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Articles Home » Music Talk » Interview with Vocalist Ron Keel of the Ron Keel Band By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
Interview with Vocalist Ron Keel of the Ron Keel Band By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Syndicated Ringmaster

Interview with Vocalist Ron Keel of the Ron Keel Band

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio

From his Halford-like screams of the Sunset Strip to the southern accents of Sioux Falls, Ron Keel is an American original who is a genuine rocker no matter what label you choose to apply.  Before the age of 25, Ron had rubbed elbows in the industry with luminaries such as Gene Simmons, Joan Jett, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Wagener, and Spencer Proffer.  Other "highlights" worthy of a mention include MTV rotation, Top 100 Billboard albums, songs and  songwriting credits in The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Men in Black II, X-Files, and opening slots for Van Halen, Aerosmith, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi.  Fast forward to 2020 and the Ron Keel Band will be gracing his fan base with a new take on southern rock classics with the spring release of South X South Dakota from HighVol Music.  The Ron Keel band also includes Geno Arce, Jeff Koller, DC Cothern, and Dakota Scott.  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank rock legend Ron Keel for this exclusive interview.


The Ron Keel Band has a new record coming out this month of classic southern rock covers called South X South Dakota.  How did you and the guys go about assembling the repertoire, arranging and recording the tunes?  

South X South Dakota is a totally unplanned organic accident – when we were in the studio recording last year’s Fight Like A Band album, we would start and end each session by jamming some of our all-time favorite southern rock classics. We’d loosen up with some Molly Hatchet in the morning, and wind down with some .38 Special at night; of course our producer Mike Dresch was recording the whole time, and when I listened back to this stuff I knew there was something special there.  Many of these songs are important pieces of American rock n roll history, songs I played in cover bands growing up, or songs I always wanted to sing. And often times when we play these big biker events like Sturgis or the Lone Star Rally or whatever, we’re playing for 20,000 people or more and many of them aren’t familiar with me or my history – so we weave in tributes to these iconic bands and give the audience our ten-minute medley of Skynyrd or Marshall Tucker Band and give them a taste of songs we all know and love.  Some of them like “Flirtin’ With Disaster” and “Rockin’ Into The Night” turned out to be pretty faithful to the originals – but there are some songs we Keelized and made our own, like “Fire On The Mountain” and our version of “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” I love the duet with Jasmine Cain on “Don’t Misunderstand Me,” from Rossington Collins Band…and the first single is my all-time favorite Skynyrd song “Red White & Blue,” not one of their vintage tunes but a song that really resonates in times like these.

The RKB consists of Jeff, Geno (previously with Keel), DC and Dakota.  How was this lineup chosen?  Were these guys that you had previously played with?  Did you hold auditions?  Is everybody local to the home base of Sioux Falls, SD where you reside?

In 2014 I accepted the position of bandleader, radio show host, and entertainment jack-of-all-trades at a huge multi-million dollar venture called Badlands Pawn, which required me to relocate to Sioux Falls and create my dream band. It was an amazing opportunity and gave us the chance to get this thing off the ground. We were called the Badlands House Band – I was able to handpick my team, nobody auditioned. When Badlands Pawn shut down, we knew we were too hot to stop so we re-branded it as the Ron Keel Band.  When my wife Renée was diagnosed with cancer in the winter of 2016-2017, the guys in the band hung tight with me and had my back. We could have easily gone our separate ways but instead we got together and wrote our debut album, Fight Like A Band, which was released last year to a lot of fanfare, critical acclaim and that album title became a way of life for us.  Sioux Falls is home base, but the airport is five minutes away and the truck and the RonQuest (our motorhome) are always ROAD READY!


So we can expect a studio recording of original material from this lineup in the following year as well?

I promise you, I will be writing, recording, and releasing original music and recordings as long as I live. It’s an important part of who we are, no matter what happens in the world or in the business. The pandemic we’re all enduring right now is a perfect time to lock the cellar doors and get creative, and we’re making the most of it, pouring our hearts out into lyrics and music. South X South Dakota is a perfect way to entertain our fans and keep them engaged as we hack away at hundreds of riffs, titles, phrases and grooves in search of the next album.


You are a radio host of a weekly syndicated talk show called Streets of Rock and Roll.  Please tell us all about this and the affiliates across the country and some of your well-known guests?

I’ve always been the ringmaster of the circus, the host of the party – and the radio show gives me the chance to do that every week on a global scale. I launched the show in 2012, took a break from it when I started doing daily radio on KBAD 94.5 FM in Sioux Falls, and re-launched the syndicated show a year ago because doing a daily show isn’t feasible with my touring schedule. I have my anchor station Sunny Radio 93.3 FM in my hometown of Sioux Falls, and an amazing group of the biggest and best online affiliates airing the broadcast. I love putting on a show, creating a vibe, and getting to interview so many of my friends and heroes. We try to have a theme each week, and a focused direction, usually built around the discussions I have with the guests. And I take the listeners on the journey with me, doing previews and recaps from events like the Monsters Of Rock Cruise, tour dates around the world, and backstage. Each episode is a time capsule of music and moments, and people seem to enjoy the ride.


Classic Keel albums such as The Final Frontier and Keel (1987) were recently remastered and reissued by Rock Candy Records.  Gene Simmons produced one while Michael Wagener produced the other.  What was the difference in their production styles from the two rock industry icons?

Great question – and I’m so proud of having worked with Gene and Michael. Gene is more like a film director, overseeing every aspect of the process, and Michael is the technical sonic wizard who is very hands-on when it comes to the recording process. But both of them have a deep love of music and an approach to making the best album possible – and they both inspired me to be the best I could be on any given day in the studio. They are both fearless and willing to try anything, and I learned so much from those sessions that I have carried with me on every album I’ve done since.


On a humorous note, do you still own that Korg keytar that was in the "Tears of Fire" video and tour dates from that time period?

 There’s nothing humorous about that…ha! Calling it a keytar is racist – it is actually called a Remote Keyboard. Yes, I still have it; it might fetch a fortune on eBay, but times ain’t that hard yet. I want to thank you for the interview and the chance to talk the rock – fans can find me online at, there are links to all my social media, all the videos, my Patreon page, and the online store where you can order the new album South X South Dakota. Live the Rock!


RK online:

Exclusive Audio/Video/Fan Experiences:

Listen to the STREETS OF ROCK N ROLL Radio Show hosted by Ron Keel on 93.3 FM Sioux Falls, Saturdays at 9 PM Central and all week long on major online affiliate stations:

Ron Keel on Facebook


Boston Rock Radio Music Journalist Thomas Amoriello Jr. is a heavy metal guitarist, children's picture book author, educator and recording artist who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. You can learn more about Tom at

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