Chuck Shute Podcast

Ron Keel (Keel, Ron Keel Band)

September 28, 2020 Ron Keel Season 2 Episode 63
Chuck Shute Podcast
Ron Keel (Keel, Ron Keel Band)
Chapters
Chuck Shute Podcast
Ron Keel (Keel, Ron Keel Band)
Sep 28, 2020 Season 2 Episode 63
Ron Keel

Episode #63- Ron Keel- Frontman from Steeler, Keel and now the Ron Keel Band.  Ron has shared a stage with some of the biggest names in rock including Aerosmith, Van Halen, Bon Jovi & Motley Crue.  He has sold millions of records and had a long successful career in metal and country music.  He has a new album out now with the Ron Keel Band titled "South X South Dakota" that is a collection of Southern Rock covers.

0:00:00 - Intro
0:01:00 - Early Musical Background
0:02:40 - Being Bullied & Health Issues
0:04:30 - Dropping Out of School For Music
0:06:39 - Setting Up Meeting With Record Label
0:10:33 - Moving to Nashville
0:11:50 - Life is Short
0:14:55 - Joining the Band "Lust"
0:21:33 - Sniper, Steeler & Yngwie Malmsteen
0:23:39 - Singer of Black Sabbath
0:25:42 - Forming Keel
0:27:15 - Steve Riley
0:29:15 - Coming Back to Nashville
0:32:50 - Not Giving Up With Music
0:35:15 - Best New Band, Work Ethic & Marketing
0:36:40 - Producers Michael Wagener & Gene Simmons
0:39:15 - Gene Simmons Helping Out & KISS Connection
0:43:53 - Fronting An All Female Rock Band (Fair Game)
0:46:55 - Country Music Career in the 90s (Ronnie Lee)
0:52:30 - Blending Country & Metal (Cowboy Metal)
0:54:33 - "Red, White, & Blue" Song
0:56:30 - Secret of Success
0:58:57 - Acting Career
1:00:46 - Skid Row Singer Job Opening
1:03:40 - Famous Keel Fans- Carrot Top & More
1:05:30 - Clothing Style
1:08:00 - Fans & People Who Aren't Fans
1:09:25 - Saving Lives With Music
1:10:22 - Guitars for Vets
1:11:12 - Ron Keel Website, Patreon & Live Shows
1:13:52 - Wrap Up

Ron Keel Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/ronkeel/

Ron Keel Website:
https://ronkeel.com/

Guitars for Vets
https://guitars4vets.org

Chuck Shute Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/chuck_shute/

Support the show (https://venmo.com/Chuck-Shute)

Show Notes Transcript

Episode #63- Ron Keel- Frontman from Steeler, Keel and now the Ron Keel Band.  Ron has shared a stage with some of the biggest names in rock including Aerosmith, Van Halen, Bon Jovi & Motley Crue.  He has sold millions of records and had a long successful career in metal and country music.  He has a new album out now with the Ron Keel Band titled "South X South Dakota" that is a collection of Southern Rock covers.

0:00:00 - Intro
0:01:00 - Early Musical Background
0:02:40 - Being Bullied & Health Issues
0:04:30 - Dropping Out of School For Music
0:06:39 - Setting Up Meeting With Record Label
0:10:33 - Moving to Nashville
0:11:50 - Life is Short
0:14:55 - Joining the Band "Lust"
0:21:33 - Sniper, Steeler & Yngwie Malmsteen
0:23:39 - Singer of Black Sabbath
0:25:42 - Forming Keel
0:27:15 - Steve Riley
0:29:15 - Coming Back to Nashville
0:32:50 - Not Giving Up With Music
0:35:15 - Best New Band, Work Ethic & Marketing
0:36:40 - Producers Michael Wagener & Gene Simmons
0:39:15 - Gene Simmons Helping Out & KISS Connection
0:43:53 - Fronting An All Female Rock Band (Fair Game)
0:46:55 - Country Music Career in the 90s (Ronnie Lee)
0:52:30 - Blending Country & Metal (Cowboy Metal)
0:54:33 - "Red, White, & Blue" Song
0:56:30 - Secret of Success
0:58:57 - Acting Career
1:00:46 - Skid Row Singer Job Opening
1:03:40 - Famous Keel Fans- Carrot Top & More
1:05:30 - Clothing Style
1:08:00 - Fans & People Who Aren't Fans
1:09:25 - Saving Lives With Music
1:10:22 - Guitars for Vets
1:11:12 - Ron Keel Website, Patreon & Live Shows
1:13:52 - Wrap Up

Ron Keel Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/ronkeel/

Ron Keel Website:
https://ronkeel.com/

Guitars for Vets
https://guitars4vets.org

Chuck Shute Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/chuck_shute/

Support the show (https://venmo.com/Chuck-Shute)

Chuck Shute :

Welcome to the show. Thanks for tuning in. We've got Ron keel today the metal cowboy. So Ron started his career with Steeler and he played with in Bay Malmsteen, who's a pretty famous guitarist. I thought he was one of the top guitars maybe not but anyways, he played with him and Ron so then ma serve his own band keel and add a couple albums produced by Gene Simmons from kiss. They toured with Aerosmith, Motley Crue Van Halen, sold millions of records, they had a long career. He's done a lot in his career, and we'll have him tell the whole story from beginning to end here. It's going to be a fun little journey. So enjoy this interview with Ron keel. Welcome Ron keel to the Czech shoe podcast. So again, I just want to say welcome and point out that Yeah, you originally started doing music in school, you won awards for jazz band, he did school orchestra. So you you started out, not doing heavy metal basically. I was addicted to music from a very early age. And the first chance I got to join the school band in the fifth grade, I jumped at the chance and continued my training both in jazz, classical music. We were playing Motown and funk and a lot of more music Chicago and a lot of the Stevie Wonder tunes and, and just a very diverse menu of music that I was raised on. My dad was a country guy, my hillbilly family, and my dad Roy, he was hardcore country and he would listen to Merle Haggard and cash and Hank senior. My sister who was 10 years older than me, was a teenager. By the time I was two or three years old, and she was listening to the Beatles and The stones. And so I got a huge variety of great music during the 60s when I was growing up. And the first chance I got to play an instrument in the school band was extremely liberating. And it was the start of a an amazing ride. I loved playing the drums and all the horn instruments I learned to read music I was classically trained and able to compete as a school musician, with some of the orchestras bands, jazz bands. I was in the marching band at the football games, I mean, anything musical. I was drawn to it, and I still am. So you were kind of like a band nerd or were you like one of the cool band kids like did you get bullied or like harassed or teased or anything like that, or I did because all the time I was then and fairly unhealthy as a child. So I wasn't able to participate in athletics or sports. Now I'm a sports junkie. But at the time I was unable to participate, even though I was the biggest kid in school, I was six, four and the that the eighth grade, what do you mean your own unhealthy?

Ron Keel :

As long story, man, I mean, you don't want to get into my medical records or anything. But the doctors told my mother when I was she was six months pregnant with me. They said your baby's dead in the womb. We're going to remove it. And she said, No, I think I'll stick it out. And I was born in a very toxic environment. Both my parents smoked heavily and did not eat healthy at all. And the 60s that was I mean, even the doctors smoked cigarettes into the office when in the 60s it was Yeah, totally different. I was just sickly, unhealthy and not physically fit until I gained adulthood. And I think I'm more fit now than I was back then. That's for sure. Yeah, you look great. Music was my salvation. And that's because music was a way for me to, to fit in. And to be cool. I was I was a nerd, or a geek of the highest degree. And the first time I sat behind a drum set picked up a pair of sticks. I started carving out a beat and it just felt like I had that natural rhythm and affinity for music in general. Mm hmm. And all of a sudden, the girls thought I was cool. And it was just the first steps on what's become an extremely long and rewarding journey. No, so

Chuck Shute :

yeah, so I heard conflicting things about this was at age 14 or 16, you actually left home, dropped out of school and joined a band.

