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The MK ULTRA Interview: “Frank Dimino The Voice of ANGEL”

The Arcada Theatre March 4, 2017
By Alex Zander and Bob Hoeksema
with photos by Bob Hoeksema

This interview is from 2017 2 years before Frank and Punky Meadows would reemerge with a reformed touring and recording entity known as ANGEL

Best known for being the front-man of legendary US Hard Rock band ANGEL, Frank Dimino is now leading his own solo project and debuts with a fine Melodic Hard Rock album aptly titled “Old Habits Die Hard”. ANGEL is a band that was discovered (similarly to VAN HALEN) by KISS bass player Gene Simmons, who got them signed to Casablanca Records. With that label ANGEL released 5 critically acclaimed studio and one live album in the second half of the 70’s. After the band’s demise, Dimino went on to work with UFO’s Paul Raymond and worked as singer for Soundtracks, scoring a Platinum album for the inclusion of his Cycle V song “Seduce Me Tonight” on the “Flashdance” soundtrack. While Frank is undoubtedly the brainchild of DIMINO, the new album sees him collaborate with some heavyweights of the Vegas music scene, which is where he currently resides. Under the production of Paul Crook (MEAT LOAF), DIMINO sees the participation – among others – of Oz Fox (STRYPER), Eddie Ojeda (TWISTED SISTER), Rickey Medlocke (BLACKFOOT, LYNYRD SKYNYRD), Jeff Labansky, and former ANGEL bandmates Punky Meadows (on guitar) and Barry Brandt (co-writing with Frank the song” Even Now”).

In early 2017 it was announced that Frank DiMino Washington D.C.-based rock group Angel – would be performing in the United States during February and March 2017.


DiMino played a headlining show at Count’s Vamp’d in Nevada on February 17th, as well as supporting former Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth and Graham Bonnet Band – spearheaded by namesake frontman and ex-Rainbow member Graham Bonnet – on select dates in California, Michigan and Illinois.

Frank DiMino’s set included many Angel classics and songs from his debut solo album Old Habits Die Hard, released via Frontiers Music Srl in July 2015. “I’m really looking forward to getting out there and connecting with the fans,” said DiMino. “There’s nothing that I love more than playing live. Both Uli and Graham are very talented artists and I’m sure the shows we’re doing together will blow the roof off!!”

The limited number of shows were as follow:

Feb. 17 – Las Vegas, Nevada, Count’s Vamp’d
Feb. 19 – Ventura, California, Majestic Ventura Theatre **
Mar. 03 – Westland, Michigan, The Token Lounge *
Mar. 04 – St. Charles, Illinois, Arcada Theatre **

* with Graham Bonnet Band
** with Uli Jon Roth and Graham Bonnet Band

After his set security found a room upstairs in the venue where we could quietly conduct an in person interview. It was actually an old storage room overloaded with random pieces of this and that from the club but it worked. We settled in along with Franks assistant Andrew.

Alex Zander – I guess, the same thing everybody has been wondering; WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?!

Frank DiMino – Well you know If been doing lots of stuff, I did a lot of studio stuff and after Angel, I did a lot with Georgio Moroder, the Flashdance thing, a lot of movies for television, I moved to Boston for a while to take care of my Mom, I hung out there for a while and when I moved out here to Las Vegas, my intention was to move back to Los Angeles, but my kids were young at that point and Vegas was a little bit easier for me to feel comfortable bringing them up in a better environment that LA, that’s a tough place to bring them up you know…and the size of house I could buy in Vegas was much better too. So Vegas was the place I moved to, 2001 and I’ve been singing out there in different clubs, different people and Fantasy Camps, and VAMPS.

Bob Hoeksema – I’ve got the Counting Cars Shirt on – Danny Coker.

FD – Yeah, Danny is a great guy he takes care of me, what ever I need, in fact when I get back he is doing some powder coat work for me.

BH – You know he is in Chicago tonight?

FD – Yes I heard that.

AZ – So I guess this is your first solo album, but you did some work with that guy, Bob what was his name…?

BH – …Gordon  (referring to Gordon G.G. Gebert).


BH – See I told you he would say that.

AZ – Its funny because I was talking to Bruce Kulick at KISS fest and Bob came up and said “Someone from Angel is here” and I’ve known Bruce for a while, we share the same birthday, and I was like “I’ll be back”,  and I’m thinking Greg Giuffria  was here and it was Gordon…so you did a record in what 1999?

