By Warren Kurtz
Goldmine spoke with Conny Bloom of Electric Boys, Mike Tramp, who gained fame in the late ‘80s as the lead vocalist in White Lion, Ted Poley of Danger Danger, and guitarist Punky Meadows and singer Frank DiMino of Angel about these new vinyl releases available through Deko Music.
Win all four sealed vinyl records from Deko Music – see below for details.
ELECTRIC BOYS, from Sweden, reached No. 76 in 1990 in the U.S. with their single “All Lips N’ Hips,” from their debut album Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride, with Conny Bloom on lead vocals and guitar, Franco Santunione on lead guitar and backing vocals, Andy Christell on bass and backing vocals, and Niclas Sigevall on drums. This quartet is back with their new album, The Ghost Ward Diaries, along with Jolie Atlagic on drums on a few songs, Stephan Jernstahl as a guest keyboardist and guest female backing vocals from Annie Kratz-Guta and Anna Thorsson Foyen.
GOLDMINE: When the Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride album debuted in 1990, that was an era that included America’s Guns N’ Roses and England’s Def Leppard. I hear the possible influence of both bands on your single “All Lips N’ Hips,” after the sitar opening.
CONNY BLOOM: When we started out in Sweden, most bands were singing in Swedish. We sang in English as we wanted to get to America and always had that aim. America and England had the greatest bands. I grew up on Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” and the Alice Cooper albums Killer and Billion Dollar Babies, where it was freeform. They could do any kind of a song on an album. “All Lips N’ Hips” was a big change for the band at the time and it allowed us enough success to tour the U.S., which was great fun.
GM:Another early Electric Boys favorite of mine is “Mary in the Mystery World.” I especially enjoy the vocal harmonies in the chorus.
CB: The vocal was a bit different. We had a gap of a few years, with our second album, Groovus Maximus, recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London and released in 1992. We were concerned that this song was too much of a pop song, but the record company wanted to release it. It was inspired by ‘60s pop and psychedelia.
GM:I hear a bit of a ‘70s inspiration on your new album’s opening number “Hangover in Hannover,” with the intensity of Deep Purple’s “Burn” and even KISS’ “Hell or Hallelujah” from their latest album Monster. The next song, “There She Goes Again,” continues with a bit of that intensity.
CB: “Hangover in Hannover” is a straight forward rock opening track. On “There She Goes Again,” Franco and I share guitar parts, similar to how Keith and Ronnie do it in the Stones.
GM:“You Spark My Heart” follows, it is a catchy love song, but still is powerful, with Niclas’ drums being so prominent. This one is my favorite.
CB: I am so happy you chose this one. This is one of the best songs that I have written, including how the lyrics and music came together. It was written quickly with a natural flow about it, a little bit different from typical Electric Boys songs. For the album we collected all the ideas, determining what’s best. We tried to capture what we sound like today, versus what we sounded like back then.
GM:In addition to the opening number, there is another David Coverdale-like moment for me on the album and that is “Gone Gone Gone,” with a touch of bluesy Steppenwolf too. It is great hearing Annie and Anna doing background vocals too, which in my geography, we might consider it southern rock.
CB: Musically, for me, it is a bit like Crazy Horse. The lyrics for “Gone Gone Gone” are about a friend of ours, a saxophone player, who died a few years ago.
GM:The album’s finale, “One of the Fallen Angels,” certainly shows variety. There is a Black Sabbath-like guitar in it and then the final two minutes of this minute song have a rock vocal choir reminding me of Uriah Heep. What a memorable way to end this great album.
CB: This one is a bit different, isn’t it? It is like waking up in the middle of the night with a nightmare. The ending was originally meant to be in the middle, but we rearranged it and it became the song’s and album’s finale. I am looking forward to playing the songs live. We have European dates coming up, several in the UK in March, and we want to get back to America too. Thank you and Goldmine for your interest in our music.
MIKE TRAMP was first heard on the radio by most listeners in 1988, singing a pair of songs from White Lion’s second album Pride, “Wait” and “When the Children Cry,” both which reached the Top 10 and were co-written by Mike Tramp and the Brooklyn group’s guitarist Vito Bratta. A decade later, in 1998, Mike Tramp’s first solo album was released, Capricorn, an overlooked classic, which has now been reissued and for the first time in vinyl.
GM: When I first heard “Wait” on the radio in Cleveland in 1988, I liked it and felt that it fit in with what Bon Jovi was doing. The writing that you and Vito did on the Pride album certainly worked well like Jon and Richie.