Ron Keel :

I was already in bands at that time. Okay, leave home at 16 my parents pretty much realized that this is what I was gonna do. And they even asked my music teacher, Mr. George Schmidt, who just passed away six months ago. He was like a second father and a mentor to me. They asked him to come to the house and try and talk sense into me and he came to the house. And we went back into my bedroom where I had guitars and drums and amplifiers and PA systems. And he sat there in my room and tried to talk me out of it, telling me all the pitfalls and all the how tough a road it was to try and become a professional musician and devote your life to this. And I was adamant, no, this is what I'm going to do, and this is who I am. And he walked out of the room and went out in the living room and told my parents, he said, You've got a musician on your hands, you can have to deal with it. And they did and pretty much gave up on me when I decided I'm not staying here, I'm leaving. And I'm going on the role of the band. And they actually signed what's called an emancipation document, which allowed me to live on my own side for my own medical care, put myself through through high school, and being able to legally sign my own legal documents. And it wasn't until probably six or seven years later, when I started to have some success in the business. When they they realized that I wasn't gonna I wasn't gonna stop and I had a band called keel. They thought that was pretty cool. Yeah, didn't you say your dad thought it was named after him? Or? It's kind of a joke. very seriously. That's good. Yeah, my dad, my mom ended up becoming my biggest fans. And they they lived that dream with me, throughout the entire 80s heyday and all of the amazing accomplishments. That I mean, the the opportunity to prove to them that I was right, and that I couldn't make a living at this and I could be successful with this was, well, very rewarding. Yeah, you, you must have had some pretty big balls at age 17 and 17. I was kind of a scared little nerdy kid. But you were 17 you're working construction in Texas. And you arrange this meeting with a guy at MCA Records who it wasn't even like the ANR or promotional record, but it was like the shipping and receiving but somehow you're like this guy works with records. I'm gonna get in touch with this guy. And you arranged a meeting with him. And this guy like is like believed in you. So then he got some other guy from MC records a higher up to meet with you. And tell that story. I see that your homework. Yeah, yeah. Have you read the book? Or what? I've not read the book yet? No, I've just seen some interviews. And I'm like, there's so much fascinating stuff. I didn't know any of this stuff. I did all this for the interview. And I'm like, this is a great story. We're just reading the audio book to you and your listeners and viewers on the chuck shoot podcast. But yeah, that's it's a true story. I went back to Texas to work a job with my dad in Mount Pleasant, Texas, where I went to my junior year in high school. This is when I finally had had enough of farm living that we were on a ranch in Texas, and I needed the big city lights, and I needed the rock and roll atmosphere. And it just wasn't there for me in Texas. But I am going back to the same place next year for a show. I'm going to return to my old stomping grounds in Mount Pleasant, Texas. It's 118 miles east of Dallas. Wow. So I'm going back for a show. And I'm going to see some of those old high school classmates who still follow me and stay in touch, which is pretty cool, but it's cool. At the time, I was working this construction job with my dad and making really good money. We're busting our ass. I mixed 27 tons of concrete by hand that summer. But during my time on that job, I started going through the phonebook. That's what we used before we had Google Chuck we had no I remember, yeah, I went and I saw I for some reason I saw record companies in the phonebook. So that's cool. I'd like to have a record. So I started calling them at the as you know, am or arysta, whatever I started. And they would say I'd say hey, I'm Ron keel. I'm a 17 year old singer, songwriter, musician. I'd like to have a record deal. Can you put me in touch with somebody? And they would say now this is just a shipping and distribution outlet. We don't have any a&r staff or anybody in the creative department here. Yeah. But thanks for calling. And they hang up and I just went down the list. I got to MCA Records, and I got to the ends. And I talked to the same the same pitch. I'm Ron keel. I'm a singer, songwriter, musician. I'd like to have a record deal. Who should I talk to? And they said, Hold on, please. They put me in touch with this guys. This is Brad hunt from MCA Records. And I told him the same thing. I'm looking for a record deal, right? And he says, Well, can you meet me at four o'clock on Thursday in my office in Dallas? I said okay, yes, it was 118 mile drive and I bought a business suit. I had a really nice promo kit with these color eight by 10 photos and a demo tape with four songs on it. That I wrote the songs I played all the instruments, drums, guitar, bass, vocals, I did all this myself. And I went into his office and I put my my pitch on his table. He listened to the cassette tape. And he looked at my color eight by 10 live shots and all the stuff that I had prepared. And he says, look at it. This is just a shipping and distribution office. There's no a&r here, but I can't help you. Yeah, I know somebody who can. And he got on the phone right then in there with Leon to silis, who was one of the a&r guys at MCA in Nashville. He says, Leon, I got this kid here in my office, he's going to be a star someday. Can you help him? and Leon says, Yeah, get into Nashville, and we'll kind of demo and that's how I ended up going to Nashville at the age of 17. With guitar and notebook, a really nice suit,

Chuck Shute :

and a pocketful of dreams. Wow. And so then they passed on your music because they said it was too heavy or too prime or means was like 1979. So heavy metal and 99.

Ron Keel :

Yeah, it was my music was like Bob Seger, or the Eagles, or Tom Petty at the time. certainly wasn't country. But nowadays, though, those lines have been blurred, and music, Bob Seger, or Tom Petty, or the Eagles is certainly resonates with the country audience as well. But in 79, it did not. But I fell in love with Nashville. And I felt that musical vibe at the time I was the first of all, now Nashville is full of all the heavy metal and hard rock guys. Yeah, you probably know. Yeah, I was the first guy to go there. And there was no rock scene at all. There were two bands. And I joined one of them taboo, the bands contest. And all of a sudden I'm on the radio and making records. And that was what catapulted me into the world of hard rock and heavy metal.

Chuck Shute :

Okay, that was that was lost. So you started with taboo, right? And then, and then you ended up joining lust, right? Is that what happened?

Unknown Speaker :

That's correct. Yeah.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, tell me the story, too. This is, uh, this is kind of crazy. You were in that band taboo. And this is a lesson that you learned that was pretty crazy. You're because your keyboard player, he just dropped dead at 23 years old, some sort of aneurism, or brain hemorrhage or something that kind of taught you a lesson that life is short. And you never know, this could be your last song.

Ron Keel :

Probably the most valuable lesson I've ever learned in my journey. my travels or my career was that night, in Nashville in rehearsal, I was 19 at the time. And we were rehearsing and Kevin, the keyboard player who was the musical director of the band, and literally just an amazing talent and amazing human being, there were no drugs involved. He had a hereditary disease that he didn't even know he had. But he had a cerebral hemorrhage and a heart attack at the same time, right? Right there in front of everybody in rehearsal. And that taught me a lesson that has stayed with me to this very day and will always be a part of me, play every song, like it's your last because you never know, when that when your time is up, you just never know. And I've instilled that work ethic and that philosophy into everything that I've done. And it's certainly paid off. For me I enjoy every moment, every song, every discussion like this, every, every show, every everything that I do, I live life to the fullest and enjoy it as much as I possibly can. Because we're all on a one day contract, you have no guarantee that we're going to be any of us are going to be here tomorrow. I'm going to fulfill mine to the deal today, tomorrow, as long as I possibly can. But that lesson that I learned that day, probably the most profound and important lesson that I've ever learned was Yeah, that I and I've lost a lot of friends along the way, as well, as we know, you know, I host a weekly radio show. As you probably know, Chuck in almost every week, I'm doing an obituary of people that are our heroes and friends and contemporaries and peers or are passing. I mean, I've lost a number of dear friends this year alone. And none from COVID. But from life. Yeah. And so, every, you know, the longer we live, the more we lose. And those those people continue those people that I love my mentor, George Schmitt, my music teacher, as I said, so dear friends and bandmates and heroes and so many have passed this year and years gone by and you just never know when you're going to open up social media and see another one yeah, the dust. So that's why I live every day to the fullest and enjoy life. I continue to thrive and create and and just just I know I don't take any of it for granted. Now for sure. Ya know, my grandpa said the same thing. He loved the 91 he said that's the hardest part about getting older is that the older you get, the more people you know die. So that's the tough thing. But anyways, going back to your story, so then you end up joining this band last. I thought this was interesting because they actually

