Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The grim uncertainties of a career. After Television have crippled many a promising musical group, but the Starland Vocal Band seems unscathed by its brush with the Great Discount Bin. They joke about the dismal sales of their last album, and the only allusion to the tube and last season's short-lived show comes in a song about a viewer's obession with a "newslady," but the bruises are small.
"(The show) made such a little difference in our lives it's incredible," says Bill Danoff. "If anything, our skepticism about a series was justified; we were cynical about it in the beginning.
"In the middle of it all, we had high hopes - not that we were revolutionizing television, but that it would turn out to be a better show than it did. But where the show did very well was in places we could never reach - Illinois Iowa, middle America.
Danoff is not sure whether the series' poor ratings had an effect on the album sales. "If the show had been a big success and the album didn't sell, I'd be suspicious. There's no way to tell." Nevertheless, SVB and RCA are gung ho about the newest album, which will be released sometime next month.
Despite forecast of heavy snow, SVB kicked off a four-nighter at the Cellar Door to sold out crowds. During a solid hour's set, they ranged from Oldie-Goldies like "Afternoon Delight" and "Third-Rate Romance" to a reggae-flavored salute to the Virgin Islands, where they return next week. Although Taffy Danoff complained of a cold, Margo Chapman's soprano was in fine form. The group's strength remains in its harmony and lyrics: "Did you know you could write your life/put it on paper and make it come out just right/In this particular story I wrote you in my arms again tonight."
Monday night, the antics of opening act Larry Rand earned him an encore. Rand, a better comedian than musician, managed in half an hour to lampoon nearly every branch of American popular music, from the Beach Boys and Neil Sedaka to Isaac Hayes and David Houston. Some of his funniest line were ad lib s prompted by his breaking a string in the middle of his bluegrass parody.