Luckily we had recorded It’s Getting Better and two other tracks at this time (Wanted Man and Innocence Lost). About a week after sending them to Buddy, I had a message on my answering machine from Jonathan Cain saying “we dig your playing and want you to come to San Francisco to audition”. I was really excited to say the least!! I flew out a week later and the audition went great. I was pretty nervous but played well. John Waite gave me a ride to the airport and his parting words were “unless you lose a finger, you’ve got the gig!” They then flew me to L.A. to spend a trial week to see how things went. Everything was going well, then Neal called mid-week saying he was interested in the gig now. I saw the writing on the wall at that point, though they politely said “we’ll spend a week w/Neal and we’ll let you know how it goes”. I knew my chances were slim, seeing that with Neal in the band you have ½ of Journey….kind of a no-brainer. All in all, it was still a great experience. John Waite is an amazing singer and Ricky and Jonathan couldn’t have been nicer guys. On my last day Neal was coming in and we had a heck of a jam!! After that fell through, Buddy said “don’t worry about that, I know these other guys that have a record coming out and are looking for a guitar player”. “What’s the band?” “Danger Danger”….””never heard of them” Buddy put me in touch with Bruno Ravel (a Spector bass endorser which was being made by Kramer at the time) and I sent him a tape. He called back saying they wanted to fly me to New York to audition…which went well, though I think they were struggling with substance over image (meaning I was a good player, but didn’t necessarily look like a rock star). I flew out for a 2nd audition and they told me they’d call over Christmas. I got the call when I was visiting my family in Indiana. Eric Todd, the band’s manager called and very slowly and painstakingly told me “even though you’re a good player and everything……we just really feel that…..well (meanwhile I was interjecting “oh, I understand” etc trying to make it easy for him to let me down) the next thing I knew, Bruno, Steve, Ted and Kasey were yelling over the phone “you’re in the band man….hahaha gotcha!!!!”
FIB MUSIC: Were you just planning to do one record, or did you know from the beginning that you would be joining the band?
Andy: Well, I was coming in after the record had been finished, though they were getting ready to re-mix it with Mike Stone (of Queen and Journey fame among others) When they were originally signed to Epic, Al Pitrelli was in the band. Things apparently didn’t go well between he and the AandR guy that signed the band, so he parted ways with the guys. At this point they got their longtime friend, Tony Bruno (who had just formed Saraya) to record the albums guitar tracks, full well knowing he wouldn’t join the band. They would just find a guy for the touring and videos (that’s where I came in!) Luckily for me, because they were re-mixing there was still a chance to play on the record, so I cut solos on “Boys Will Be Boys” and “Saturday Night” It was a big thing for me because it meant I would be on my first national record! That had been a longtime goal of mine. My tracking of those solos took less than an hour of studio time. We literally got a sound very quickly and rolled tape….maybe two takes of each solo. I looked at Mike Stone and asked “was that alright?” He rolled his eyes and sarcastically replied “yes, everybody I work with gets it in two takes” haha! The real ironic part of this whole story is that the Bad English and Danger Danger records were released on the same day on the same label…..and the first full color page we had in Metal Edge magazine had Bad English on the other side of our picture…too weird!!
FIB MUSIC: Who were some of the bands that you toured with to support that release?
Andy: Quite a few…we definitely got out and worked. Our first tour was opening for Warrant in Canada right when their song “Heaven” was #1. We had a blast! I remember one night I ended up on Warrant’s bus drinking vodka w/Jani all night singing Beatle songs…I think we kept everybody up! Other bands we toured with were Faster Pussycat (which was great until their drummer got busted for heroin) Extreme (really great guys…it was right before “More Than Words” broke) Alice Cooper (who was amazing and who ironically had Al Pitrelli on guitar!)but of course the best was opening for Kiss on the Hot In The Shade tour. We were all fans since we were kids, in fact the first concert I ever attended
was the Destroyer tour in 1976!!!! I remember being in the very last row at the top of the arena thinking to myself “this is what I want to do!!!!” Gene and Paul treated us great and we learned so much from them. A real arena tour…cool!
FIB MUSIC: Any idea how many copies were sold?
Andy: I think around 400,000 in the U.S. Worldwide I’m not sure.
FIB MUSIC: Was the idea to release a Live album next, or did something happen to delay a studio release the following year?
Andy: It took a little longer because we toured so much! The Down and Dirty live record was a promotion only release to coincide w/the Alice Cooper tour. I think the label wanted to showcase the way the band sounded with me in it….not just a poser hair-band.
FIB MUSIC: Full in Bloom scenario 1. Andy Timmons has a son, or daughter that decides he / she wants to learn how to play guitar, what would recommend as an ideal starting point? What would he practice? How many hours a day? (Assuming that they like the guitar).
Andy: No practice regimen at such a young age I would just encourage him to learn at his own pace and if the passion is there, continue to provide as much knowledge as he is hungry for. Of course, I will always suggest to any young players to develop their ears as much as possible by learning from recordings more so that by written pages.
FIB MUSIC: Your next studio album is entitled, Screw It. Had Grunge already begun to take over at that point? Did you guys know it..going into record that album? Was the label still behind you, etc.?
