INTERVIEW WITH DANGER DANGER SINGER TED POLEY (PART 2 OF 2)
Date: Aug. 15, 2018
Interviewer: Tyson Briden
AS I WAS FINISHING UP THE EDITING OF PART 1 OF OUR TED POLEY INTERVIEW, IT GOT ME TO THINKING… WHEN WILL I HAVE THE CHANCE TO CONTINUE “THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF TYSON AND ERNIE WITH DANGER DANGER”? POSSIBLY A STEVE WEST INTERVIEW DOWN THE ROAD? WELL, I ACTUALLY HAVE A DIFFERENT STORY FOR THAT ONE.
ANYWAYS, A FEW YEARS AFTER OUR ADVENTURE IN NEW JERSEY, ERNIE AND I WOULD BE OFF TO SEE DANGER DANGER, TRIXTER, DOKKEN AND L.A. GUNS AT THE CLEVELAND RIBFEST. YES, THAT’S RIGHT FOLKS — THE CLEVELAND RIBFEST. OF COURSE, WE VENTURED ALONG THE 401 HIGHWAY, TO THE 403, WHICH LED TO THE QEW THAT WRAPS AROUND THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE LEADING US TO THE FORT ERIE BORDER. ONCE ACROSS THE BORDER, WE HEADED WEST ON THE I-90. THIS TIME, ERNIE WOULD BE BEHIND THE WHEEL. ERNIE AND I ALWAYS LOVE THESE ROADTRIPS BECAUSE WHAT BETTER TIME TO CATCH UP AND LISTEN TO WHAT WE LOVE BEST — ’80S HARD ROCK. WITHIN SIX HOURS, WE WOULD REACH OUR DESTINATION. AFTER SETTLING INTO OUR HOTEL, WE DECIDED TO TAKE A BEER AND FIND THE VENUE OF OUR LATEST ROCK N’ ROLL ENDEAVOUR.
IT IS THE U.S., SO WE FIGURED OPEN BEERS WERE PAR FOR THE COURSE. AS WE WALKED THROUGH THE DOORS OF THE HOTEL ONTO THE STREET, I SAID TO ERNIE, “I THINK THE VENUE IS THAT WAY!” THE ONLY PROBLEM WAS THERE WAS A SHOPPING MALL IN FRONT OF US. I QUICKLY REMARKED TO ERNIE, “ALRIGHT, LET’S STUFF OUR OPEN BEER IN OUR CARGO SHORTS AND WALK THROUGH THE MALL!” SO ONWARD WE WENT WITH OPEN BEERS LOOSELY TUCKED INTO OUR SHORTS. WITHIN A FEW SHORT MINUTES, WE HAD MADE IT THROUGH THE MALL. UNSUSPECTING… OR SO WE THOUGHT. JUST AS WE WALKED OUT ONTO THE STREET, ERNIE AND I TOOK A BIG SWIG FROM OUR CORONA LONGNECK BOTTLES. JUST AS WE DID, THIS WE WOULD HEAR, “DUMP OUT THE BEER NOW! OR YOU’RE GOING TO JAIL!” “WHAT THE HELL!” I THOUGHT TO MYSELF. AS I LOOKED TO MY LEFT, THERE WAS ONE OF CLEVELAND’S FINEST READY TO APPREHEND ERNIE AND I FOR BRINGING OPEN BEER THROUGH A SHOPPING MALL. NOT OUR SMARTEST MOVE. WE QUICKLY DUMPED OUT OUR BEER, WALKED QUICKLY AND FOUND OUR DESTINATION. IT WAS A REALLY COOL SET UP WITH A HUGE TENT IN THE BACK SET UP FOR THE BANDS WITH THE RIBBERS EVERYWHERE IN THE FRONT. THE ACTUAL LOCATION WAS IN A VALLEY SORT OF AREA, SURROUNDED BY BRIDGES, SMACK DAB IN THE CENTER OF CLEVELAND.