Chuck Shute :

You to try out. And so you showed up. And you walked in and there was another singer and you you kind of were hesitant, and it was actually your wife at the time that like had to like kind of push you through to like, No, no, let's let's you know you need to go try out and then that's kind of interesting for like you had such goal before. What was it? Do you think it wasn't maybe a good fit for you at that time or because it's a it's a great story, Chuck. Yeah. The fact is,

Ron Keel :

we, we didn't have GPS back then. And these guys were rehearsing in a school auditorium, way out in the middle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, outside of Nashville, and the directions I had were sketchy. We had met at a concert and I was always dressed for success. I went to see rush, I think Saxon was the opening act that night. And I had on you know, I had my big hair and the leather boots and the leather jacket and the scarves. And you know, I was all decked out like a late 70s, early 80s rock star already. And they, they looked at me and these guys, lager guys came up to me. Hey, man, are you a singer? Yeah, you know, I am a singer. And they gave me their number. And I gave them my number. And we kind of parted ways. And they called me a week later or so I'd heard them on the radio during this radio contest. KDF the rock station at the time was doing a battle of the bands, playing the contestants on the local music show on Sunday night. And I'd heard their their track that it sounded fantastic man that that was like a cross between AC DC and Judas Priest and really have a well produced really good singer on the demo. And I thought, Man, that's cool. And I actually voted for him. I called the radio station for last. So the next day, they called me and said, Look, man, we were on the radio last night. No, yeah, I heard it. It was fantastic was kick ass. They said, we've got to do this battle of the bands Sunday night. We've got to play live. And we need a singer. I said, What about the singer that's on the demo. He sounded great as well. That's our drummer. And because they didn't have a singer, drummer had sang the lead vocal on the demo, but they needed a frontman to perform live, they'd never done a gig. And I said, No, I mean, that's, you know, that's it sounds great. I love it. But it's really not my it's not it's not where I'm at. And I don't think I could, it's it's wasn't for me. And I hung up and they call back an hour later. Come on, man, you

Unknown Speaker :

know, you got to do

Ron Keel :

this. And we you're a rock star. We need you. And it's not really for me, man. Yeah, screaming heavy metal thing. You know, they call back every three hours. And they call back the next day. And finally I said, All right, I I'll do it. So they said, well, we're auditioning singers tonight, man. Come on out. We got a couple other guys coming out. But we want you to come out. And we want to want you to sing with us tonight. So I got lost on the way and will tell us two hours late. All right, that's the the Jeep getting back to the no GPS, yeah, football. I got to the door and there's a door to this auditorium with a round glass window. And my first wife was with me at the time, and I'm all dressed up in my Rockstar gear. I looked through the window. And I listen, you can hear them through the walls. Man, the guy sounded great. The guy they had, whoever it was was really that really good vocal tone. And he was standing there reading the lyrics off of a sheet but he said a good I just turned to her. And I said, it sounds like they've already got somebody let's just go home. She goes, No, you go in there you go in there. Ah, she pushed me through the door. All right. So I go in and of course about six foot four leather boots and leather jacket and big hair. And I just kind of walked in and all the heads turned the there's probably other girlfriends or brothers and sisters or whoever was sitting in folded chairs out there and the guys are on stage and they looked at me and I took the lyric sheet that the guy was looking at and he was just standing there reading the lyric sheet and singing a Sing sing really well. I took the lyric sheet. Memorize the lyric top the bottom, crumpled it up, threw it at him. I said okay, let's do it. And I grabbed the mic stand and I started flailing the mic Standing Rock it out. And the other guy just left. He knew that he couldn't measure up to that. That rock star it was that performer that entertainer That rock star who commanded and hopefully still does, but you've got to command the room. That's your job as the front man, when you grew up listening to and watching people like David Lee Roth and Paul Stanley, and the list goes on. That's what is expected of a front man in a situation like that. And I delivered the goods. And I joined the band. We did the show that Sunday night. And for the first time, I walked out on stage and saw a packed house of probably 300 people. The room was packed at this club in Nashville, with their fists in the air. Everybody rocking out and it was an amazing thrill a rush like I've never felt right. I never felt before. I felt it again since. Yeah, but that was the first time I felt that rush. And I thought this hard rock heavy metal thing is pretty cool, man. Yeah, get on this thing and ride it as far as I possibly can. I love hard rock and metal music Don't get me wrong. It wasn't just me. Assuming a role, I loved Deep Purple let's upland kiss Alice Cooper, all those hardened heavy bands of the 70s. And it was a true joy to put myself into that role. And take it to, to the next band stealer and then to Los Angeles and

Chuck Shute :

right. Yeah, so he'll, let's

Ron Keel :

talk about that as it goes on. And you were worried the story continues?

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. So you were quit, you quit or you're fired from LUST? It's kind of debatable. That sounds like they were gonna fire you so you quit. And then you started this band Sniper. What is that... (shows big flask) nice, nice. So you started this band Sniper, or you join Sniper. And then they move... they change the name to Steeler, they move to LA. And you guys moved to LA and then Mike Varney from Shrapnel Record records recruited Yngwie Malmsteen who if people don't really you know, some people listen to my show might not know a lot of rock history or some of these names. But he is he one of the top Guitarists of All Time and he's got to be up there in the top 10, right? Would you say? I mean, just based on ability maybe not your pleasure working with him. Maybe that was difficult, but I'm saying just based on guitar ability. He's got to be up there. Right.

Ron Keel :

Ability to do what?

Chuck Shute :

to play the guitar?

Ron Keel :

Well, you know, I guess that's a matter of opinion. I wouldn't put him in my top 10.

Chuck Shute :

Really? Top 20?

Ron Keel :

I don't rate him, and my job here on your show, Chuck is to not not to rate Yngwie Malmsteen... no, reallyI... mean, he was an amazing talent. He still is. We did our first album together, which became the biggest selling independent record of all time...And put both of our careers on track.

Chuck Shute :

Oh, for sure.

Ron Keel :

The success that we've had since that.... didn't work out. He was in the band for during the sessions. And we did a great record. We just celebrated the 37th anniversary of the release of that album just a couple of days ago. Yeah, a milestone in my life. And my, my history and I'm really proud of that record was a cornerstone of that era. And that genre releases September 25 1983. In the early 80s, in the heyday of that Hollywood hard rock and metal scene would spawn Quiet Riot Motley Crue, me Yngwie and so many others that had the opportunity to to be heard at the time and some of us are still making noise.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, for sure. And then you're going to go into start keel. But before you do that, you had you make a brief little pitstop. In a very short time you you're in Black Sabbath. That's that's a pretty well known band too. So tell us the story there. You guys recorded a demo that people can actually hear on your Patreon if they want to sign up for that, right?

Ron Keel :

That's correct it for a very brief time. I was in that circle and in Black Sabbath and not not just a pretty well known band, the most iconic heavy metal band of all time.

