Punky Meadows‘ Fallen Angel released on May 20th on Escape Records is his first ever solo album and his first release of new music in over 30 years. Mostly known as the guitar player in the 70’s hard rock band Angel, he also turned down gigs with mega 70’s acts the New York Dolls, Aerosmith, and even KISS. The band Angel was originally discovered by Gene Simmons in Washington D.C. and subsequently, Angel were signed to Casablanca Records. Known as a fantastic, theatrical live act they were a band that was never able to translate those fans into record sales. After a string of five studio albums that started out as prog hard rock then morphed into pop/AOR radio material. They ended their career with the live album Live Without a Net in 1980. From there Punky went on to the aforementioned tryouts, but he never caught on with another band and eventually left the music business entirely finding success in a tanning salon business.
Fast forward to 2016 and we get the release, Fallen Angel. When you think of a solo album you should expect a mishmash of different styles of music, not necessarily in the style of the artist’s main band. So if you are expecting the successor to Helluva Band, you are not going to find that here. What you will hear is solid musicianship from the band consisting of Danny Farrow on rhythm guitar, Chandler Mogel on lead vocals from the band Outloud, Bob Pantella on drums from Monster Magnet, Charlie Calv on keyboards from Shotgun Symphony, and last but not least, former Angel bass player Felix Robinson.
The album opens with the intro “Decent” which pays homage to the Angel show introduction and he ends the album with the instrumental “Fallen Angel” which is a throwback to the Angel sound. Cool choice to represent your roots at the beginning and end like that. From there you get 14 songs of positive, upbeat, rock and roll. The only two drawbacks to the album are the large volume of music and at times, the lyrics are a bit cliche. Standout tracks include, “Straight Shooter”, “Loaded Gun“, “Lost and Lonely“, “Shadow Man”, and “Summertime Love”. If you are unsure of how good of a guitar player Punky is, do yourself a favor and play the song “Leaving Tonight”. This represents the most ballad like song on the album, but his guitar soloing both in the middle and to play out the song are incredible.
The world is a better place having Punky Meadows creating new music in it. With this release coupled with former Angel singer Frank DiMino‘s release last summer, we are finally hearing these quality musicians get back in the game. In the future, please do not make us wait this long. If every song was worth one point, I would give this album 10 out of 15 and a recommend for purchase.