NI ROCKS Interview with FRANK DIMINO (Angel / Dimino)
Frank Dimino is probably best known as the lead singer for Angel, a band that enjoyed a fair degree of success on the Casablanca label in the late 70’s and which continues to play occasional shows. Since then he has been involved in many projects and most recently released a new solo album called “Old Habits Die Hard” - http://www.rockradioni.co.uk/back-stage/music-reviews/2115-ni-rocks-recommends-qold-habits-die-hardq-by-dimino.html
NI ROCKS – Frank, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. We’ll start of course with the new solo album called “Old Habits Die Hard” that was released this month through Frontiers Records. Would I be correct in saying that this is the first new studio album that you’ve released since Angel’s “In The Beginning” back in 1999? If so, why has it taken so long?
FRANK – I think the time was about right to do this one. Everyone involved in this project was so important in making it work the way I wanted it to. So timing was a big factor as well as availability. I also think I had to come to terms with myself doing a solo project instead of a band project.
NI ROCKS – You’ve worked with some great people on the album. Tell us a little about who was involved in the writing and recording of “Old Habits Die Hard”
FRANK – The writing on “Old Habits Die Hard” was mainly done between Jeff LaBansky and myself and Oz Fox and myself. All the songs on the project are new songs written especially for Old Habits, except Even Now. Even Now was a song Barry Brandt and I had written earlier on but I thought it would fit in nicely with the new material.
The recording and producing was done by Paul Crook. Paul and I met when he was playing with Sebastian Bach. We did some dates together in Europe when Barry and I toured with a newer version of Angel. Paul moved to Las Vegas and is now the musical director for Meatloaf. When Paul and I had discussed how we wanted to approach the recording of the album, my thoughts were to have a set of guys that we could use to do all the bed tracks.This would allow us to keep the same bass player, drummer and keyboard player as well as keep the sound and feel of the album similar. Paul then brought up using the guys in the Meatloaf band. I knew Danny Miranda, I played a few times with John Miceli and I’ve seen the Meatloaf show, so I knew Justin Avery as well. They’re a great band and tight rhythm section, so I thought that would be perfect. I also had Paul Crook, Oz Fox and Jeff LaBansky to do all the guitars so I felt I was all set. The idea of using all the guests that appeared on the album didn’t really come about until we were well into the recording. The first one happened by chance, which was having Punky play on Never Again. After that we kind of ran with it, having Pat Thrall, who is a good friend, then Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister, Rickey Medlocke of Blackfoot and Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jeff Duncan of Armored Saint. Also Maor Applebaum did a great job mastering the album.
Embed Embed this video on your site
NI ROCKS – Where did the idea for the album title come from?
FRANK – From me, I thought it fit well. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I really love what I do. So the phrase, Old Habits Die Hard is an appropriate phrase. It also says that I haven’t lost my roots and it’s a very important part of who I am and how it has shaped me musically.
NI ROCKS – I must admit that my knowledge of Angel is based more on reputation than having listened to a whole lot of tracks, but that meant that I didn’t really have any expectations going into listening to “Old Habits Die Hard” for the first time. For the record, I think it’s a great album! When you started the project, did you have an idea of how you wanted it to sound in comparison to an Angel album?
FRANK – Well, I didn’t want people to expect it to sound like a new Angel album. That’s very difficult to do without the other four guys. I concentrated on writing and recording this as a solo project. What I’ve done with Angel will always come out in bits and pieces no matter what I do. But I think this album is an honest approach of showing a hint of my past without being consumed by it. Also having Punky and Barry contribute to album was a nice bonus.
NI ROCKS – The first tracks that I’ve picked off the album to play on my radio show have been “Never Again” and “Rockin In The City”, both of which have been promoted by Frontiers. I think the next one I might choose is “Even Now”. Do you any particular favourites on the album?
FRANK – I have a different one every other day, depending on my mood. Even Now does have a special meaning to me because my youngest son Dylan plays on it. He did the finger picking acoustic guitar on the track, so that one especially sticks out for me. But I think when you really get into the album; it’s hard to pick and choose. Each song sets the tone for the next one coming up, when you listen to it all the way through.
NI ROCKS – Are there any plans to try and get Dimino out on tour?
FRANK – Absolutely. I would like to take this out on the road as soon as I can. I’m working to see what’s available to me now so we’ll see what happens.
NI ROCKS - You and Stryper guitarist Oz Fox are also members of a band called Vinyl Tattoo. Tell us a little about that project?
FRANK – Oz and I have been doing Vinyl Tattoo for awhile now. Scot Coogan is on drums (he’s out with Ace Frehley right now) and JP Michaels is on bass. Michael T Ross plays with us as well whenever he is available. We do some Angel and some Stryper as well as some of the songs that we really enjoy playing. Many of the songs are from bands like Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Dio, Humble Pie, Queen and Bad Company. We play in different clubs around Vegas. We also play a lot at Danny Koker’s club Vamp’d. It’s a great place to play and always has a really rocking crowd.
NI ROCKS – There have been a few Angel shows in Europe over the past few years and your Angel band mates Punky Meadows and Barry Brandt helped out on “Old Habits Die Hard”. Can you tell us anything about what the future might hold for Angel? Any chance of a new album being recorded?
FRANK – There is always a chance. I think the timing of everyone’s availability plays a roll, as well as fitting it into each of our lives right now. We have talked about it, so there is always a chance of it happening.
NI ROCKS – You’ve kept very busy post Angel (see http://diminoenterprises.com/ for more info) with your writing, recording and teaching. Do each of those elements of the music business bring a different level of satisfaction and sense of achievement?
FRANK – Absolutely. Each one brings a different element. Teaching my students also reminds me of keeping myself on top of things especially when it comes to keeping in shape vocally. With writing you’re always learning something new.
Embed Embed this video on your site
NI ROCKS – There are a lot stories or myths surrounding Angel, including how the band were “discovered” by Gene Simmons. I read a great interview that you did with Legendary Rock Interviews back in September 2012 in which you tell a slightly different story. (http://www.legendaryrockinterviews.com/2012/09/24/angel-vocalist-frank-dimino-talks-new-reissues-reunion-and-more/ - I’d highly recommend it for any Angel fans).
How do you feel about a lot of the media myths surrounding the band?
FRANK – I think its part of what follows Angel every time we are brought up in conversation. True or false, there is always a crazy story that comes up about the band. But the 70’s as well as Casablanca was a crazy time and we were right in the middle of the storm. It was a crazy time but really a great time as well.
NI ROCKS – What are your plans for the rest of 2015 and heading into 2016?
FRANK – The plan is to work on getting this out on the road and to play as many dates as I can.
NI ROCKS – I always like to find out what music other people are listening to? What artists have you been listening to recently?
FRANK – I listen to different stuff. I like a lot of what Robert Plant is doing. I always find great stuff listening to new Paul McCartney albums. I think Chris Cornell is great. There’s so much to choose from, I’m sure I’m leaving something out.
NI ROCKS – Thanks again, for taking the time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. Best of luck with the new album and all your other work.
FRANK – Thank you so much for having me and I hope to see you soon.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 04 August 2015 21:32)