Keel (Ron Keel)
SpazioRock had a pleasant interview with Ron Keel, leader of the american band Keel, on the occasion of new album "Streets Of Rock & Roll" release. Enjoy it!
Article by Daniele Carlucci - Publish on: 03/02/10

Hi and, first of all, welcome to SpazioRock. 2010 will be an interesting year for Keel: you are going to publish a new album, “Streets Of Rock & Roll”, and a new special edition of “The Right To Rock” to celebrate its 25 years. What do you expect from the new year?


Ciao, hello to all our rockin’ friends who are reading this! We’re very excited about the release of these projects, and enjoy the opportunity to share our new music with fans of commercial hard rock. Our intention was to create and record the best album possible, and I know we’ve done that: “Streets Of Rock & Roll” is a fun ride and a great collection of brand new Keel songs. We’re also happy to release the digitally re-mastered version of our classic major label debut “The Right To Rock.” I really don’t know what to expect in the year to come. I hope people will buy these releases and enjoy them, and I hope we can play some shows around the world. I live my life one song at a time, and I intend to enjoy this life, create music, sing and play, and continue to entertain people.


Speaking of “The Right To Rock”, you gave to your fans the opportunity to sing with you, through a sort of contest on the internet. A thing, as you say, never done before. Do you want speak about this contest?


It wasn’t a contest or competition, it was an open invitation for our fans to join us on the new version of this song. Other artists are doing it now, but I believe we were the very first to do it. We asked our fans to send in MP3 versions of them singing the chorus of “The Right To Rock” and we blended them in with our voices. So in this way, we allowed fans from around the world to actually participate in the recording of the new version of “The Right To Rock!”


With this "invitation" you tried to use the power of internet, that allows you to be in touch with your fans everyday?


Yes, we posted a guide track on our web sites which fans could download and then record their voices in the breaks. Some of them were really good! When added to our voices, and the friends and other celebrities who sang on this song, it sounds massive, a huge rock anthem chant to keep that tradition alive. The internet is there to use for us to relate with the people who enjoy the music, and I do what I can to answer the e-mails and messages personally. Without these people, the fans, we would not be able to do what we love to do.


Speaking of the new album, “Streets Of Rock & Roll”, are you completely satisfied with that? Have you planned a tour to promote this album worldwide?


I am more than satisfied. I love “Streets Of Rock & Roll” as a fan, not just as the singer, musician, and songwriter. I listen to it all the time, crank it up real loud and enjoy the music. It is something I’m very proud of and pleased with. It has all the elements of a classic album, we really set out to make a statement, and to create songs that can back it up. This is music you can pump your fist to, sing along with, and listen to with your heart as well as your head.

As far as a tour, we want to do big shows, as many major festivals as possible and reach large audiences. We did this in the U.S. in 2009 at events like Rocklahoma, South Texas Rock Festival, M3 Festival, the MidWest Rock Fest. So much really depends on the fans: if they buy the new album and the response is positive, the more opportunities that will be available to us. It also really helps when fans are vocal on the internet web sites, message forums, e-mails and such, everybody can request to see Keel at the festivals near them and we hope that we can come and perform at these events



keel_break1
 

Last January you come back together in a live performance in Hollywood, getting a good response. Did your fans give you inspiration to write the new album?


That first show was an incredible experience, to be back on stage together in Hollywood where it all began 25 years ago. There was a lot of pressure to give a strong performance: many fans from all over the world, from Europe, Japan, Australia, and our friends and families, our peers, everyone who was at that gig deserved and expected a great show, and I think we gave it to them. The band was tight, well-rehearsed, and I thought we delivered an entertaining evening of  Keel classics.

The inspiration to create songs for a new album came from all sources, the excitement of the reunion, the energy we share together, the fans. I think first you have to do it because it’s what’s in your heart, and the act of creating is its own reward, then it comes down to sharing it with people who enjoy it and people who can relate to the music.


How did the idea of a reunion come up? How’s the feeling of being again on the road?


The nucleus of the band, Marc Ferrari, Bryan Jay, Dwain Miller, and myself, have remained friends through the years, and often discussed the possibility of doing the reunion. The 25th Anniversary seemed like a perfect time, and we had all the pieces in place…we were determined that if we were going to do it, we would do it right and we’d do it for the right reasons. It’s not about the money. We’ve taken all that and invested it back into the band, and used our entire recording budget to make the best sounding album and best looking package we can. It’s about the music, and celebrating 25 years’ worth of good times, friendship, and rock & roll.


Let’s talk about the past: in 1986 you recorded the cover of “Because The Night”, written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen. Why did you choose this song?


It really was on impulse: I was on my way to rehearsal and heard the song on the radio. Immediately in my head I heard the Keel version, so I recorded a demo in my home studio, played it for Gene and the guys in the band, and it was unanimous that it would be the cover song for “The Final Frontier.” We had recorded a cover song, the Stones’ “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” on the previous album so we wanted to keep that tradition going. That song has stood the test of time: I’ve been doing it on stage for 23 years now and it always works, it’s so cool to hear the audience sing the chorus with us.


keel_break2_01How it was working with Gene Simmons in the first years of your career?


Incredible. Gene is obviously one of the biggest icons in rock history, and to have him on our side, in the studio and in our career, was great in so many ways. He did a great job with the songs, the music, the concepts and the recordings, and also was a big help in the business. And he was always surrounded by beautiful women, which was also very cool.


How did you get in touch with Frontiers Records? How’s working with them?


It’s no secret that Frontiers Records is one of the premier labels in commercial hard rock music. We were looking for a home for the new Keel album, and got a great feeling from these guys. Their reputation in the business is exceptional, they are known for releasing quality projects and promoting them well. We are really fortunate to have found such a perfect situation for the band and our music, and we’re extremely happy to be working with the Frontiers crew.


In your opinion, what has changed in rock, compared to 20-25 years ago?


A lot has changed in the world, and those changes are always reflected in music. It has gone in cycles, as most things do, and of course technology changes everything. 25 years ago I would never have dreamed of putting my new album “Streets Of Rock & Roll” on my phone, or chatting with fans around the world on the internet, but these are just tools: a great song is still a great song, and the best music is that which reflects the feelings and emotions that drive us all: good times, bad times, love, anger, passion. That’s what rock & roll is all about.


Your song “It’s A Jungle Out Of There”, it’s about hate and “the dark side” of people, which make the world a dangerous place to live. I think that it’s an actual subject, that fits also our times…


The world’s always been a dangerous place…it always will be. It’s got nothing to do with hate, Keel music in general has always tried to convey a positive message It’s all about survival, the law of the land…a song like that just captures it in words and music.  It’s a jungle out there on the streets of rock & roll…


Well, that’s all. Thank you Ron. Would you leave a message for your fans and SpazioRock users?


Of course we want to thank the fans who have enjoyed Keel through the years and keep the music and the dreams alive, and we want to welcome all the new fans who may be experiencing Keel for the first time, and hope that everyone stays in touch with us on line at http://keelband.com and http://ronkeel.com. Welcome to the Streets Of Rock & Roll!


Ciao, Ron Keel




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