An Interview with Steve Ojane of Angel

All images courtesy of Steve Ojane/Angel

By Andrew Daly
andrew@vinylwriter.com

All images courtesy of Steve Ojane/Angel

Recently, we caught up with bassist Steve Ojane, of glam rock outfit, Angel. Among other things, we touch on how Angel is kicking off 2022, Steve’s early years, his long and varied career in music, what’s next on the horizon for Angel in terms of new music, and a whole lot more.

If you would like to learn more about Steve and Angel’s many musical endeavors, the link to the band’s webpage is here. Once you’ve checked that out, dig into this interview with Steve. Cheers.

Andrew:
Steve, I appreciate you taking the time today. How have you been holding up over the last year or so? What have you been up to?

Steve:
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, Andrew. Doing pretty good here, thanks. Just doing my best to navigate the nuttiness of the world as it is these days. Keeping myself sane by writing and recording, just staying creative any way I can always feels like the best way to spend my time. 

Andrew:
Before we dive into your professional career, let’s go back a bit. What first got you hooked on music?

Steve:
I loved all sorts of music from a very early age. My tastes were sort of pedestrian though, influenced by mainstream pop culture. It was long before anything like MTV or the internet, so I was pretty much listening to anything that was on TV or the radio at the time when I was a young kid – The Monkees, The Partridge Family, Neil Diamond, etc. It wasn’t until my brother who was a few years older than me brought home the KISS Alive! album that completely changed the course of my life. I was like, “Who are these guys?!” They looked like insane gods to me, and the album kicked ass. All through my life, I’ve loved anything where good rock and roll and a sense of theatricality meet. KISS was all that and a bag of chips. That got me off and running as an aspiring bass player.

Andrew:
KISS aside, Who were some of your early influences?

Steve:
Well, like I mentioned – KISS got me started. One of the many chance coincidences that helped shape my life in music was my early connection with Twisted Sister. Back when they were still in their club days, the drinking age was eighteen in New York, I was actually getting into the clubs illegally at the age of seventeen when I started working as a local roadie for Twisted Sister. They were a great influence on me. It was here I finally found a tangible real-life group of guys that I had an immediate connection with that was everything I loved. They were huge, larger-than-life, colorful characters that played some catchy loud-ass heavy rock ‘n’ roll. They were exactly where I wanted to go musically and theatrically. One consistent theme I have gravitated towards all through my life is whenever theater and rock ‘n’ roll cohesively meet. It showed in all my major influences – one of which was Angel. I loved the show and the performance aspect of rock. If the music is good, that’s simply good. But if you can also put on a show that is visually exciting, colorful, and energetic, that was great to me. I loved Alice Cooper, Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks, David Bowie, Rocky Horror, etc.

All images courtesy of Steve Ojane/Angel

Andrew:
Take me through how you became a member of Angel. 

Steve:
That’s a fun story. Like most Angel fans, I had wondered for the past couple of decades, “Whatever happened to Punky Meadows?” He had vanished from the world stage, much like their disappearing magic trick at the end of those early Angel shows. When Danny Farrow got him out of retirement, I was psyched and got a ticket and a meet and greet for their first performance at B.B. King’s in NYC when they were promoting Punky’s new solo album. I was pumped! I felt like, “I’m going to meet Punky Meadows! I can now die a happy man!” [Laughs]. So, I met him and he was awesome, friendly, and gracious and I thought, “That was great! What could be better?” Then, through another one of those life coincidences, my band Initial Kick was offered an opening slot for Punky’s upcoming show at the Trocadero in Philly. Thank you Steve Cermanski! I couldn’t believe my luck. I felt like, “I’m going to open for Punky Meadows! I can now die a happy man!” [Laughs]. So, I opened for him, and it was a blast, and I thought, “That was great! What could be better?”

Well, I had told Danny and Punky I wasn’t just a singer, I was also a bass player and, as coincidence would have it, Punky was looking for a bass player at that time. This put into motion a lengthy process of me auditioning for the band remotely through video since the band lives all over the country. The next step was a kind of live audition as I like to think of it. The guys asked me to jump on stage for a few songs at a performance at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY – my hometown – on April 21 of 2017. That was a truly magic moment for me and it felt great. I felt like, “I’ve played on stage with Punky Meadows! I can now die a happy man! What could be better?” [Laughs]. Well, I joined Punky’s Fallen Angel band that year, and once again, what could be better than that?

As the band moved into 2018, Punky brought in Angel’s original singer Frank DiMino, who had just come off promoting his own solo album. We played all over that year, and by 2019, we grew tired of introducing the band as “Punky Meadows and Frank DiMino of Angel,” and with much deliberation, decided to simply call the band Angel. We put on the white outfits and away we went! That’s how I became a member of Angel. I’ve been very fortunate, and am truly grateful for all the fantastic experiences I’ve had with Punky and the guys. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people along the way, and I even got to perform with Gregg Giuffria once. It’s been quite a trip!

