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INTERVIEW: TED POLEY – May 2016

I still constantly spin the first two releases from Danger Danger as well as the solo effort Smile from lead singer Ted Poley.  I was excited to learn that he recently completed an album to be released by Frontiers Music.  Checking out the stream and absorbing the disc, I patiently awaited an email alerting me of various opportunities to interview Ted about the new disc, singles, and much more.  The day finally came and I anxiously dialed TED’s phone to kick off a crazy Wednesday morning…  

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Toddstar: Mr. Ted Poley.

TED: How are you?

Toddstar: Good and yourself?

TED: Hanging in there man.

Toddstar: First of all thank you so much for taking time out. This is such an honor for me.

TED: No, thanks for your help, man, I appreciate it.

Toddstar: Let’s talk about the biggest thing going on in Ted Poley-land right now. Beyond the Fade drops in two days. What can you tell us about this disc that somebody might not grab the first time or two through Ted?

TED: They’re going to grab it the first time. That’s all I have to say. It’s an obvious grab. It’s my best thing. It’s actually broken all my sales records. I figured I’d buy a hundred to sign them for the fans last a couple of weeks. They sold out in two days online. I think it’s thanks to Frontiers’ awesome barrage of publicity. They released four single, two of them are videos. They support a lot of that. As far as I can tell between the reviews and the early sales this one’s going to be a monster for me. Pick it up everybody out there. I hope you like it.

Toddstar: You mentioned the four singles – “Higher,” “Hands Of Love,” “Stars,” and “Let’s Get Something Started.” Are these songs that you handpicked as your cream of the crop or did the label have a hand in this?

TED: No, Frontiers asked me which ones would you like to be for the video and is suggested some and they say no we’re going to do these other ones. They’re the boss and it’s what they liked. I liked them all so I didn’t care really. It’s not necessarily indicative of maybe even the best on the record. It’s good, but it’s not like that’s all there is.

Toddstar: There’s something about your sound Ted. From your early days of Danger Danger on through your solo material. Smile is still one of my favorite albums.

TED: Thank you, this is going to push that right out. I’m telling you. Did you hear this one yet?

Toddstar: Yeah, I’ve been streaming it. The hard part is I don’t get to listen to a stream in my car. That’ll be the test for me.

TED: Thanks for the complement on Smile, but really I think this one is the good one.

Toddstar: There’s something about your voice Ted. You’re really lucky in getting musicians who wrap themselves well around your melodic voice. How is it that you always seem to find yourself on the melodic side? Is that something you strive for?

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TED: Thank you, yes, absolutely. I sing what I like and that’s why I’ve not always been in fashion. I’ve been in fashion and out of fashion and now I’m in limbo, but I’m having a fun time. I’ve always been true to what I sound like. I can’t go sing Led Zeppelin covers and sounds convincing. I just sound like me, so I just decided to be more me. If people like it then I’m thrilled with that.

Toddstar: How can you not like a Ted Poley single right?

TED: I don’t know. Thank you, I don’t know how to answer that, but I hope everyone does.

Toddstar: I’ve been lucky enough to have seen you several times through the years. I got to see you back in the day with Danger Danger. I got to see you at Rocklahoma.

TED: Cool, that was hot that day man. Man that was like people were dying that day. Musicians were throwing up and passing out. I remember that one that was really hot.

Toddstar: Yeah, one of the guys in Black ‘N Blue passed out, good memory.

TED: Yeah and I think what was it the drummer from Helix was puking all over when he was playing. It was a tough day, not that those guys aren’t tough. I think it was literally what 116° on stage or something?

Toddstar: Yeah, it was super-hot.

TED: They had this concrete stage. It was radiating heat up. Man, we were in direct sun and I was actually fading as well. It was a tough one to get through. If you look at I actually had gotten some tattoos that week prior to that and I sweat all the color out of them. My red turned to pink. Yeah, it was insanely unhealthy.

Toddstar: With all the shows that I’ve seen you do, you’ve done the Frontiers Rock Festival, but when can we expect to see Ted Poley rocking stages here in North America, especially here in Detroit again?

TED: Thank you, I did one thing. I did the ‘80’s Invasion Tour a few years ago where we did twenty-four shows all in a row, no nights off, which was really hard. The hardest thing I ever did, but it was great. Then, I get a lot of gig offers over in Europe. I got a little bigger over there, so money’s a little better. It’s easier to do them because I have to fly, so the expenses are a lot. I’m concentrating with my solo stuff. Of course, I’m still touring with Danger Danger. We do several shows a year, but that leaves a lot of time off. In that downtime I have solo bands all over the world and I have my cool US solo band with a new agency now. I should be at a lot of these festivals over the summer. We’re doing some farm rocks and some cool things. I did a Monster’s of Rock Cruise as a solo artist for many years. I love that. The people are great, very supportive. I’ll be out there touring that’s for sure I’m always out there doing something. I fly out two or three times a month to go play somewhere.

