Evolution and Biography
Born and raised by European immigrant parents, Teddy Lueken, a well-known NY Metro Area screaming lead guitar virtuoso with exciting stage presence and showmanship, began playing at 9 years old (when he received a Sears acoustic guitar for Christmas from his mother). Shortly thereafter he began taking lessons and within a few months was considered a prodigy talent. His Father awarded his son two Christmases later with a beautiful Hofner “Hi – Fi” (Les Paul type) electric guitar. Throughout the next couple of years, with the guitar almost bigger than him, Teddy was already making a name for himself as a precocious boy rock guitarist with amazing soloing skills (while often playing at parties and dances in several Long Island teenage bands).
By age nineteen, with a love of theatre rock acts like Alice Cooper, Bowie, Kiss, Genesis, Hendrix, and other great showman, he crafted a highly energetic stage presence to the mix and several years later, went on to form a kick-ass, glam rock metal band called Sanction in 1984; where he continued to stand out for his wailing, in-your-face guitar style (as witnessed by Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple). (Watch Now: Teddy Lueken – Live Guitar Solo with Sanction)
Inspired by his music buddy Jay Colmenares, who penned rough song drafts originally intended for Sanction, the unique story of the Lueken Album began. After Sanction broke up, Teddy recognized these raw songs meant for ‘80s metal (while needing a lot of work) would take on a whole new persona and thrive in a slightly cleaner, more progressive / hard pop rock environment. He began to rewrite and add many segments and lyrics. The more he worked on the arrangements, the more excited and motivated he became. He knew he was onto something and decided he was going all the way with this idea.
Once perfected, he began his pursuit in recruiting high caliber musicians. It began with Keyboardist Bob Van Ess. Bob, influenced by renowned players of the day, brought to the table a sound sample mastery of the Yamaha DX7, and a knack for music technology that was second to none. Next, after all kinds of hurdles, Teddy landed Eddie Radtke, a polished singer he remembered from East Islip High School who played Jesus in the musical “Godspell.” And finally, drummer Jim Harris from Sanction was added and “Lueken” was formed!
Teddy went on to rehearse with each member individually for months till each part was perfected and then as a band before hitting the studio he secured in January of ‘86 (the only one anywhere that also outsourced bulk quantity pressings of vinyl records at-the-time). Fortunately, this studio in West Islip NY, came with a talented Engineer by the name of Joe Chinnici, who became like a fifth member during the sessions. After about three weeks of tireless hard work (i.e. – “Burning with the Sun” took fourteen hours straight to mix) – they had a Finished Master that was blowing away everybody that heard it (including the band). Granted, the material was strong, the playing was there and all, but there was just this captured magic about the music that truly gave it a voice of its own.
Hence, the Album was released in May of 1986 and went on to becoming very popular in the NY/NJ/CT Tri-State Metro Area, and also garnered a nice overseas following. Featured on many rock radio interview shows and carried by one of the world’s biggest Record Store Chains at-the-time (Sam Goodies), the band’s momentum and fan-base was growing steadily. Signed to a management deal and agent, the record (on an Independent Label) was actively being shopped to the majors and the band was already working on its next record. Unfortunately, after deciding the fledgling, predominantly cover-band laden Long Island Music Scene was hurting their chances for success, Teddy decided it was time to take it out to LA where the music scene was thriving and Rock Acts were getting signed almost daily. He decided he had no choice but to leave his band brothers behind that understandably weren’t all able to relocate, and recruit a new line-up in LA. It was a tough decision for him, but he wanted to be where the action was.
Once in Hollywood, as Teddy was getting settled in, a tape of the guitar playing on the “Lueken” Album, landed him a huge audition with Ozzy Osbourne! After which, he found a great local act called Faultline that needed a Lead Guitarist / Songwriter, that were thrilled to make Lueken’s “A Midnight Dream” Album a significant part of their repertoire. As a result, Faultline became very popular and toured the California circuit with a solid, loyal fan-base. They were writing, gigging and shopping deals constantly, as Teddy remembers these times as some of the most memorable in his career. (Watch Now: Teddy Lueken in Faultline doing “Hard Times” Live in LA)
After LA, Teddy decided it was time to move-on and went back to NY where he joined forces with the hard rockin’ Russ Brothers of the band Lethal Dose as their Guitarist and Songwriter, gigging the Long Island circuit with their hot Power Trio sets.