AS WE MADE OUR WAY TOWARDS THE HUGE TENT, WE WOULD SEE DANGER DANGER GUITARIST ROB MARCELLO. HE QUICKLY NOTICED OUR DANGER DANGER SHIRTS. ROB POINTED AND SAID HELLO. WE WOULD THEN VENTURE TO THE BEER CONCESSION SINCE AS YOU MAY RECALL, WE NEEDED TO QUENCH OUR THIRST AFTER OUR RUN WITH THE CLEVELAND POLICE OFFICER. WE THEN MADE OUR WAY OVER TO THE MERCHANDISE TABLE. THERE, WE RAN INTO A FAMILIAR FACE — MR. STEVE WEST. WE SAID HELLO, HUGGED AND STARTED CONVERSING. WESTY (AS HE ALSO KNOWN) WOULD GESTURE OVER TO ROB MARCELLO WHO WAS NOW STANDING CLOSE BY. MARCELLO WOULD THEN REMEMBER US FROM NEW JERSEY BACK IN ’05. DANGER DANGER WOULD BE HITTING THE STAGE SOON, SO WESTY AND MARCELLO QUICKLY MADE THEIR WAY TO THE BACKSTAGE AREA.
AS DANGER DANGER HIT THE STAGE, WE MOVED CLOSER TO THE STAGE. BRUNO RAVEL WOULD YET AGAIN BE IN FRONT OF US. WE SMILED BACK TO EACH OTHER. AT ONE POINT, BRUNO WOULD THROW A PICK AT ME THAT WOULD HIT ME SQUARE IN THE CHEST AND LAND ON THE FLOOR. ERNIE, OF COURSE WAS QUICK TO RETRIEVE IT. I JOKINGLY SAID TO ERNIE. “HEY MAN, THAT WAS FOR ME” “WHAT DO YOU NEED THIS ONE FOR? YOU CAN JUST ASK HIM FOR ONE LATER.” I LAUGHED AND GAVE HIM A SMIRK, “YEAH, THAT’S TRUE!” OF COURSE, TO US, DANGER DANGER WOULD STEAL THE SHOW. TRIXTER WOULD BE A VERY CLOSE SECOND.
AS DANGER DANGER ENDED, WE MOVED BACK OVER TO THE BEER TENT TO RETRIEVE ANOTHER BEVERAGE. WE WOULD THEN RUN INTO BRUNO RAVEL. WE CONVERSED WITH BRUNO FOR QUITE SOME TIME AS FANS WERE COMING OVER FOR HIS AUTOGRAPH. I RECALL ONE FAN, AND I STILL TEASE BRUNO ABOUT THIS TO THIS DAY, SAYING, “YOU’RE THE BEST LOOKING GUY IN DANGER DANGER.” PLEASE DON’T TAKE THAT AS AN INSULT TO THE FAN, IT WAS JUST IN THE CONTEXT OF THE SITUATION AT THE TIME. KNOWING BRUNO FOR SOME TIME, I CAN ATTEST TO THE FACT THAT HE WOULD BE FLATTERED, BUT WOULD POSSIBLY TAKE THE COMPLIMENT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. TED POLEY WOULD VENTURE OVER AT SOME POINT. WE SAID HELLO AND ERNIE COMMENTED ON HIS STEEL PANTHER SHIRT. ERNIE WOULD SING THE LYRIC TO THE CLASSIC PANTHER SONG “EATIN’ AIN’T CHEATIN’”. TED LAUGHED AND COMMENTED, “YEAH LOVE THESE GUYS. THEY’RE FRIENDS OF MINE.”
AS DOKKEN AND L.A GUNS WOULD TAKE THE STAGE, WE BECAME DISINTERESTED. L.A. GUNS SOUNDED GREAT, BUT WE WERE PRIMARILY THERE FOR DANGER DANGER AND TRIXTER. WESTY WOULD COME OVER, SAY HELLO AND MOVE ALONG AS HE USUALLY DOES. HE’S A VERY MOTIVATED PERSON. IN THAT CONVERSATION, HE WAS SINGING ALONG TO L.A. GUNS’ “SEX ACTION.” AS FOR DOKKEN, WE DIDN’T SEE MUCH OF THEM. I WAS DISAPPOINTED AT THE SHAPE OF DON DOKKEN’S VOICE. ERNIE AND I DECIDED TO HEAD BACK TO THE HOTEL FOR A QUICK REST. WE WOULD SHUT IT DOWN EARLY.
SO YET AGAIN, I APOLOGIZE FOR THE LONG WINDED STORY, BUT TO ME IT RELATES TO TED POLEY AND DANGER DANGER. JUST A SMALL BIT OF REALISM INTO WHAT LIES BENEATH. PLEASE ENJOY PART 2 OF TED POLEY.
