Intervju med Ted Poley i Danger Danger!
Ted Poley från Danger Danger är högaktuell med en Sverigeturné tillsammans med Badmouth och detta gav tillfälle att ringa upp en mycket pratglad Ted och prata om allt mellan himmel och jord.
Are you in New Jersey?
Ted Poley: Pennsylvania!
Is that where you live these days?
TP: Yeah, yeah! I love it out here! I live in PA, which is nice and we had an earthquake just recently. I thought it was earthquake proof. We had a big one on the east coast of the US and my office walls were shaking or actually swaying and I got some cracks on my ceiling.
TP: Yeah, it sucked and I don´t have insurance for that. They don´t offer it!
Because of force majeure?
TP: There´s never an earthquake! I called up my insurance company and said “Hey, I just had a fucking earthquake and got some cracks in my ceiling! Wanna come out and take care of this?”.
They said “You´re not covered! We don´t offer it!" And I said “Well, you gotta cover it under something!”, but no, they don´t do that, so now I´ve got cracks. (laughs) Then we had a hurricane the next week. It was ridiculous! Nothing severe, but cosmetic stuff and I was really pissed off because they don´t even offer insurance for that.
Well, Mother Nature must be pissed off at something!
TP: Nah, sometimes I just can´t tell the difference if it´s my stereo or if it was something really good I smoked that day because the house was really moving. (laughs)
What´s going on in the world of Ted Poley at the moment?
TP: Oh, man! There´s always something going on. I´ve just been training on what I call my torture device in my basement. I´m on my exercise bike with a boom mic and I sing to karaoke tracks so I can do all these songs while exercising. At this stage it´s just become ridiculous. I´m in the basement for an hour of aerobics on a bike to sing “Naughty naughty”. I have to tell you, that´s how much I love my fans. I love them so much, but that´s what I´m doing. Training so I don´t drop dead in the middle of the Rock like a Viking tour of Sweden and Norway coming up. I´m very excited! We leave on Monday which means I´m running around trying to find things that I thought I had to pack. I don´t even know what city or country I left them in. I have to go back to YouTube and look at some videos, “Well, I still had this bracelet in Portugal!”. (laughs) Sometimes I go online and look at the videos to see where I possibly might have left it. As I go and do laundry I see that “Well, those pants are not even here!”. (laughs) Actually, I think I should start filming some of this stuff of me getting ready, because I think some of the most fun stuff happens off stage. They could see me running around with my wife yelling at me, “You´ve had six months to find those pants!” (laughs) “Last time I saw them was in Portugal!”. Strange conversations you have and I ask her “What country was I in last?”. She has to remind me where I was. I´m turning into Ozzy Osbourne!
This “Greatest hits” of yours with the Queen cover and the Nirvana cover…?
TP: Oh, that was a cool thing! I had an artist friend who… the first one was just boobs. I still have some of those and sell them. People can get it from www.tedpoley.com or just look on Ebay and if they see tedpoley1, that´s my seller id and you can actually buy them cheaper off of Ebay. The first one was the boobs and the second one was… it´s the same album, but for the new cover I wanted to make something really special and put a lot of money into the artwork, because I always loved album covers. I bought Starcastle and Yes because of the album covers, so I always wanted to do good art and never just a photograph of me. They can see me when they show up, so I wanted good art, but I thought the concept would be, that if you put me in your collection and all of a sudden I grow like mould all over your other classic cd´s and then it´s almost like you´re hallucinating, looking at an exact album cover except now I´m in it! (laughs) That´s the concept, where I take over the rest of your cd´s. I wanted to pick some very classic and noticeable, recognizable good art of all different styles and my artist friend did such an amazing job of actually copying all the different styles. They´re all original paintings, all water colors and they´re really cool! He did such a cool job with the Queen one and you saw the “Nevermind” cover. It takes a tough man to put his head on a baby penis. I will go the whole way! You gotta be consistent! So I guess the big things would be the tour and the ongoing things I´m very happy with. “Greatest hits” is still selling. There´s a lot of people that don´t have it and I hope they get it and then of course the brand new video that I did, which was for a song called “Breathe” which is a Michelle Branch tune but we rearranged it and we rerecorded it and that´s just been the greatest thing of all. In two months over 13000 hits and a lot of opportunities came in from that and people are really enjoying that video. It´s been great! The video, the “Greatest hits” cd and then of course Danger Danger, where I´m on call at all times. If they get a gig I´m there! We´re done for this year and that´s why I´m heading off to rock like a Viking! Danger Danger is still my day job and my first love and as soon as we get some shows, I´ll be doing all of those, but in the meantime I don´t sit around. I like to go out and see the fans and I love to play the songs and be out there and spread the word of Danger Danger and as well, I play different Danger Danger songs and I try to make it as different as possible so if you go see Danger Danger you´ll hear things from the new cd and I play the more obscure Danger Danger songs, that you won´t ever hear us play as Danger Danger. I have a keyboard player and we don´t in Danger Danger. I like to keep it completely separate from a Danger Danger show and as a fan you get to hear different songs and for me it´s more interesting because it´s not the same songs that I´ve been playing for 20 years. I throw “Sick little twisted mind” in there and stuff like “One step from paradise” and I try to keep it as separate as I can while still being the same guy. One of my strongest areas is now Sweden! I love it and they´ve embraced me and I´ve embraced them and the meatballs and the whole deal and I can´t wait to get back there and eat some cool food and the smorgasbord and get crazy! (laughs)
Going back to the artwork for “Greatest hits”, you´ve put ink stamps on them to make sure there´s no infringement. Do you really need to do that since it´s done in water colors? Is there a danger of being sued or something?
