As a veteran of the 80’s hard rock/heavy metal scene there are certain people and bands that I will always hold in high regard. Ted Poley, frontman for DANGER DANGER and solo artist is one of those people. His new record Beyond the Fade was released last month via Frontiers Music, and it’s one of the most fun albums I’ve heard in a while. I got the chance to sit down with Ted to talk about it, as well as some other things he has going on. Check it:
Amps: If your goal with Beyond the Fade was to make the ultimate feel-good summertime album for grilling and having some drinks, then mission accomplished, my friend.
Ted: That’s awesome, man I love that, thank you! That was totally my intention, and the best compliment I could get.
Amps: This is right up there with ISSA’S 2015 Crossfire as one of the best, most positive, uplifting records I’ve heard in a while. How did the duet with her for “The Perfect Crime” come about?
Ted: I’ve known her for years, and I wanted to do a duet with a female. I was like, “You know what, she’s my friend” and Tom and James Martin (VEGA) wrote a great song for us and I love the way it came out. The vocal blend is really awesome.
Amps: “Let’s Start Something” is very much that “clock out of work at 3 p.m. Friday, jump in the car for a weekend full of beer and endless possibilities” song. THAT’S what I think of when I listen to it.
Ted: (Laughing) that’s awesome! To tell you the truth, I’m pretty tired right now from doing nine interviews, but you just picked me right up, man. That’s good!
Amps: You also worked with Alessandro Del Vecchio who, let’s face it, everything he touches turns to gold.
Ted: This was a bit different from his usual work because he let me do whatever the fuck I wanted. He’s a world-class producer and he certainly doesn’t need my help. There are singers who don’t even want to do a fuckin’ thing, they just want someone to walk them through it.
And he’s great with that. But this sounds different from some of his other records because I was very specific about everything down to the slightest little bass drum beat, the titles of the songs, the cover, everything.
It’s really cool that a producer who knows so much really took a chance, because I changed a lot of things, and we went with what I wanted. In the end I couldn’t be more thrilled with this record.
Amps: I know you’re probably doing the festivals in Europe and other countries this summer, but are there plans for any U.S. shows in the fall or winter?
Ted: Actually, I just got a new agent, so I’ve been doing more in the U.S. and South America. This year I’ll be doing more work Stateside, so I’ll hopefully be much more visible. And every year in December I play my annual holiday show at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ. It’s always my last show of the year and I do it for charity.
Amps: Well, if it’s a weekend I will certainly be there.
Ted: Oh, it’s always a Friday or a Saturday, so now you have to go. I’m gonna hold you to that!
Amps: It’s on tape. I just agreed to go to New Jersey. Gods help me! Talking about DANGER DANGER for a minute, yeah the singles were great, but to me the best tracks on your debut were always “Rock America”, “Feels Like Love”, “One Step From Paradise”, and “Don’t Walk Away”. They’re just timeless songs.
Ted: Thank you very much. We still play “Rock America”; it rocks live. And I always have fun with “Feels Like Love” and “Don’t Walk Away”. I play those almost every show, whether with the boys or solo. That’s cool that you love all that stuff, man. They’re so much fun to sing live, too.
Amps: You’ve been singing for a very long time. What do you do to take care of your voice?
Ted: Ahhh, I warmed up in 1988 once, and I’m still warm (laughs)! It’s very physical and every year I have to get better and better to just be able to sing as well as I could the previous year. You have to overcome the age thing, and if I can’t get better and better I can’t stay the same. If I’m singing good last year, then this year it’s almost twice as hard to sing as well. But I can do it if I’m a better singer. Thank God I can still kick ass!
Amps: Since the Martin Brothers wrote the tunes this time out, would you say you had less to worry about and could just focus on your singing?
Ted: Oh no, I had to worry about everything. Every note I had to labor over and then singing it is the most important part after you do a thousand other things. It was a lot of pressure, mostly because Frontiers DIDN’T tell me what to do and they let me do whatever I wanted. They gave me enough rope where I could’ve hung myself (laughs)! So basically it was even more pressure because I had no guidance whatsoever and it was all up to me. A couple of singles later and I’m thrilled with how they made it a priority. It all worked out.
Amps: How excited are you to get out and play these new songs live, and how many do you think you’ll do in concert?
Ted: I’ll probably add two. I just did “Let’s Start Something’ at a show a couple of weeks ago and it went over great. People were singing it by the end. But there are certain songs people expect to hear whether it’s DANGER DANGER or sol that I feel I have to play. Some of these people have never seen me live before and have been waiting 30 years, so they want to hear specific songs, and I always try to give that to them. They work hard and they paid their money, so I want to give them what they want.
Amps: Are there any concrete plans for another DANGER DANGER record?
Ted: Nope, not right now. We’re just focusing on live shows, and we don’t have any plans to record at the moment. Nothing’s impossible, and believe me I get asked this every day. We’re all busy, and we’re getting along, so that’s cool.
Amps: In 2016 how is life for Ted Poley?
Ted: You know what? I feel okay. I have a new record coming out, fans are liking it, and I love the reviews. I’m able to do some nice things, and donate a little bit to homeless animal shelters. With that in mind I’d like to ask people out there, whether they buy my CD or not, to take a moment and donate a couple of bucks to your local no-kill animal shelter. Do something good today. I know that somebody who reads this will do that.
Whenever I do shows in certain states I always try to donate to that state’s no-kill shelters. Everyone should do it locally, and I appreciate everyone who does. Me? I don’t need a thing. I got enough money to last me till the end of the week (laughs), but these animals need your help. If I can get through my week, and you by my CD and are drinking a beer, singing my songs, and some puppy or kitten gets a meal from that, then I’m great, you know?
Amps: Do you have any interests outside of music that we should know about?
Ted: I collect early American antique toys and trains. I’ve been collecting and dealing antique toys for years, from the 1800’s and 1900’s. I’ve been doing that for 30 years. I have a really cool collection of all sorts of mechanical banks and old trucks, really cool stuff like that. But music takes up the majority of my time.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the TED POLEY/DANGER DANGER fans all over the world?
Ted: The biggest thing is “thank you.” I really do appreciate everyone’s support and I know you’re out there and I appreciate it. Between my thanks for everybody supporting me and the hope that they’ll support the animals that’s all I need to get out there. And Damian, I appreciate all the nice words from you. To tell you the truth I’m glad this interview was at the end of the day. You are such a fan that it made me perk up, because I am fuckin’ tired (laughs)! I really do appreciate it, man.
Not that I didn’t love TED POLEY before, but after this conversation, how could I not? He’s such a class act, and he works so hard not only on his music, but to help animals in shelters. That speaks volumes about the man. Plus, his new record Beyond the Fade is fantastic, and you all need to go and get it ASAP!
LIVE PHOTO: KRIS KIRBY/ROCK N ROLL JUNKIES