Keyboard player/vocalist Danny Peyronel made his name in
the Heavy Metal Kids in the 70's, before appearing on UFO's 'No Heavy
Pettin' album. Now he's back with a revamped Heavy Metal Kids and
their comeback album 'Hit The Right Button'.
A big thanks to Batttttty for passing the questions onto Danny.
|1. What are you currently up
I'm getting ready to start rehearsals with the HEAVY METAL KIDS, for
our up-coming tour of the world, the universe and everything, which,
after a couple of unannounced gigs here in the Milan area, including
a show in the local prison, will take off in Britain the first days
What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoints(s) of your career
Hmmm...I loved the big American stadium tours in the 70's and 80's,
with HMK, UFO and TARZEN...a notoriously big kick was hearing Dave
Gilmour, THE voice on "Dark Side of the Moon", singing my words
on "Lie for a Lie", on the MASON-FENN album "Profiles"...my
song "Midnight at the Lost and Found" being a hit for MEATLOAF...and
probably most of all, being able to get together with my best mates,
Ronnie and Keith and make the HEAVY METAL KIDS live again, fresher
and more powerfully than we ever were...and feeling great about it.
The lowpoints...? There aren't any. I've been a very lucky boy so
|3. How did you first get into the music business? Who have been your
main influences on your career to date?
Well...I'd been attending The Juilliard School in NYC for about a
year...nothing serious though...and was pretty bored with the whole
exercise...so I decided to move to London, since that was definitely
where it was all happenning then.
I only knew this one kid from elementary school there.
He only knew this one person in the music world.
He put me on the phone to him and he said they were auditioning
guitarists with his band, called The Rats. They were a splinter from
a band called Streak who'd had something of a hit single a short
while before. Anyway, he says I was welcome to come down and give
them a hand, since there was a keyboard there. We jammed a bit
before the first guitarist showed up and they offered me the job
Nothing much happened with the band, except that we did a few gigs,
one of which was opening for the Heavy Metal Kids at the legendary
Marquee in London. They also happenned to rehearse in the same
place, The Tunnel, so when the lads realized they needed to have
keyboards in the line-up, I was there.
I joined and we got our deal with Atlantic, went in the studio pretty
straight away, with Dave Dee (our present manager and long time pal)
producing. The rest you probably know...
My absolute main influence as a singer is without a doubt Sam Cooke.
Of course you can add to that everyone else he influenced, like Otis
However, I can't deny that little ol' Gary was a huge influence for
In the early days I only sang harmonies and I developed my singing
over the years, so he would have had a major impact on me. Bon Scott
was another great I took a lot from as well, I guess...
As for keyboard players...hmmm...I was always a rock keyboardist, a
honky tonk pianist and, I guess, a Hammond B-3 guy...not a
very 'fashionable' area in the keyboards world...but then only a few
of us were doing it, and doing it naturally. I always loved
my 'elders' in this, namely Ian Stewart (Stu, the 6th Stone), Nicky Hopkins and Mac (Ian Mc Lagan) from the Faces,
as well as the really old dudes like Professor Longhair, Dr. John
(he's not that old! and he's great!), etc.
|4. Heavy Metal Kids are back with a new album. How did the band get
back together again? What are your personal song highlights on the
new album and why?
Well...I'd been living...or was it existing...? in Long Island, just
outside NYC, for about 10 years. We got bored stiff of that suburban
lifestyle and moved here to Milan. Immediately things started
happenning. One of them was that Salvador, the guitarist from
TARZEN, got in touch, suggesting we made a little record with Ronnie
and Keith...so I scoured the place trying to locate them again (we
HAD stayed in touch, but didn't know their present whereabouts at the
time!), and when I did and got them into the little idea,
Salvador, true to form, dissappeared.