Andrew:
Angel has a new album set for release. Dig into it for us. 

Steve:
We recorded the album in 2021 and have been working on mixes ever since. It’s called Once Upon A Time and should be out this fall. It covers a broad range of styles and I think the fans are going to love it. It’s got some classic Angel-sounding tunes and some that are very fresh and new. The guys’ writing is better than ever. Strap in and crank it up!

Andrew:
How about the touring side of things. What can you tell us regarding upcoming shows?

I call it the Angel Dartboard Tour. [Laughs]. Put on a blindfold, throw a dart at a map – that’s where we’re playing! Just kidding. We’re actually doing some very exciting shows this year. In addition to playing the states, we’ll be back in the U.K. and headlining this year’s Golden Age of Rock Festival in Belgium. Lots of fun stuff going on!

All images courtesy of Steve Ojane/Angel

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Cassettes? CDs? Or are you all digital now? What are a few of your favorite albums, and why?

Steve:
I’ve been building up my vinyl collection again recently. Most of my original albums were destroyed when they were in storage and Hurricane Floyd came through. Thankfully I still have all my original Angel albums! I love Ian Hunter’s albums. I love The Godz. Eric Moore was a friend. R.I.P. I love The Dictators. They were the purest embodiment of raw straightforward angst and attitude. You can never go wrong putting on a Dictators album. By the way, they’re actually back again with a new version of the band. Keith Roth is with them now. Check them out in a town near you. But yeah, I am digging the analog world again with a fresh appreciation, scratchy vinyl and all!

Andrew:
What other passions do you have? How do those passions inform your music, if at all?

Steve:
Speaking more to the theatrical side of my tastes, I’m an old-school movie geek. I love everything about film history, from the early sci-fi special effects works of Georges Melies and Fritz Lang, to Laurel and Hardy, to Jaws, and everything in-between. Angel drummer Billy [Orrico] and I were deeply saddened by the recent passing of Gilbert Gottfried. For anyone who doesn’t know, he wasn’t just a comedian with an annoying voice. He was a walking encyclopedia of TV and movie history, and he had the best podcast on the subject called Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast. We would listen to it religiously, and I highly recommend it to anyone with a passion for deep dives into TV and cinema trivia. There are like five hundred-back episodes you can still enjoy. Anyway, I love all things related to movie history. My nickname when I played in bands in New York was ‘Hollywood Steve.’ I would eventually end up living in Hollywood in the 90s and loved every minute of it.

All images courtesy of Steve Ojane/Angel

Andrew:
In your opinion, what is the state of the music business these days? Should artists be hopeful? Scared? Both?

Steve:
That’s an interesting question. If I were to be brutally honest, rock hasn’t evolved much in the past few decades. And the current state of the business itself isn’t helping matters much. In the 50s, you had Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry all doing something exciting and new, and setting the standard. In the 60s you had The Beatles and The Stones, also doing exciting and new stuff, setting the standard for that decade. In the 70s, it was Led Zeppelin that set the standard to which everyone would aspire. In the 80s, Van Halen took rock to another level and became the gold standard of that decade. Since then, everything is pretty much derivative of all that came before. I mean, even back then, music was derivative to some degree, but it’s much more so now. It’s not all doom and gloom though. The good news is that every generation needs its heroes. A new voice will always rise up to speak to its generation, so new music is always important and relevant. There’s still hope for new artists, and there are some great bands out there. But when you’ve been around long enough, you can always hear the echoes of the pioneers that did it first or said it first. It’s like, “Hey kid, Let me show you where that riff came from!”

Andrew:
Last one. What’s next on your docket, Steve?

Steve:
I think the silver lining to the pandemic lock-down is that it gave everyone a chance to be introspective, and ask what’s truly important to them. Now we can move forward with that new enlightened perspective. It’s a crazy world anymore, and it’s hard to say if it’s ever truly going to be “normal” or “back to the way it was” ever again. We’ll see what happens with the world at large. But you do the best with what you have to work with, and I’d like to think there will always be a platform for us to rock ‘n’ roll in. Rock will find a way! A life well-rocked is a life well-lived! Onward and upward!

All images courtesy of Steve Ojane/Angel

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

Inspired by the likes of Hunter S. Thompson, Lester Bangs, and Eddie Trunk, coupled with an immense passion for music, and a disposition for writing, freelance journalist Andrew Daly moved to found VWMusic in 2019. Over time, VWMusic has grown into a bustling music outlet harboring a staff who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles, interviews, and more. In addition to running VWMusic, Andrew is also an accomplished freelance journalist, currently writing for Copper Magazine, as well as a drummer, and lover of all things guitar.
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