FD – Oh yes, but Gordon was not on that, that was Barry and I had some stuff that we had written together after the  White Hot album and we had some stuff left over after Angel fell apart and the last thing that we did Angel was me Barry, Punky and Paul Raymond (UFO), that didn’t last very long and then I did an album with Paul Raymond, I came back and we did the album in Japan and Masayoshi Yamashita the Bass player from ‘Loudness’ and the guitar player was Raymond Otoni, a Japanese guitar player and he still does stuff now as a solo guitar player and we came back and I tried to put Angel back together with Barry and I we had material left over and nobody wanted to do anything so Barry and I decided to write the stuff Richard Marsolo, A friend of ours from DC joined us and I asked Punky to play on it and Punky said sure so we went all the way to DC and a studio out there and we got him to play on some of the tracks and the rest of the guys said if you want to use the name that’s fine, we did that for a while but you know, its not the same when you don’t have the other guys .

AZ – We were all thrilled when Eddie Trunk got behind you.

BH – He always had the kindest words to say about you guys and he really meant it that, either you really LOVED Angel, or you didn’t know about them.

FD – Yeah, right.

BH – I feel that way too in fact, I am still very passionate about your music and it is really great to see you back here playing live.

FD – That’s it, you either love us or you don’t know us at all! There is no in between (Laugh)

AZ – In my high school where I grew up we didn’t have anything but we had a great radio station and we didn’t even know what you looked like until I went to the record store and saw the albums, and bought everything up to that point, then Sinful and Live without a net. And everybody at my school when you played were just crazy about you! We still talk about the effects of the show, I was right at the perfect age, around 14 and Cheap Trick, KISS and Bob saw you

BH – Speaking of which, Chicago was always, you guys were pretty big in Chicago and the shows you did at the Aragon were always high energy that was a great time in rock and roll.

FD – Yeah it was !

BH – Do you have any memories playing at the Aragon, I know you played there a number of times, in fact I heard the first time you played there the production did not go well and the promoter wanted to pull the plug on you and I read in Larry Harris’ book  “And Party Everyday” something about the road crew was having a hard time getting you set up and you went on late and the promoter was trying to pull the plug and your road manager kept him occupied long enough for you to finish your last song and get you off the stage before he could do anything.


BH – Anyway, do you have any good memories of playing there that you would like to share?

FD – Oh Yeah, I loved playing that place, a great time, it was a Rock and Roll MECCA, we played there with the Runaways, Spirit and  Hell yeah. We headlined there a lot, like I said we opened for Spirit in the early days and we played there with Starz a couple of times

BH – I saw you with Styx too, that was at the Chicago Stadium…that show was sold out.

FD – We played the Auditorium too.

AZ – Bob has something for you.

BH – From Alpine.

FD – Oh ya Alpine with Humble Pie.

BH – I’ve had these put away for a long time, but I thought you’d like to add them to your collection, there are some nice shots in there.

FD – Oh wow, I can have these?

AZ – I believe that was your second to last show.

FD – Do you have any with me and Steve Marriott, when I got on stage with him?

BH – What was it like being on the road with Steve Marriott?

FD – Steve used to pull me up on stage every night and we’d sing 30 days in the whole with him and after the shows, we would end up on the bus with myself, Marriott and Bobby Tench and we would all go sing again, and we used to sing all night long, it was a great tour for me and I had such a good time every song you could think of, we’d be like, do you know this one, or that one, it was great, I had a great time and Steve was always really, really great to me, after that tour I went to see them in New York when we wee finishing up the second bit of Humble Pie and I sang some back up on that album and we just hung out together it was just a great time.

BH – So, tell us about the new album!

FD – So the new album is the first time I did a solo album so I felt like it freed me up to do music and just write songs, good songs, because usually when you are writing music for a band or your with a band you try to write towards what the band wants to portray or what the band wants to go towards what the band is itself. You write to the bands strengths and how the band is perceived so the solo album I was able to write just good songs, so I sat down with OZ and Anthony and it was like, which direction do we go? We just started writing and it came back really quick for Jeff and I, I’ve known Jeff for a really long time and I hadn’t seen him in a while and when we sat down, it went real quick

BH – Was the recording process, has it changed?


BH – OK I know that is a dumb question, but I had to ask


FD – Oh yes COMPLETELY, when we wrote the songs we went over to OZ’s place and it was OZ, Jeff and Myself with a drum machine and we just put them down to demo so we’d have them down and I had the rough vocals, I hadn’t finished all the Lyrics and stuff, so I went back and redid all the vocals, I took them to Paul, Paul Crook who produced the album and my feeling was that I want the same rhythm section for all the songs, it’s a solo album, but I didn’t want it to sound like different bands and a different feel for everything, I wanted it to sound consistent so he said lets use the guys from Meatloaf, you know he is the musical director from Meatloaf, and I had known John for a long time, the drummer and Danny the bass player and I was really comfortable with that. They are two GREAT players and Justin the keyboard player is great as well so we took the demos and fixed them all up sent them to John in New York, he put the drum tracks on sent them to Danny in LA, he put the bass on it and Justin put some of the keys on it, so we had the basic tracks on it for everything, so I said lets get all that finished and I felt like I was covered because I had Paul Crook and Jeff LaBansky the guitarist, but it didn’t work out that way, it just kinda fell mechanically into this whole thing and of course Pat Thrall is a good friend of mine and Pat wanted to play on it so Paul and I talked about what song would be great and we thought ‘Stones by the River’ would be great so we finished that up and sent it to Pat and we didn’t realize it was finished because when it came back and he put that solo down,  we thought, MAN, we fell on the floor, it was like opening up the door it is just a great, great solo and Eddie from Twisted

BH – Ojeda?

FD – Yes, he happened to be coming to town from NAMM and he called up and said “Anything Happening” ? and I said ya, I’m doing an album come on down so he came down and we were listening to it and I said, do you want to play on it and said ya, I’d love to so Paul and I figured what song would work and gave him a copy of the song and go home, work on the solo and come on back down and he did ‘Tonight’s the Night’ and for ‘Tears Will Fall” Paul, and I said we need a slide guitar in there and as I was saying that, Blackfoot opened for us back in the day and and Rickey Medlocke and Ken Ciancimino, who is the Executive Producer on the album and he has known Rickey for years and so Ken said, let’s get Rickey to do it I said alright, so we called up Rickey he said he doesn’t have time, but send him the track and I’ll see if I can do it, and I’m close to the end here and I cant, and we were getting down here near to the end, so we sent him off the track and within a day, he sent it back with a fucking great slide guitar solo and the Punky thing was easy because we picked the song we knew that was kind of like an Angel kind of song we sent it to Punky and said hey I need you to play on this and he said “of Course”!

AZ – I felt it more live tonight than it did on the record.

FD – Yeah..

AZ – When I heard it tonight, I said that’s fucking Angel


BH – Can I ask a question, two videos, new album, both have Mustangs, what’s with Mustangs, are you a Ford guy?

FD – HAHA Those were the cars that happened to be there, but the one from ‘Rockin in the City’ was more fun because it had the girls in it. (Laughs)

BH – So I heard rumors there is another album in the works already?

FD – Yes, Paul and I have already worked on three songs, Oz said he would like to work with me again, he’s going to write a coupe songs and I’ll probably write a couple with Jeff so yes its in the works, I don’t know when it will be done, but once it starts to fall or come together it happens real quick

AZ – How long are you on the road?

FD – As long as they keep booking me, I’m on the road.

AZ – Come in the City, come to Chicago.

FD – I would love to, it just matters when the promoters want to book it.

AZ – You had to play here to get me out here.

FD – I was just talking with Graham and the guys in the band and I was talking to Uli about it and he wants to too.

AZ – You should play Reggie’s it’s a great club, its like the only real rock club left, its not like Metro because Metro really doesn’t have hard rock anymore .

FD – This place used to have SOO MANY fucking rock clubs, when we were touring back in the 70’s after we were done with the show, we’d go to clubs; Haymakers, B’ginings, Rush Up there were so many clubs around to see bands.

BH – In fact the Boyzz from Illionois used to practice here in this theatre, do you remember them?

FD – Oh yeah, and Pez Band I remember all those guys. Off Broadway.

BH – I got to drinking with Cliff one time at a summer festival at a Catholic church and him and I got to drinking backstage between sets and he went back on with and empty ice bag on his head…I don’t think the folks from the church appreciated that too much.

FD – (LAUGHS LOUDLY) Cliff was a good guy.

AZ – So you did that one off show at the Whiskey right? A friend of mine went to that, how was it received? How was it for you guys

FD – It was great!

AZ – How much rehearsal did it take?

FD – Well that was different guys, that was Scot Coogan on drums and Zach Throne on Bass, that was the first incarnation because I know all of them, they are all from Vegas and they were the first guys I called up, they weren’t available to do this run, but now I have these guys for subs, back ups, and If I didn’t have Jeff to do it, I don’t know what I would do.

BH – Yes, Jeff sounded good tonight.

FD – Jeff is great.

AZ – It like to see the Whiskey Show on Video.

AA – Wasn’t there a video crew there?

FD – There might have been, I’m not sure but I’m sure there will be a video on line somewhere. As long as it is not something from a phone, I’m okay. I hate that shit, I hate the phone stuff, I just hate it. I always want to say “Put the phone down and enjoy the show” , you know.

AZ – We’ve always done the professional thing, request photo pass, shoot the first three songs and be done, you know?

FD – YEAH! EXACTLY, How can you watch a show.

AZ – I could never do that.

FD – I just don’t get that at all and it doesn’t sound great, it sounds like shit, how can you get the experience of the show from your little phone?

AZ – Speaking of video, we were talking about this today ‘Angel at Midnight’, where the hell is it?

FD – Everybody is still searching for it, I don’t know where it is there was a guy that wanted to do a book and that was the first thing we talked about was ‘Angel of Midnight’ it was shot in Cleveland and we did close ups and stuff back in LA, I have NO idea where the footage is.

AZ – Was there a concept behind it? Wasn’t it a Neal Bogart thing ?

FD – Yes, do remember Phil Silvers, the TV guy, Seargent Bilko, his daughter was in the movie and there was supposedly dialog and stuff and it just kind of all fell apart so I don’t know what happened to any of that stuff.

AZ – That’s what I hear from everybody, even Kenny Ryback says nobody knows, I mean people were dying to see that stuff. It had to be shot well.

FD – Oh yes, it was 32MM film, so it was good film.

AZ – Casablanca had the budget then.

FD – And they were just starting the FilmWorks division then too.

AZ – That was early, before ‘Hollywood Knights’!!

FD – (Laughs)

AZ – You know that one?


AZ – So at what point of your career did you do that? Like what album?

FD – It was the, let’s see The Baby’s were on that show

BH – That was after ‘White Hot’ wasn’t it?

FD – No wait, I know when it was, it was right before ‘White Hot’ because they were doing close ups and they weren’t doing a lot of Mickey and Mickey kept asking why are they not doing close ups of him and we were in that stage of releasing him from his Bass duties at the time because there was a lot of crazy stuff going on and those were crazy times as well and Mickey, Barry and I were in bands together for a long time and Mickey had a way of doing things and sometimes it got us all in trouble.

AA – ALWAYS in trouble.

FD –I’m trying to be nice about the whole thing, but it was between the third and fourth album

AZ – I can just imagine if you went out in the MTV era, things would have been different.

FD – Yeah.

AZ – I mean you were made for MTv at the time.

FD – I know. We did it that way too, we did that stuff with ‘Tower’, ‘Feeling Right’, ‘Magic Touch’ we would use those things for Don Kirshner.

BH – I saw you on American Bandstand.

FD – On American Bandstand, we were there on the set, but we wouldn’t do Don Kirshner live because they wouldn’t let use our own sound guy, they wanted us to do video stuff and we said we will do it live or not at all. We said thanks but no thanks. Eventually they put us on to do video, but live it sounded like shit because their sound guy doesn’t know the band.

AZ – That’s interesting .

FD – So The Don Kirshner thing we did was with KISS and Alice Cooper.

AZ – Those were Ezrin bands, was it hard working with that guy?

FD – Bob’s a great guy, great story teller and when we did the third album Eddie Kramer, I went back to New York with Eddie to finish mixing it and do a couple of more songs so we were at the record plant in New York, it was Eddie and I in the Studio upstairs, Jack Douglas and Rick Derringer next to us and downstairs was Bob Ezra with Alice Cooper so the three of us used to take breaks all the time and tell stories and all this stuff and you know so one night we go downstairs, and it was Eddie and I knock on Jack’s studio and just as we get downstairs we go into the breakroom and John Lennon is sitting in there…it was like “Hey how you doing” it was incredible to just sit and talk with him, it was great…and he just talked like he was your best friend it was so easy to talk to him.

AZ – I heard he just walked around New York with no security or anything.

BH – Yeah, unfortunately.

AZ – So you’re on the road, Punky is on the road, any chance at all, and I know you probably get tired of hearing it.

FD – You know its like I say, its been so long so its hard to pull that off and get us all together but its scheduling too and its hard to get everyone on the same thing, and we talked about it when we did the awards show, so its been talked about between us a lot more. I think Punky he’s doing his thing now, so he’s involved with that and I’m doing mine but I could always make time to do that. Its easy for me because I have been out there doing it a few of the other guys haven’t. So its easy for me to say lets go I’m ready because I could my things back together quickly .

AZ – Obviously the public is there for you.

FD – But it something that we need to do. Right or there is no point in doing it, we don’t want to screw it up That’s the key thing that if were going to do it we are going to have the time to record right and do a show that was everything we had before. So that’s what it would be.

Jan 2019:

After performing a number of shows together throughout 2018 for the first time in over 35 years, Punky Meadows and Frank DiMino from the legendary ’70s rock band ANGEL have decided to resurrect the group under the banner ANGEL FEATURING PUNKY MEADOWS AND FRANK DIMINO. Joining them in the revamped ANGEL will be the four musicians that backed the duo on tour last year: Danny Farrow on rhythm guitar, Charlie Calv on keyboards, Steve Ojane on bass and Billy Orrico on drums.

DiMino broke the news of ANGEL’s reactivation in a Facebook post earlier today. He wrote: “Having our own solo projects and performing on each other’s records led to a natural progression to assemble the side project, PUNKY MEADOWS & FRANK DIMINO OF ANGEL. This led to a very successful 2018 tour. The great chemistry we experienced has led us to our next journey of writing and performing together and to enter the New Year as ANGEL FEATURING PUNKY MEADOWS AND FRANK DIMINO.