KEEL frontman Ron Keel is featured in a new interview with SleazeRoxx.com discussing various chapters of his lengthy career. An excerpt is available below:
Sleaze Roxx: What was it that led to you changing to country music in the mid ’90s?
Ron Keel: “You have to realize that in the end of the ’80s all the bands like us… like when grunge happened in 1991/92 we went from the top of the world to being slammed right in the fucking ground. We went from being gods of rock’n'roll to being a joke overnight — everybody, almost all of the bands hit the ground really, really hard. When I hit that ground I realized there was no more record deal, and had to sell the beach house and the sports car. What did I have left? I had my guitar and my voice. This was my way to avoid the drugs, it got really tough and I was able to express myself through that type of music and I was able to release my country music and that paid my bills and I expressed myself by being able to perform any music.”
Sleaze Roxx: Let’s go back in time to when you started STEELER. You recorded this legendary album in 1983, how do you explain that it would be one day become one of the biggest selling independent metal albums ever?
Ron Keel: “Of course you must have confidence and believe in what you do — my goals have never really changed. I just always wanted to be a rock star, make music, have fun, and make money! I’m very thankful for the success of the Steeler album because it launched my career and gave me the opportunity to put Keel together. The Steeler album, which was released in 1983, was part of the foundation of ’80s rock and has achieved a legendary status — and I’m very proud of that.”
Sleaze Roxx: What was the magic, in your opinion, of that album?
Ron Keel: “Well, it was my first album, and it was YNGWIE MALMSTEEN’s first album. The combination of my songs and voice — screaming metal vocals with powerful commercial rock riffs — and Yngwie’s classically influence guitar solos was a unique sound that inspired a generation of rockers.”
Sleaze Roxx: Is there any chance of Steeler coming back again?
Ron Keel: “There’s always a chance. 2013 will be the 30th Anniversary of that album’s release, and I’d like to do something special to mark that milestone.”
Keel is an American hard rock / metal band originally formed in 1984 in Los Angeles. The band is best known for their rock anthem "The Right to Rock" and their mid 80’s success albums THE RIGHT TO ROCK and FINAL FRONTIER which both were produced by KISS bassist Gene Simmons. Their classic lineup included vocalist Ron Keel, guitarists Marc Ferrari and Bryan Jay, bassist Kenny Chaisson and drummer Dwain Miller and they stayed together until 1988 when Ferrari and Jay decided to leave the group. The band replaced them with keyboardist Scott Warren and guitarist Tony Palmucci and managed to release one more album LARGER THAN LIVE before they slowly disbanded in late 1989. The classic lineup did a brief reunion in 1988 and released a collection of unreleased material under album title BACK IN ACTION but it wasn’t until 2008 before they made a decent return. The new Keel studio album STREETS OF ROCK’N ROLL saw the light of day in early 2010. I had the pleasure to sit down with Ron Keel in Stockholm in September of 2010 and discuss the reunion, the future of Keel, and various other topics including Ron Keel’s other bands and projects: Fair Game, Iron Horse, Saber Tiger, Ron’s country music years and working with Gene in the 80’s and… read on !
Stockholm Rock Out is a new rock festival in Sweden which is now in its second year. When the first edition of the festival took place on May 1st it was almost disastrous because the giant volcano clouds forced most of the headliners to cancel their appearances but this time all measures worked well without any unexpected problems or last minute changes. By European standards, the band line up in Stockholm Rock Out was somewhat extravagant. The list included many great bands which haven’t been here in ages, like Keel and Tuff, and there were also some unique one off performances like the one with Great White w/ Paul Shortino on vocals and the farewell show of Zinny J. Zan. Like the organizers advertised, this festival is indeed organized for music lovers by music lovers.
In the mid-80′s Keel made an immediate impact when their Gene Simmons produced album THE RIGHT TO ROCK hit the streets, primarily because of their now timeless anthem of the same name. Still, despite promising record sales and critical accolades, Keel never crossed that invisible line into super stardom the likes of some of their contemporaries. One thing that can not be argued against however is that Keel were one of the most talented acts of their era with a wholly unique sound featuring a powerful front man whose voice remains as easily recognizable today as it did back in the 80′s. Ron Keel has journeyed from Metal pioneer with acts such as Steeler and Keel, to country music, to Southern Rock, to various projects of different styles, to once again reforming Keel, just in time for the 25th anniversary of THE RIGHT TO ROCK. Their latest opus, THE STREETS OF ROCK & ROLL, continues the bands tradition of potent Rock and Metal. Ron Keel recently took the time to answer some questions for Metal Rules.