Chuck Shute :

Yes.

Ron Keel :

And it was an amazing opportunity to to experience that, to meet with Tony and Geezer and their management. I got the job based on some demos that I cut, and never had the chance to perform or tour with them. But I was able to last year release an album called Emerald Sabbath with a bunch of Black Sabbath alumni guys that are former members or members of the extended Black Sabbath family and I got to cut three songs on that Emerald Sabbath album with Rudy sarzo on bass, who longtime Ozzy Whitesnake,

Chuck Shute :

yeah, I've had him on my show. Yeah, great guy,

Ron Keel :

Vinnie Appice on drums D.C. Kothar from the Ron Keel band on guitar and I got to do three songs on that record. An Ozzy song "Hole in the Sky" , "Trashed" the Ian Gillan song from Born Again and Ronnie James Dio song "Died Young" which we filmed a great music video for which you can see at Ron Keel Dot Com. So I'm really proud of that brief encounter with Black Sabbath is still a part of my my history and still a part of my activities to this day and I enjoy revisiting that I enjoy the challenge of singing those songs and living up to the height of that. That brief Yeah, moment in time in 1984...

Chuck Shute :

Definitely a good resume builder. But so then you decided, and actually I think geezer geezer and Tom and Tony had come to see your band keel, you're like, Okay, I guess we'll do one show. And I think they kind of saw that they're like, this guy's like doing his own thing. We're gonna do like the dark metal and you were kind of doing a different sound. So you started this band keel? How did you find? You said, You're an older, wiser, more experienced person at this age at 24. How did you find the guys to be in Kiel? Did you know them from the LA scene? Or?

Ron Keel :

Well, each each person and that original key lineup came to me in a different way. Hmm, some of them I knew. And some of them were introduced to me. I mean, I've always been really lucky. And really fortunate that amazing, talented people have. I've just been really lucky to find them and have them have their paths cross with mine. Yes. Mark Ferrara, who is the lead guitar player in Kiel. Yeah. And the still an original member who was part of that core nucleus at the very start in March of 1983. Still a very dear friend of mine, and an amazing musician, songwriter and human being. So I, I didn't really find them. A lot of them found me. Cool. Just I was extremely blessed. extremely fortunate. I still am at this at this time in my life to to have the guys of the Ron keel band and I was able to create my dream team here. And we've had the band for five years now. And we've had some amazing success some some really good times and bad times, the last five years with this project that I'm currently completely devoted to.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. So in that original record the "Right to Rock" 85, Gene Simmons produced it. That's pretty cool. I had a question though. Steve Riley, I didn't know I realized that he played drums on that record. He's been in LA Guns and WASP, and he played with Keel. I mean, how does that guy keep finding all these good...Like, I feel like if you find one good band in your life, like that's pretty amazing. He found three heavy metal legendary... what is it about that guy? Do you have any theory as to how that guy keeps surviving and like persevering?

Ron Keel :

Well, he's driven. Let's put it that way. Steven was always driven to succeed and to play. And if you- his preparation is great. I mean, you've got to be ready for those opportunities when they knock. Stevenn left Keel to join WASP. Right after the sessions were done. And okay, and spent a long time in LA guns, as you probably know, yeah. There's still two versions of LA, right his version and the other version. Sure. He's a good dude, man. He's a great player not. I was glad that we were able to cross paths and we continue to see each other and do a show together from time to time in events like the Monsters of Rock cruise, where Steven, his band, He was in LA guns at the time, and KEEL was on the cruise and Steven came up and sang The Right to Rock with me on stage. That's cool. Probably what 2014? Yeah, but a great guy and great players like that in three of you. Yeah, he's had. I've had more great bands than I think that Steven has. I've been I've been super fortunate as I have to have Steeler, Keel, Iron Horse, Fair Game... Saber Tiger. Now, the Ron keel band. So many projects that I'm extremely proud of and blessed to have to have been able to steer the ship. Yeah, as the captain of those projects and bring some great music to the to the audience and the listeners through the years.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, absolutely. So 85 that was a good year because you had that debut album. And then you guys went back to Nashville. And you headlined the biggest concert of the summer there. You had Steppenwolf and autograph opening for you and you ran into those last guys that had fired you or whatever and but that was cool. I heard a story like you invite them back on the bus. Okay, guys, come on on. And like that. That must have been a good feeling for you to kind of like you made it at that point.

Ron Keel :

Well, I think we need to fill in some of the blanks. Oh,

Chuck Shute :

sorry. Sorry,

Ron Keel :

if you would, because if you're going to go back to that time with lost Yeah, I was about to get fired. We had we had recorded the happy story. Yeah, we got a record and we're on the radio. The problem was I sucked and I didn't know how to sing. And I was still extremely green and learning my craft. I am not a naturally talented singer, this is a skill that I learned and perfected were hard to achieve. They did not think that I would ever be able to front a national act or to sing a good lead vocal, a master vocal in the recording studio. They did not believe that that was possible, and they were going to fire me with good reason. As vocally I was I was not, I wasn't even close to the guy that I walked into replace. Just put it that way, the guy who had the liturgy Yeah, I got to get because I was a rock star.

Chuck Shute :

You had the moves in the look, but not the sound yet.

Ron Keel :

And we cut a record that ended up being played on the radio in Nashville, extensively, that that homegrown album, my first album appearance ever, and it would it would make me cringe every time I heard it on the radio because it was absolute garbage. And it still is the fans that overlook some of the faults or comings of that recording because it's on YouTube and it's pretty much common knowledge Now unfortunately, I wish we could bury it because it's absolute garbage there. Were going to fire me, okay. Rather than get fired, because the base person Hey, man, you know, I can use my friend. He's the guy. They're gonna fire you tomorrow. All right, thanks for the heads up. So I quit. And, of course, what it was, what? Four years later for him back to Nashville. I'm assigned to act and I'm headlining the biggest event of the year in Nashville, one for the sun. As you mentioned, autograph. Steppenwolf is an opening up for us. My big homecoming show coming back triumphantly to my old stomping grounds to Nashville. And the tour bus pulls up outside the venue. And I see the guys in my old band and my ex wife to my ex wife, and all the guys is my overhead. I see them. They're waving to the bus. And I've been the bicycle. Yeah, as I said, Hey, pull over. And the bus driver pulls over today. Come on, in, come on. I advised them all on the bus. This is the guy that they were gonna they were gonna fire. This is the guy that my ex wife used to yell at whenever I pick up my guitar like that damn thing, dad, okay. And these guys in this band. They didn't think I had had it. They were gonna fire me. And I didn't rub it in. You know, I mean, we're still actually friends. To this day with with Ken Kennedy and the guys in that last band, they realized I think that they you know, we probably should have kept this guy because he turned out to some turns out he didn't know what he was doing. And I did eventually learn to sing many years later. But don't

Chuck Shute :

you think that made it might have been a motivator for you in a way to these guys. You wanted to prove them wrong and away, right? I mean, I

Ron Keel :

wanted to prove my mom and dad wrong and everybody else that ran me out of town. I wanted to sing. I just wanted to sing. And I heard a voice in my head that I liked. But when I heard it back on tape, or or if I had to learn how to control that instrument, I had to have training, I had to have a lot of practice and hard work, trial and error and learn because everybody can sing. Sure. Everybody is born with the same tools, the lungs, the larynx, the mouth of the jaw, and we've all got the same tools. Anybody can sing. Those of us who really want to sing for a living are the ones who take that. And it's for some it's a gift. Mm hmm. Some people are born with that natural, beautiful tone and pitch and talent. I was one of those guys that just really wanted to do it so badly that slyke any skill hammering Nope, none of us are born learning how to take a part of a car engine and put it back together. You don't know how to hammer nails and build houses are all the skills that that we were all we all those are all acquired skills. For me singing is one of those. And I'm proud of proud that I stuck it out. And I did not give up of course I learned a lot along the way playing other instruments, guitar, drums, bass, and all the classical instruments as well to have a French horn trumpet. And so I, I've always had that creative urge and that energy to create and to to sing. And a lot of it is practice. A lot of people will ask me in interviews like this, how are you still doing it? at a fairly high level at my age? I'm 60 years old. And the reason I'm able to still do it on that same level is that I practice a lot and I still work extremely hard to three hours a day I heard. That's correct. Yeah, if I can

Unknown Speaker :

and

Ron Keel :

I have a rehearsal room. Hear at home and I will go through the entire show. Top to bottom. I sing often, and I always and I'm always talking, doing interviews, hosting my radio show keeps my voice in shape for sure.