Andy: The bubble hadn’t burst just yet, although rap was certainly gaining in popularity. I don’t think it dawned on me personally that there would be such an effort eventually (by MTV specifically) to stamp out hair metal bands. Why wouldn’t there be room for all genres on the radio… that was certainly the case when I was growing up.
You would hear Queen then Charlie Rich then Olivia Newton-John then Kiss then Rush…on and on. Everything was gradually being marketed very specifically. There was less room for variety. Yes, the label was still behind us but when we delivered our first video to MTV (for the song Monkey Business) they told us outright “don’t bother making videos…we hate your band and all the bands like you”. True story. Most of our fans (mind you 400,00 people) never knew we had a second record out. MTV was that powerful. Kip Winger has a similar story when delivering his new video in the early ‘90s to MTV, they said “not sure if we’ll play it…but check these guys out. They’re called Pearl Jam….we’re going to make them the biggest band on earth” Another true story.
Isn’t the music business wonderful? Don’t get me wrong. Seattle needed to happen. Nirvana was an awesome band that reminded everybody what it sounds like for three guys to get in a room together and turn it up. Great songs. Great melodies. Energy. The hair metal scene had gotten very over-processed. Drum machines etc. Lots of people chasing Mutt Lang’s tail…which again are great sounding records, but not necessarily real. Nirvana was real and that’s why they still appeal today.
FIB MUSIC: Any memories stand out from the Screw It recording sessions? Where was it recorded? What was the budget? Any good or bad tales?
Andy: Steve, Bruno and I flew to Hilversum Holland (just outside of Amsterdam) to record the basic tracks at Wisselord Studios. It was cooooldddd!!! We had a great time there though and we all put on about 10 pounds each from drinking cokes and eating brodges (sweet pastries) all day!! Erwin Musper was the engineer and, like me, was a huge Beatles fan so we hit it off great. I remember how psyched we were to record “Find Your Way Back Home” putting in all the fab four sounds. We then went to Ft. Lauderdale ‘s New River Studios to do all the lead vocals and lead guitars. I think the budget was @ $250,000. Huge by todays standards.
FIB MUSIC: Who did you tour with for that release?
Andy: We did a bunch of headline club tours with bands like the Electric Angels and Dillinger opening up. Once again we got to tour with Kiss, this time in the U.K. on their Revenge tour. Unbelievable luck! Many great moments on that tour….many fun sound checks……you should hear Kiss doing Crazy Train, then Reelin’ In The Years, and then combining the two!!!
FIB MUSIC: Why did you leave Danger Danger? Did the band break up? Were you dropped from the
Andy: We actually did a third record for Epic called “Cockroach” that went unreleased until very recently. It is by far the best work Danger Danger had done up to that point. But….Seattle and rap had already taken over and it was too late. Things were always tense between Ted vs. Steve and Bruno and things culminated with Ted leaving (and suing) the band. The label gave the OK to replace the lead vocals with Paul Laine (one of two or three guys considered) but upon completion they kept putting off the release date until finally we had to split up. They own the record at that point and there was nothing we could do to get it back (some labels are cooler about that than others…I think somebody pissed somebody off along the way……ah, karma…) Though certainly disappointing, it was an easy decision for me to just move back to Texas and finish the recording I had been working on all along since I joined DD. That eventually led to the release of “ear X-tacy I think around 1995.
FIB MUSIC: In 1997 you joined Danger Danger again, what had happened to the original vocalist, Ted Poley? How was it working with them again?
Andy: Any association with DD since the split in 1994 has been limited to guest appearances on their subsequent records.
FIB MUSIC: 3 fond memories of your days in Danger Danger danger
Andy: 1. Everybody’s sense of humor. No matter how much bullshit was going on in the band or around us in the business, we we’re always laughing. Steve and Bruno could easily be a comedy team, if not, one of the married couples in When Harry Met Sally….hysterical!
2. When I first joined the band, I moved in with Ted in his small Hackensack apartment.
We had a rehearsal the next day so we decided to go over the songs just he and I on an acoustic guitar. I was blown away when he started singing. Sounded just like the guy on the record!! Haha! A really great distinctive voice. Great day.
3. Again, every night on the Kiss tours. Playing in the arenas then watching the Kiss show from the side of the stage EVERY night. Like little kids all over again.
FIB MUSIC: Do you remember early Pantera? Did you ever go see them play live in the 80’s? Any memories come to mind?
Andy:I remember my roommate in Denton, Bill Bush (now of Garbage fame) had a cassette of Pantera. They looked very glam back then and they played the same clubs my band was playing like Dallas City Limits, Savvy’s, Joe’s Garage etc. I remember they played covers from Dokken and Ratt and other L.A. bands. I remember Darrell always being great…sounding like Eddie and Warren DiMartini effortlessly. Somebody sent me a cassette recently of Dime and I playing together in a music store sometime in the late ‘80s. I haven’t had the courage to listen to it yet….though I remember we had a blast.
Darrell was an easy guy to love…easy going…friendly as hell….always glad to see you.
I know we had a lot of respect for each other…I’m really sad that we didn’t get a chance to make more music together.