Toddstar: Getting back to Beyond the Fade – we talked about the four singles. You said that’s not necessarily retrospective of the best stuff on the album. I’m not going to ask which your favorites are. Were there any songs Ted that just you fought tooth and nail trying to get from start to finish?

TED: Not really. I wanted to do a really good job on “Hands of Love” because it was written by a friend, Joe Lynn Turner, the legendary singer. He is actually a good friend of mine now I’m so happy to say. That was very important because the demo was with him signing on it. You don’t try and compete with a legend like Joe. I just wanted to do my best, so it was very important that I really pushed myself on “Hands of Love” and it came out great. Otherwise, I’m thrilled with the whole CD. I’d been collecting songs. We started with forty or fifty, maybe even sixty sons, which we weeded out. These songs really were what I thought was as catchy and as cool and representative of what I am now. When you start with sixty odds are that you’re going to end up with a few good ones.

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Toddstar: You’ve got eleven good ones here Ted.

TED: Thank you so much.

Toddstar: On this album, some of the material is written by Tom and James Martin from the band Vega.

TED: Yeah, they’re awesome guys. I’ve been working with them for years and they even wrote a few songs on Smile as well. Yeah, they’re always my go to guys for singing, for song writing I mean. They, out of, like I say, even they probably sent me thirty songs of theirs and I picked what I loved the most.

Toddstar: They definitely know your style and what works for you. We went one way and said what was hard and you said nothing really. Which one of these songs just the minute you read them, you heard them, you started to sing them just really wrapped themselves around your heart? Which ones were just so easy of you to sing?

TED: Again, none of them were easy. I don’t know. They’re all actually extremely difficult to sing. Studio singing is really hard. It’s not like live where you can have fun, Studio singing is very surgical and precise and it’s hard to do, so all of them were actually very difficult. Songs like “Stars” I really loved, also “Beneath the Stars,” and my arms are covered with stars, so I guess I got a star thing going on. A lot of them I just loved the songs and you can tell when I’m singing them it’s not a for pay situation, you know? It’s because I love it.

Toddstar: “Stars” is streaming on my player right now actually.

TED: Cool, thanks. That’s a big song. That’s a big production. Some of these tracks like “Hands of Love” or “Stars” have as much as eighty or ninety backing vocal tracks which you couldn’t even do in the old days. It’s all computers now, but that’s a lot of tracks man.

Toddstar: That’s great insight, thank you for sharing that. Let’s talk about you for a second Ted. Let’s step away from Beyond the Fade and get beneath the layer of Ted Poley. Who inspired you to first want to stand behind a microphone, gyrate, sing, and get all the women?

TED: I don’t know about gyrating, but actually I never really wanted to do it. I was prodded by the one and only Bruno Ravel who took me out from behind the drum set. I felt very comfortable behind a wall of drums. I’m actually an inherently shy guy and to get out front was a major undertaking. I would’ve taken the zero rather than given the oral report at school because I just didn’t want to get up in front of the class which seems pretty strange now and conflicting since that’s all I do is get up in front of thousands of the people and work. Then, of course, everything’s on YouTube as well, so when I burn the fried at work the whole world sees. You always have to be on, but I don’t know man. Yeah, it was just Bruno, man, because basically I was in a band called Prophet. I was the drummer. We had a pending record deal which I decided not to take just because I had loved a couple of demos I had sung for Bruno as a favor. They were unsigned and I just said, ‘You know what? I kind of like this, so you guys good luck signing your new deal.’ We parted as friends and with Prophet. Then, I just decided to go with the unsigned Danger Danger. When we finally had to do a live show Bruno said, ‘Hey man, don’t worry about it.’ I said, ‘I don’t know what to do. I’ve never been a lead singer.’ I sang from behind the drums, but how do you get up in front of people and do this?  He said just take the microphone stand, hold the bottom like this and put one foot up on the monitor and take it from there. That’s what I did man and he was right. Eventually, I guess the first Alice Cooper tour we did I was a little bit afraid that we weren’t heavy enough for Alice’s audience. I developed a lot of stage presence because I figured it was harder to hit a moving target with a bottle filled with piss, you know what I mean? That nerve happened thankfully, but those are the kind of fears that honed my stage movements I guess on stage. I just never wanted to; I just thought it would be a good idea that I don’t get too comfortable in any specific spot for long enough for them to get a good shot.

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Toddstar: To be honest, having seen you a few times it’s hard to imagine that you were ever too shy to want to get up in front.

TED: No, you know what and actually live we were great. It’s those kinds of tours that put us over with Alice Cooper and KISS and Extreme because live we’re a lot heavier. We were all great musicians and we could back it up. Actually live it was really cool and actually those audiences loved us. At first when you release the song with a lot of, an album with a lot of ballads and things you don’t know if you’re going to be well accepted on a tour such as KISS or Alice Cooper. Thankfully we were and we’ve still got fans from those tours.