Chuck Shute :

So I mean your hard work paid off 85 you guys were named the best new band from circus hit parader rock scene magazines. I mean three different places said you're the best new band. And you had the first times you had where Gene Simmons produced now that he did you learn a lot of this work ethic stuff from him to he teach you a lot. He said he's one of the biggest influences on your career

Ron Keel :

that my dad taught me the work ethic he was my dad was a hard working all American are drinking hard party and construction worker who was always the first man on the job site. He kicked ass all day long. And he was the last man to leave and he parted his house off when he was done working. Pick up the next day, all over again. I learned the work ethic from my dad. I learned the marketing and the business a lot from Jean. And that's why there are 47 items available in the store. Ron keel.com We even have where's my where's my Ron keel lunchbox? I have what's your big lunchbox?

Chuck Shute :

Do you have the keel casket yet? Because kiss has the casket

Ron Keel :

now but I'm sure I'm not far off. I think I've got another 2030 years to go before I hit the casket. Yeah, so you could bury me one of the kiss caskets that's actually going to be cremated. I don't just shove me in the oven when I'm done and until then I'm gonna scream.

Chuck Shute :

Well, let's hope that's a ways away. Let's let's think about that. But your third

Ron Keel :

1985 then we got a long way to go a long way to go. third album, keel self titled produced by Michael Wagner. One of my favorite producers because he's done the skid row albums which I love. He's done the the warrant, doggy dog underrated album, in my opinion. And he mixed for Metallica, Ozzy Alice Cooper, like what is he like to work with? Coming from Gene Simmons? Like, what's it? What's the difference? Or the difference was Michael was more hands on, he was actually the one who dialed in the sounds and he was more technical with the gear and the microphones and the digital technology that was our first recorded digitally in 87. But one thing they both have in common was that they were both fearless. And they would try anything. Hmm. Jean taught me that. It taught me so many lessons about making records that stayed with me to this day. Gene Simmons would would be very prepared, especially in terms of the kick drum and the bass guitar patterns, how those instruments worked in tandem. He would, he taught me how to be well rehearsed and prepared when you hit the studio, but also to be flexible enough to stay creative. And if you have an idea on the spot, and let's just try it and improvise or add a section to a song here and there. Michael was very much the same way he was unafraid to try anything and push the envelope and use different recording techniques or different microphones are different environments or different aspects of the technology, which was still evolving at the time.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, so one of the things he did is you took on the one of the songs, you took 75 voices on the first track and you doubled it 100 times. So there was 1500 tracks of background vocals on that. And apparently that's a Guinness World Record, or something for most background like

Ron Keel :

you do the math. Yeah. 75 voices I'm not sure how many times we doubled in multitrack thousand sounds cool. It's massive. Yeah, absolutely massive. And we just thought at the time, I love that about Michael, those huge anthem choruses and background vocals, which we had on all those 80s Records and still have on my albums to this day will stack background vocals will stand on the mic. And we'll double track triple quadruple, have the guys move positions. Every time you do a new track everybody moves so they're at a different angle onto the microphone and that stacking you start with the root. Then you'll do the high part and you'll do the low part and then you'll double all of those and just that stacking technique of those big huge anthem chorus background vocals has been a trademark of my music since back in the day.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, so it sounds like that. It was a pretty good time for you toured with Bon Jovi. Motley Crue, do queens right. Aerosmith, Van Halen. I mean, was there any band that you didn't tour with an 80s? That was big. I mean, that seems like everybody

Ron Keel :

we never toured with kiss. Ah,

Chuck Shute :

even though Gene Simmons produced he didn't have you guys open or something?

Ron Keel :

That would have been a good idea. I thought I urged gene many times to take us out on tour. Yeah. He declined However, he would get on the phone and push buttons for us. I remember him calling Ozzy Ozzy I got the spirit kill you have to take them on tour with you next year because it was all gold is bad. Metallic, Gothic, old tech Metallica Jesus. No you got to take keel He chose Metallica in the long run, but it wasn't BECAUSE JEAN Jean was fighting for us every step of the way. He did a lot for us pushing buttons in the industry. I remember when we did the final frontier album cover, it was extremely expensive. And it's one of the most iconic album covers and 80s in the 80s album cover gallery, because it's got the Twin Towers. Now the World Trade Center in the background with the New York skyline, and the keel logo is a spaceship rising up out of the New York Harbor, with the Statue of Liberty in the background. And the album cover was extremely expensive. It was airbrushed art, not computer graphics. They didn't do that stuff. In 86. It was hand painted by john Taylor dismukes. And he sent us a bill of $15,000, which was a lot of money back in the day still is a lot of money. And I knew that there was no way I was going to get MCA to pay for it. They're never going to foot the bill 15 grand for an album cover. Are you kidding me? So I called Jean. Jean, I need you to come to this meeting with me and unveil the new album cover for MCA Records. So they had this big meeting in the boardroom there at MCA and in Hollywood. And all of the executives were seated in a circle around this conference table. And Gene Simmons walks in with the big master artwork on an easel covered up with a sheet and he puts it down in front of them and he pulls the sheet off unveils the album cover he says this is your album cover. It's going to cost you $15,000. And they said okay. So yeah, God bless him. And he pushed a lot of buttons for me taught me a lot too. And we're still I'd like to think there's a special relationship with Jean and I know the last time I saw him a couple of years ago, I was on the radio doing my daily radio show on Cape Cod 94 five FM in Sioux Falls. And I'm in the booth and I see Jean walk into the lobby through the glass. I took the headphones off and I went out into the lobby and he saw me comment and he just reached out his arms wrapped me up in this big huge bear hug. didn't say a word just speak strong man hug which meant the world to me more than words could say mean just really thankful for, for having gene contributed so much to my music, my life. My career. And I know that a big reason to write to rock became the fastest selling debut album in hanham. Records history in spring of 1985 was because Gene Simmons his name was on it, the kissing the kiss army bought that record, BECAUSE JEAN produced it. And to this day many of our fans are were kiss fans first and then became keel fans. So enables me to be a part of that kiss convention circuit where I'll do special appearances last year with the Helsinki, Finland for the kiss convention in Helsinki. And I do a lot of those big kiss expos and conventions. Thanks to my relationship with Jean and Paul and all the guys in kiss. So it's been a, it's been an amazing to be a part of a very small part, just a thread. And that huge tapestry that is the legend of kiss, and the Black Sabbath to a certain extent, to to be associated with two of the greatest bands in history and to, to have been, like I said, a very, very small part, but a part nonetheless. And having those those bands be a part of my life and my history is an incredible honor.

Chuck Shute :

So and one thing I think that you learn from Gene Simmons was he didn't always have a lot of beautiful women around him. And so you actually started a band that you fronted it. I didn't know that you funded an all female rock band. I'm looking at the picture of this band and I'm gone. Okay, I got I have a hard time focusing when there's a lot of beautiful women. Was it hard to work with all these beautiful women? And you're, I mean, this is like a job for you, right? I mean, you're trying to have to like work with these women every day. Right?

