by Deb Rao
Staff Writer –
It is going to be a busy year for Keel. The band is getting ready to take it to the high seas on Feb. 25-28 for the Monsters of Rock Cruise. Keel recently finished a well-received trek to Europe. If that wasn’t enough, singer Ron Keel can be seen at the Gold Nugget in Las Vegas where he does the Country Superstars show and a great impersonation of Ronnie Dunn.
Ron has an amazing voice and captivating stage persona. I recently caught up with the ’80s singer at Club Fortune in Henderson, Nev. He was hosting Las Vegas Stripped. The next show is slated for Feb. 17. For tour info visit www.ronkeel.com
In this exclusive interview for Hardrock Haven, Ron discusses Las Vegas Stripped, the Monsters of Rock Cruise, and Country Superstars.
HRH: Ron, tell us how Las Vegas Stripped came together?
Ron: I have been doing this all my life. These guitars are basically my musical motorcycles. When I go on the road with Keel it is a 27-man production show. When I am alone with my guitar different stuff happens. It is the best analogy I can make. It is my musical motorcycle. It is the freedom to do and say what I want to say and do it the way I want to do it. I do a lot of solo acoustic gigs. So Club Fortune was cool enough to offer me to bring Las Vegas Stripped back to Sin City. It is our third time and it is working out great. You have seen the talent here at Las Vegas Stripped tonight and it is amazing. There are so many great singer songwriters. It is our day to let our hair down. We can play and sing, pick up the guitar and feel free to express yourself. In a natural format. That is what it is all about. It is not just walking in and playing. It is a big job. I do enjoy it. I appreciate the opportunity to hang out with my friends and family with people that play and sing like I do. I hope to keep it going.
HRH: It is great. Just like Brent Muscat said it is really a great rock and roll community here in Vegas. Ron Keel is one of the greatest singer songwriters around. It is so refreshing to hear the Keel songs performed stripped down. It proves that Keel had what it takes to make a great song last all these years when you hear it done acoustically. It is has been a great year for Keel. I know you have the Monsters of Rock Cruise coming up.
Ron: Yes, we are leaving three weeks from today for the Monsters of Rock Cruise. We are going to Nassau and the Bahamas. We are leaving out of Ft. Lauderdale. It is Night Ranger, Tesla, Cinderella, Kix, etc. Look at the schedule it is pretty amazing. I didn’t know where we would be or when we would be. It was all determined by fan voting. We are closing the show on the last two nights that we are playing. We got bands like Firehouse who are opening up for us. So that is going to be an honor for us. I am looking forward to the Monsters of Rock Cruise. Hopefully, when I get back we will still be at Club Fortune. With Las Vegas Stripped.
HRH: Keel recently wrapped up a European tour. Tell us about the tour.
Ron: The European tour was amazing. We went to Switzerland, Germany, and The Netherlands. Places that we never been back before even back in the day, when the records were high on The Charts. The fan response was incredible. The band delivered the goods. We did the hour and a half headline show screaming out my guts with all the heavy Keel stuff. We finished strong in London on the last night of the tour. Hopefully, we will go back every year and make it a yearly tradition.
HRH: What about the U.S.? Are you doing festivals this year?
Ron: We are very close to announcing a couple of Festivals. I wish I could say something so you could promote them on the website. To be honest with you. There are a lot of bands playing out there for nothing. They can get this band and that band for a thousand dollars. We can’t play for a thousand dollars. It costs Keel two thousand dollars just to have a beer together. You got guys in LA, I am in Vegas. If we want to get together and rehearse and have a beer it is two grand. You add the expense of your crew, hotel etc. It is not that we don’t want to play. We are ready to rock. We played at the Agoura Hills Canyon Club last Sunday. It is better than ever. We are ready to rock. If the promoters, the venues and fans want to hear us, we will keep banging on those venues.
HRH: I know the fan response on Facebook has been great for Keel. So hopefully this summer, Keel will be playing to the masses.
RON: I do have a small secret that I might be able to announce. In April, if we can keep this Las Vegas Stripped thing going Marc Ferrari and Bryan Jay will be in Vegas on a Friday night in Las Vegas. Perhaps, we can do a Keel Stripped right here at Club Fortune in April. Hopefully, that will happen if we are still here at Club Fortune. I hope the staff is happy. I am happy, I love the gig. Let’s keep it going.
HRH: Yes, the show was fabulous tonight! What about new Keel? Any plans to go into the studio?
Ron: That’s a tough call. Actually, the label has requested another album. I am wondering if we can top Streets Of Rock And Roll. In my opinion it is the best Keel ever. The songs on the Streets Of Rock and Roll album are the best we ever done. I can’t imagine having to top that now. They are going to give us the budget to do it. It is not a matter of budget or money, it is a matter of the songs and can we top that? It is our first record in 20 years and it is a great record. The guys in the band want to do another record and I told the guys, I am really busy today I have Las Vegas Stripped tonight. Let’s talk about it on Monday. I don’t know, maybe we should consider it.
HRH: You should it would be awesome. You have the voice! Now, you have the Country Superstars thing going on at the Golden Nugget. Tell the fans about this.
Ron: The Country Superstars is going strong at the Golden Nugget. We are on our second year. I am very proud of that. It is a great show. We got some of our crew here tonight. It is great experience for me to be able to do that Tribute to Ronnie Dunn. This guy said to be tonight, I can’t believe you are Ron Keel and you impersonate Ronnie Dunn. I kind of live this double life as this rock star and country super stars impersonator. For me it is an opportunity to step out of my boots or his boots and be a part of something that is so special. I am not the most successful platinum rock star or the best singer in the world. But I am the best Ronnie Dunn Tribute in the world. I get to do something that I am proud of. Nobody else can do it the way I do it. The money is great too. (Laughter)
HRH: I second that Ron; it is truly an amazing tribute. Thank you for giving the readers at Hardrock Haven this very candid interview. We wish you and Keel the best.
Ron: Thank you and Hardrock Haven for your support and hopefully we can keep this thing going for Las Vegas Stripped.