Photos by Cassandra D Balazic for MK ULTRA Magazine and may not be reproduced in any manner with the expressed written consent of the photographer. Review by Alex Zander
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On the Rocks (On Earth as It Is in Heaven 1977)
Can You Feel It (On Earth as It Is in Heaven 1977)
Wild and Hot (Sinful 1979)
Rockin’ in the City (Frank DiMino solo 2016)
Straight Shooter (Punky Meadows solo 2016)
The Fortune (Helluva Band 1976)
Cast the First Stone (On Earth as It Is in Heaven 1977)
Don’t Leave Me Lonely (White Hot 1978)
I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore (White Hot 1978)
Got Love If You Want It (White Hot 1978)
Anyway You Want It (Helluva Band 1976)
Feelin’ Right (Helluva Band 1976)
Rock & Rollers (debut 1975)
Tower (debut 1975)
The Live Band
Frank DiMino lead vox
Punky Meadowns lead guitar
Danny Farrow rhythm guitar
Charlie Calv keyboards
Steve Ojane bass
Billy Orrico drums
SOURCE: METAL SLUDGE May 17, 2016
Angel, the legendary glam band from the 1970s that wore all white and had the most sultry hair in rock history, gathered for the first time in 35 years.
They didn’t play a note, and they did not need to. Punky Meadows, Gregg Giuffria, Frank DiMino, Barry Brandt and Felix Robinson took the stage to accept the Glam Rock Legends award, and there we witnessed the biggest ovation of the evening.
Eddie Trunk stood with them and delivered a passionate introduction speech, and event organizer Sally Steele, the editor/publisher of Vegas Rocks magazine, was the one who made it all happen.
This was the first time since like 1980 that Punky Meadows has shown his chiseled face — not including a recent solo CD on a minor label — and Steele, who has been hob-nobbing with rock stars for decades, was as stunned and excited as anyone just to meet him.
“Punky is still so hot, and he still just has so much charisma,” Steele said. “I didn’t get to talk to the Angel guys much, and at the after-party, I’m not even sure they remembered who the hell I was because I changed clothes. . . . I think I knocked a drink over, too. By that time, I was still on no sleep. I had fun here and there, but most of the time I was busy overseeing everything and everyone for every minute — and I could probably write a book on all the crazy drama. It was a little chaotic.” – METAL SLUDGE
Along with Cassie and I was fellow ANGEL fan my pal Adam Becvare who’s friend and manager Michael Adamany said to me the same thing many people have over the past 3.5 decades and actually vocalist Frank DiMino told me as well. “There are two types of people when it comes to ANGEL, those that love them and those who have never heard of them”, and that is indeed true. I recall turning Ashley onto them a year ago and as recent as last October one of my oldest friends Jason Harmon who posted just today, “Yep, I had never heard of them until you played them when we stayed in Valpo.”
When I saw Frank DiMino’s short set a year earlier he opened for the Legendary Graham Bonnet (Rainbow) at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles with headliner Uli Jon Roth (Scorpions) and it was good enough for me so I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations when I attended the show last Saturday here in Chicago I was just excited I’d finally get to see Punky Meadows play live and not only that a full set of ANGEL with Frank singing. They’d done a couple guest appearances at each other’s shows over the last couple of years so this was bound to happen and nobody would be happier to witness it than yours truly. I still have all of the vinyl and only replaced “Live Without A Net” on CD which was sadly their swan song.
We entered the club in time to see CHEVONNE AND THE FUZZ take the stage but sadly missed a Kenosha band that I heard people say a lot of great things about called ELECTRIC REVOLUTION who during the aforementioned seconds bands set played I was caught admiring the guitar on display at the merch table which belonged to ELECTRIC REVOLUTION guitarist Brock Betz who turned out to be a kick ass guy and showed me his guitar and gave me the bands CD. He’s later go on to help Cassie shoot a few from up above the stage so thank you Brock!
Outside we’d waited out the set and I struck up a conversation with Punky’s drummer Billy Orrico and chatted a bit before introducing him to my friends. We’d learn a short time later that he’s such a Barry Brandt fan (a fact he explained to me earlier) that he nailed all of the drum parts. He was a perfect fit for this outfit.
By the time the band walked in the front door and took stage it could have been a terrible show and I would have been happy but from the opening song “On The Rocks” I felt the goosebumps. Both Frank and Punky for being on the upper end of their 60’s were in great shape. Franks voice was never better (he does give voice lessons for a living) and he hit the notes and teased us through their entire set with the live version opening of “Rock n Rollers” which they played just before the encore. Punky Meadows it seemed for the near 90 minute set had never left the scene ever. He was on top of it and not only with his flashy top notch style but posing and outing which is what he was famous for in the 1970’s the hard rock male Barbie Doll with a cock, something that inspired the Frank Zappa song “Punky Whips”.
The lyrics of “Punky’s Whips” were intended as an inside joke regarding drummer Terry Bozzio’s purported infatuation with Punky Meadows, lead guitarist of the band Angel.
Frank had some fun banter between songs and the band very very tight. The rhythm section combo of drummer Billy Orrico and bassist Steve Ojane really held the set together. At one point I told my buddy, “It’s nice that Duff McKagan came out to fill in on bass tonight. Punky may have been on fire but to me Frank seemed to be having the most fun. In fact he was having a fucking ball!
And then there is second guitarist Danny “Farrow” Anniello who helped the rhythm section “Stick Like Glue”. With a resume that is as impressive as Custom Toy maker / Lead sculptor for Figures Toy Company as it is in rock n’ roll he should be the topic of an upcoming MK ULTRA interview before the end of this year. It should be noted that Danny is the man not only responsible for bringing Punky Meadows of exile but also co-wrote the material on the “Fallen Angel” album.
For myself the true test would be when the band played “Feelin Right” which came from my very first ANGEL album “Helluva Band” from 1976 prior to the creation of their iconic logo which is ambigrammatic; it reads the same when turned upside-down as when viewed normally. Back to the song. I’ve always loved keyboard heavy hard rock bands, from The Doors, to Deep Purple to the late great Type O Negative and ANGEL it really sets bands like that apart from the rest, Hell fucking DEVO is full on keyboard heavy especially in their earlier guitar based music. “Feelin Right” featured a solo that switched between keyboardist Gregg Giuffria and Punky Meadows something that really sounds great on records but goes over even better live when Gregg comes onto the stage with a keyboard strapped around him like a guitar. Now Punky’s keyboardist Charlie Calv didn’t bring part of his keyboards out to the front but he played the parts perfectly. Even to this day and all of the thousands of concerts I’ve seen and heard I’ve never witnessed anything like this very exciting patented dual solo. Charlie noticeably took the opportunity to become animated and tilted one of his boards forward a few times and he was spot on and having a really good time as well.
After finally playing “Rock n Rollers the boys came out for the encore we all knew they’’d play, their lead single from their self titled debut “The Tower”. As just like that it was over and though it wasn’t an actual ANGEL it was close enough and more than good enough for me as I had just seen a Helluva Band!
Talking to some local music industry people outside one thing everyone commented on was it was by far the loudest show they’d ever seen at Reggie’s and according to my still ringing ears the next day, I have no choice but to agree.
Thank you Punky Meadows and Frank DiMino you’re true legends and two of my all time favorte performers. Only one thing might top it, hint-hint. – Alex Zander