Ron Keel :

Well, the difficulty was not so much in their, their their gender. But the female musicians were different. I've always been a fan of hot female rockers Lita Ford, and I are good friends and have been for a long time Joan Jett, played on the final frontier album, worked with the girls in vixen co wrote a song The title track to their sophomore album rev it up. So I had a lot of experience with with female rockers and still do to this day. I toured Australia with Janet Gardner the lead vocalist vixen earlier this year. So I thought when kill was done in 89 I didn't just want to put five more guys together and call it key All even though everybody in the business Gene Simmons included, says Ron, just call it keel. It's your name. Yeah, I didn't want to do that. I wanted to do something totally different. I've always wanted to make history and do cool stuff that nobody else has ever done, man, let's climb a different mountain. And no, no rock front man had ever had a hot, rockin all female backup band, like basically like fixing with a male front man. Yeah. And it was an extremely challenging and rewarding project. We ended up with some great songs and some great vocals. But they were very sensitive. They, when they poured that passion, there's something that women can do, something women have that men don't have, and that passion that passion is the best word for it, they poured it into the music and the shows and we worked extremely hard to some great gigs and released an album that very, very proud of to this day. However, by then, in the early 90s, Nirvana and Pearl Jam and other styles of music had begun to take over. And it was very difficult to get that project where it deserved to be. So yeah, it was a great moment in time and a great couple of years and some great work. Yeah, people have amazing experience but very proud of that now, I was not distracted by the tits and ass

Unknown Speaker :

play in Salt Lake plenty of guys, that

Ron Keel :

if it was a job, and I was the I was the captain of the ship, I was the leader of the band, and their lines you don't cross. And that was never an issue or never in the way the problem with fair game was that it was just a little too late to the party. Yeah, then Nirvana and Pearl Jam had taken over.

Chuck Shute :

Still a pretty ballsy move. I like it. And here's another ballsy move. Now you go you decide allright, I'm gonna try something totally different. And you you started a country band Iron Horse, right?

Ron Keel :

No, you missed a whole decade...

Chuck Shute :

I missed a decade. Well, what are you doing in the 90s then?

Ron Keel :

I didn't try- "'ll try something different." Yeah, that's not how it goes, man.... When you're a rock star...and you're on MTV and you're on the cover the magazines....and you are living the dream with Van Halen, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue. And all of a sudden, all of that is taken away from you all of that. All of a sudden, when Nirvana and Pearl Jam came along, it was no longer cool to be us. We were a laughing stock, not just me, but all the guys in all those bands from the 80s, some to a lesser degree -Scorpions and Bon Jovi did survive. Van Halen survived in one shape or another, but for the

Chuck Shute :

I lost you... It was a long, hard fall. And all of a sudden, you're sitting there with a beach house, a couple of sports cars, a huge mortgage, wife and kids, and you have no income, you have no record deal. The tours, you've done, record deals done. You're not going on tour this year, you know, it's done. What do you do?

Ron Keel :

I started going to little roadside bars, grew a beard.... And I take my acoustic guitar to these road houses. And I'd say I'm Ronnie Lee, didn't even use my last name. I'm Ronnie Lee. Could I play, I'll play for tips. I'll play for free, just so I could play and sing and express myself. And nobody was paying attention everybody's shooting pool or getting drunk or trying to get laid. But I was singing and I was playing and I was staying alive spiritually and musically. And I started going out to the desert with that acoustic guitar in my original home of Arizona. Oh, that's where I'm from In the mountains. And I would build a fire with a bottle of whiskey and a guitar. I'd sit there and these songs started pouring out of me. It wasn't like I think I'll try country music. Now this music saved my life. When some of my other contemporaries in my peers were having to get a real job or overdosing on drugs. I was able to create and sing and write. And it sounded like country music to me... It was songs about real life. Being broke, getting drunk chasing women, songs about real life. It was country music. And I ended up joining a putting a band together. That backed me up and these little Roadhouse bars where I was playing We made $28 and 50 cents a night per man. And I used my middle name Ronnie Lee. And that was my name people would come into these little Roadhouse pats.... And you look like Ron Keel... and I'd go, "Never heard of him." I wanted to build from scratch without the trappings of being an 80s rock star, or any prejudgments from anybody in my band. The guys in the band didn't even know the guys in the band didn't know that I sold a couple of million records and toured with Bon Jovi and Van Halen. They had no idea. The guys in my band did not know who they were back crazy. I'm just Ronnie Lee. I'm just a guy who want to sing I want to play and we, we worked our way up through that circuit in 1995, to where we were the top drawing act in the southwest at the casinos, the rodeos, the Roadhouse, country bars. This is when Garth Brooks was king, Garth is still King. Yeah, this is when country music was thriving. And I got to relive that Hollywood thing all over again, through country music and the club scene and in the rodeos and the casinos. They were packed and there was thousands of people line dancing, hot girls dressed up in this cowboy hats and boots and strutting their stuff on the dance floor drinking heavy. it was the country years were just as wild if not wilder, than the Hollywood years. So I got to experience all of that , for the decade of the 90s Hmm, when I was a country artist, and also had a lot of success with that music and TV and films. My songs started appearing in TV shows like The X Files and the Simpsons, and a lot of major motion pictures. And, really, that's that's what paid the bills ended up by joining a band called The Rattlers in 1997, which released a great album and tourd the world as a country act we did we work for the Department of Defense, touring in Europe and the Mediterranean entertaining our troops on the military bases. So for a couple of years, so until 911, that working for the Department of Defense and touring the world and making great money and getting to sing and play and entertain a really hungry audience, our US military, there's so many great dreams come true during what we call the country years. ButI was never completely at home in either metal, or country, because still to this day. Now the lines have been blurred a lot in the last decade or two. But metal was a strict framework of what you can say what you should be how you should act, how you should dress. You can't be a regular guy, you can't. It can't be the guy next door. You have to be a rock star. Country Music was very much the same way. You can't say this and you got to dress like this. And you got to be humble and you got to talk with an accent. And you got to be yes ma'am. No, ma'am. I was was never really comfortable in either area or genre. The only time I finally found my place in music was when I combined both hard rock and country music into a style of music that I call hard rock and southern country metal or cowboy metal, so to speak. And it has the songwriting, sensibilities of country music where you can tell stories you can sing songs about real life, but you do it with thunderous drums, screaming guitars and a lot of energy. And that is where I ended up and that's where I've been the last 20 years with country metal so to speak. You you put those two elements together for lack of a better term. It ends up being classified as Southern rock

Chuck Shute :

Southern. Yeah. And that's your new album is a South by South Dakota. And it's a southern rock covers, right?

Ron Keel :

That's correct. We've just released a new album called South by South Dakota on high vol music. And it is a celebration of the Southern rock tradition with cover versions of the iconic classics by Allman Brothers, Leonard Skinner, 38, special Blackfoot, Molly hatchet, Marshall Tucker band and more.

Chuck Shute :

So question, you're the first is it would you call it the first single is red, white and blue. It's the Lynrd Skynrd cover, right? You made a video for those.

