Fabulous Flip Sides of A-Ha with Marco Angioni of Meridian

Guitarist, keyboardist and producer Marco Angioni, of Meridian, discusses all six songs on the rock quintet’s EP of 1980s covers, “Taking Cover,” on Mighty Music, Denmark’s metal music label
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Meridian cover

GOLDMINE: Your EP of 1980s cover songs Taking Cover is so much fun. You picked out three songs that I knew and three that I didn’t know, so thank you for introducing me to these songs.

MARCO ANGIONI: Ha ha, you’re welcome. Which ones did you not know?

GM: I didn’t know “Out in the Fields” by Gary Moore and Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. Also, keep in mind that I am in the U.S., so I didn’t know the songs “Hungry for a Game,” or “Shadows are Falling.”

MA: I have to be honest. I didn’t know them either until I moved here to Denmark from Italy, because they are songs from two Danish bands. I moved here because of a girl. I met my wife when I was touring with another band here in Denmark and love blossomed with me and Lena.

GM: Speaking of wives, my wife Donna loves “Take on Me” by A-Ha and my best friend John also likes “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.” I enjoy what you did with that A-Ha song.

MA: Thank you. It was Lena’s suggestion. A-Ha is from Norway and she has always been a fan of them.

GM: Yes. I have been to the A-Ha room in Oslo’s Hard Rock Café.

MA: I’ll have to take Lena there. She said, “Please listen to this A-Ha song for your covers album.” I did and then I started thinking about Iron Maiden. I love what their guitarist Adrian Smith does musically. One of my favorite songs from them is “2 Minutes to Midnight.” If you think about the main rhythm from “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.,” it reminds me of the Iron Maiden song. I thought I would try to make the main theme of the A-Ha song sound like it was covered by Iron Maiden.

GM: It worked! You give it a boost of intensity. Now let’s talk about the original flip side of the A-Ha single, the moody and atmospheric “Driftwood.”

MA: I listened to that and musically it is a bit like David Bowie’s 1980s’ style. It was produced only by A-Ha, so it sounds a little bit different from their other songs.

Meridian A-Ha

A-Ha

Flip side: Driftwood

A side: The Sun Always Shines on T.V.

Top 100 debut: November 30, 1985

Peak Position: No. 20

Warner Bros. 7-28846

GM: In 2020 we had over one hundred musical losses contained in our annual In Memoriam summary article, including Eddie Van Halen. You recorded Van Halen’s “Why Can’t This Be Love” before he passed away and that is one song where you haven’t really changed the sound from the original version, and you succeeded in getting the guitar part down perfectly. This is a great tribute.

MA: Thank you. My idea when producing that song was to not use any keyboards at all, versus the original with its keyboard content. I brainstormed with our other guitarist Martin Andersen and decided to have the main theme played by heavily processed guitars, with phasers, and a bass bump from Peter Bruun, versus a synthesizer. It is produced in a traditional way, but not with the original instrumentation.

GM: There is one song where I knew the original version very well, but I like your recording better, “Easy Lover,” originally done by Philip Bailey, from Earth, Wind & Fire, and Phil Collins, which was heavily played on MTV in the U.S. I love the edgier aspect that you brought to the this hit, similar to the power that Eddie Van Halen added to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”

MA: Thank you so much. We are huge fans of the original record. It is a song that our singer Lars Marker proposed for the project. It was a bit of a challenge and in jeopardy of not making the EP, and then, in the end, Martin doubled some vocals, making the dynamic difference between the verses and the choruses much more prominent. There is a funky guitar sound buried in the mix that pushes the groove of the song back and forth.

GM: Klaus Agerbo’s drumming is powerful on the song, too.

MA: I think, from a drummer’s perspective, covering a Phil Collins song can be extremely daunting. I think the drumming is faithful to the original, with some more rock attitude.

GM: Lars’ vocals are so clear and wonderful on “Hungry for a Game,” which I included in my Fabulous Songs of 2020 list.

MA: Thank you for including us on this Danish cover. I think when the band Skagarack came out, they were labeled as the Danish reply to Sweden’s Europe, who had a big hit with “The Final Countdown.” They never became that famous but are one of those hidden Danish treasures. The other Danish treasure on the EP is “Shadows are Falling,” originally recorded by Randy, which sounds like a band name from Austin Powers, ha ha. They were named that because they were from a town here in Denmark called Randers.

GM: The guitars on “Shadows are Falling” remind me of Black Sabbath.

MA: If you listen to the Randy discography, they are embracing everything from the 1980s metal scene. One song may sound like Black Sabbath. Another one may sound totally like Iron Maiden or Saxon. They seemed to be inspired by British heavy metal and it’s too bad that they didn’t become famous because they were very good players. Peter suggested this song for us, and Klaus suggested the Thin Lizzy song. Peter and Klaus are basically twins separated at birth. Their bass and drum pace are almost the same.

GM: You can hear their driving beat on “Out in the Fields” and the harmony shines as well.

MA: Yes, Lars and Martin sing this to best match the original voices of Gary Moore and Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy.

GM: Now in 2021 you’ll be playing at the Nordic Noise festival in Copenhagen on May 7. That sounds exciting.

MA: We hope so. In 2020, all festivals were canceled, and we look forward to playing live again. Happy New Year to you, your family and the Goldmine readers. It has been a pleasure talking with you and I am so happy that our wives have pointed us to A-Ha.

Related links:

http://www.meridianband.dk/

Goldmine Fabulous Songs of 2020 including Meridian

Goldmine In Memoriam 2020 including Eddie Van Halen