Legendary rock group ANGEL appeared at the 2016 Vegas Rocks! Hair Metal Awards on Sunday, May 15 at the at the Eastside Cannery Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The group received the "Glam Rock Legends" award in honor of their contributions and influence in music. Accepting the award were Punky Meadows, Frank DiMino, Gregg Giuffria, Barry Brandt, and Felix Robinson. This marked the first time all surviving ANGEL bandmembers — bassist Mickie Jones passed away from cancer in 2009 — have been on stage together since 1980.
Formed in 1975 by Meadows and Jones in Washington D.C., ANGEL straddled the fence between the prog-rock pomp of YES and ELP, the orchestral hard pop of QUEEN, BOSTON and ELO, and the riff-heavy raunch-rock of KISS and AEROSMITH. They were discovered by KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons while performing at a nightclub and were eventually signed to the same label as KISS, Casablanca.
Released in the fall of 1975, the band's self-titled debut was promoted with a number of live appearances on the great American arena circuit with the likes of AEROSMITH, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, JOURNEY and RUSH. The group's gimmick — the members were all dressed in white — got them labeled the "anti-KISS" by rock critics, and their spectacular stage show was so over the top that even Simmons & Co. were said to have been inspired by it.
ANGEL started to fall apart in the early 1980s after Casablanca pulled the plug on the group due in part to disappointing album sales. In 1981, Robinson and DiMino left to pursue other projects. Meadows and Giuffria tried to keep ANGEL going and came close to landing a record deal with CBS. But it didn't pan out, and ANGEL finally disbanded.
In a 2007 interview with the Washington City Paper, Meadows said about ANGEL's demise: "If you're riding the crystal wave, it's great. If you're not, then it's not so great. You wind up getting taken in by managers and lawyers and every other thief in the business." He noted that he and his ANGEL bandmates signed away the rights to all of their songs. "Musicians don't have legal minds," he said, "and there ought to be laws protecting them."