How has the music industry changed from when you first began your career up until now?
The music industry has changed so much and so quickly as technology has advanced. On one hand, the big label gatekeepers have lost much of their power. Technology has leveled the field quite a bit, allowing any person on earth to create their own music & videos, and put it out there for all the world to see and hear. That means an independent artist has a better chance of getting noticed. But on the other hand, that also means that there are millions of people doing exactly that same thing, which makes it more difficult to get noticed. So, it’s a double-edged sword.
What was your favorite part about filming the music video for “TUB OF LOVE”?
What a fantastically FUN experience that video was! I developed the entire concept from beginning to end, storyboarded it, hired the talent, and directed the shoot. But of course, I had some amazing people helping me throughout the entire process. And Creighton, Lizzie, and Grady did such an awesome job and were so much fun to work with. All three are true professionals and stay super busy in Music City. By the way, Creighton played on the record. He is a fantastic trombone player who also teaches music. Grady, the tuba player, was one of his students at the time. And of course, Lizzie Miller is well-known in music circles as a host for music programs and shows. And of course, I always try to include Maddie with the flaming orange hair in any video I can!
What do you want your fans to ask themselves after listening to “NOW REPEATING”?
I want people to THINK. Think about what’s happening all around us every moment of every day. Don’t just float through life like blind sheep with blinders on. Apathy leads to catastrophe, and that’s where we are headed. I want people to remember what President Eisenhower said in his famous farewell address in 1961, just days before he left office. He warned us clearly about the terrible dangers of the growing Military Industrial Complex (MIC). That’s the War Machine that thrives on the merging of a massive federal bureaucracy, Big Brother Government, the military, and government contractors & lobbyists. And career politicians, the scum of the earth, LOVE the Military Industrial Complex. They live for it, gleefully rejoice in it, and daily stuff their bank accounts with untold billions of laundered money by pushing the MIC on us, the peasants. They joyfully send the peasants off to die in endless wars all over the world, while they sit back and laugh all the way to the bank. Career politicians and all the bureaucrats involved in the DC Beltway and the MIC are serpents from hell. Our system is hopeless and corrupt, and our country needs a reboot.
What inspired you to start making music?
It just came naturally and automatically to me, like breathing. I began to write when I was eight years old. Somehow, the light just came on at that time. It’s who I am. I write songs, poetry, stories, books, and anything else I can think of. I have tubs of writings stored away because I’ve kept everything I ever wrote. And I’m constantly inspired every second of every day. Inspiration can come from ANYTHING.
One day I was chasing a fly around the house with a rolled-up newspaper, trying to eliminate the vile creature. I don’t really like to kill any living creature…but flies are the exception for me. So anyway, I’m chasing this fly around, when someone asks me to do something. I turned to them and said, “Hey, don’t bother me right now, I’m chasing a fly!” Bingo! I knew instantly that would make a cool song. So, I grabbed my guitar and wrote it in about three minutes. Called my good friend, Mike Schrimpf, in Nashville and told him I had a new song we’ve gotta record asap! And within days it was finished. I put together a SUPER mix of instrumentation for this song and I’m really proud of it. I started with a late 50’s rockabilly sound. Added in a tuba and a theremin…what a combo! And guitar virtuoso, Paul Allen, added a bunch of incredible guitar tracks that will just blow you away.
Then I put together a very cool music video and published it on YouTube. It’s one of my all-time personal favorites because it follows the same theme as “Now Repeating” and “Five Lights.” It’s about apathetic sheep who refuse to REALLY pay attention to what’s happening in the world. I urge you to check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLNvpwPVsdc
What caused you to write “NOW REPEATING”?
I think I got carried away and answered that in the questions above! LOL. In a nutshell, I wrote “Now Repeating” because I despise the Military Industrial Complex. And because I think a great many people live their lives like dumb sheep, believing all the propaganda that the Machine feeds them, without every questioning or utilizing any critical thinking skills.
What inspired the visuals in your music video for “FIVE LIGHTS”?
“Five Lights” delivers a similar message to “Now Repeating” and other songs in my catalog such as “Deep Is The Night,” “Zero Hour,” the afore-mentioned “Chasing A Fly,” and several others. For “Five Lights” I tried to pull in as many images as possible to demonstrate the ways in which a plethora of technologies are proliferating and infiltrating our lives and our privacy. And of course, there’s plenty in there representing our government’s almighty War Machine. There are also some subliminal messages and tricky things going on within those images as well. I’ll leave that for you to investigate!
What is your favorite genre of music to perform?
I don’t really have a favorite. When I do a show, I like to perform a blend of everything, just like on my 25 albums. The Beatles are among my biggest musical heroes, and their greatest albums always contained a wide variety of styles and genres. I loved their brilliance in juxtaposing certain songs back-to-back-to-back on a record, in a way that no one else would think of. Probably my favorite example is on the White Album where they follow “Helter Skelter” with “Long Long Long.” I cry tears of glory every time I hear the transition between those songs. So I do my best, in my own humble way, to follow that example. I want people to be engaged and surprised every time I release an album or do a performance.
The first couple years I was in Nashville I was offered three artist development deals and publishing contracts. But I couldn’t sign on the dotted line because they all wanted to put me in a box. They all said I’d have to stop recording such a wide range of styles and genres. That I had to allow them to pick my lane, and I’d have to stay in it. I said NO THANKS. No box for me. Money and fame simply aren’t that important to me. The ART and the HEART and the TRUTH are all that matter to me.
And as far as performing, I always try to inject a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor along the way. Like with a song of mine that is always a real crowd pleaser: “40 Days & 40 Nights.” It’s a bit of a humorous take on all the world’s religions. I just never want to take myself too seriously. I’ve never forgotten what an old friend, Rodney Crowell, once told me. Of course, Rodney is a songwriting genius and Nashville icon. And I was once talking with him while he was making a sandwich. I was heaping praise on him, and he turned to me and said, “Slow down, Ronnie. I’m just a guy making a sandwich and doing the best I can. That’s all.” He’s such a humble guy, and I have never forgotten that lesson. I try to keep that mindset always. I am NOT a fan of arrogant people.
What’s in store for your future in regards to music?
Much is happening right now. I’m working on albums #26 and #27 simultaneously. Hmm, or is it #27 and #28. LOL. “Now Repeating” is actually the first of 10 spoken word songs that I’m creating with my good friend, and musician extraordinaire, Paul Allen. It’s truly a joint effort. Paul has played a big role in many of my 25 albums over the years, but this project is quite different from anything else we’ve ever done. And then I’m also working on another more conventional album with my good friend, Mike Schrimpf. Mike has a studio north of downtown Nashville and he is a tremendous talent and a very creative guy. He has played a large role in my last three or four records.
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