Sleaze Roxx: That’s what I kind of wanted to get to as you were talking about “Gypsy At Heart.” I love the video. I thought the whole animation thing was well done.
Ted Poley: It’s got the Ted Poley logo in it and stuff. Like Prince, it took me ten years to become a logo. Everything I do, pretty much is calculated. I’m at that point and I’m thrilled. Then they put it in that video, when I saw that I was, “Ah man! I’ll keep that!”
Sleaze Roxx: I wanted to ask you, lyrically in the content of “Gypsy At Heart”, as I’m watching the video and reading the lyrics, would you attribute that to yourself in anyway?
Ted Poley: No because I didn’t really write those lyrics. It was the Degreed guys. I’ll give them full credit where credit is due. It’s really a song about every kid. They’re all a little rebellious. That’s how the video starts out. They’re safe in their own bedroom. They’re comfortable. They’ve got nice parents, a bedroom, video games, posters on the wall, etc. They’re obviously comfortable, but never satisfied. They want to go out and wander around in some futuristic city and do things. Maybe not bad things, but mischievous things. They want to dance and they want to sing. Maybe they’re a little repressed. They just want to get out at night, run around, sing and be happy. Hopefully, being called because of that spirit! The beacon, which is my logo, they’ll find their happiness dancing and singing. That final scene where they’re up in the tower, they’re doing their thing. Then you see at the end they’re safely at home again, but they’ve had their moment.
Ted Poley‘s “Gypsy At Heart” video:
Sleaze Roxx: I love the concept. It’s brilliant. Like you said, putting that little “Ted Poley” signal was cool.
Ted Poley: I’m everywhere. Even when I don’t want to be in the videos… there’s nothing I like more than shoving my stuff up everybody’s asses as far as my logo goes! So, if you notice, I’m everywhere on the computer screens, posters of me on the kids wall, etc. That’s obviously all pre-meditated. Those were deal breakers of making the video. Some of those things weren’t there and I said, “Nope, you have to put them there!” Even the logo on the t-shirt, that was very hard to do in every single scene. Again, everything has to be created. It’s not like you have a kid in a t-shirt and he’s running around on every angle. It’s very hard. It’s very time consuming. It was hard work, but that was one of the main things. I wanted, no matter when you tuned into that video, I wanted somebody to see something that related to me. It was my video even though you don’t see my face. You’ll see that logo. I also did the thing where they super-imposed a television that’s sort of channel logo in the bottom corner. You’ll see that logo throughout. I should have put it in all the videos. I didn’t remember, but it should have been in the bottom corner of all. It’s all about branding. Regardless, I’m in every scene even though I’m not!
Sleaze Roxx: I want to touch on a few of the songs. “New World” — that to me sounds very modern. It’s melodic, but there is that modern approach. What were you trying to achieve on that one?
Ted Poley: Actually, that was the first song that they sent me. I loved it and no matter how many songs I loved, kept or rejected. I personally always loved that one because it was really cool. The drumming is great. As a drummer, that caught me with a fish hook right in the lip. Originally, I liked it so much. It wasn’t an obvious hit because there aren’t hits anymore, but something like “Gypsy” would be a video song or a cool catchy track. It wasn’t meant to be that, so for me, it was really a cool album opener because of the beat, the way the vocals come in, the words and everything. I thought that was cool even before I had the album planned. That was going to be the first song on the album and the reason the album was called “New World.” That was the working title and I actually named it after that, but then at the end, to keep contractual obligations, I called this one ‘Modern Art featuring Ted Poley.’ It would have been the next Ted Poley album had I not been contractually obligated, although I am very happy to be on Frontiers Records. They technically own the next solo album so I had to make sure that this was not exactly the next solo album even though it is — sort of!
Sleaze Roxx: That’s a good way to do it. Don’t piss anybody off!
Ted Poley: No, I love those guys! They’ve been very supportive for 20 years. They’re the best rock label for my kind of stuff around. I appreciate them very much. That’s why I went out of my way to make it hopefully clear to people. If it’s not clear, I will tell you right now! There is another Ted Poley solo album coming next year so everybody’s happy. Really I hope everyone picks this one up. I’m really proud of this. I think it’s the most interesting thing — maybe ever!
Sleaze Roxx: I love Frontiers. I just picked up the Mr. Big “Live In Milan” on vinyl.
Ted Poley: Oh, cool. How was that?
Sleaze Roxx: Ah man… Sonically it sounds amazing. You look at the players on it!
Ted Poley: I need a good sounding album. That’s one thing, even since I was a kid, I needed the best sounding, high end audio. That’s why this album, when I was given the chance to do everything with Mats — I mean, we must have mixed the thing 150 times to really get a good sound because I was referencing it on the best systems. I wanted the bass to be bassy and the highs to be high! The guitars just knocking your teeth out. We mixed the hell out of it. I drove him nuts!
Sleaze Roxx: I cannot wait to hear it on vinyl. I am buying that one!
Ted Poley: Actually, it’s been remixed and remastered. Neil Kernon remixed the whole thing. It’s been mastered specifically for vinyl. It’s not just taken and thrown onto vinyl. They do a complete remake really. That’s why I wanted to do it. I want one!
Sleaze Roxx: It’s just one of those things. You mentioned that colored vinyl. I just got the new Lizzy Borden album. He did it in an olive green with a black marbelling through it.
Ted Poley: Hey, that’s cool! Like camo? That’s what I might end up with! Some of the marbelling. Originally, I wanted white with some different colors. It was beautiful. It was so expensive to produce. Nobody would have been able to afford it. I think that’s the best way to do colors like that. They won’t all be like that if his are like that. You could make a yellowish one like that. An orange. You know what I mean? You won’t even know. I don’t anybody to be able to see. Again, I like to have fun with it.
Sleaze Roxx: I was just in Ireland two months ago. My wife and I were walking along Fleet Street in the Temple Bar area in Dublin. We see this flea market type of thing and there’s a bunch of vinyls. I start flipping through them. I ended up picking up Led Zeppelin’s ‘IV’ album with an all silver cover on blue vinyl from Germany.
Ted Poley: No shit! Was it a vintage one?
Sleaze Roxx: No it was a reissue! I guess in Germany, they pressed it like that!
Ted Poley: Oh, cool! Did you get a good deal?
Sleaze Roxx: It was 20 Euros, which wasn’t bad. I was willing to pay that.
Ted Poley: What was it worth?
Sleaze Roxx: I don’t know. I’ll have to go online and check it out.
Ted Poley: Yeah, as a collector, get back to me on that. It’s Zeppelin. I want to know how you did.
Sleaze Roxx: Then we found a copy of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ on white vinyl. German pressing as well and it’s got a marble look to it throughout.
Ted Poley: I am not 100% sure, but I believe Alain Deschenes… Do you know who I’m talking about? He may have done that one actually. Google his name. I think he did Fleetwood Mac. I am not sure if he did ‘Rumours’ but both of these guys I’m talking about, were “The Guys”! You know back when! Hall & Oates level. That’s real music back then. That’s when people sold records.
Sleaze Roxx: That’s real stuff, right?
Ted Poley: Neil Kernon… I couldn’t believe it.
Sleaze Roxx: So switching gears a bit. Tokyo Motor Fist? Is there going to be another album?
Ted Poley: I think so! I talk to Steve [Brown] about it all the time. He’s going to start writing something next year. It’s a little bit tough to get together. Chuck [Burgi] he’s a little busy. Thanks to Billy Joel. These are some top players. Chuck being in that and Greg Smith being in Ted Nugent, Tyketto. He plays with Tommy James. He never stops working. He plays every night I think. He’s here locally if he’s not in an airport. It’s like the most expensive rhythm section in the world. Then Steve Brown… he’s in everything from Def Leppard to Trixter. He’s even in Danger Danger. I think there isn’t a band that Steve Brown isn’t in right now. I think it’s like music business law that you have to have Steve Brown at some point play with you. He’s very busy, but of course this is his baby and he loves this more than anything being in Tokyo Motor Fist. I know he will make it a priority next year. I think he said he may have a song or two already. I don’t want to let anything out of the bag. We didn’t sit down and say, “Okay, we’re ready to do another album”, but I think we’re all hoping to do it. He just said, “You know, I’ve got a couple songs!” I’d say it’s not impossible. When Steve’s in Danger Danger, I love singing with him because the vocals go to another level. With Tokyo Motor Fist, he and I! Greg Smith is also a great singer. I’m kind of interested to see what that’s going to sound like. We’re doing Rockingham. I’m not sure. I’ve got to look. I’ve got to learn these songs. I’ve got to learn six brand new songs for one hour. We’re doing other songs from our respective bands too. I haven’t learned six brand new songs in a decade.
Sleaze Roxx: Are you going to be singing Trixter songs?
Ted Poley: Yeah, I don’t want to give away everything, but the plan is sort of… We’ve got these guys that have been in all kinds of famous bands and what we’d like to do is pay tribute to those bands. Giving people what they came for. A lot of Tokyo Motor Fist! It’s too much for my own personal learning taste [laughs]. I am hoping after I learn it, we can at least do a few more shows. We were supposed to do one warm up show beforehand in New Jersey, but I am not sure if that’s going on or not. Maybe we’ll get some work after. I’m competing with Billy Joel, Ted Nugent and Def Leppard, so good for me [laughs]! It took me 40 years to get here. I’m not bragging. I’m just really happy! It’s getting more fun to tell you the truth. I think the secret is just not dying. The less choice people have, the greater option I become!
Sleaze Roxx: I’m going to let you go in a few minutes, but before I do… I remember reading something a few years back. It was back in the day when Danger Danger opened for KISS. It was along the lines of you using a “Kiss Towel”!
Ted Poley: Yeah, that’s a funny story. I usually tell the Paul Stanley story, but this one is funnier though! What happened was, we put out our album and immediately became MTV sort of favorites. We got the tour across the States and Canada with Warrant. We jumped from there immediately on Alice Cooper, plus club dates on our off days headlining shows. The shows were packed. I was so used to being the head cheese. Promoters provide everything. The girls wanted the sweaty towel. I loved to autograph them after. I’d wipe myself down and throw the towels out. You’d put towels on your rider, that sort of thing. Here’s a souvenir, you’d toss it out. Later they’d come up to you and you’d autograph it for them. It was just a fun thing, where someone takes it home and it sits in the bottom of their closet, growing mushrooms on it from all the disgusting sweat. That was my thing. When we got the KISS tour, the first show, I went out and did my thing as normal. The towels were there and I just threw out three towels. It was us warming up for KISS in a big arena. I was thrilled. I just finished my set. I hadn’t dropped dead of stage fright or anything. I was on the biggest high in the world.
We run off the stage, run down the ramp and my head smacked into this wall which turned out to be Gene Simmons’ chest. I’m not real big and he is. He had the whole Gene Simmons thing going on. That was before his show and after mine. I smashed right into him because he likes to be intimidating. I looked up at Mr. Simmons, he looked down and said, “Ah, yes, that was very good!” I thought, ah cool! Then he said, “You owe me eighteen dollars!” “What?” “Yes, you owe me eighteen dollars! Those were my towels. You can feel free to throw out as many as you want! Those towels are six dollars each. You can throw out three towels every night! Now, I want you to go get it right now, pay me in cash and I want it to come out of your money not your managers. So take it out of your own personal money and bring me eighteen dollars!” That was his way of saying, “Listen clean, young guy, this is my stage and don’t attract too much attention!” We were going over very well, but this was KISS’ non-makeup years. They needed us or we wouldn’t have been there. We were very popular on MTV or they would have brought somebody else out. As it turned out, they fell in love with us, took us all over the world. We loved KISS. KISS loved us! It worked. We’d have to earn that spot. That very first show, like I say, it was his way of saying, “Listen kid, do your thing, but don’t attract too much attention! Don’t try and steal the show!” So I went backstage, I got my wallet. All I had was a $20. That was it! We weren’t rich yet or ever. That’s what I got for food or something that day. Per diem. I took the twenty out, I ran up to Mr. Simmons, I handed him the twenty, I said, “Keep the change!” He knew we were on a very strict allowance. He knew nobody could afford that at our level. It was him saying, “Hey, don’t do that!” I knew I couldn’t afford to throw out towels and pay six dollars for them every day. He never said “Don’t throw the towels.” “Throw as many as you want at six dollars each.” It was him teaching me my first lesson. That was Gene Simmons. Had I really fucked up, I would have been home. It was his way of appreciating that we were pulling in half the house at that time. We did well for his crowd. Sort of with a wink and a smile he did that. When Gene Simmons gets pissed off, you don’t even get the conversation. You just find yourself waking up on a plane home.
Sleaze Roxx: Thank you for ending on that story. That was fantastic!
Ted Poley: If you could at the end please… ted-poley.com. Also, please support a no kill animal shelter near you! It you don’t have time, than come to my site, buy something and a portion always goes to that. Thank you very much to everybody for enabling me to do this at this age!