Thursday, June 16, 2011

What's in a Name?

Angel, a so-called "pomp metal" band from the '70s, may be one of the least "punk" bands of precisely the moment in time when "punk" became a movement of consequence. Their music is full of synthesizer swells, high-pitched male vocals, power chords and extended guitar solos. All of which makes them a hoot - and also makes it very puzzling that their lead guitarist goes by the name "Punky Meadows." Seriously, Punky? Was this a nod to punk's controversial credibility in what's otherwise a musical context that seems decidedly unpunk? Or just a random turn of phrase with no meaningful connection to the larger punk phenomenon?

(Wikipedia tells us that the man's given name is Edwin Lionel Meadows, but doesn't explain the origins of his stage name.)

I'll leave you to ponder these mysteries of life watching this fine example of Angel in action performing (well, lip-synching) "The Tower," the lead track from their self-titled debut album.


  1. Wow. How did I miss these guys?! Absolutely brilliant. Was thinking the KISS angle was pretty clear before I read the Wikipedia article (note the way the bass player accents the 'hits' of the song's intro - straight out of "Deuce"). Also got a kind of Rainbow vibe with all the quasi-fantasy stuff in the lyrics. And who wouldn't want Greg Giuffria's hair?

  2. Frank Zappa had some fun with Punky:

    I remember I had an old album by Bux that was bluesy hard rock, and the guitarist was E.L. Meadows. Same guy. So between Bux and Angel he became Punky. With his note selection I thought his hero must be Blackmore. "Punky" may have come with the extramusical schtufferooney that had to do with Angel? Just a guess. As Herman Cain said, "I don't know. Do YOU know?"