A couple of years later, Teddy was recruited by Metal Blade recording artist Pat Cecere from Mad Man (Metal Massacre III), where they formed the theatrical, blistering hard rock act: “Mad Hat”. (Watch Now: Teddy Lueken in Mad Hat doing “Liar” Live)
From there, Teddy moved to Manhattan and wrote a whole new set of dark, heavy, catchy alternative metal material, and formed the band “Astral Life” that gigged the NYC rock club scene, with performances that featured him at his zenith in dramatic showmanship and unique shredding guitar style. Material that he also plans on resurrecting one day. (Live YouTube video coming soon).
In addition to some notable studio project work along the way, including with the likes of gifted pop-singer/songwriter Wendy Goldstone… (Watch Now: Teddy Lueken for Wendy Goldstone doing “Where are You?)
Teddy then took a sabbatical from the music scene for almost a dozen years (occasionally playing, jamming and recording mostly for enjoyment)… making sure to never lose the skills he worked so hard at refining. (Watch Now: Teddy Lueken in Skull doing “Riders on the Storm” Live)
That is – until one day in May of 2016 after speaking with his good friend Bob Van Ess, when he suddenly became Thunderstruck over how special the Lueken “A Midnight Dream” Album really was, and decided it was about time to take advantage of the exploding digital online music scene, and get this very special – meaningful work (that so many fans from its era loved) in front of a whole new audience and to its rightful place in the annals of top-notch “Pomp Rock.” To snapshot this special conceptual work-of-art that he labored so hard over in refining, and consummately launch it into cyberspace for good. He realized that it would have been such a Godawful shame for it to be forgotten (as though it never existed)… and for it not to live on – a haunting/nagging thought that Teddy found absolutely horrifying and totally unacceptable.
But as always in life, there was a catch. A major snag. The Master Tape of thirty years ago was no longer good, and the few albums he had left, out of the thousands originally pressed in 1986, were warped! But Teddy was determined and had his mind made up to see it through – somehow / someway. So after literally months of searching, he wound up finding a sealed, mint copy of his own album online, and bought it for $50! His own album, his baby, his everything for so many years, and he had to buy it from a record collector in England. You can imagine the indignation and kind of head-trip he was going through, railing himself for not being more attentive to his musical archives. But this first stage doesn’t even begin to compare to the multitude of challenges that beset his dream of saving this work and bringing it back to life. [For more details, please see the inside Jacket of the physical CD Jewel Case.] Hence after about a year of constant struggle, the final product remarkably came out even better than the original Master Tape Recording, via Vinyl to Digital Transfer Technology and the Remastering skills of Bob Van Ess. It was then made into a Glass substrate by the replicator and mass produced into official CDDA CD’s. And here it is, Finally – almost a year later in April 2017. Now coming to you on CD Baby, Retail Stores and Streaming Sites all over the world! Teddy, Bob, Eddie and Lueken fans worldwide are all ecstatic that this project (that almost didn’t happen – that was almost lost forever)… came to fruition and is here to stay for all time.
And now, sparked by the success of the 2017 Re-release of the Remastered Lueken Album, “A Midnight Dream”, Teddy Lueken has 100% officially recommitted himself to performance and writing cutting-edge material. In fact, he is wrapping up a conceptual set of songs, as a follow-up to the original concept-oriented Lueken Album. Studio work is set to begin in the fall and release of the next Lueken Album CD (yet untitled) is projected for early 2018, with a tour following shortly thereafter featuring all Lueken material. Having had the pleasure of hearing the initial song drafts and Teddy’s current playing, I believe we are in for one really special timeless treat that (while taking on a heavier modern persona in sound) will still complement the original Lueken Album as a perfect segue, and continue its message of hope, introspection and really going for one’s ultimate dream.
So for now, enjoy “A Midnight Dream” and please stay tuned. Teddy Lueken is back for good, and plans to make a musical difference for years to come in LUEKEN!
– Nancy Haller