Ron Keel :

That is the first single from the new album, Red, White, & Blue, I'm extremely proud of that song. Our version of that song the message that it says and sings and also the music video for Red, White and Blue which we released a few months back that was filmed during the pandemic during the locked down during what they were calling social distancing. The guys in the band could not be in the same room together. We've gotten over that. Yeah, in one sense, but at the time, I felt each member of the band and a different iconic location, including Mount Rushmore where I shot my footage, and I'm very proud of that video red, white and blue from Ron keel band. You can find that on our official Ron Keel music youtube channel and on the website and all those other links. It's all be found at Ron keel calm.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, it's interesting, because it's a very patriotic song. And I was talking to my girlfriend about this the other day, it's interesting, we were talking about how like, it's weird that being patriotic is like it's considered it's almost like not PC now. Like, it's considered you're like a right wing person you know, it's a political thing to be patriotic, which is like weird to me. Because like, when I was a kid, everybody was patriotic, there was Fourth of July and it was just like, you know, everybody was patriotic. Now, it's like, it's almost like a political, if you have an American flag, you know, people assume certain things about you. You agree with that?

Ron Keel :

Well, certain people are always going to assume certain things about me. Or about me, or my music, or what that song is all about? Yeah, I am absolutely a patriot. If nothing else, and I don't have any problem, flying, the red, white and blue is standing up for what I believe in.

Chuck Shute :

Now, that's, that's really cool. And I mean, you've done so much, so many amazing things, you've got quite the resume. What do you think the secret to your success is with your longevity, and being in all these different bands and having so much success over the years where I you know, I see a lot of people with a lot of talent that have, you know, kind of fallen by the wayside. And you know, you hear like this one good album, and then like, they just disappear. And you're like, why didn't they make any more like, how did What kept you going? I mean, because it's tough. Like you said, Nirvana came along. And I mean, you could have just given up at that point and got a day job or something. But you reinvented yourself. Yeah, why is just like the drive you think?

Ron Keel :

There's two things, Chuck, it's not rocket science. First of all, you got to stay alive, okay? Stay healthy. And I'm still alive, where a lot of my peers and friends and people that are younger than me are no longer with us. So I'm still alive, I'm still healthy. And I never stopped. I never quit, never considered giving up. Now, there. There are always ways to evolve and change. And people will ask me about reinventing myself, how did you do that? I do a consulting thing. And I try and pass on some of the knowledge and experience, whether in meetings or interviews like this one, how did you reinvent yourself and the secret to reinventing yourself is not to lose what you had is to add to it, you're not subtracting, you're adding, I am still all the same guy, all the same stuff that I was and had, I still have it. And I still am that guy I've just added to my resume, so to speak, or my character or my, my toolbox. Sure, with things like the radio show, different styles of music, TV, and film, work sessions, my subscription [email protected] slash Ron kale, where we it's literally a modern day, 21st century fan club. It's the keel army, we call them Killa holics. And you just could continue to add to what you do in order to succeed. But it all starts with the music. That's why I still practice hours a day. That's why I still pick up the guitars and the microphone on a daily basis. And it's all about the music, none of this other stuff, my book, my radio show, my consulting activities, my subscription platforms, anything that I do the recording sessions. None of that would be possible if I wasn't first a singer, a musician, and entertainer and a storyteller.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah. And are you also an actor? Because I heard that you were offered some roles in the 80s. But you turned them down because they were like rock star roles. You know, he wanted to play the villain.

Ron Keel :

But you know, you did. I never turned a role doubt

Chuck Shute :

that interview so that

Ron Keel :

I got passed on. Oh, okay. I didn't want to I didn't want to be typecast.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah,

Ron Keel :

you know, the token Rockstar, but I didn't turn any roles down. I needed the money at the time, especially after the after the fall, so to speak. I did a few movie roles and a few television guest appearances and things like that. Truth is, I wasn't really good at acting. I've been always been much better just being myself. And I enjoy that challenge. I just never was really good at it. I didn't study acting and I had a few roles and I it's much easier to be myself even though a lot of the roles that I've played throughout my career as the metal as rock star that the country singer or the Metal cowboy or the radio show host these are these are kind of like roles there who assume but still the most important thing about any of those roles is that I just be myself I think that's probably the key to being a good actor too. Yeah, they have to sink themselves into that and and become that person and it takes a lot of discipline I certainly admire and respect some of those people that you know dinero and Tom Hanks even though I might not share their political views but I certainly admire their ability to lose 50 pounds for an active role or to adopt a new accent or to have you know, just all the stuff that they they go through to to to portray those characters for sure much easier just to come on the chuck shoot podcast and be myself

Chuck Shute :

I love it man. Is there any roles whether acting or music - I love these ones like musical especially- I know Black Sabbath, you were close with that... Is there anything else that you were close to like either You almost made it a job or you turned something down or anything and these were offers like that that we don't know about?

Ron Keel :

Yeah, there are a few Oh, you got to give me these and this is good stuff. Yeah, there'sa few... Skid Row when no fucking way really?? They were looking for they were looking for a singer and I was friends with Jack Ponte. Still am. Jack Ponte was one of their mentors and part of that Bon Jovi Jersey crew

Chuck Shute :

Yeah...

Ron Keel :

And I was on tour with Keel in '87 .. and Skid Row and I, we had dinner and I got to hang out with them in Jersey, and they came to the show, I believe it was the Meadowlands Arena. We're touring with Bon Jovi, and they were looking for a singer. And I was holding the Meadow Lands in the palm of my hand and just screaming my guts out and delivering the goods at the top of my game... And after the show, the guys from Skid Row.. "Ron, you're the man. You're the man. Oh, thanks. No, no, Ron, you're the man." I got a feeling they were asking me, if I would consider joining the band. Of course, I had an album on the charts. And I was touring with Bon Jovi at the time. So quitting Keel wasn't an option, but they were looking at me like, you know, raising their eyebrows. That's a fun story. I don't know. But Sebastian, obviously nobody was better for that role...speaking of roles, than Sebastain on that first Skid Row record that...you mentioned Michael Wagner who produced that record right after the Keel album. And certainly one of the iconic albums of that era. And I might have blown a few opportunities. I do believe that the Black Sabbath- I'd like to think that I could have done a good job at that gig had things turned out differently. But I wouldn't change a thing, man. I don't like to look back and say what might have been, and I live for today.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah..

Ron Keel :

I'm on. Like I said, I'm on a one day contract. I'm going to live it up today while I can. And I always keep focusing forward every now and then I'll look back on the milestones, and the anniversaries and the celebrations and all that but really, I think the best is yet to come. And I'm concentrating on doing work today, tomorrow, next year, that says good or better than the work that I've done in the past.

Chuck Shute :

Did you Is it true? You wrote a song for Alice Cooper and then he turned it down? And what if so what song was that?

Ron Keel :

I don't think so. No.

Chuck Shute :

Okay. Is it true that Randy Johnson, the Major League Baseball pitcher is a big fan of yours?

Ron Keel :

I don't know how big he's a big dude. I've never met the big unit fan it is okay. I heard I heard that he was killed fan noise to rocker. Yeah, I heard that he was a keel fan and me being from Phoenix and him pitching for the Diamondbacks. I'm pretty sure there was a lot of common ground

Chuck Shute :

and Carrot Top

Ron Keel :

he's a fan of yours as well. Right care of Topsy. He's my boy. All right, on top of our good buddies, and he grew up like that's cool how a lot of a lot of guys like that Randy Johnson or Carrot Top or some of these big executives at these companies now whether it's Facebook or you know, Universal Music, though, they they grew up as keel fans and then when it pays off for me in big ways. We just did a Facebook ad campaign. I don't really know how I got the gig but they used cold a and l one of my Steeler songs in a major Facebook ad campaign, which is really cool. The movie men are black too.

