Interview and Live Photos By Robert Cavuoto
Punky Meadows was the guitarist in Angel, one of the most striking hard rock bands of the 70’s. On September 18th he released a new video for the song; “Lost and Lonely” off his 2016 solo CD, Fallen Angel. What makes this exciting was it featured three members of Angel; Punky Meadows [guitar], Frank Dimino [vocals], and Felix Robinson [bass] on video for the first time since 1980. Along with Punky’s solo band, Danny Farrow, Charlie Calv and Bob Pantella, the band filmed the video at The Chance Theatre in New York.
I caught up with Punky to talk about the reunion for the video and what lies on the horizon for his second solo CD.
Robert Cavuoto: You recently reunited with Felix Robinson and Frank DiMino for the video “Lost and Lonely.” Was this testing the waters for a potential reunion?
Punky Meadows: What happened was Frank put out a solo CD a few years ago and asked me to play on it. When I put out my solo CD, Fallen Angel, I asked Frank if he would sing on one of my songs. Danny Farrow my guitarist and I wrote that song as it has a nice Angel vibe. It could be a song right off the Sinful album. This summer Frank was in town playing on the East Coast, so we rented The Chance Theatre in Poughkeepsie, NY to film the video. We did it in five hours which is unheard of because you can spend days and weeks working on them. It was a lot of fun and Frank knocked it out of the ballpark. He is such a great singer. So many singers who have been around as long can’t hit the high notes anymore. Frank sings just as well if not better than he did back in Angel. His voice is just as strong and high.
As far as an Angel reunion goes, there has been talk about it. I’ve always said it has to be the original band and someone would have to bankroll it to ensure its done right. I don’t want to go out there in white jeans and white t-shirts playing some Angel songs. We had a great stage show back in the day, so I would want to treat that right too. Maybe we do two nights at the Hard Rock in San Diego and make it a great show for everybody and cap things off with a bang.
Robert Cavuoto: Is it just the financial aspect that’s holding the reunion up? Is everyone on board?
Punky Meadows: We did a reunion in Las Vegas for the award show. We all talked about it and were excited, Greg even got teary-eyed over it. We decided to leave the door opened. After that, we never discussed it again! Everyone wants to do it, but it is about the financial backing. It’s a possibility as I never say never and it would have to be treated right so people can get the full effect of how an Angel show really was.
Robert Cavuoto: Can you envision which Angel songs you would perform for a reunion show?
Punky Meadows: We would pick songs from each album as we did back then. Songs that we all liked to play plus classics like “Rock and Rollers,” “Tower,” “Can you Feel It,” and “Wild and Hot.” I think we would also do “The Fortune.” There is a pretty good catalog of songs to choose from. There are also a lot of songs that people never heard us play live which we can include as well.
The Angel catalog is pretty diversified as we started out as a heavy progressive type of band. We also have the popular and commercial songs too. It would probably be a long show like two or three hours to give the fans their money’s worth.
Robert Cavuoto: Are there any projects in the works with you, Frank, and Felix?
Punky Meadows: Nothing is set in stone as we really haven’t even discussed it with Frank yet. Maybe we can do a tour with Frank on the bill; play some of my songs, some of Frank’s songs, and then do a bunch of Angel songs. We are just kicking ideas around; we would have to see how Frank feels about it and the logistics of it. You never know.
Robert Cavuoto: Back in June 2016 when I saw you at BB Kings in New York, Felix only played bass on one or two songs with the band.
Punky Meadows: He was recovering from some health issues back then. He was feeling fine at the time but had doctor orders to take it easy and not push it. He’s doing great now. He is one of the best bass players I’ve ever worked with. A lot of bass players in heavy metal are just pounders; hitting the open E string. Felix can play rock, soul, funk, R&B, and country. He can play anything on the bass, and he is so melodic. He is also a great all-round musician, keyboardist, and singer. If nothing else I would always have Felix on all my CDs. I respect him and his playing that much!
That show at BB Kings in 2016 was our very first show. It was so exciting. The band has gotten so much better since then. We had a blast playing it. We are serious about playing but like to make it a fun time for everybody. We have a new booking agent and manager, so we are looking to do a lot more shows in the US in 2018. It should be awesome.
Robert Cavuoto: Speaking of CDs are you working on a follow-up CD to Fallen Angel?
Punky Meadows: Danny and I are very prolific and always writing together. We’ve already started writing songs for the next CD. On Fallen Angel, there were 15 songs plus the two bonus tracks. People would say, “That’s too many songs for one CD, why not do two CDs?” I’m always writing so we thought let’s give people their money’s worth. I’m glad we put it out that way. I’m always playing guitar with a tape recorder beside me on the couch while watching TV. Nobody can sit with me while I’m doing this because I’m playing along to the soundtracks of the shows and commercials [laughing]. I have to play every night as my guitar is like an old friend. Danny and I have the same love for songs and writing as we like Pop, rock, and metal. When I hear the Raspberry’s play “Go All the Way” my hair still hands up on my arms. There are so many killer guitarists they just can’t write a song to save their ass. We pride ourselves on writing.
Robert Cavuoto: What were the aspects on Fallen Angel that you liked and what do you think you can improve upon?
Punky Meadows: We are always thinking of ways to change things up. I have some interesting song ideas, some of which are heavy. I have a song similar to “The Fortune” which is an epic type of song. There will be a lot of diversity. I usually write from what inspires me like Bruno Mars or Brad Paisley. I don’t want to limit myself. People ask, “Don’t you want to put a CD out to let people know where you stand now?” I want people to see I like everything. It will sound like me and our band. The next CD will be more experimental. It’s fun to go into the studio using colors from your pallet to paint a picture. All of my guitar solos are songs within themselves. When I play a solo I don’t play it over the chords of the song; I make new progression for the solo. It’s the fun part to have a melodic solo with a crescendo at the end that kicks ass.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you consider yourself a better songwriter now than when you were in Angel?
Punky Meadows: I do, I’m a better songwriter now as far as writing a complete song. Back when we were in Angel, I would plant the seed by coming in with a guitar riff to share with the band. It was mostly riff-oriented songs, and then Frank would add lyrics. That was how we worked on the first two albums. Then I started writing more completed songs with melodies for the vocal. What’s cool about that is you have to be brave and throw caution to the wind. You shouldn’t care what anybody thinks just take the riff and make a song from it. People end up loving it. The Beatles and Stones wrote great songs, as I love songs that go beyond the riff.
Robert Cavuoto: I learned that you are working on a potential Angel documentary.
Punky Meadows: There is a guy named Curt Gooch he has written a few books on Kiss and Casablanca. He has all this unseen concert footage. When I was in St. Louis last year, he showed it to me. The footage is really awesome and high quality from just about every tour we did. He wants to pull it together with some new and old interviews. He’s been working on it for a while and hopes to sell it to a cable channel.