TP: I´m a little disappointed that nobody contacted me. (laughs) I´m not even big enough… I don´t think the guys in Aerosmith know who I am, so in a way I´m a little bit disappointed that nobody contacted me and said “Hey, you better put that out of print!”. (laughs) I would love that, but nobody cared. The only issue would have been… yeah, that´s why I didn´t use existing artwork and that´s why I had my guy completely redraw everything, so you´re correct on that point. They´re actually original paintings, but he painted in the logo and those are copy written and I didn´t wanna step on anybody´s toes, including Danger Danger. I mean, I don´t wanna piss them off! I´ve been fired already, I don´t wanna be fired again! (laughs) But these days it´s a little bit different. We actually like each other now. But I don´t wanna be a pain in the ass or do anything wrong either, so what I wanted to do was just make sure… I would love for somebody to at least attempt to sue me, because then they´d notice it, but otherwise I really didn´t wanna be a pain in the ass. It´s just something funny and artistic and I´m not trying to infringe on anybody´s work. I just go through my day, man! (laughs) You´re the first person to ever even notice that art thing and that cost a fortune to do. The artist who´s my friend, had he actually charged me what an artist would charge, it would´ve been something like $50.000. I mean, really, really expensive! So the value of what I changed it to was really more valuable and cooler and more expensive and I gotta tell you, boobs outsold it ten to one. So no matter how expensive, nothing compares to boobs! (laughs) I could rehearse my whole life and Katy Perry or Lady Gaga could wear a bikini at the airport and I swear to god, I think I have literally underwear in a suitcase from a tour that was unpacked before she was even known and now she´s a billionaire and my underpants are older than her career and they´re still sitting in a suitcase and I´ve been touring for 20 years and that kills me!
You were born and grew up in New Jersey, right?
TP: Yes sir!
What was it like back then and what was the music scene like back then when you started getting into music? Were there a lot of bands around and bands playing in clubs in New Jersey? Did you ever come across the Skid Row guys in those days?
TP: I have to tell you and I sound like an old dude that says “Oh, man the scene now is nothing! When I was a kid it was the greatest we´d ever had!” and I don´t know if that´s just me remembering what was really great or if everybody thinks that their own time was great, but I have to tell you, when I got into it, there were bands that were some of the greatest bands! It was like the early stages of California. I wasn´t there, but when I was in Prophet we were recording out there and I got to see bands in clubs like Ratt, Mötley Crüe and London. The beginnings of what became the Warrants, the Firehouses and the beginning of the hair band era and that was very interesting! When I first started out in clubs and I was playing from like the early 80´s… I got out of high school and I was actually too young to play in some of the clubs and back then we had so many bands and so many guys in bands like Ray Gillen and Danny Vaughn and I know all these guys. We were all from the same bands and the same time. There was a band called White Tiger, not White Lion! Different animal!
Was that the band with Mark St John?
