One of Frank Palangi’s last gigs was playing the National Anthem wearing his ubiquitous leather jacket on the home ice of the Adirondack Thunder hockey team. Since then, the door for such opportunities has been slammed shut with the promise life won’t be quite the same once it opens again.
Palangi was already in the midst of releasing his fourth album “Bring on the Fear” when the COVID-19 pandemic started its spread. Despite the name, he insists the name is a mere case of coincidence.
“I didn’t know, but it actually fits into it: the title, “Bring on the Fear,” and the single is called “Gone Mad,” Palangi said. “It’s like, yeah, I can relate to that [now].” He laughs.
Palangi was just bringing chicken back into the house from the grill when I called. He was preparing to make a sauce with it, so he said he had the time. Grilled chicken parm. Frankly, he hasn’t had the opportunity to gig since venues closed three months ago. He’s been filling in some of that time by producing a podcast in which he features an area musician with each episode. Recently, he spoke with American Idol’s Madison Vandenburg and followed that with another interview with The Voice’s Moriah Formica. “Things to kind of keep busy,” he said. “People like to see what they’re doing and what I’ve been up to.”
As a musician, music dictates Palangi’s schedule. Aside from the artist’s side of him, he teaches guitar lessons, produces and records music for area musicians. But, no one’s been allowed in the studios as of late. He was born was asthma, sometimes compounded by seasonal allergies. The asthma was something that prevented him from playing sports as a kid. As a singer, he’s conscious not to overextend his schedule, too. So despite the current virus known to trigger severe respiratory issues, he’s careful not to expose himself.
“That’s another reason why I have to stay safe,” Palangi said. “I can’t have anybody over to record, or [do] lessons right now. Everything has to be online. I had to be careful before so I’m kind of used to it.”
The album drops Friday, June 5. A video release of one of its tracks “Gone Mad” went online last month. It’s the first track from Palangi’s fourth studio album. He said this work is “a little bit” darker and heavier from previous releases, but he still wouldn’t call it heavy metal.
“Bring on the fear means bring on the thing that is unknown. Some people, they have stage fright, or they’re afraid to go to that next level. For me, it’s another fancy way of saying, ‘I am ready,’” Palangi said. “The theme is a little heavier — it’s the heaviest out of the four. It’s not so heavy that it’s metal-metal. But, it’s heavier than the other three.”
Palangi said the phrase draws from his drive to push himself out of his comfort zone. Pursuing a dream can be scary, but the only way to grow and learn and to step out and face that fear, he said.
The video pairs Palangi back with director Cameron Gallagher. Gallagher previously directed Palangi’s “Break These Chains” video. He also directed Vince Palmeri’s video for “Guilty Pleasure,” which debuted two weeks ago.
“Bring the Fear” is self-produced and mastered by Grammy Award-nominated producer Robert Venable. Palangi also teams up with Kelly Clarkson’s drummer Lester Estelle, and Brian Craddock and Brandon Maclin from Daughtry. The EP features five tracks in streaming format, but the CD that will be available for purchase on Palangi’s website will include a total of 14 songs.
You can order your copy of “Bring on the Fear” on Amazon and iTunes.
Now is usually the time in which musicians have booked themselves to various outdoor venues for summer live music. But with no one booking shows, Palangi said he’s already facing up to a grim reality. Technology allows him to continue his lessons online, and he’s able to record and produce music from his Queensbury home. From there, he said, he’s planning to produce tracks he can sell to the film industry. But live music is not in the near future.
“I can say that I’m not probably playing out this year at all,” he said. “I have, maybe one or two small things in the fall, or August, I’m still thinking about those. If it gets worse, then no. But, I don’t want to play in a bar. It’s too small. It’s too cramped, now. You just can’t risk it.”