Having known Ron for
a little while and even sitting around a camp fire with Donna and
Shael while Ron played an acoustic guitar and sang some of the songs
he was working on at the time was a true honor. A surprisingly solid
down to earth guy and obviously a true artist. He can't hide his
love for the music. It may be business, and may be some surprisingly
hard work, but the music is a life time not a past time. It's great
to see him continuing what he does best, even better with Keel as a
band Rocking the rafters of the world. Giving a listen to Keel
“Streets Of Rock & Roll,” CD reminds me so much of what I love about
Keel photos and Keel album art Copyright (C) KEEL 2010 used with
The Labels may fly
when Ron Keel's name is bandied about, Rock and Roll, Glam Metal,
Country, Southern Rock and plethora of other titles and labels. But
the talent and the drive of the man surpasses any label. The talent
of all of the guys combined, is the stuff of Rock folk legend. The
latest Keel offerings “Streets Of Rock & Roll” has a powerful mix of
tunes that combine surprising depth and perhaps the hint of the
benefit of maturity and experience. The album opens with a Catchy
rock melody “Streets Of Rock & Roll” that brings the surgically
skilled guitar duo of Marc Ferrari and Bryan Jay to bare. Sprinkling
the song with arps, crescendos, stabs and builds, all the while
Dwain Miller's drums keep the beat with pounding underlying animal
danger, to alighting into drum kicks and cymbal work that must keep
the sticks flying.
The masterful Bass guitar sounds glue things together nicely and are
provided by none other than Geno Arce. Who is also an awesome guy
who we first had the pleasure of meeting years ago, when he was
playing with Iron Horse. Then of course there is Ron Keel, the front
man to Keel brings his brand to the band. This vocal Jedi of the
music world can bring on the heavy metal rain and in the next
instant turns the tide into a rock ballad ( “Does Anybody Believe”)
that plays on the emotions. The mind blowing song “Hit The Ground
Running” brings on the more classic Keel sounds with an underlying
angry menace just underneath the controlled wail that bares the
We are glad to see Keel back, but Keel is more than the cliche full
circle story, full circle almost hints at the end of a journey.
Hearing what Keel, as a band, brings to the music world once more
with this latest album, tells me we will be seeing a lot more of
Keel. The journey, much to the benefit of the musical world is far
The CD Keel :Streets Of Rock & Roll is paved with Rock goodness. Do
your selves a favor and pick this one up. If you want to download
it, check it out on iTunes.
Ron and Keel where to be going on their latest tour, but a certain
Earth event in the form of a volcano blowing it's top caused the
cancellation of Keel's European tour dates. We threw some interview
questions at Ron.
Here we go....
EDWIN: OK, everyone has a little inner geek. We have seen the
footage of the Vulcan hand sign and heard the words “Live long and
prosper.” from you.... and that's a good thing actually.....so what
is the last computer or video game you had the time to play? What's
your favorite game?
Keel photos and Keel album art Copyright (C) KEEL 2010 used with
RK: My inner geek is
never far from the surface…yes, I’ve been a lifelong “Star Trek” fan
and even named one of our albums “The Final Frontier.” I am a
workaholic, and rarely slow down long enough, but I have a
computerized chess board in my dressing room and make moves while
preparing for shows. After three years, I recently finally beat the
machine on the Master level right before I walked out on stage, that
felt pretty good.
I bought a video game system last fall because there was a game that
simulated driving in the U.K., on the wrong side of the road, and I
was preparing for a tour of England, Scotland, and Wales which took
place last October and November. I didn’t do so well on the game,
but logged 1400 actual miles while on tour without an accident or
incident, except for one lady I nearly ran over while trying to
parallel park on the wrong side of the road.
I’m a football junkie, so the only other game I have is Madden 2010.
I like to play once a week if my schedule permits.
EDWIN: What makes Ron Keel Happy?
When things go right. I enjoying conquering challenges and achieving
difficult goals – making dreams come true has become a way of life
for me. I love my work, and feel fortunate that my work ethic,
combined with a certain amount of luck and perseverance, has enabled
me to attain some measure of success in my profession.
Singing well is a huge rush. I sing every day, and have been singing
every day for decades – sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s magic,
and on those occasions when the spirit is with you there’s nothing
like it. The satisfaction I get from writing a good song is
extremely rewarding – I’ve been writing and creating music all my
life, and I appreciate those rare moments when you realize you’ve
created something special.
EDWIN: What makes Ron Keel Not So Happy?
RK: It takes a lot to get me down. I try to see the positive in
every situation. Pain is part of life, and when it happens to me I’m
fortunate that I can channel it into music and turn it around.
EDWIN: When did you know you wanted to be in the music business?
How did you cultivate that goal?
RK: I never wanted to be in the music business – I’m a singer, a
songwriter, a performer, a storyteller. The business is a necessary
evil, a storm I’ve learned to navigate through in order to make a
living being me. I believe I am genetically artistic – both of my
parents were very creative in a number of ways – and I focused that
creativity on music at a very early age because I was inspired by
rock & roll. I immersed myself in music, learning to play the drums
and guitar while trying to sing, putting bands together with friends
at school, going on the road at a very early age. It’s been a
lifelong obsession – a blessing and a curse – but it’s more than
what I do, it’s what I am.
EDWIN: Tell us about your first experience on any stage.
RK: I was just as nervous my first time at Madison Square Garden as
I was playing for free hot dogs at my first backyard party. One of
the most incredible experiences – the day I feel like I “made it” –
I was 14 years old, and my band was playing a Halloween dance at the
Arizona Retarded Children’s Home (A.R.C.H.). (Writers note, this is
what the home was actually called then) Those kids were so
appreciative, so full of love and so thrilled that we cared enough
to play for them – that is a very powerful feeling that has helped
sustain me for decades now.
EDWIN: You have phenomenal stage presence and stage movement
skills...is that something you worked on? Or is that just you being
RK: That’s me giving the audience what I would like to see if I were
a member of the audience. It starts with your mental vision of who
you’d like to be, and then you learn to translate that vision into
physical movements, mannerisms, and expressions. I also try to
maintain a balance between choreography and spontaneity – half of it
needs to be thought out and requires concentration and focus – but
the other half has to be natural, just having fun and rolling with
EDWIN: We all know the old saying.... Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll.
How true is that?
RK: I’m sure it depends on the person. Sexual promiscuity is not in
anyone’s job description, but I’ll guarantee you there are a lot of
doctors and lawyers that are fucking everything in sight while
writing their own prescriptions for pain killers and lining up a
rail of cocaine – it doesn’t take a rock star to do that.
I’m no angel, and I’ve enjoyed the best sex and drugs rock & roll
has to offer, but for me it’s always been about the music first and
foremost. A spirit of rebellion is almost a prerequisite in my
field, and sometimes that goes hand with the decadence and
hedonistic nature of rock & roll. Part of the audience’s fascination
with this lifestyle is what happens on the wild side, and I can
respect and appreciate that without getting out of control.
EDWIN: Back in the 80's you and Gene Simmons made the press
rounds on talk shows speaking out against censorship. The both of
you are eloquent and intelligent speakers, great spokespersons for
Rock and Roll and such a cause....do you think censorship is still a
RK: More so than ever, because our freedoms are being systematically
taken from us. And what you hear on TV and radio is controlled by a
small group of people who have no creative or artistic instincts and
don’t care about the cultural implications of their decisions. The
internet is the new frontier for creative expression, and it’s a
double-edged sword – it’s a wonderful outlet for all artists and all
genres, but that over-saturation dilutes everyone’s ability to
succeed. In other words, instead of a hundred acts selling millions
of albums, there are millions of acts selling hundreds of albums.
EDWIN: Now when we are talking censorship, we are not talking
about a sticker that says parental advisory about strong
language....or are they the same to you?
RK: Censorship is censorship. People who claim authority regulating
or restricting what we express and how we express it. Whether
they’re labeling it or suppressing it, the intent and the results
are the same.
EDWIN: Whose idea was it to get KEEL back together?
RK: The nucleus of the band – guitarists Marc Ferrari & Bryan Jay,
drummer Dwain Miller, and myself – has remained close and discussed
the possibility of a reunion from time to time. I had actually
abandoned the notion and finally come to terms that it was never
gonna happen, and of course that’s when it happened.
EDWIN: Was it an easy choice for all concerned, or was it more of
a process of...well this and this has to be in place and such and
such has to happen....what are some of the things that took place to
make it happen?
RK: Everything had to be right before we pulled the trigger. All
four of us had to be in agreement, and we had to have the right
business opportunities to proceed – what good would it be to reunite
if we didn’t have any gigs?! It really took a booking agent –
Sullivan Bigg at Bigg Time Entertainment – who was also a KEEL fan
and who believed in the band, and had the power to make things
happen. He was able to confirm major festival appearances across the
U.S., and that was the juice we needed to make the commitment
necessary to move forward.
EDWIN: It is wonderful to see Geno Arce on board. He is a truly
great guy and very talented. Was it a no brainer on making the
choice to invite him on? How was that decided?
RK: KEEL’s new bassist Geno Arce has been with me for almost twelve
years now, through all the IronHorse days and even before that.
You’re right, he’s a great guy and a very close friend and that goes
a long way with me. Bryan & Marc had met him and jammed on stage
with him when IronHorse passed through Southern California in 2002,
and a lot of my fans and KEEL fans were already familiar with Geno
because of our history together. So it was a no brainer, nobody else
was discussed or considered. I didn’t even ask Geno if he wanted the
gig – after talking it over with the other guys, I just called him
and said “You are the new bass player in KEEL.” It was a great
feeling to make that call, and from day one Geno has brought an
incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm to the band.
EDWIN: This latest album, KEEL: Streets Of Rock & Roll..without
sounding cliche....really rocks! How much of a collaboration was
this album in terms of songs and music arrangements?
RK: It was a total team effort – Marc, Bryan and I collaborated more
on the songwriting this time than ever before. There were a couple
of reasons for that – one was because we were mature enough to put
our egos aside and enjoy working together, and the other was because
of the technology available to us now that we didn’t have back in
the day. One of us could come up with an idea, send an MP3 to
someone’s phone, we could write on the run, we could get together
long distance with video conferencing, and all this technology has
made it easier to create together. The entire creative process was a
blast, there were no disagreements or debates, we just went with our
hearts and our guts and ended up in the same place with a very
special album that we can really enjoy and be proud of.
EDWIN: For the live shows, do you all experiment with the song
arrangements a bit or is it pretty much right from the albums?
RK: We do the best we can to represent the song in its proper
context – I don’t see the reasoning behind working so hard to create
a great song and a great recording, and then doing it different
live. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
EDWIN: Will we be seeing more KEEL?
RK: No, I think we’ll keep our clothes on for the remainder of our
EDWIN: Donna, Shael and I always enjoy seeing you, doing a gig or
otherwise, and on that note, where can our readers see about any
tour dates and plans?
RK: Due to the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland, we’ve just had
to reschedule our European trip for September, when we plan to hit
several countries. We have some East Coast dates in June, and we’re
trying to cover as much ground as possible. We just go where they
send us, and a lot of that is out of our hands – it’s up to the
talent buyers and promoters to realize that KEEL is a valuable asset
to any bill that consists of quality commercial hard rock acts. We
invite the fans to keep up with us on-line at
- and keep rockin’ on the streets of rock & roll!
Have fun, play games...