So the lads came down here anyway and we had a few blows with this
terrific guitarist, Marco Guarnerio, at his studio just outside
Milan. It was such fun and so fresh, kinda like we just left off
from our last album...that we decided to make a record as the HEAVY
METAL KIDS. After all, we were the surviving members of the band,
and Marco was sooooo one of us! We went into Marco's studio,
Diddestudio, and this other terrific guitarist and producer, Marco
Barusso, did the production.
As the record progressed, Marco Barusso
contributed more and more guitar parts that complemented Marco
G's so perfectly, that by the end of the sessions we asked him to be
a full time member of the band.
|5. How did the Heavy Metal Kids get their first big break? Was it
easier getting gigs then than now?
I guess our first 'big break' would have been our ATLANTIC RECORDS
deal...we were the first band they signed when they opened their
offices in London.
I'm guessing the previous british act they'd signed had been Zeppelin
and the one after us, AC-DC.
I couldn't tell you about how much easier it was getting gigs
then...we had a good agency, BRONZE, and a great agent, Neal Warnock,
who now has THE AGENCY, but won't even think of handling us now, ha!
Anyway, the gigs just were there, you know? And loads of them. But
let's not glamorize the past too much! Many of them were real dives,
especially in Britain, and every musician then, dreamt of going
to "The States", because they treated you so much better...or should
I say, they treated you well and with respect? Going to Germany was
Actually, the booking agency thing is the only aspect that we haven't
gotten sorted yet. The reason for that is quite clear. They
automatically assume the "old band syndrome" is with us. So they
don't even get to the point of listening to the new CD. In every
other way, like Record Label, the press, etc., we're doing really
great, for the simple reason that these people have heard the record.
I believe we're soon going to be hard to ignore, even for the most
jaded agent. And we can wait.
|6. What would you still like to achieve musically?
Simply an even better album than HIT THE RIGHT BUTTON...and I'm sure
even that is possible.
|7. You played on UFO's 'No Heavy Pettin' album. How did you get the
gig? Why did you leave after just the one album?
Pete came over to my house with a common friend, Paul Varley, who
funnily enough, had been the drummer in The Rats, that short-lived
first pro gig of mine! We hit it off straight away. He came down to
The Roundhouse where we were doing a gig with the HMK and he said I
should play on the next record...I said "sure", and we left it at
Then in Germany, my Kids days, as they were then, ended. Our german
part of the tour (with Uriah Heep) was over, so the lads dropped me
off in Koblenz, I believe, where the UFO boys were. We had spoken on
the phone and they said I should stop over with them, cause since
they had a Wurlitzer in the truck, it would be fun if I helped out on
a couple of songs from Force It that had keys and they couldn't do
without. I did that, we all had a great time and they offered me the
gig there and then.
I didn't leave after one album. I got the sack! The album had not
done anywhere as well as the record company thought it would, and
everyone needed a good scapegoat. Since I had written or co-written
four songs on the album, I was the odd one out, and a good candidate!
Still, it was rewarding to see the boys pretty much continue the
musical line we started on together on NHP, with quite good results,
|8. What has been the best career move you have made and why?
Re-creating the HEAVY METAL KIDS. Why? When you listen to the CD you'll know.
|9. What do you do in your spare time outside of music?
I have very little spare time right now! But when I do, I love
football, walking round flea-markets and talking to people, the
telly, reading and ancient history...(and I don't mean us! ha! ha! ha!)
|10. Message to your fans...
Go to our website, and have a
listen to the bits from the new CD, "HIT THE RIGHT BUTTON" and go out
there and get it as soon as it comes out!!!
It's the record we always wanted to make. We were always slightly
miffed that they didn't manage to capture the power of our live
show...now that we're ten times as powerful live, we feel we've
managed to get it down once and for all! Satisfaction guaranteed.
The official release date is June 2 and we'll be at the London
UNDERWORLD that very week, as well as at the Glasgow CATHOUSE, Colchester Soundhouse (4 June) and
quite likely a few other places in the UK. After that, it's the rest
of Europe and elsewhere.
Thanks for being there. Like I said before, I am lucky.
Interview © 2003 Jason Ritchie/
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