An Interview with Danny Farrow of Angel

Feature image courtesy of Danny Farrow

Image credit: Joe Schaeffer Photography

For many fans of rock music, one of the earliest pastimes one can experience is hiding away in one’s bedroom and getting lost in hours upon hours of music. For Angel rhythm guitarist, Danny Farrow, this simple act of age-old musical exploration would serve to be the burgeoning six-stringer’s genesis in music.

After years of honing his craft through love for bands such as KISS and Angel, Farrow staked his claim amongst a bustling glam metal scene in the late 80s with his band, Taylen Storm. Farrow worked the club scene, using the time as a proverbial proving ground for his ever-growing curiosity toward the guitar.

A series of stops and starts ultimately found Farrow pivoting toward his other passion in life, sculpting, and through hard work, and determination, Farrow rose through the ranks, eventually having the chance to sculpt some of his favorite pop culture figures, as well as his musical heroes, officially marrying his passions through the lens of true creative success.

Always a lover of music, Farrow found his way back to music through his band, Lords of Mercy, whose debut remains an underexposed gem. Soon after, through a chance meeting with seemingly forgotten 70s guitar hero, Punky Meadows, Farrow found himself in position to help the veteran axe-slinger reclaim his status both creatively, and commercially.

What followed was nothing short of astounding, as the reception to Meadow’s re-entry into the world of music was akin to a musical tsunami. With the assistance of Farrow, a record deal, and a new solo album, Fallen Angel (2016), ensued. While on tour, the duo solicited the services of classic Angel vocalist, Frank DiMino, and in short order, old kinships were stoked, urging on the official reformation of Angel.

2019’s Risen, served to put the world on notice that not only had Angel returned, but the band intended to remain vital. Ever-resistant to the “legacy act” moniker, Angel has just wrapped production and mastering on what appears to be their soon-to-be-released eighth studio album, Once Upon A Time.

I recently sat down with Angel’s rhythm guitarist, Danny Farrow, and among other things, Farrow and I touch on his long history in music, his successful and fruitful sculpting career, meeting Punky Meadows, the reformation of Angel, the band’s latest music, and a whole lot more.

Andrew:
Danny, thank you for taking the time. I’d be remiss if I didn’t kick this off by asking you about the upcoming album Angel record. What more can you tell us about the album? Is there a working title?

Danny:
Sure, the working title was Saints and Sinners. We weren’t sure if it would stick, as Punky [Meadows], Frank [DiMino], and I were always considering other titles. Ultimately, Once Upon A Time is what we’ve chosen. The album is finished. We just finished mastering and now everything will go to our label Cleopatra Records. The album came out great and I strongly believe fans are going to love it. It is very diverse like Risen, but also different from that album as well. There are fourteen songs written by me, Punky, and Frank. 

Andrew:
Risen was an outstanding return to form from a band many thought to be past its prime, and long forgotten. Did the members of Angel expect such a lush reception?

Danny:
Thank you very much. I am very proud of Risen and really believed in it when working on it. I co-wrote all the songs with Punky and Frank and co-produced it as well. We really worked hard on that album. I remember flying to Punky’s house to start writing it, we had both already started writing a bunch of songs and just worked them out together. Punky is an excellent songwriter and started up songs like 1975, “Slow Down,” “Tell Me Why,” etc. Frank is also a great songwriter and comes up with really excellent lyrics, as well as some great melodies to the songs. The three of us work well together writing.

With some of the songs I brought to the table like “Under the Gun,” “Turn Around,” “Don’t Want You To Go,” etc, I really felt they stayed true to the band’s early sound. Like when writing the hook in the “Under the Gun” chorus, I knew it had the classic sound. We also wanted to write songs that we just thought were great and did not sound like anything Angel had done before. So, I started writing songs like “We Were the Wild,” Our Revolution,” etc. A little heavier, but I still wrote catchy melodies, and music to the choruses. Then, like with all the songs, the three of us would work to finish them up. The band was very excited about how well the album was received by the fans and reviewers, and very grateful as well.

Andrew:
On the heels of Risen, expectations have to be high. What did the writing, and recording of the new album look like from the inside?

Danny:
It was similar to the Risen experience. As far as myself, I love catchy melodies and hooks. So, besides my hard rock influences, I am also influenced by artists like Tommy James, The Raspberries, all the catchy 60s, and 70s hits, etc. So, a lot of songs I start writing and bring to the table all have catchy choruses, and I mix it up. Some songs are more Poppy, some are heavier but still have a catchy chorus. Between Punky, Frank, and I, this new album has it all. There are songs for everyone on this new album. We have new fresh-sounding songs, and we still have songs that have the earlier classic sound as well. But it all sounds like Angel. That is why I love this band so much, things can be so diverse. We can record something a little heavier, the next minute a pop hit, and then a sweet ballad, and so on. It all blends together so well with this band. It just works.