MIKE TRAMP: For me, fronting a band on stage as a singer, there was Jon Bon Jovi in one direction, Motley Crue’s Vince Neil in another direction and I tried to be somewhere between, like David Lee Roth, but ultimately I learned, this really wasn’t me. I was raised in Copenhagen, Denmark in the ‘60s with songs and guitar sounds of Bob Dylan’s folk era and have heroes who are or were torchbearers like Neil Young and Tom Petty. With “Wait,” Vito played his Fender Stratocaster and I played my acoustic guitar, writing that song and others in a Lennon / McCartney way, where the melody should carry the song.
GM:That acoustic and electric combination comes out nicely, on “Lady of the Valley” from Pride, which also served as the flip side of your biggest single.
MT: That acoustic and electric combination was Led Zeppelin influenced, more of my heroes.
GM:Now, on to White Lion’s biggest and quite important single, “When the Children Cry.”
MT: I brought it to Vito and it is like what I would write later, too. It was the ‘80s Reagan and Cold War era. It was an apology to the children for what they might inherit. As topical as it was then, thirty years later, it means even more now. I am just waiting for someone like Adele to cover it and use it in a movie.
GM:I hear that tenderness on “Have You Ever” on your Capricorn album, which you recorded in one of the favorite places that my wife, daughter and I have lived.
MT: When my first solo album, Capricorn, came out twenty years ago, things were all over the place, with music, business, promotion, and radio and it ended up getting lost in 1998. After our son was born in ’94 we moved to Incline Village, Nevada in the Lake Tahoe area. We wanted to start from scratch. My friend Chris was an engineer in a Reno recording studio, so I went there. This was my first time under my own banner and I had my mantra, “Try to be yourself.”
GM:That tenderness is also key to “Heart of Every Woman.”
MT: It is dedicated to people who give us life. Mothers give birth, and this is where we come from. It is a metaphor for all the women who shape us.
GM:Flipping this white vinyl album over, “Better Off” begins side two with a story line of a young boy which reminds me a bit of Mac Davis’ “In the Ghetto” lyrics. This song is also great musically.
MT: Thank you. A friend of mine, Oliver Steffenson, came over from Denmark and this is the only song on the album that I co-wrote with someone.
GM:The female background vocals on “Had I Not Complained” and “Wait Not For Me” add a nice touch to the album.
MT: That is Cece Bullard, the wife of the keyboardist on the album Kim Bullard. I always wanted a female vocal to offset my voice.
GM:I enjoy Kim’s mellotron on the finale, “Love Will Come and Go,” plus the string section.
MT: Kim is an example of someone who really knows his stuff. He is such a great musician and great to be with, too. Kim is now with Elton John and before that he was with Art Garfunkel in the U.S. It was a great experience living in the U.S., which I did from 1982 through 2000, then Australia and Indonesia, but something pulls you back home, so I now reside in Denmark. My eleventh solo album will be coming out in springtime. It is me in the current moment, but like spices on the shelf, I want to be specific and undeniable in flavor. I sell my music at the shows, travel around the world, generally just with an acoustic guitar, sometimes with a band and I am planning on coming to the U.S. February 14 through March 23, including the Monsters of Rock 2019 cruise. I hope to meet Goldmine readers at the shows.
TED POLEY was the lead vocalist for the Queens quintet Danger Danger. Their 1990 single “Bang Bang,” written by the band’s rhythm section, reached No. 49 and spent thirteen weeks in the Top 100, including all six weeks that Electric Boys’ single “All Lips N’ Hips” was in the Top 100. His solo album, Modern Art, was recorded in Sweden, backed by the Swedish band Degreed.
GM: While “Bang Bang” captured the Bon Jovi sound of the era, its flip side, “Boys Will Be Boys,” is edgier and seems more like a song Paul Stanley would write for KISS.
TED POLEY: We would open with “Boys Will Be Boys” in our concerts. For “Bang Bang,” we were told to write a hit and that song sealed the deal with the record company. It got us on the radio, which is where I learned music growing up. I started with The Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar,” then The Partridge Family and ultimately moved on to KISS, so it was a thrill for me when we opened for them. After hearing their flip side “Detroit Rock City,” I decided that music is what I wanted to do in life. Danger Danger, with “Bang Bang” as our hit single, toured big arenas in England, Scotland and Wales and I got to hang out with Paul Stanley, which was so nice.
GM:Another song from your debut album that I enjoy is the catchy “Feels Like Love.” I also enjoy the version on the Rare Cuts album with early Danger Danger guitarist, Al Pitrelli on it. We see him each December here in Florida as part of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
TP: I still love “Feels Like Love.” I love to play this song. It is so melodic.
GM:So is “Out of Control” on the new album. It has such a catchy, sing-along chorus.