Chuck Shute :

Yeah, that's right song

Ron Keel :

and that song speed demon is in that film. It's not because we were going to them saying hey, please use our song. The song was what 20 years old at the time or even older. Somebody. One of the producers of the film was was a keel fan growing up and remembered us and show us our song to be in that movie. Carrot Top when I moved to Vegas. He reached out to me says, Hey, man, I heard you're in Vegas now, a big fan which comes down to the show and I, you know, I went to see his gig and he's a hilarious comedian smartcat funny guy and a huge rocker. And he and I became good friends in that. So it's really cool how some of those relationships will come out of people that that listen to your music, or you had some kind of impact on their, their childhood or their formative years. Now, that's really

Chuck Shute :

cool. One thing I noticed about you looking at interviews, and then albums and things, you're you, you really always had like a really distinct like style, like with your clothes and stuff. I saw an interview with you. And I mean, it looked like you were wearing an 80s heavy metal costume. Like you had the red pants and the the leopard print boots and the big hair. And then I saw you know more recently though, now you have like the cool. What do you call, it's like the black leather cowboy who does your style, like you just pick all that stuff out yourself? Because it's so cool. Yes, that's that hat. It's like,

Ron Keel :

I almost wore the hat for the interview today. But it's tough to see the eyes. Okay. Yeah, I could read off the teleprompter. But that I mean, I just wear what I think is cool. Like anybody Yeah, I don't have a stylist or anything. I need

Chuck Shute :

to get some of your stuff. Where do you go shopping, I need to go to the stores. I don't see that a target. So I don't know.

Ron Keel :

Well, I do have several apparel companies that I've worked with. I love the plug center vention threads. This is a rock and roll gangstar head here this one is favorites rock and roll gamestar.com you can see their logo on there. They are absolutely killer. They make a lot of the Rockstar clothing and apparel that I wear but they black hats are made by some intervention threads, the custom stage apparel, also the pants by intervention threads, the bests and such or RSP Rockstar clothing. And I have a hand in designing that stuff. But I don't really micromanage it, okay. It's cool. They make me something make me something cool, that looks like it's all torn up and beat up. And I like that they send it to me and I wear it it looks cool. But I think that that's part of the 70s or 80s mentality and me I think you have to, to look the part you have to dress for success, you have to have to be larger than life in some kind of way. And I try and balance the larger than life with the guy next door. Yeah, as you can tell from this interview, I'm just a regular guy working hard doing what I love to do. But I think people expect or should expect their rockstars to be at least a little bit larger than life and you have to have a character and character is the metal cowboy, man. Right? throw my arms. That's my Billboard. That's who I am. And that, you know, this is, you know, that's that's my fashion statement. It's who I am. It's what I do. And I really like people can take it or leave it I learned came to terms with the fact that I sold 3 million records right 3 million albums throughout the course of my career took me a lot of albums to achieve that number. But you know, if you sell 3 million albums, and a lot of those are repeat customers, a lot of those people are people that bought the same they bought every album I ever did. So you know, I say 2 million people that I've sold to in my life, that means billions of people don't like you or don't want what you do. And and I'm cool with that. Yeah, I have to please myself, first and foremost, I look in the mirror and put myself to bed at night going yeah, I like that guy. You know, I'm proud of who I am. I'm comfortable in my own skin. I just want to be me and do me. While every day of my life from now on. If you don't like it, man, just move on, scroll down to the next guy. And Alright, but if you if you want what I got, I've got some good music. And I've got some stories to tell. And I've got experiences to share and I bring something to the table or to your speakers, or your concert event or venue that I think my goal is to make you feel something make you realize, man, I really like that, that that, that, that that was fun. And I enjoyed myself, I want to hear that again, or I want to see that show again or it's touch people's lives in some way. Sometimes it's more profound and that sometimes you really do make change. You can save lives music and stop a bullet. But I've seen it happen. I've saved people's lives. from suicide, with the strength of my music, the message behind songs like the right to rock, the attitude and the emotion that I try and convey. It's called strength. It's competence. It's empowerment. It's say man, I'm just a high school dropout. A kid who really didn't I'm not really good at anything else but this and the only reason I'm good at this is because I work really hard at it. You could do the same thing that's really cool give up Don't quit don't even be yourself and follow your dreams one day your dreams are gonna follow you.

Chuck Shute :

Absolutely very inspiring. Well, I always end with a charity I'm sure there's hopefully there's a charity that you work with or that you've promoted in the past.

Ron Keel :

Absolutely. One that is very near and dear to my heart is guitars for vets.com we supply guitars and guitar lessons to veterans with post traumatic stress disorder. That's why we've we've 10s of thousands of guitars and veterans have been touched by this cause and it's it's amazing to put the healing power of music into the hands of our heroes, and I encourage everyone to visit that. Okay, site guitars for this.org I can't

Chuck Shute :

believe 60 summit episodes I've done and I've never heard of this organization all the rockstars I've interviewed that's great though I'll definitely have to check that out I'll put it in the notes and where else Ron keel calm or is it Ron keel band calm Believe it or do both work to get to your website.

Ron Keel :

Ron keel calm has been there for over 20 years. It's gonna be there for another 20 years long after your AOL Instant Messenger your MySpace, your Facebook, or into this or into that as long gone? The conventional website is always going to be Ron keel.com. Now Ron kill ban.com is valid takes you right to the banned page. Yeah. Ron keel comm is your one stop shop for everything I do the videos, the tour dates, the Patreon platform where we provide exclusive audio and video content for 699 a month. That's 23 cents a day. I'll be your Huckleberry I really bet it is like a meet and greet. Over 500 people now okay have as members. It's like an all day all night meet and greet but I'm here for my people. They're there for me. And it's an amazing community of people. Or I share all the cool stuff that you're not going to see on Facebook or YouTube or anyplace else you're gonna get it on my Patreon page. You can find that and lots more at Ron keel

Chuck Shute :

calm, awesome. Any other future plans anything? tour dates coming up? Or?

Ron Keel :

Well, I've got I've got dates next year. We're always attempting to bring the music to the people good. It's very fortunate this year that I was able to tour Australia and do the Monsters of Rock cruise both before the pandemic slash lockdown quarantine, all that we did the Monsters of Rock cruise in February the Australian tour in March. And I've been able to do 24 shows this year, which is more than a lot of my peers have done for various circumstances. We're in South Dakota, we're able to do the Sturgis rally. I've done shows in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Minnesota and South Dakota, as well as those overseas dates that I mentioned. And I am ready, willing and able to go wherever it takes to entertain people. I love that energy that we get from those live concert events. But Meantime, this month, we're going to relaunch the ron paul band live stream. This was an online full production Big Show concert that we did in August for over 12,000 viewers. Now we've remixed and remastered the audio and relaunching that on my Patreon page as an exclusive for the members there in October. So stay tuned to the Patreon page. If you want to see us Live in Concert. This is as close as you're going to get less. Who knows what's gonna happen with our industry? Yeah, hope for the best and we want we want to get back out there and entertain people and do it however we possibly can hope to be at the front of the line when they open the doors. Okay,

Chuck Shute :

awesome. Well, thank you so much Ron keel. I appreciate you coming on here.

Ron Keel :

Thank you, Chuck. I appreciate you. Thanks for the opportunity and thanks your listeners for putting up with me for the last hour plus

Chuck Shute :

that the rock. Alright, see you later. Okay, bye. So that was Ron keel. From keel or the Ron keel band. He's an intense Dude, I would I would not argue with him. I think he could probably kick my ass. So make sure you go to his website. All the links are in the notes there below a follow Ron on social media. Follow me if you want, you can subscribe to my show wherever you listen on YouTube. That way you'll never miss an episode. And if you enjoy the show, you want to support me, you can either share the episode on social media, write me a nice review of the show on iTunes. Or if you want to just donate cash on my Venmo that's an option too. Thank you all for listening. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day or night. Remember to follow those dreams like Ron did take his advice. shoot for the moon.