant occurred on day two that served as a singular answer to all his existential searching, and reaffirmed the foundation of this record – inner-transformation and how that impacts the outside world and your perception of it.
Stardust Birthday Party follows Ron Gallo’s journey through awakening via self-deconstruction, kicking off with the simple prompt – “Who Are You? (Point to it!)” The album examines the tent poles of self loathing, anxiety and distraction on songs like “Always Elsewhere,” “Party Tumor” and “Do You Love Your Company?” ultimately leading to the answer on “‘You’ Are The Problem.” The second half of the album embodies the subtle slow shift into a more light, loving and compassionate outlook.
Gallo pays tribute to John Coltrane’s own spiritual awakening on “Love Supreme (Work Together!)” named after the jazz artist’s seminal album. The record closes with “Happy Deathday,” a palette cleanser that challenges you to forget everything you’ve known. Throughout Stardust Birthday Party you’ll find that Gallo’s signature weirdo punk-poet persona is in full tact despite the absence of anger. The guitars are fuzzy and loud and there’s an urgency balanced with his new found OM.