ANGEL are up on Cloud Nine, with their re-issued album On Earth As It Is In Heaven getting great reviews in the music press. FRANK DIMINO spoke to GET READY TO ROLL! about the progress of the next album, about Frank Zappa's 'tribute' to Punky Meadows, and he also puts out a call for the designer of the Angel logo to get back in touch.
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Congratulations on the release of the remastered On Earth As It Is In Heaven, which is out now on Lovember Records. As well as great reviews of the music itself, the packaging has also received very positive feedback, especially Dave Reynolds' extensive liner notes and all the new (old!) photos. Are any of the other Angel albums in the pipeline for a reissue?
You'll have to ask the guys at Lovember Records and Universal. We just wrote and recorded them - the record company is in control of re-issues and re-releases. This one was fun for me though, because I was asked to write about the recording process and the writing process for each track.
Any plans to tour?
As soon as our new Manager Peter Kalish is willing to let us loose we're ready to get back out on the road again!
>What about songs for a new album? The band members live in cities spread right across America, (yourself in Vegas, yes?) so are you getting together to write or doing it long-distance? How's it coming along, and how easily - or not - does the creativity flow when you can't actually jam in real-time?
Yeah, if we were all in the same place or even same zip code it would be easier. But I've gone down to New Orleans and stayed at Steve's house to write and to Los Angeles to write with Barry and Michael.
We do have a good amount of new material for the next album. Once we all get together it's a lot easier to bash them out and arrange the songs the way they should be.
There have been rumours recently that Gregg Giuffria might be coming back into the line-up. How likely is this to happen?
The rumours are false. I did a live interview with Eddie Trunk in early September and told him that I recently spoke with Punky Meadows. Punky said he'd like to get together with everyone again and I have spoken with Greg about it also, however we were referring to a "social gathering of friends", NOT a band reunion. The next day on the internet there were postings that ANGEL was reforming with the original lineup. That is simply not true. Not that it can't happen, it just was not the subject of conversation we recently had.
We can't talk about Angel without mentioning your brilliant logo - which can be read from both Earth and from Heaven, haha. It was designed by a fan, yes? (Bob Petrik?) How would anyone think to come up with such a clever idea from the word 'Angel'? Amazing! Are you still in contact with him and if so would he have any input on your next album cover design?
Yeah it was a great idea. I believe he is a graphics designer but I could be wrong. Bob, if you're out there and read this, drop us a line and tell us what you're up to. As far as input, we will be using that logo again. I'm not sure how yet, but it will be on the cover.
Angel were immortalised by Frank Zappa - on the track 'Punky's Whips' (referring to Punky Meadows and the image he thought Angel portrayed by wearing white silk'n'chiffon). What are your thoughts about that song?
The song is a great song and who better to get immortalized by... than Frank Zappa! He invited all of us to the show when he unveiled the song live. Great band, great players and a great night.
It's certainly a very distinctive look! Will we be seeing an all-white-on-the-night Angel for the next run of shows?
Absolutely, it's part of the deal when you go to an ANGEL show.
After years of touring with bands such as Rush, Styx, ZZ Top etc, you must have some hilarious stories to tell. What are some of your funniest Spinal Tap incidents from those tours?
Most of those stories are obviously too hilarious to tell, but now that you've brought up Spinal Tap... the first tour we did in Japan was the first time we did the whole show with the opening illusion. You know where we appear on stage, one at a time, out of the towers that are built on stage. As each tower is built, our name is announced and that band member would appear in the tower and walk out. Barry got so freaked out at the first show that when his name was announced he never appeared in the tower and never walked out of his tower. He had to wait until the rest of us appeared in our towers, and then he came on stage with all of us. For awhile there it was "where the hell is Barry?"
And what were your proudest moments, and why?
I think for us there were a lot of proud moments. As a band, the first time you go into a studio to record your first album together, that's pretty special! Growing up in Boston, living in New York and Washington DC and doing shows at The Boston Garden, Madison Square Garden and Largo Arena was pretty nice too. Of course after we moved to Los Angeles, headlining Long Beach Arena and playing The Forum in L.A. wasn't bad either!
After Angel rested their wings in the 80s, what did you do, and what prompted the reunion in 1998?
I did a lot of studio work singing background vocals and some made-for-television soundtracks as well as some movie soundtracks. I think what prompted the reunion or retooling was the fact that both Barry and myself wanted to record again and go back out on the road.
Which of the previous band-members are you still in touch with, and how well does everyone get along with each other?
We all keep in touch with each other and we all get along fine. We've been through a lot together and that makes a bond that is hard to break.
Do you still do voice-coaching? How satisfying is it to bring out someone's ability and confidence, and are there any achievements with anyone that you're especially proud of from that part of your career?
Yes, I am still teaching voice. It's very satisfying to bring out someone's ability and to build up their confidence. I have a lot of young students and it's great to teach them at the beginning stage. I'm proud of all my students because they're so young and they all enjoy singing so much that it makes it enjoyable for me to teach them.
How much influence did Gene Simmons have on Angel's career?
Well, I don't think Gene had much influence on our career. Although he always did give us advice when we first met, and after we signed with Casablanca Records.
As you mentioned earlier, Peter Kalish is now managing Angel. What was it about Peter that made him the right man for the job?
The fact that Peter cares is the one most important part of what makes Peter the right man for the job. He is in constant contact with me about every move we make and each day there is progress sometimes more sometimes less, but always progress.
What message would you like to give to Angel fans?
How about "please buy the reissue of On Earth!" and the fact that we are still doing what we do best and love the most... and that's music. We are looking forward to recording a new album and going back out on the road. I think Peter is putting together a great game plan and performing is always the most fun for me. We hope to see everyone out there again soon!
© Get Ready To Roll - 21st July 2013