Wednesday, 26 February 2014 22:40 | Written by Raymond van Haren |
YOU GOT IT... THE RIGHT TO ROCK...
With the release of his new “Metal Cowboy” solo album and his autobiography “Even Keel: Life On The Streets Of Rock & Roll,” hosting the “Streets Of Rock & Roll” radio show & TV show, and appearing in as well as consulting for the documentary film “Hair I Go Again,” Ron Keel’s career in the entertainment business is experiencing yet again another climax. Oh, and 2013 marked the 30th anniversary of the ‘Steeler’ album. Enough reasons for me to ask the American rocker about his background and the creative process of ‘Metal Cowboy’. You can find the answers when you scroll down or click 'read more'...
Raymond van Haaren: First of all let me thank you for this great opportunity to have this interview with you. How does it feel to finally completed your new album ‘Metal Cowboy’?
Ron Keel: Thank you for the chance to talk about my new music, my book, my tour, and this new chapter in my journey.
It feels great to finally have the 'Metal Cowboy' album released after two years of intense creative chaos and hard work. But completing the album and getting it released is just the first step, now we want to promote it through interviews like this one, get out on stage and play, and keep the wheels turning, so the job is never really done.
RvH: While listening I feel it is a very special album for you. Are most of the lyrics about your personal experiences?
RK: Metal Cowboy is very much a glimpse into a place that I’ve created where I can feel at home – all of the lyrics and music are personal statements about whom I am, what I think and feel, and what I want to share with the listeners – I think there’s some Metal Cowboy or Metal Cowgirl in everyone, and I wanted to touch that nerve. The bottom line is trying to create something you’re proud of that others will enjoy as well.
RvH: The thing I like the most about the ‘Metal Cowboy’ album is that the album title says it all. Did you write all the songs yourself or with friends?
RK: I really think it’s rare that an album title describes the music as well as this one – Metal Cowboy. And it’s the first album in my career that I’ve written myself – I did have some inspiration on “The Cowboy Road,” but the Metal Cowboy album is my house, I built it with my heart and soul – everyone is welcome to come on in and join the party!
RvH: How did the creative process go?
RK: At this point in my career, my standards are high and I am very critical of what I create because I always want it to be great. The creative process is a 24/7 job of capturing ideas, interpreting them into words and music, long nights with the guitar, the recorder, the notebook and the whiskey bottle. I went through about thirty songs before I came up with “The Last Ride,” which became the foundation for the entire project.
I try to stay creative always, it’s not like a switch that I can flip, it’s like any skill – the more you do it, the better you get at it.
RvH: The guest list is impressive: Oz Fox (Stryper), Brent Muscat (Faster Pussycat), Geno Arce, Bryan Jay (Keel), Stacy Blades (L.A. Guns), Paul Shortino (Quiet Riot / King Kobra). How did the guest list for the album come along?
RK: The foundation was built between me and Y&T drummer Mike Vanderhule, who played all the drums on the album. It’s not an all-star/special guest thing – I really wanted an album, not a collection of songs. Frank Hannon from Tesla came on board and did some amazing lead guitar work; Geno Arce has been playing bass with me for 15 years and has a great handle on this style of music. I was of course honored that my dear friend and favorite singer Paul Shortino would sing an amazing duet on the album with me. Some of the unsung heroes on this disc are Keith Robert & Kenn Tonn from my touring band, plus Travis Toy from Rascal Flatts and Ronnie Mancuso from Jake E Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel.
You must have received an early version of the press release because Oz Fox and Bryan Jay were slated to lay down a couple of solos but the schedules didn’t work out – those guys are two of my dearest friends and favorite guitarists, so I promise to showcase their skills on Metal Cowboy II!
RvH: In the promo video of ‘Metal Cowboy’ you said "the world we live in now isn't the world of 27 years ago". Could you explain what you mean with that?
RK: Change is inevitable. Our world, our culture, is not the same as it was in the 80’s, just like the previous eras and generations had their time. Times will always change – all we can do is roll with it. Just listen to the words of the opening song on Metal Cowboy, “Long Gone Bad.” Once we believed there was a chance for world peace – now all we have is a world in pieces.
RvH: Could you tell us when you were first thinking of becoming a Rock Star?
RK: From the age of two. Something snapped inside me like a glow stick when I saw the Beatles on TV and there was never any second guessing or turning back.
RvH: 2013 marked the 30th anniversary of the Steeler album. Do you miss those times?
RK: The Steeler album was released September 25, 1983, and we celebrated the 30th Anniversary of that release by having Rik Fox, Mark Edwards, and Mike Varney on my Streets of Rock & Roll radio show and playing some classic cuts. I know it’s a metal milestone and a fan favorite, and I appreciate the fact that that album has a special place in history and a special place in many people’s hearts.
Do I miss those times? No – because they are still alive within me. It was great back then, but it’s great now too, and I have the stories, the memories, and the music to keep it alive.
RvH: How was Steeler formed? And what is the reason for you guys falling apart after such success?
RK: Steeler was formed in Nashville and fought our way to the top of the LA hard rock scene in the early 80’s – it’s a great story, and if you want to know all the details, I suggest you check out my official autobiography “Even Keel: Life On The Streets Of Rock & Roll,” find out where to get that and my new CD at http://ronkeel.com.
Success is a relative term – Steeler sold a couple hundred thousand albums, while my band KEEL has sold several million albums.
RvH: Are there any plans of coming to Europe any time soon for a ‘Metal cowboy’ tour?
RK: I really appreciate that the European fans have embraced the Metal Cowboy album – sales in Europe for both the CD and the book have been overwhelming. I want to bring this music to the world, I’m ready to rock, and now it’s up to the agents, concert promoters, and venues help me accomplish that.
RvH: ''Metal Cowboy' was also about fundraising for a project of wounded soldiers. Did you reach the set goal? And what are the plans for this money?
RK: We surpassed the goal with our pre-sale campaign – the platform we used, PledgeMusic.com, gave us the option to donate some of the money to the Wounded Warrior Project and I am proud to help and support that cause. But there will never be enough money to reward the Wounded Warriors for their service, they are the real heroes and we can never do enough for them.
RvH: From the entire LazyRocker.com Crew I want to congratulate you with this new album, and wish you all the luck for the upcoming year!!!
RK: Thanks again for the chance to talk about my new music and projects – and thanks to the fans who enjoy what I do, hope you will hang with me at http://ronkeel.com and enjoy the ride!