Image courtesy of Danny Farrow

Andrew:
Obviously, Punky and Frank have a long history, and you’ve ingratiated yourself into that mix as well. If I were a fly on the wall, what would the dynamics of the band look like in 2022?

Danny:
Punky and I are best friends and have been partners in music now for eight years. We have a great working relationship, as well as friendship, and things have never changed thank God. We still have that fresh excitement when we work on things. Communication means everything, you have to be able to work together. When Frank joined forces in the band again, things went great from the start. Punky and Frank have a long-time friendship, and Frank and I really hit it off, and have since become great friends too. The rest of the band are great guys, musicians, and friends as well. Charlie Calv on the keys, Billy Orrico on drums, and Steve Ojane on bass.

I am very grateful to be playing rhythm guitar in this band, as well as writing and producing with the guys. When we hit the stage, we all feel the same energy and excitement and want the fans to feel the same way we do. We may be a show for the fans, but the fans are a show for us. We love seeing the crowd excited and singing all the songs.

Andrew:
About a year ago, Angel signed with Cleopatra Records. What was the courtship like on their end? What makes them a good fit in an era where so many are hopping labels such as Frontiers for example?

Danny:
Cleopatra Records is an excellent record label with so many great artists. Brian and Tim have just been great to work with, and when they gave us our first deal, we did have other offers but felt confident and comfortable with Cleopatra. They back us and believe in us. That is why we signed with them again for our new album.

Andrew:
Let’s reel it back a bit, Danny. As a burgeoning musician, what first gravitated you toward the guitar?

KISS Alive! That is what did it for me. My cousin Vinny got me into KISS. He gave me the first KISS album in 1975 and told me what the band was like on stage, blood, fire, explosions, etc. The funny thing is, I loved the album but had not heard Hotter Than Hell or Dressed To Kill yet, and had no idea the guys stayed in the makeup. I just thought that was for the one cover. I did not know about the costumes or anything. So, when KISS Alive! came out, my Mother gave my cousin Frankie, who worked at Sam Goody’s, some money to pick it up for me on the day of release. When I got it, I stared at that cover, and booklet over and over, and was blown away that they still had the makeup on, and dressed like that always. It was great hearing the great songs and Ace Frehley’s leads. I said to my cousin, “What is that? What are those high notes he’s playing, and what kind of guitar is doing it?” I know then that is what I wanted to do.

Image courtesy of Danny Farrow

Andrew:
You’ve just touched on this a bit, but early on, who were some of your biggest influences that helped shape your style? As you’ve moved forward, how do you feel your style has progressed?

Danny:
My favorite all-time bands are Angel and KISS, so it is crazy to be in my favorite band and, again, I am very grateful. As far as my early guitar influences, of course, my brother in music, Punky Meadows, and Ace Frehley. I would learn their leads and play them over and over with the albums on, blasting that shit ’til my neighbors came over, and complained to my parents. [Laughs]. That never stopped me. Later on, I liked Randy Rhoads and Michael Schenker. They played very melodically, and like Punky and Ace, you could remember all their leads. I also liked Yngwie Malmsteen. As far as my style, I try to be original, and when playing lead guitar in my earlier bands, I would write out my leads and try to do some unique things, while staying very melodic as well. I did not want to sound like anyone else.

Andrew:
You made a grab for your lion’s share amongst a hectic 80s scene with Taylen Storm. Walk me through the formation of that band.

Danny:
There were two versions of Taylen Storm. I loved both versions, and both were great bands. The first version was in the early 80s. I played lead guitar and we had a lead singer. It was a two-guitar band. We had great songs and were offered an independent deal, but the singer quit – he literally quit music altogether – and was going to get married or something. After that, we had another singer and did some shows, but slowly disbanded after a while. Since I thought of the name, the guys were cool with me using it, so I put together a new band with me on lead guitar and lead vocals. We were like a blend of Angel, KISS, Mötley Crüe, etc. I wore a white costume and the rest of the band wore black costumes. It was a lot of fun and we had interest from A&M Records and Enigma. We had our troubles though, too much partying, etc. then the grunge scene started happening, and all of that, so we eventually broke up.

Andrew:
Taylen Storm’s self-titled record went unreleased until 2015. What led to it being shelved for so long?

