Photo Credit: Thomas Mark Roods
Frank DiMino, the lead singer for the band ANGEL, is back on the airwaves!
After many years of touring and recording with the band in the 70’s and 80’s, Frank continued working in the industry behind the scenes. Now, with his many talents and friends from throughout his lifetime, Frank has reemerged with a solo album that will knock your socks off! His vocals on many of the songs are reminiscent of his work on the ANGEL records, and as exciting as that is, the other cuts surpass any of his songs from the past. From the intro cut “Never Again” to “Mad As Hell” and “Tonights the Night,” the music is infectious!
Frank has assembled a band of masterful musicians. Former members of Meatloaf, Stryper, Twisted Sister, Blackfoot and of course, Punky Meadows from ANGEL, join Frank on the album. All these talented artists bring their own ideas and energy. Together with the production efforts of Paul Crook, every song is a great example of how they can continue to bring joy and vitality to the music world.
The legend himself sat down with Shockwave to discuss the album, his history and the tour.
Shockwave Magazine: Congratulations on this album. I have been listening to it all weekend and it’s pretty amazing.
Frank: Thank you. I appreciate that, I really do.
From what I have read, it came out last year?
Yes, in July of 2015.
I have seen a lot of reviews on Amazon and others places. Everyone is raving about it. How do you feel about the record?
I feel real good. Paul Crook produced it. Paul and I took a lot of time to get the sounds right and everything. Also, Mayor Applebaum mastered it. Between the three of us, we went back and forth to get all the sound to get it sounding right sonically. It took some time, but I am really happy the way it turned out.
What was the drive for you to get back into the recording studio?
Well, you know a friend of mine, Ken Ciancimino, had been saying to me “Why don’t you do a solo album?” And my thought process was, you know, I have always been kind of a band guy. I’ve always written in the confines of a band. And the more he kept asking me, the more I kept thinking about it. I thought, well maybe this will free me up a little bit to write. After thinking about it, I thought you know what, maybe I will go ahead and do it. I sat and talked with Ken about it and I said,”You know, let’s move forward with it.” I talked to Serafino at Frontiers and Serafino was up for it, interested in it. He put down some numbers and a time-frame and I started writing for it.
When I first went into it, I thought, “Well, you know, maybe I will use some of the old material and stuff that I have been writing.” I thought, “You know what, it’s a solo album, it’s not a band. I’m going to write all new material.” Other than “Even Now,” the song that I wrote with Gary, everything was written for the album. The song that I wrote with Gary, “Even Now,” we wrote that a year or two before I did the album. That was a tune that I had.
A little bit about myself. I am a longtime fan, actually. I saw you live when I was about 14 years old back in San Antonio.
Oh you did? Was that the whole show or was that the Marathon tour?
You guys opened for Styx. Back then, I would get my camera in the show. I could only afford one roll of film. I had to make sure every shot count.
How cool is that? Nowadays, all anyone has to do is take a phone in now. Even though it sounds like crap, people still take their phone in to video tape. I don’t know why.
You mentioned your song “Even Now.” When I was going though and listening to the release, I was trying to imagine you back with ANGEL and then now. The vocal quality was quite a bit different, until I got to “Even Now” and “Tears Will Fall,” and those two songs sent chills down my spine.
There was a lot of similarities of your vocal quality from way back when and now. Those two and then “Stones by the River.” Those three right there were just awesome songs.
Thank you. Thank you very much! You know I think that there is always going to be some of that. That’s part of what I am. But, I think that the departure, if anyone was expecting an ANGEL album, that’s not possible. Without the other four guys there’s not going to be an ANGEL album. So putting that aside, I just went forward with it. That’s why I went forward with writing all new material for it. You know I’m going to approach this in a whole different way.
But you know the vocal quality will always be there. It’s just like anything else. You are who you are, I guess.
The rest of the release — very hard, very fast, driven songs. How did you come together with the rest of the musicians?
Well, Oz and I have been working together for a while. We have like a local band out here we play with every once in a while called, Vinyl Tattoo. And it’s Oz, myself and KT Michaels, and Scott Kruger on drums. And Michael T. Ross plays with us once in a while. I have been working with Oz for a while. It’s been a natural progression. Jeff Lebansky wrote some of the other stuff. He is a longtime friend. We have been friends for a while. He is just a real good song writer and guitar player. I asked him if he wanted to be a part of this and write with me for the solo album. And he said, “Absolutely!” So that’s how that came together.
And as far all the other guest appearances, those just kind of happened organically. I didn’t plan it. I figured I was covered. I had Oz, I had Jeff, and I had Paul who produced the band, great guitar player. So I was covered as far as guitar. I didn’t think I needed any other guitar players. It just kind of happened organically. “Never Again” was something that Oz brought up. He said, “When you wrote that song I was thinking of an Angel tune. Wouldn’t it be great if Punky would play on it? Let’s call him up!” So I called him up and Punky said yes.
And all the stuff fell into place like that. Pat Thrall, a really, really good friend of mine, was at one time going to produce the album, but had to drop out due to other things he had coming up. He said, “Please let me play on the album. Send me some tracks, I’d love to play on the album.” That was a natural progression for us. The other guys kind of happened that way as well.
The videos you came up with for “Never Again” and “Rocking in the City,” did you enjoy making them?
Yeah, I did. “Rocking in the City” is more of the band playing live in the Las Vegas backdrop. And it was the first video I had done in a long, long time. So, I thought to introduce the album and introduce the song on the album, we can just have the band playing and have the backdrop of Las Vegas. That was kind of a pretty easy one to put together. The other one, the one we just did, I thought “I don’t want the band playing again.” So, I sat down with the director and we put our heads together with the lyrics and loosely drew the video around the lyrics and certain parts of myself and Punky playing which is essential to the guitar solo to show Punky playing. That was a lot of fun.
I notice the two vehicles used in the videos were Mustangs. Are you a Mustang guy?
(laughing) It just happened to be the car that was available at the time. Well I thought too, it’s a muscle car, so it’s a great car to do all the stunts.
I have to ask, is the mic stand in the video circa ANGEL?
That is my first mic stand that I had made just before the first tour with ANGEL. We used to rehearse in the Gala lot in L.A. It had a lot of sound stages and places where they made scenery. And there was this one place across from where we were rehearsing where they made stuff for some show called the Battle of the Celebrity Stars. I asked them if they could make me a stand. They asked me to explain what I wanted.
I used to use an Atlas mic stand, but it would break off at the bottom. So, I told them I wanted one that wouldn’t break. They said measure the height you want because I didn’t want it to be adjustable and we put the whole thing together. I used it for the first and every tour after that. I had a couple backups made. Crazily enough, both of the backups were stolen. But I still have the original one. The original one is the one I use all the time. I would only use the backups if a cord snapped. Luckily, I still have that.
You guys are playing the Whiskey in October. Are there any other plans for touring?
Well yes, it’s like anything else these days. It’s tough to get airplay, if you can get airplay at all. It’s tough to sell CD’s because there is no stores anymore, there’s no Tower Records.
I love playing live. I will play anywhere. It’s a matter of the promoters being willing to book the band and getting on shows. If they are available, we will be doing them.
You mentioned the difficulty of getting airplay. What role does the internet and social media have in growth of the band?
While there are a few more outlets on the internet, it’s still difficult to get consistent airplay out there. It’s just not the way it used to be. As far as terrestrial radio, it’s mostly all pop or country. There just doesn’t seem to be any diversity out there. You do have to rely on the internet and any other outlets just to get your music played.
What kind of support from the record company? Are there any other bands on their label that you could tour with?
I would love to and again it’s a tough process. It’s pretty much one of the only record companies at this point where they have a full roster. They have Whitesnake, Journey and Toto and other bands that were around when ANGEL toured. There are a lot of contemporary guys that we know. Right now the festivals lend themselves to that. But other than touring, no one goes out like that. No major act going out will have the same support act. They usually pick up a local act or have no opening act at all. It’s a whole different world.
Is there anything else that you want to share? Are you going to write more?
I had dinner with Paul Cook the other night and we are talking about another album. We are starting to work on the next album while I am still working this first album. We had dinner when we went to see Glenn Hughes. Just a great show. So that will be my next big project. But it takes time, I have got to start writing for that. And getting the band ready for playing gigs.
Is there anything we can do to to help promote your project?
Yeah, just talk me up, man. Talk the album up. There’s a lot of different ways to get the music out there. But, there doesn’t seem to the pipeline like before. I love playing. I appreciate the time.