40 years on and still rocking, Jonathan Matthews chats to Dave Gleeson of The Angels about the Face to Face album tour & the amazing experience it is set to be.
You must be pretty flat out with it all I imagine.
I’ve been flat out, but it’s just started really, currently flat out with the red hot summer tour.
So you’re going to be playing every song off the Face To Face album back to back on the tour?
Yeah all the songs on that album are so iconic, we usually play them dispersed throughout the set, but to play them in that order will be great. It takes me back to when I was ten years old and first heard the album.
That’s pretty crazy, would you have ever thought one day you would become the singer of the legendary Angels?
No. The first time I ever played alongside the Angels was in a cover band in Newcastle, we supported them. I’ve been a big fan since about ten years old, and my brother was a massive fan of Doc, he introduced me to the Angels. I never thought that I would ever find myself in the position of singing to the adoring Angels crowd, that’s for sure!
What an honour. You must be proud!
It’s seven years on now but I still make sure every night I’m in the moment and I’m up there enjoying myself, bringing these songs to life, the last thing you want to do is get up there and stuff them up. You get up there and do the best you can…
Exactly, that’s great to hear! As many people know, you’re also in the Screaming Jets. What’s the transition on your voice like going from the Screaming Jets to the Angels?
Funnily enough, the Angels songs probably suit me better than the Screaming Jets songs, I kind of have a similar vocal range to Doc. With the Jets, our bass player writes most of the songs, and he has quite a high register, so sometimes we have to change the key. The Angels suits me down to the ground. On this red hot summer tour I’m currently doing the Jets first on, then Baby Animals come on, then I’m on with the Angels, I’m pulling double duties but it’s going good!
Sounds like hard work! So you played sounds by the river recently, how was it?
Yeah, it was Moving Pictures, Chocolate Starfish, Baby Animals, Suzi Quattro. I go on, do the Jets show, then get off stage, have a shower, gotta change my clothes and persona, and get back out there!
It must get pretty tiring playing back to back shows.
Yeah just because it’s summer at the moment, most shows we’ve done have been over thirty degrees, the first gig was a shocker, it was forty three degrees when the Jets were on stage. That was day one, and I thought to myself, if I can do this then the rest of the tour is going to be a cakewalk…
That sounds pretty intense! Was it stinking hot at sounds by the river?
It wasn’t too bad, about thirty five degrees at that time. But I have no sympathy for the tennis players who are in their late twenties, and it’s all too hot and too hard (makes fart noise & laughs). We’re on tour with Suzi Quattro, she is in her sixties playing an hour and a half show on hard wood floor in black leather swinging a bass around. She doesn’t complain, and she totally rocks! I think the young tennis players should maybe toughen up a little bit.
Heat aside, it sounds like you had a real good time and it was a great turnout.
Yeah it’s been sold out all over the country. I think it picked up a bit of momentum after people got the feedback from the first couple of shows. There’s only one show left to sell out. I love it, you’re up in front of four and a half to five thousand people. It’s just fantastic! It’s like the old days!
I can only imagine, it sounds like a dream to play to a crowd that size!
Yeah man, if you’re a musician yourself just remember to stick at it, you never know… We’ve been through ups and downs, with the Jets, probably more so for me. And obviously the Angels have been through their up and down times too. But as long as you stick through the game you never know what’s around the corner…
Yeah totally, you can’t give up on music, if it’s in your blood you’ll be doing it forever. Anyway, 40 years on for the Angels, what’s been the biggest changes within the band?
Well look I guess we had to go through a bit of a rebuilding phase. A lot of people when I started off were like; come off it… you can’t replace Doc. I was one of those people too. But as long as you’ve got those two guitars (John and Rick) we’re still the Angels. We’ve built it up over the last seven years. If you wanna see the Angels as they are, this is the only way you’re gonna see it. We’ve been stoked to record two new full albums of stuff and play new songs. Recording and writing with John and it has been a hugely satisfying thing to be able to do. We respect the past and look towards the future, to see what we can do to keep people interested and get new people to come to see the band. It’s a bit of a balancing act, to play those new songs that we’ve written and recorded together, but also play all the hits that people want to hear. When people come to see an Angels show they get exactly what they want.
Read Part 2 of our chat with Gleeso here!