TP: Thank you. I always want to have a good, catchy chorus, otherwise I scrap the song.
GM:There is a full band sound on the Modern Art album too. You hear drums, guitar and harmonies on “New World.”
TP: I wanted to showcase all of that for the album’s opening number with all real stuff, not electronics. I was thrilled to get the band Degreed for the album. I was listening to a Swedish radio station, DistFM.se online and learned of them. Then I played at a festival in Sweden and found out that they were playing at the festival too. I got to play with them and fell in love with the band. I jumped on stage, surprised them, sang with them on a number, and then got off the stage. Afterward I said, “We should do a project together.” They agreed, and we were all thrilled. It took two-and-a-half years to create Modern Art.
GM:I enjoy the keyboards on “Running for Light,” the drums and guitar on “Find Another Man” and the vocal blend on “Wilderness.”
TP: Micke Jansson is one of the most amazing keyboard players. The guitar you hear is from Daniel Johansson and drums are Mats Ericsson. His brother Robin, in addition to playing bass, shared lead vocals with me on “Wilderness.”
GM:There is more than a Swedish rock sound on the album. “What Kind of Love” is reggae inspired.
TP: For reggae, I am influenced by Maxi Priest. Neil Kermon did the remix, changing it, and taking out parts with the theory that less is more. The video for “What Kind of Love” is “South Park” style animation where we animated real fans, who are thrilled to be part of it.
GM:I enjoy the story of “Gypsy at Heart” about traveling and seeking more.
TP: That is another one that we did a video for, with computer animation. The theme deals with looking for something more but then finding what you are looking for is right at home, like The Wizard of Oz. For me, now, home is in Pennsylvania with a bunch of cats, which leads to a lot of scooping. I am big on no-kill animal shelters and a percent of the sales of Modern Art helps the shelters including Forgotten Felines and Fidos, here in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Thank you for your interest in Modern Art. Goldmine is so cool.
PUNKY MEADOWS and FRANK DiMINO are known best as the guitarist and vocalist, respectively, for the ‘70s Washington, D.C. band Angel. Prior to Angel, Punky Meadows was in the D.C. band The Cherry People, with the 45 “And Suddenly,” which reached No. 45 in 1968. Frank DiMino sang “Seduce Me Tonight” on the 1983 Flashdance soundtrack, as part of the studio group named Cycle V. Angel released a studio album a year from 1975 through 1979. Two of the group’s singles reached the Top 100. Their original composition, “That Magic Touch,” reached No. 77 in 1977 and their cover of The Young Rascals’ first charting single, “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore,” reached No. 44 in 1978. Now Punky and Frank have released what they call a three song vinyl single.
GM: Frank sings, “You once were my only. Tonight, you’ll be lost and lonely,” as he reflects on a relationship and tries to breakaway with strength, yet you can hear vulnerability in his delivery in the soft break, like he brought to my favorite Angel flip side, “Flying with Broken Wings (Without You).”
PUNKY MEADOWS: “Lost and Lonely” is a song that Danny Farrow and I wrote together for my 2016 solo album Fallen Angel. Danny thought this song was right up the Angel alley and could have been a song on an Angel album, so we asked Frank to sing it, adding his golden pipes, and he slayed it. We also did a video for it featuring Frank and Angel bassist Felix Robinson. “Lost and Lonely” is a very catchy song, yet it still rocks hard.
GM:“Never Again” is an up-tempo, powerful blues-rocker, with plenty of room for Punky to let loose on his guitar.
FRANK DiMINO: “Never Again” is the song that Punky played on my 2015 solo album, Old Habits Die Hard. When we did the video together, it was like picking up right where we left off years ago.
GM:It sounds like the Angel rhythm section at the start of “Tonight.”
PM: Yes, we recorded it in 1999 with Felix on bass and Barry Brandt on drums as a new Angel song in 1999, but it was never released.
FD: This was an unfinished song that Punky had around the time of Angel’s In The Beginning CD. Barry and I asked Punky to play on a few tracks. Punky and I worked on “Tonight” and finished it. When we decided to record it in Virginia, we then asked Felix to play bass and there you have the four of us playing and recording on an unreleased song together.
PM: It is a catchy song with a lot of melody, so I am glad it is finally released on our vinyl single for the first time.
To win all four of these unique vinyl records from Deko Music, all you have to do is put your email and address in the boxes below by January 15, 11:59 p.m. You will immediately be entered in the Giveaway and as a bonus you will receive our informative weekly eNewsletter from Goldmine (collecting news/tips and exclusive articles and interviews with your favorite classic artists). We will randomly draw winners from the entrants. Deko Music has supplied us with two copies of each of the vinyl records to give away, so your chances are doubled.