Questions asked by Jon Wilde, added to Rock Realms 30th September 2009.
Ronny Munroe is the former singer of Metal Church and, now, a solo artist for the Metal Heaven label. His new album, The Fire Within, is a bit of a corker...
Hi Ronny, thanks for taking a moment to answer these questions. Hope you are well?
Ronny: Thank you Jon... I’m doing great and I hope the same for you!
I’ve read you started as a drummer. How did you end up singing?
Ronny: Yes, you're right. I played drums for 7-8 years before I was bitten by the lead singer bug. I heard "Man On The Silver Mountain" by Rainbow one day and I was like "holy crap, who's that singing?" and that was it! A couple of years later I traded in my drums for a mic and power amp and started my internal quest to become a Rock Star, as a singer.... the rest is history!
Do you still like to give the skins a good bashing occasionally?
Ronny: Whenever I can, yes! I get behind the kit and bash out some beats as much as possible. I still have a passion for the drums and I plan to play a little on my next CD, so watch out! Ha! Ha! It's great to exercise the demon!
What got you into music in the first place, and when did you realise it’s what you wanted to spend your life doing?
Ronny: Well, I believe it was the AM radio in my Mom's car when we took drives to the lake and also sneaking into my sister’s rooms and listening to their records when they weren’t home. Records like Grand Funk Rail Road, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep and Deep Purple just to name a few. It was during that time in my life that I knew one day I would be a Musician/Rock Star. So basically becoming a professional musician was my dream from a very early age.
Who or what would you list as your main inspirations?
Ronny: I would say Dio, Gillan, Ozzy, Halford and really anyone who sings with passion. When I’m writing, my inspiration comes from life, love and tragedy as well as politics and religion, although when I write about the last two things I try to not stand on a soap box too much..., I just try and get my frustrations out about those subjects.
Do you come from a musical family?
Ronny: Yes, on my Mom's side... We had some drummers and singers, so, go figure! I guess it was in the cards for me to do what I’m doing, but my Mom and Dad both liked to sing and dance.
How did you get the Metal Church gig? You must have felt you’d made it at that moment!
Ronny: It was really something, yes! I met Kurdt Vanderhoof through a mutual friend and when he and I talked it was not about Metal Church but, actually about his solo thing ‘Vanderhoof’... But, after a couple weeks of me calling him every day and giving him demos with a lot of screaming on them ( I was trying to get him to resurrect the Church at the time), he finally called me and said "Okay, you wanna do Metal Church? Let's do it" and, it was one of the happiest days in my life and yes, I had the feeling that I had made it. Being able to front such a legendary band was a great experience, it has gotten me to where I am today and I will never forget any of the Metal ride!
What caused the band to finish, not just go on an extended break?
Ronny: A lot of things really, from medical issues to not having the right people in our corner and a little bit of whining. I do hope one day to get back out there as MC but we’ll have to wait and see...? For now, I’m just going to concentrate on "The Fire Within" and doing everything I can to put on a great show where ever and whenever I’m touring. The fans can expect a high energy show with passion every time, guaranteed!
Onto your solo releases now...first the "Infernal Quest" EP, now the full album "The Fire Within"; how would you describe your solo style?
Ronny: I would describe my style as Metal, nothing more and nothing less... Just good, solid, power metal. That’s my roots after all!
Did you set out to make this album with a strict agenda and ‘concept’, or did the sound and songs evolve naturally?
Ronny: I had things in my mind about how and what I wanted, but it was very easy for this record to come together, in fact it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. It was cosmic really. The stars aligned and the universe was smiling down on me! I had some help from some great players and friends, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
Do you have any favourite moments on the album?
Ronny: I get a sense of real accomplishment every time I listen to the CD but if I had to pick a track or two that I like the most, I would say "Far" and "Across The Sea Of Souls".
Why "Man On The Silver Mountain"? Did you consider, or even perform covers of other tracks for the album?
Ronny: I really picked "Man...." because it was the first song that really made me listen to and want to become a singer; I mentioned that earlier, I think? And, no, I didn’t really work up any other covers for the record because I knew that I'd wanted to cover this song for a long, long time and that that should be left as it is. I'd wanted to pay homage to one of the greatest singers ever, and I hope did that?
Are you pleased with the reviews so far?
Ronny: Pretty much! I’ve had a lot of great reviews and a few not so great ones but you have to take the good with the bad, not every one is going to like it. But, as long as I am happy and I am - then, that’s what matters. I will continue to put out the best quality music I can (that’s what’s important to me) and hopefully the fans dig it?
How did Metal Heaven get involved?
Ronny: Georg (Siegl) contacted us at Rat-Pak about his interest and after considering a couple of other offers we decided to go with Metal Heaven, simple as that! So far they're doing a good job promoting the CD and they're keeping me busy with interviews and such, so, it should end up being a good partnership.
Are you planning to continue the solo odyssey or do you see yourself joining another band at some point?
Ronny: I am open for anything really! Yes, I will continue my solo career but you never know what could come along in the future and if something cool comes up, I’ll consider it but for now it’s all about "The Fire Within".
Do you plan to do any touring on the back of this release? Any plans to come to the UK?
Ronny: I have some dates in the pipeline in October and we're working on some more as we speak. The plan is to come over there at some stage and everywhere else we can as well. Wherever the fans want me, I’ll do my best to bring the metal to them!
Do you get to watch much live music yourself? Who do you rate at present?
Ronny: I try to. I really enjoyed the Heaven And Hell shows I went to recently and that Priest tour.... Those guys all still kick major ass and I can only hope to be that good when I have been around as long as them! I also got to see Mastodon and those guys are great as well.
What was the last album you bought?
Ronny: Mastodon and the new Royal Hunt. Both are very solid efforts and I would suggest picking them both up.
Could you tell us a bit about your involvement with Clive Aid?
Ronny: Well, as of late, I have not really had any involvement, sadly. A while back, I co-wrote an anthem for them but that’s it for now. I hope that they are able to, one-day, get the backing they need to start up in the U.S.. It’s a really great cause!
Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Ronny: I like sports, movies, writing and reading.
What question do you hate interviewers asking, and did I manage to avoid it?
Ronny: Ha! Ha! Good one! I think you asked good questions! I don’t really have a problem with any kind of question as long as it’s not too personal. After all most people only get interviewed for a job these days, so I don’t complain much about the questions.
What are you up to once you’ve finished answering these questions?
Ronny: I'm going to spend time with my daughter and then have a photo shoot with some friends of mine for a project we're doing.... After that, having a glass of wine or two (or three...)
Anything else you would like to mention?
Ronny: Not much Jon, just please remember to go to myspace.com/ronnymunroe and ronnymunroe.com to find out where to get "The Fire Within" and for tour dates and everything else. Also, please visit the Ronny Munroe fan page on myspace and become a friend.
Cheers for the interview, thanks and take care!" Ronny
Ronny's album is out now. Check out the Rock Realms review here.