TP: I don´t think so. Eric, the drummer went on to TT Quick and of course their singer went on to Accept and the bass player actually plays with my guitar player now in another band. Back then they were the greatest rock stars ever. Nobody played original music, we all played cover tunes like Judas Priest and Journey, Bryan Adams, AC/DC. It was great stuff, but they would come out and they looked like rock stars and they would bring a PA system and a light system for a concert into a club and this was a big club. All the bands would wanna warm up for them and on a Tuesday they would get 2000 people without even breathing hard. Sell out on a Tuesday night and they played five nights a week all across New Jersey of course and the biggest bands at that time were them and Twisted Sister, Prophet, before I was in it and they were actually one of the top bands before I joined. Honestly, that scene was golden! A lot of these guys went on to other bands and the music was incredible, but these guys in White Tiger played originals and they were so loud and so amazing, that some of my influences are more of some of these bands that nobody will ever have heard of. There was a band called Jesse Bolt and I loved them! They had three guitar players and it was sort of like melodic metal, like UFU style stuff and just the greatest times! For me it was definitely a wonderful time and I actually got my guitar player in my solo band… when I was looking for a guitar player, I remembered that there was this really good guitar player that was a really friendly guy, because right now I have no patience for any assholes! I´m done with assholes! We´ve made some recent lineup changes and we´re all friends and we have so much fun, but this guy, I remembered him from 30 years ago when my band and his band used to be the other band that would warm up for White Tiger. I remembered this guy and I tracked him down and he still the nicest guy and we were rival bands back then and probably didn´t speak to each other. But I called him and it´s great to play with a guy who comes from the same moment in time. He was on the same stages as me during the exact era that you´re speaking of.
When Danger Danger happened and the first album came out in 1989 and grunge was just around the corner…
TP: We were 15 minutes too late! Let me tell you! We could´ve had the greatest run if we came out like when Ratt and all those bands. I was still in Prophet and making progressive music and listening to bands like… I think the first one that came out that I thought was really cool, was Autograph and “Turn up the radio”. Remember theat one?
I love Autograph!
TP: Meanwhile I´m playing stuff that sounds like Emerson Lake and Palmer or something, which I love, but “Wait a minute, this kind of rocks! What the heck is this?” and I was living in Los Angeles finishing the Prophet record when I heard “Turn up the radio” and I said “This fucking rocks!” and I was sort of like “I wanna sound like that!”. (laughs) Later on and it took a long time, Danger Danger happened right at the end and it´s a real shame because literally, just as it started to look good, everybody put on flannel and it was done! Back then, besides,,, I mean, I was a pain in the ass for these guys so they fired me and I think half because I was a pain in the ass and half because the music changed and they wanted to get heavier, but being a pain in the ass made it easier to fire me. (laughs) I´ve mellowed out since and I think even I would´ve annoyed myself back then. My decisions were right, looking back, but I just didn´t have the right delivery.
You toured with KISS and I recently just read about the first time you met Paul Stanley.
TP: Oh yeah, and then they made it into a song too! That one is on the greatest hits and it´s funny, I use that as my pretape in concerts and I had nothing to do with it other than being in the story. I don´t sing on it, I didn´t ask them to do it and when I heard it I just thought it was the greatest thing I´ve ever heard, because it´s true. Basically Paul Stanley sung my name to the tune of “Unholy” and I love it so much, I use it as my pretape and when people hear it, first they hear the KISS song and the words are sort of funny and then when they hear “Ted Poley” and before I even hit the stage I got them in the mood I want and they´re happy. My show isn´t exactly dark and I come out and start signing autographs from the stage and I´ll walk into the audience. Obviously I´m not getting rich doing this, I do it because I love it!
What was it like touring with KISS?
TP: It was for “Hot in the shade” and we did many countries and we were actually out with them for two years, three years. It was wild! We went to England and they had the sphinx and the eyes would open up and they had laser beams coming out. That was cool! It was a dream come true and they were my favorite band and my first KISS concert was when I decided I wanted to do this and I stuck with it! Then, there I am with Paul Stanley knocking on our door and bringing us his leftover shrimps just because he liked us. We went bowling in England and we played laser tag, because they didn´t have anybody else to hang out with.
Do you remember anything about Eric Carr being unhappy on that tour because they ditched his drum solo? Any stuff you noticed back then?
TP: No! All I noticed was that Eric Carr was probably the nicest guy in the whole… I mean, I´m sure Paul is nice, but these guys don´t have a whole lot of time. They were very nice and even to this day whenever I see Paul he´ll always say “Hi Ted!” and he remembers. He is a good, good guy! I have the best autograph and my most cherished autograph and I never really know that he was paying attention to us, but when I finally asked him to sign my tour book, he wrote “What a set of pipes!” and that´s like getting the stamp of approval from my Jedi master and it was the greatest thing ever! But Eric Carr was the most down to earth and regular kind of nice guy and that´s why I feel horrible that he´s not here anymore and leading into that, there´s a new cd coming out.
Yeah, I read that!