Danny:
Funny, out of nowhere Demon Doll Records sent me an email, loved our old demo, and asked me if I had more songs. I did and they put the album out. It represents the second version of the band where I sing and play lead guitar. I really thought out my leads on that album, and listen back and I am still happy with them, and the melodies I wrote. I also wrote all of the songs, and the song, “Bye Lullabye,” they actually put on YouTube. I still dig that stuff a lot.

Image courtesy of Danny Farrow

Andrew:
Before you hooked up with Punky for his record, Fallen Angel, you formed another band, Lords of Mercy. Expand on that for me.

Danny:
Okay, in the late 90s, I did some acting, then started doing sculpting, so I did not play in a band for years, though I kept writing. One day, a friend called me to play in a local band, and I tried it but had my own ideas to follow through on if I was really going to get back into music, so I put together Lords of Mercy. The band was a great hard rock band, and I played lead guitar and wrote all of the songs with a few co-written by the band members. We had a great singer, Brandon Sweeny, who rocked the crowd, and we were really getting big on the Jersey scene, and then did a mini-tour with Anvil that was a lot of fun. We then put out a self-titled album on Mainman Records that got great reviews. Check it out if you get a chance.

Andrew:
Take me through how you first met Punky Meadows. Growing up a fan of the band, what were your first impressions?

Danny:
So, as an Angel fan, I always wondered what happened to Punky. I would hear things like he was going to be touring with Michale Bolton, or Angel was getting back together, etc. but did not see anything. Like many others, I knew that he should be back on the music scene, being that he is such an excellent guitar player, as well as a guitar hero for many fans. Long story short, in 2004, I met Punky at the business he owned. After speaking a few times, he invited me down to show him some of my sculpting work, and talk music, etc. We just hit it off, and I remember telling him if I ever could help him get back in the music business, I would, and that his fans would love to see him playing again. I kept my word, and here we are.

Andrew:
You were instrumental in getting Punky back in the studio, and subsequently, back in touch with Frank, right? Give us the rundown on how the Fallen Angel sessions and album progressed into Angel eventually reforming.

Danny:
Sure, so during my days with Lords of Mercy, around 2013, I reconnected with many friends who were in the music business. While talking to a great friend of mine, Keith Roth, who works at Sirius, and also a big Jersey station the WRAT, I said to him, “Hey man, what about doing an interview with Punky Meadows?” And Keith said, “Can you get him on?” I said, “I will ask him.” So, I spoke to Punky and he thought it was a good idea since fans have not heard him in such a long time. I co-hosted the show with Keith, and so many fans tuned in online from all over the world to hear Punky that the servers blew out at the station. [Laughs]. Keith’s soss said, “Who the hell did you have on the air the other night?” Keith said, “Punky Meadows.” That started everything.

From there, I connected Punky with Eddie Trunk, and they did a great podcast together. Then I got Punky a record deal with Mainman Records and I helped get us a major distribution deal. Punky and I wrote the whole album and produced it together, and before we knew it, Fallen Angel had arrived. I love that album, it was such a great experience. I even sing a few songs on that album, “Leavin’ Tonight,” and “They Don’t Like My Ways,” which was a bonus track.

As far as Frank, Punky, and Frank always remained friends and Frank put out a solo album the year before Punky’s, so our first idea was maybe to do some shows together with both bands. Then throwing around ideas, I said to Punky, “What if we asked Frank to sing with us, do some Angel songs, and a few solo songs off of each other’s album?” Punky liked the idea, and we both spoke to Frank, who was into it, and thought it would be fun as well. Initially, we were going to play just a few shows, but it went so great that we stuck together, and now are doing what we are doing now.

Image courtesy of Danny Farrow

Andrew:
You’ve also had an acclaimed career as a sculptor. How did you break into that space?

Danny:
Well, It’s a funny story. I was born an artist, and when I was four years old, I was drawing a comic from the newspaper. My mother looked at it and said, “Wow that is really good,” but she could not believe that the drawing was upside down. The head was on the bottom and feet on top, so she turned it around, and when she told me it was upside down, I remember it scared me like something was wrong with me. That is why I probably remember it so well, but it triggered something in my brain to see correctly after that. True story, it must have been some form of dyslexia, I guess. Anyway, I used to go to conventions, and they had very cool garage kits, which were homemade model kits like the Wolfman, Planet of the Apes, etc. I thought, “How great would it be to sculpt like these guys?” So, one day I bought clay and sculpted a Planet of the Apes head, and it actually came out really good. I was like, “Holy shit, I can sculpt.” From there, I made custom figures like KISS, Eddie from Iron Maiden, etc. You can check it all out on my Facebook page, The Farrow.