Toddstar: You were great fit for that KISS tour I thought.

TED: We did several with them. We did Hot in the Shade and Revenge and they’re just awesome. They were my favorite band. To tour with your favorite band is definitely a dream come true. I guess the full dream would be to have them warm up for you, but the dream was mostly there. It was still cool warming up for them.

Toddstar: There you go. Who inspires you to still get up on stage and sing and do this Ted?

TED: [laughs] My mortgage banker I guess and the guy who holds the notes on my new Corvette. Otherwise, you want to know something? I would probably at this point go retire and I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t come back and write a song or sing with somebody once in a while. At this age I was hoping to be able to retire by now. The good news for everybody is you’ll be getting a lot more classic Danger Danger songs live in the future.

Toddstar: You do philanthropic things as well. I know animal shelters are very near and dear to your heart. Can you tell us about that a little bit?

TED: Thank you for giving me an opportunity to mention that because I was going to crash one of your questions with that anyway because I love to mention that. Yeah, I always try and give a little something to the homeless animals, to no kill animal shelters. As a matter of fact I was looking at one of my latest rescues walking across my porch right now. His name is Mr. Kitty. I’ve got seven right now. I support one called Forgotten Felines and Fidos and then a few others. When I tour I might sometimes give to a local place if do a lot of merchandise in that particular city. I always do ask somebody if you don’t buy my stuff it’s okay, but I know you’re a good person anyway out there. Please just donate a little something. If even two people could take $5 out of this whole conversation and donate it to a local no kill animal shelter that would make my day. Thanks all, that’s my thing, so thank you for giving me a moment with that.

Toddstar: No, as you were going to point out, if everybody goes to eBay and looks up seller information for tedpoley1 you can go out and pick up…

TED: Yeah, I’m all sold out man. It’s done. I sold out in two days. You can’t even get it from me. I wish you could. I might have a few more.

Toddstar: Not Greatest Hits Volume 2. I just bought my copy.

TED: Greatest Hits, it’s going. It’s going man. Everything when it sells out of mine goes for $100, so yeah. You know what, I have a few copies of that left. I’ll put them all up this week, but yeah pretty much everything is selling out which is a great thing. Except now I’ve got to print more and that comes out of my pocket. I can guarantee you it’ll be very collectible. It’s been out of print for a while, so if you want to pick it up, pick up two and sell the other one for $100 in about a month. How many are left on there? Does it say?

Toddstar: It says ten available and I bought one. [Ed note – 24 hours later, there are only 6 left]

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TED: Good, so it’s down to nine. Yeah, I think I have one more case. I’ll throw them up there, but thank you very much. That’s very nice of you. You know what I just saw Volume One on there for $85 somebody has it. I’m always so stupid. I never save the last case. You know what I’m saying, it sold out early and then you sell the last twenty-five for $100 would be awesome, but I don’t gouge my fans. I just sell them and honestly I end up giving them away anyway. At the end I go man I gave away a hundred copies and now they’re going for $80 each. I’ve got to chill out with that.  It’s really just me. I did a lot of the stuff on my own label for most of stuff. The new one’s on Frontiers which is great. Still, I want to have autographed copies available for the fans and they love to get it from me. I’ve got some fans that have been buying from me. They support everything that I do, so I have to do it for them even though it’s a pain in the butt. It was hard to… It sounds like not too many a hundred copies. I used sell hundreds of thousands of copies. These days physical copies to sell a hundred copies in two days is amazing first of all. Second of all if you’ve ever tried to open up, autograph, repackage and get it right for a hundred times I was up all night. It was not easy. I almost screwed up on one and I had to go back. It was just, oh my God, it was a bit of a nightmare, but the good kind of nightmare that everybody should be happy and she’ll be getting them starting tomorrow. They all went out.

Toddstar: Ted, looking back on everything you’ve done from the Prophet and Danger Danger days up through Beyond the Fade, if you had to pick one or two things you’re either most proud of or want to be remembered for, what would they be?

TED: I would think it’s really tough it pick because I just feel like me and you always want your newest thing. It’s tough. Older stuff to me, it’s like looking at an old high school yearbook photo or something. To me it sounds almost a little bit like what I sounded like then and not what I’m about now. However, if I can be remembered as being a good guy that tried to do some good things and sing some happy music that would be awesome. Again, thank you for all your support. I thank everybody out there for letting me still be able to live my dream at fifty-four years old. Thanks to everybody who’s going to send a couple bucks to the no kill animal shelters.

Toddstar: Awesome, thank you again so much for your time Ted. We really appreciate it.

TED: It’s great. I appreciate it.

Toddstar: Thank you brother.

TED: Take it easy.

 

TED POLEY LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

BEYOND THE FADE – ITUNES

Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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