Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: March 4th, 2006
Hi Ted - how’s everything going today?
Good bud and I’m ready to go. I love your site it’s really good lots of stuff going on.
Yeah we work hard and our webmaster Carlos does his magic. I recently saw you at the Starland Ballroom.
Yeah that was a one off special show with my solo band for the Katrina Relief Benefit.
You really impressed me and the energy you had was great.
That solo band is made up by some of my best friends and I really love them. They are some of the best musicians in the state of New Jersey. I have been in good shape since I have been back in Danger Danger touring the world for last two years, and we never missed a beat. I take great pride in still kicking ass live. I jump in the audience and dive in there so yeah I’m in shape.
We talked backstage at the Starland Ballroom that day and I must tell you that rockers don’t act the way you do and fans should know that you really are a down to earth person with a great personality who treated my staff with priority and I thank you.
Ha-ha Thank you. We make very little money doing this but we love it and love our fans and that is the attitude you will get when coming to see us. I look forward to meeting as many people as I can. Some nights are easier because we don’t have a show the next night so I can stay later. Other nights if we have a show the next day we have to blow out of town but I still try and meet all the fans that I can.
I do make it a point to meet and greet fans after every show. I’m happy to do what I’m doing and it’s the little things in life that make people happy and I’m glad to do it. It has always been my dream and maybe one day I will make it big.
First I would like to thank you for sending us your new CD “Collateral Damage”?
Good I hope you liked it.
Let’s start off with the first garage band you were in?
I was in New Jersey and the band was called Legend, but then the first really working band that I was in was called Lush. We loved the band Rush so we decided to call it Lush and it was a three piece band. It was made up of myself, Kenny Dubman, a guitar player from Prophet and the bass player Joe Slattery who I have been playing with for the past 25 years. It was a great band playing all the high schools. We were fourteen and fifteen years old and let me tell you Kenny was just as amazing at fourteen years old. It was such a great early training to play with those guys.
What was the first band you were in that recorded material and the name of the release?
It was probably Prophet on CBS about 84’ or 85’. I was the drummer in Prophet and sang on two songs.
What was the first concert you attended?
It was actually in Chicago it was so cool. That was a musical experience, and then I saw Kiss which pretty much changed everything. When the bombs blew up in the beginning of “Detroit Rock City” was the point that I made my career decision which I stuck to with the good, bad and the ugly. Once I saw Paul Stanley I said that’s what I want to do. They are one of the bands I absolutely love. Years later, we got to tour with them and it was an unbelievable honor just for me to know them. That’s the coolest thing.
What was the first record you bought?
I bought two on the same day. It was Elton John “Good-Bye Yellow Brick Road” and Elton John “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player.” I remember back then I had to save up because a double album was seven bucks. From there it was quick into AC/DC, Kiss, and Yes. But the first record I actually owned before I bought one and I still have it to this day is The Archies “Sugar Sugar” which came on the back of a cereal box and I also had the Partridge Family album. I would go over to my friend’s house and groove on real bands like The Beatles and stuff like that.
What kind of kid was Ted Poley growing up?
Same as now. I’m still figuring that out.
What kind of kid were you in High School?
I spent my entire high school life doing two things. It was the jocks and the freaks. Freaks had long hair and jocks were athletes. On one hand I was a varsity tennis player but on the other I was always in bands so I had long hair. So I wasn’t accepted by either group and I was an outcast. I don’t remember too much of my high school days, but I did graduate and get good grades. Most of my high school days I spent in basements playing music. I think we were jamming to the Allman Brothers.
When did you first decide to work on a new solo CD?
I really can’t truly call it a solo album because although it has my name on the title, my musical partner Vic Rivera is very responsible for the ultimate sound on it. You never call it a solo album unless you sit there and play all the instruments and do everything on the album, which I can do but the guitar leads would come out badly. So this is a project with other musicians. I can’t say this is 100% mine but it is a great record and I can say that without bragging because it has a lot to do with Vic and the team who will continue and move on. There will be future works so stay tuned.
Did you have the songs written already?
Yes a couple of them. There is a band called Liquid out of Ohio with my friend Joey D. He wrote two of the songs called “Breathing Doll” and “Maybe” and they’re really cool songs. I have five or six of his songs which I am holding onto which are songs that I always wanted to do. I got two of them on this record and maybe a few on the next record. He’s a great friend and writer. Most of the rest of the record Vic took care of. “Yeah U Want It” is one that Bob Held wrote - he works a lot with Joe Lynn Turner, and lastly, Andy Timmons played the lead which was really cool.
How long was the recording process?
It stretched over a long period of time because of the different studios we used. But in reality it took about two weeks to record. It was over a year and a half so it was a long painful process which any good art venture goes through in the process. So it took about a year and a half of thinking, doing demos and then going in the studio to record.
What is it like in the studio with Ted Poley?
My vocal warm-up routine consists of a bucket of KFC and a coffee! Ha-ha, and if it’s night time throw in a couple of shots of Southern Comfort. (Laughing) and Chinese food. I am a daytime kind of guy and I like to start singing around 11am and can go all day long.
How did you hook up with John Kivel?
He’s sort of been buzzing around and he seemed like a cool guy. I saw him at record convention shows and he then sends me some Kivel releases and product.
I always liked the job he does. It’s a small independent label with good quality art work, nice quality recordings and a really good stuff. So I was very happy to work with him.
Is this a one CD deal?
Yes one album. We can always go back. I find that short term contracts are better these days.
Let’s break down each song. “Yeah U Want It” has that 80’s pop and with that big hit sound. Do you feel the same way?
Yep. First of all I’m happy with the timing of the record. It will settle in the spring time and marinate nicely for the summer. It’s a feel-good song and should do well. I love it and it’s a good song for cruising around. It starts the album off perfectly; it’s a good anthem rock song. It’s not to be confused with the “Yeah, You Want It” we did in Danger Danger which was a rap song. I love the song and Andy Timmons does the lead on that song who smokes on it.
“Breathing Doll,” tell us about this song?
That song was written by Joey D of Liquid. I always loved it. It’s not a modern sounding song; it’s more of the nineties sounding style. I like that sort of era before the grunge era.
“Curtain Call” is a melodic tune that has a great vibe and I like the acoustic work on there…
Oh thank you. One of the really cool things I like about Vic’s song writing and producing is that he always adds really cool parts and tidbits and you can hear his songs ten times and still hear something different every time. So yeah - there are some cool acoustic things in there. Lots of breakdowns and that is the signature style he has. This is one of the two ballads we have on this record. “Curtain Call” was originally supposed to be the last track but it was moved.
“End Game” is one of my favorite tracks. Your vocals are going in a different direction on this track but the music has that early Kiss sound. This song has a great chorus and some great guitar work. What is your feeling?
This may be the heaviest track on the record and the future direction that we want go in. It’s still melodic and a little bit heavier and a cool style. It has some really good parts when I’m not singing, that I like. Across the board, all the songs are not all about my voice and the songs and musicianship can stand up by themselves. I’m really happy and I think the guitar players out there will be happy with the amount of quality guitar on this record. Vic is a quality guitar player in his own right from Adrian gale, and Pete Lesperance of Harem Scarem does two songs on here. He’s one of my favorite guitar players as well as Bill Leverty of Firehouse who did the lead on “Maybe” and my band mate in Danger Danger Andy Timmons. If you’re a guitar player this is a great record.
I hear whispering on that track what are they saying?
It’s a mysterious voice that happened later. I think that was a cameo from a record company executive.
“Maybe” - tell us a little about this song.
That’s a great one. It’s written by Joey D of Liquid. I always thought it could be a single. It’s a mid-tempo and melodic song with Bill Leverty doing the lead.
“Good Enough” has that John Waite feel. What is your take on this track?
Really!!! That’s cool. I like when people formulate their own opinion on our songs. That was a preexisting song from a Swedish band. I love the song and John Kivel is the one who brought it to me.
“Hero Falling” is a song that has a Van Halen sound to it.
REALLY!!! That’s cool because Vic will love to hear that. I hope you get a chance to speak with him about that because he was such as major part of this record. That is one of his major influences with AC/DC. “Hero Falling” is a cool song that has a Van Halen sound with kind of a country vibe. Like a Def Leppard meets Shania Twain.
So am I doing good?
Yeah man real good.
What's the story behind “Let Go?”
That’s the other ballad. I love to have a ballad or two on the record and the rest should be rockin’ and we picked the best two.
“Heads Up” (Look Out Below!) is maybe the biggest rocker on the CD with searing guitar and your vocals are killer. It‘s another hit. The chorus is fantastic.
This was the very first song demoed and the funny thing about this song is that when we were doing those vocals, my wife couldn’t stand the chorus because she was in the living room when we worked on that song. We recorded our demos in my basement studio. It was real loud and we did it over and over again late at night. We track all vocals on the demos as we would on the record. So over and over, all she heard was ‘heads up look out below’, so she was a victim to our assault on that vocal part hour after hour. But it is special because it was the very first songwe demoed. “Heads Up” is what we really sound like. We’re happy, heavy and melodic.
“Rise” another killer tune. What can you say about this track?
“Rise” is one of my favorite songs because this record builds on the songs and I would have ended the record with “Curtain Call” on a slower note. “Heads Up” and “Rise” are two of the best songs on the record. “Yeah U Want It” and “Breathing Doll” are a great start and stay at a high level with “Maybe” and then when you think it’s over you crank it up with two more really good songs. When it ends, you’re not ready for it to be over and so you crank it up over again. Kivel came up with the track order and it’s a cool order.
If you want one song to be played on the radio what song would that be?
That’s a really good question. At any given mood you might want something different but across the board I would say “Yeah U Want It” if you’re talking about internet site or internet radio for a heavier site I would say “End Game”. I would like “Maybe” to get out there and hopefully people would buy the record and start posting them around. Unfortunately it’s bad for the record companies but good for the music and their fans. If I like something I am going to go out and buy the official one anyway.
Where affiliated with Stickman radio and I was talking with them today. What track would you like them to play?
Oh Yeah Stickman radio I know them. I would want “Yeah U Want It” but I would like “Breathing Doll” as well because it has some good guitar riffs and then after that I would love “Maybe” to get out there.
Will there be a video?
No. I would love to do a video but these days you can get by with Podcastings. But the again, that is up to the record company. I think podcasting is about a year or two away from being big. I put everything on my video ipod with tours around the world.
Will you play any shows in support of the CD?
I would love to. Of course I am doing a lot of work with Danger Danger which takes up a lot of my time. To do another whole set of songs it would take a lot of rehearsal time. With Danger Danger we do twenty songs and 100 minute sets in Japan. So to do my own songs it would really take a lot. We are also five songs into the new Poley/Rivera record which takes up a lot of time. That record is killer.
Will that be on Kivel Records?
Nope. For now it’s going to another label. But Kivel has done a fine job with the new release and everyone will enjoy it. It will just pave the way for me as a parallel career, not a solo career because I am not looking to do something outside of Danger Danger.
Were there any songs that were left off the CD that might appear later?
Let’s get to the CD cover. Did you have second thoughts about the cover with the current stats of the world? Or are you trying to send a message?
No not at all. I am one of the most un-political people in the world and I totally support our troops. My mother-in-law is a master sergeant in the US Army. But the album cover is about something that hits me close which is the music business. I have my own small record label at home with bands like Bone Machine and other stuff. What this cover represents, well the babies represent Napster in their infancy and all the downloading that happened. People didn’t realize what they were doing because they were acting without thinking, like a new fun toy and looking at that plunger like a baby would, just looking at those new toy blocks, they can’t tell the difference. They were just having fun and what ultimately happened was that they didn’t look around and see the collateral damage occurring (which is the title of the record). Once they pushed that plunger and had their fun they almost put every record label out of business and ruined the record scene. It put my own record label under great hardship, ruined record deals and blew up the record business -- that was the collateral damage they did. That was the concept of the cover and it was a great cover and a statement which I lived. Just Boom!!!
I hear that you have a toy store is that true?
Yes, antiques toys. I have stuff from over 4,000 years old back when the Egyptians and Roman artifacts. I like the 1880’s to 1890’s antiques toys.
If you can change anything in your life what would that be?
Everything along the way is a learning experience and I’m a pretty happy guy in general. I was in one of those rare positions where we weren’t big enough to make the millions yet, but we were big enough to go into million dollars worth of touring. It looked really good. I can’t really change that. I wouldn’t change anything. No regrets and I am still doing it. I have been doing it professionally for forty-one years. I started doing piano recitals and went on to perform magic shows and anything to perform in front of people.
What do you do on a day off?
I don’t have a day off man, today’s my day off and I’m dealing with you (laughing). If I have a day off I am buying something at auction.
Is Ted Poley a family man?
Yeah family man as far as I’m very happily married and my kids you can hear snoring in the back round - listen. I have a Boston terrier that is getting old that’s him snoring. He had glaucoma and had one eye removed, so he is like a pirate dog. My wife came along with seven cats… we’re now down to three, and we take care of a couple strays and they are the kids. So yeah, I’m a family man. I love being home and I don’t have any kids of my own (that I know of up to now – LOL) and if I start to hear of any after talking with you - I’m blaming you!
So what do you see for the future?
I see lots of good things. The Danger Danger thing was a real boost that kept me in shape vocally and physical. That’s been great, along with pursuing more music with Poley and Rivera. If we really get our butts in gear, it might be out by Christmas. Then there’s lots of touring with D2 some solo shows and the Poley/Rivera thing has been taking off and really looks good.
Ted it has been great talking to you once again. Would you like to say anything to you fans out there?
I love my fans. I get a kick out of them and I hope they get a kick out of me. They know they can e-mail me and I will e-mail them back. I’m easy to get along with. I collect toys so check your attics and basements and give me a call. If you have anything from the 70’s or before I’ll take it. The CD comes out March 25th and enter the Free give-away to win our new CD and I wish everyone good luck for the future.
Ted Poley’s new CD “Collateral Damage” is available at http://www.kivelrecords.com
Special thanks to John Kivel Owner of Kivel Records.