I really wanted to see if I could sculpt a figure for a toy store, that was a dream. I wound up showing some of my sculpting photos to Randy from Neca, and he hired me to do Draco from Harry Potter. That was my first figure in Toys ‘R Us, and I was pretty blown away. From there, the Demon Wrestler, Dale Torborg really liked my work, and went to Figures Toy Company and told them, “If you guys are doing KISS figures, you have to get The Farrow.” [Laughs]. I still thank him all the time, as Figures Toy Company hired me as their lead sculptor for eight years doing KISS, Scooby-Doo, Batman 66 Line, Superman all of the DC Comic characters, ROH Wrestling figures, etc. Anthony Balsco is the owner and such a great guy.  I also did a Neca Planet of the Apes two-pack figure set exclusive for Toys ‘R Us. Being such an Apes fan, that was really cool.

Andrew:
You hit on this a bit already, but describe some of your favorite works in that space.

Danny:
Doing KISS and Planet of the Apes for toy companies was a dream I would have never thought would happen. Also the Batman 66 line, all the TV show characters were really fun to do like The Joker and Penguin. I love doing my custom work as well.

Andrew:
My understanding is that you’re a KISS fan. Given their importance to your progression, let’s dig into a bit of KISStory. What are some of your favorite albums by KISS, and why?

KISS Alive! is my favorite. It’s just raw, man. It is pure rock in your face KISS. It is the next best thing to seeing them live. I love all the songs too.

Destroyer – seeing the album cover and thinking, “Wow are they really going to wear these costumes? Gene’s boots and all?” And they did. Then, cranking “Detroit Rock City,” man, I love that album.

Dressed to Kill and Hotter than Hell – this is like a double album for me, as I got them both the same day and would play them both over and over. To this day, I can’t tell you which songs are on each of those albums, as I mix them up so much. Love them both, so raw and heavy. 

KISS – this was my first album, and it is just as great as any. Love it. Most songs sound a little better on Alive!, but I still love listening to this one as well.

Then, of course, Rock and Roll Over, and Love Gun. I love them both. I also really love Paul and Ace’s solo albums. Man, what great albums.

Image courtesy of Danny Farrow

Andrew:
Aside from the classic era, what lineup is your favorite? The lineup of Paul, Gene, Eric, and Vinnie was always a personal favorite.

Danny:
Yes, of course, the original lineup will always be my favorite. But I agree with you that the lineup with Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent would be the next best one.

Andrew:
You’re primarily a lead guitarist, but in Angel, Punky Meadows carries that title. Is it ever difficult to take a backseat?

Danny:
Easy answer – NEVER! I use the word “grateful” a lot, and in this case, I am super grateful to be playing rhythm guitar for Angel. Punky even says once, in a while, “Hey Danny, do you want to play a little lead here or there,” and I say, “Hell no. You will always be the lead guitarist for Angel.” I am proud to play along with him and the band. If I never play lead again in a band again, I honestly would not care one bit.

Andrew:
Last one. What’s next for you in all lanes, Danny? Do we have a release date on the new record, and tour information for Angel?

Danny:
Once Upon A Time will be released sometime in 2022. It’s looking like June or July at this point. We went back and forth mixing, and it took a little longer than we planned, as we all do not live in the same state. But it is finished and sounds excellent.

As far as touring, we have some Midwest dates coming up soon, then the East Coast in May, and also,  the West Coast in June. More to come as well. Then, we go to the UK for about six shows, and we headline The Golden Age Rock Festival on Saturday, August 20th, so that should be great. Then I think we go to the Netherlands, and from there, possibly Amsterdam. 

We’re still working on things, with lots of great things to come. We even talked about doing a Christmas album. Other than that, I will be doing a lot of new sculpts and figures coming soon.

Image courtesy of Danny Farrow

Interested in learning more about Angel? Hit the link below:

Be sure to check out the full catalog of VWMusic Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found VWMusic in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Idle Chatter. Over time, the column grew into a website that now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process. Some of Andrew’s favorite artists include KISS, Oasis, ACϟDC, Elvis Presley, Ace Frehley, The Rolling Stones, Rush, The Pretenders, Led Zeppelin, The Gaslight Anthem, Iron Maiden, John Lennon, The Melvins, Noel Gallagher, Regina Spektor, Rory Gallagher, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Van Halen, Neil Young, Blur, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and many more.
Happy
Happy
100 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: