Ted Poley rocking the stage at Sweden Rock
DO IT FOR ME ONE MORE TIME
Ted Poley of Danger Danger takes one last stab at stardom with a summer tour with Enuff Z’Nuff and Bang Tango
By Gerry Gittelson
Metal Sludge Editor at Large
HOLLYWOOD – Someone should give Ted Poley and his bandmates from Danger Danger a prize for being the last one through the gate, the last commercially successful hair band from the post-Poison era to slither up the Billboard charts.
It’s a generation later of course, and Poley is still going strong. The singer with a penchant for saying everything twice – like Danger Danger or Bang Bang or Naughty Naughty – is going out on tour with with Enuff Z’Nuff and Bang Tango beginning this weekend. (I know, I know, where’s the headliner?)
And he’s thrilled about it.
Poley, proud of the fact he finds himself on a tour bus again despite “no manager, no regular agent, no label, no nothing” is only too happy to ring the bell once more for all the cougars out there and maybe a new fan or two along the way.
The classic line up of Danger Danger holding everyone’s favorite magazine.
METAL SLUDGE: Do you realize Danger Danger was the last so-called hair band to sell a million records, the very last one through the gate? It was Slaughter, then you guys, then Nirvana.
TED POLEY: Yeah, Danger Danger was pretty much the beginning of the end, the last ten minutes. I guess I didn’t realize it, but yeah, you’re right. We were the tale of the dog.
SLUDGE: Did you have a gold record? Maybe Slaughter was technically the last one with an actual gold record.
POLEY: We sold more than a million records worldwide, but I don’t think we ever had an RIAA gold record, but we were really close. We probably have done so by now, I guess I need to get in contact with RIAA. But it doesn’t really make a difference. its not like it comes with check I have been waiting for.
SLUDGE: The last one. Sad when you think about it, eh?
POLEY: Yeah, Danger Danger. That was the end. All of sudden flannel and goatees, plus we had our own internal problems but now we’re back together. We first got back together in 2004, and I’ve been doing some solo stuff, too.
SLUDGE: And you’re doing a big tour with Enuff Z’Nuff and Bang Tango.
POLEY: Yeah, we’re doing 25 shows in 25 days. It’s going to be grueling but the first day at the Whisky, I am off that day because that date was added on. I start on the second day in Las Vegas.
SLUDGE: You’re billed as Ted Poley solo, but mostly Danger Danger songs right?
POLEY: Well, I only have a half-hour, so I really need to stick to the crowd-pleasers, both from Danger Danger and my solo stuff.
Steve West wins the Rikki Rockett look alike contest here with Ted
SLUDGE: I remember seeing Danger Danger doing a special live promo show in Malibu. Right on the beach. Do you remember that?
POLEY: At Malibu beach? That was awesome. That was one of those perfect California days. I can’t believe you were there and you remember that!
SLUDGE: Are you kidding? It was awesome.
POLEY: Yeah, it was a like a seven-up commercial with bikinis and the Malibu beach.
SLUDGE: I was kind of friends with your drummer, Steve West. Blonde hair. He hooked up with a good friend of mine, a girl named Missy. She was hot with big boobs.
POLEY: Yeah, Steve got a lot of chicks. He was very smooth. He still is, when we’re not suing each other in court, we get along really well. (laughs)
SLUDGE: Did he get the most girls in the band?
POLEY: There were enough for everyone. Believe me, there was a surplus. Even the crew was living the life, but it had to end some time. Looking back, it was never boring. I will tell you that. When you’re on tour, especially back then, there is not much to occupy your time. You go out on these big tours with this big tour bus, and the only technology at the time was a Sony Walkman cassette player. There wasn’t the technology at the time to occupy your time. Every two weeks, you would find a pay phone to see if you still had a dog and if you still had a girlfriend. Usually I still had a dog. But not the girlfriend. You lose your life out there. Now things are different with cell phones and everything. Now we have all this technology and satellites, but to me the most amazing thing is they still haven’t figured out a way where you can shit on the tour bus. That’s the one thing you still can’t do yet.
SLUDGE: Interesting. A lot of rock guys talk about that.
SLUDGE: So you look back now, do you feel like you had enough success? Or do you have regrets?
POLEY: I was happy. It was fine. It got me fans around the world in a lot of different countries, and now we’re doing 25 cities again in 25 days. It never stops. Looking back, it was a lot of fun. We never got our Ferraris and all that. It kind of ended in a big fireball and lawsuit with me being kicked out of the band.
POLEY: I don’t know. I don’t know. That’s all negative shit. I like to say now that I didn’t lose my job, that I just showed up one day and someone else was doing it. It’s a long, painful story, and it doesn’t need to be drudged up again. Now it’s all puppies and butterflies and rainbows, and now I get to take it out there to the fans again on this summer tour, and it’s going to be the best tour. It’s kind of the best of both worlds with Enuff Z’Nuff and Bang Tango, too.
SLUDGE: You’re going on a tour bus with Chip Z’Nuff. You know what that means.
POLEY: I’ve known Chip for 25 years, so yes I know. It’s going to be nice. It’s going to be comfortable. I couldn’t have picked a better guy to go on tour with, to tour the nation. I’m borrowing Timmy and Lance from Bang Tango, and I have my guitar player, Maz.
SLUDGE Maz Mazza.
POLEY: Just Maz. He only needs one name like Madonna and Jesus. And Maz. He’s great. He plays a Les Paul with no pedal board. It’s really awesome. I’ve known him for 35 years, and he’s a great guy. I’ve brought him around the world over the past five years. He is like my Slash.
SLUDGE: Another one word name guy.
POLEY: Yeah. I like having my own ID when I go out, even as a solo artist I want to maintain that consistent quality. I’m dedicated. And Tim plays drums. There’s no room for three full bands on the tour bus, and Enuff Z’Nuff is a threesome now with Johnny Manaco.
SLUDGE: No Donnie Vie this time.
POLEY: No, Donnie’s not in the band, I don’t know. I saw them all together at Monsters of Rock, and maybe it was too much. I don’t know, honestly. But Enuff ‘Nuff, they kick ass no matter what lineup, and Bang Tango is a great band. They start in L.A., and I jump on in Vegas.
SLUDGE: And you live where now?
POLEY: Eastern Pennsylvania, right by New Jersey.
SLUDGE: Are you friends with Bon Jovi? Or have you even met him?
POLEY: He hasn’t called lately, but I thought I saw his Lear jet fly over my house once or twice. I did actually get to go to house once. He bought our recording studio and installed into his basement. It was called the Warehouse. He decided he wanted a home studio. It was nice to meet Bon Jovi even for one day. Hung out. It was really cool. I was one of first to hear “New Jersey.” I was one of first to hear it. Lot of record company offices, more gold records there, all these different things. They were three and four deep on the floor and so many on the walls. It was quite a day. We walked into garage, beautiful vintage Corvette and Ferrari and something else. There were some nice cars in there. I thinking to myself wow, this is my future. (laughs)
Jon Bon Jovi & Ted Poley back in the day
Ted & Axl
SLUDGE: What about Cinderella? They’re from near there, too.
POLEY: Yeah, I know the Cinderella guys. They’re nice guys. Don’t know Tom Kiefer too much. We’re not really close but those guys are very cool.
SLUDGE: What about White Lion?
POLEY: Yeah back in the old days I knew Vito (Bratta) and Greg D’Angelo, who I remember and was a really cool guy. I moved to L.A. before Danger Danger though with a band called Prophet. I was the drummer.
SLUDGE: Where you the best guy in the band?
POLEY: No, no. These guys were super talented. It was us and Twister Sister, we were the two biggest bands playing New Jersey and New Yortk. We were making so much money. I was on salary making $600 or $700 a week, and that was a lot back then.
SLUDGE: Yeah, like making $1,500 now.
POLEY: Yeah. It was a very progressive-rock style band. We were playing Rush and Yes. I did the entire 2112.
Ted "Leif Garrett Lite" Poley on the left in Prophet
Ted Poley as drummer in Prophet in 1983/84
Ted Poley top left on the Prophet album cover
SLUDGE: Neal Peart’s parts? That’s impressive.
POLEY: Yeah I was a really technical drummer. I loved it. I thought singers were kind of fruity, just pain-in-ass divas that would show up and complain their throat hurts or they couldn’t hear. Now I see myself showing up and doing the same thing but I try not to.
SLUDGE: Are you glad you switched? I mean, that’s what led to your success right?
POLEY: There were better drummers than me out there. Now it’s a lot of drum machines but one thing is, you can’t duplicate a human voice.
SLUDGE: So the real truth is, you were making more money playing covers than being in Danger Danger, right?
POLEY: Oh, the money in Prophet was awesome. We were working five nights a week. We would go on band vacations and take care of the whole crew, all expenses paid. With Danger Danger, we probably have sold two million records, and I’ve made zero. I’ve given up royalties for life because I sued them. I never saw a dime.
SLUDGE: But you did get a big advance, right?
POLEY: No, I got shit. I got nothing. The managers and accountants took it all. They commissioned everything. To be perfectly honest, we got $25,000, and by the time everyone took their commissions, each guy got like $2,000, and that was it. There are some funny stories, a lot different than people think.
SLUDGE: What do you mean?
POLEY: I mean I made zero. Nothing. Just my per diem, which is money you get every day for food or shampoo or whatever, and sometimes you have to decide which one of those you want cause it’s only 15 dollars.
I remember I used to ask people why the bus driver and the crew are making 800 a week, and I’m making just 15 a day, sometimes cut to seven dollars per day, and everyone would say, “Oh, one day you’ll make a million.” Looking back, I would have rather made 800 a week cause there was nothing. I remember the year we opened for KISS, my dream come true. I was playing arenas every night. We were like the No. 1 band in Miami playing in the arena in Miami one night, and if you look at my tax returns for the whole year, I grossed $5,700 that year.
SLUDGE: Wow. Were you embarrassed?
POLEY: Not now. Now I’m wearing a $7,000 Rolex watch.
SLUDGE: No, back then.
POLEY: No, not back then either because I was a schmuck. At the time, honestly, I thought it was fine because I thought the Ferraris and all that stuff would still come because that’s what they tell you, the managers and accountants. Then we got this huge publishing check, the big check I had been waiting for all my life, and let me just tell you, and it wasn’t even enough as someone makes working minimum wage for a year.
SLUDGE: Interesting. I hear these stories more and more.
POLEY: Here’s how it works: I never had a bank account. I never had a savings account. There were no royalty checks. Any tour support went to the bus, and those are expensive, like 10 grand a week. We were a hot band on MTV, and we were added to the Alice Cooper tour to fill seats. We didn’t have a choice. It was $50,000 we borrowed, and we had to do it or else. That’s the way it worked. You’re forced to take a loan. It’s all a bunch of bull shit. Jon Bon Jovi ends up getting all the money. … Eventually, I made money outside buying and selling antiques, big deals, and I’m just happy to be going out on tour and having a chance to thank all the fans. It’s a dream come true to see their smiling faces. At this stage, I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to be on a tour bus again.
SLUDGE: You should have saved the money from Prophet, I guess.
POLEY: Nah, I was 22 years old and I used that money to live. I had an apartment, a brand new car. I had bills just like everyone else, the only difference was, I paid them. There are no retirement funds when you’re 22. Who does that? We partied hard. You know that time, you know how it was back then.
Danger Danger 2013 is Rob Marcello, Ted Poley, Bruno Ravel & Steve West
SLUDGE: Did you party hard in Danger Danger too?
POLEY: Not really, that was just a rolling sex party. Girls would come on the bus, and we’d ask if they wanted to get Naughty Naughty, and that was all it took. It was an easy song to remember for the girls.
SLUDGE: You’re vague, though. Do you remember all the good times?
POLEY: Not really. Let’s put it this way: If I see a 22-year-old kid with blonde hair, I run the other way!
POLEY: These questions are too easy.
SLUDGE: Yeah, I know. OK, take me back to that day in Malibu since that’s the day we met. What did you do after?
POLEY: I can’t remember. I just remember it was a day like everything you dream. After? I was single and crazy, you figure it out. Nowadays, I’m happily married 14 years with six cats. And I have a CD, a greatest-hits CD called “Greatest Tits.” Even as a kid, I always dreamed of having a record with that title. I used to practice signing autographs when I was a kid.
Ted gets all Jackass with Bam Margera & Steel Panther
SLUDGE: You never changed your name to Johnny Flame or something.
POLEY: No, my real name is Theodore Poley. If I ever made it big, I wanted everyone to know it was me. I didn’t want any doubt.