TP: It´s music that he left unfinished and other stuff and I actually finished a song for him, so I´m on it and I think they actually gonna make it a single and a video for that, but it´s actually taken years to do it and it will probably be on “Greatest hits vol 2” and it will probably have more boobs on it. (laughs) It´s really cool and it´s neat because it´s an Eric Carr song and I put vocals on it and got to do the harmonies and arrange it and I was glad I got a chance to do it. I have to tell you, I´ve already gotten so many more interview requests than anybody would ever give a shit about my stuff. (laughs)
What´s on the horizon for Danger Danger album wise? Are you talking about it?
TP: Yeah, yeah we talk about it and the discussion is “NO!”, that´s the discussion! (laughs) We just put out a new cd and we toured it. It´s a great cd actually and I don´t even say that because I´m on it, quite honestly, there are cd´s that I´m on that I don´t think are the greatest, but Bruno ´s become quite the producer lately and it´s very rare for a band to come out from the old days and have their new cd actually be good. A lot of them and I´m not gonna name names, but I´ve been a little disappointed and I listen to everything that come out just to hear what people are doing, but I think the Danger Danger cd actually is the best one! He made my vocals sound better than anybody ever has, the songs are great and he really beat the shit out of me and really made me sing the stuff the way he wanted it and I love him for it and I really think it´s one of our best things. Another band that did that is Mr Big. I love the Mr Big cd and that´s not the same for several of the other bands that sort of did a new record after many years. We got lucky with that and we´re still touring it and as far as making a new one, you know, it takes these guys five years to write songs. They write good songs, but it doesn´t come over night. (laughs) I really don´t know!
Finally, a pretty interesting thing about the album cover for Bonemachine´s “Disappearing inc”, with the World Trade Center? It was kind of weird when it later on happened on 9/11.
TP: Yeah! In many ways, weird is the right word. I´m a very weird dude! I have ESP, I get premonitions and obviously that was one of them and you can´t take that away from me! That was in 1996 I had that dream and that´s why we did that cover. That was all me and that´s what I thought… like I say, my wife won´t even play Trivial Pursuit with me, because I can read the answers from her mind. I´m a very weird dude. I can´t predict the future and I can hardly predict the present, but once in a while I get really weird. My life is very weird and that was one of the really weird things. As soon as that happened, I thought for sure I was in big, big trouble! They´ll be coming looking for me, because that was exact, even the floors and it´s sad in a horrible way and that´s why I took it out of print. It was sold out for years and it went on the Internet for $100-$150 and it´s actually my favorite cd and the greatest cd I ever did. It´s my best singing, no autotunes, no nothing and we recorded on 8-tracks and once again I had a great producer who just beat the fuck out of me in the studio and made it real and I love that cd! But what happened was, there´s a few copies left that I sell on my site for less than they were on the Internet, but there´s only about five left in the whole world and when they´re sold out they´re gone. The really funny thing is and I had no idea of this, but fans alerted me, that there are certain conspiracy sites out there and they have me as part of the conspiracy. (laughs) They literally show my album cover as proof that the plan existed ahead of time and that it was like a warning and I´m thinking “Yeah, because I would´ve been the guy they picked for that message! They wouldn´t pick like Bon Jovi! Just let it out to a few thousand people around the world.”. What kind of fucking concept is that, that these people think that I would be the person to let in on it? Like I´m not gonna get stoned at a party and let that information out four years early? It´s so obviously ridiculous! Yeah, trust me with that info of all the people in the world. Ted Poley? (laughs) he got fired from his band, he can get the message out! (laughs) They think I knew about it. Not that I was in on it, but somehow… “Oh, this information must´ve been out there because this guy knew about it and he even put it out as maybe a warning!”. Quite honestly, I had a dream and I thought it was cool. I sued, I didn´t get my millions of dollars and I never got paid and I hate the corporations and that´s why I called it “Disappearing inc”, so the idea behind it from my point of view was that I just wished they, the corporations, would disappear. I didn´t want the people gone, they buy my cd´s. That was the concept, I hate business, I hate corporations and corporations are ruining the music business and that was my real idea about it, but now it´s a little bit fucked up. I won´t be reprinting that cover!
Fascinating story! Thanks Ted!
TP: Thank you man!
Ted Poley i Sverige och Norge 2011
21 September - Club Dirty Harry, Växjö, Sverige
23 September - Backstage Rockbar, Trollhättan, Sverige
24 September - Untouchables Hardrock Club, Jevnaker, Norge
25 September - Harry B James, Stockholm, Sverige