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Ronny Munroe

Ronny Munroe
Keep The Flame Burning


Архив интервью | Русская версия

The release of the first solo record by the singer of legendary U.S. metal band Metal Church is already a reason that is good enough an interview, especially given that the record turned out very nice, promising to become one of the year’s  favorites in its genres. Thus, I didn’t hesitate long enough before e-mailing my questions to Ronny Munroe, but just as I was about to do it, Metal Church announced their breakup! The reasons for this sad ending, the first solo record and Ronnie’s previous bands are just a few topics we covered in this interview.

Hello Ronny! You have recently released your first ever solo album “The Fire Within”. How do you feel about it? What is the main difference between a solo project and a full band?

I love my record, I think it’s a very good power metal recording and it’s doing well. The only difference between a full band and myself is less people to deal with and I think that’s part of what a solo record is about.

Please, tell us about your creative process – how were these songs written? Do you write alone or do you need a co-writer?

I write a lot of songs but I also have help from friends of mine that I respect. It’s a cool process all the way through, but at the end when you get to hear your songs put together it’s special!

The album is called “The Fire Within”. What does this title mean? Is this a reference to inspiration or something else?

No, you got it, it’s inspiration and the will to never give up!

Metal Church mainman and guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof was the producer of this record. Why did you decide to work with him? Did you have any other candidates in mind? What was Kurdt’s role in the making of the album?

Actually Kurdt co-produced it and the reason I decided to work with him is that he offered, and when you have some one with Kurdt’s reputation and ability, you don’t say no! I am very thankful for all Kurdt’s help.

You work with Kurdt in Metal Church too. What you can say about him? Is he a democratic leader or maybe he is self-centered person?

I normally don’t answer these types of questions but I’ will on this one. Kurdt is a very good person with immense musical talent and I’m proud to call him a friend!

Your album includes a song called “Evil Genius”– this track (a very powerful one, I think) was originally released in 2004 by your previous band Rottweiller with Martin Morin on vocal. Why did you decide to record your own version?

“Evil Genius” was written by myself and Rick Van Zandt when I was still in Rottweiller, before I got into Metal Church. They wanted to record it and I gave my blessing, but when I started recording my CD I decided to put it on, it’s a great song!

Why did you decide to cover “Man On The Silver Mountain” by Rainbow? Is there anything special about this song for you personally?

Oh yeah, it was the first song that made me want to be a singer!

The lyrics of your songs are very dark and full of pain. What inspired you to write such lyrics?

Darkness and pain! Just kidding man, I have a lot of things in me I need to get out, like a lot of people, I just have the opportunity to put it on paper. That’s all.

I know that guitarists Rick Van Zandt (Metal Church, Rottweiler) and Anthony Nichols (Meliah Rage) helped you out with the record. And who played drums and bass? Please, introduce your band members.

I had a few people help me those you mentioned and a few others like Izzy Rehaume on bass , David Van Zandt and Johnny Ringo on drums, Rick Pierce on rhythm and Kurdt Vanderhoof played a couple of rhythms as well.

Do you plan to tour to support “The Fire Within”? Will be your album available in Russia?

Anywhere and every where I can, as long as the fans want me there, I’m coming!

This year Tim “Ripper” Owens released his solo album too. Who is a better singer – you or Tim? (laughs)

I don’t think either one of us is better, we’re both solid metal singers, I have a lot of respect for Tim and what he has accomplished in the business!

I think the decision to break up Metal Church was a real shock to all your fans. But to me it seems that Kurdt is just tired of this band. He works with other projects (Presto Ballet, for example), and traditional heavy metal is not his prime interest.

What was the main reason from your point of view?

I want to clear my point of view. Reading the breakup statement on the Metal Church web-site I thought that Kurdt just gave up: lack of shows, the label's failure, and so on. But maybe I'm wrong. Could you clear up the main reasons for this decision? 

Like I said before, we all needed a break from all the disappointments we were experiencing . We will see what the future holds!

The same statement says, “We do have unfinished business in the studio, and with any luck we will have something that will be of interest to Metal Church fans in the near future.” Please, reveal this secret – what kind of material do you have? Something like a “farewell” album?

We have a bunch of live stuff and some video, so use your imagination on what might come next. What ever it is it will be cool!

There is a very cool bootleg recording of your show at Waldrock Festival in Holland in 2005 floating around. But are there any plans to release any official live recordings of Metal Church with you on vocals? 

Yep, that’s part of the unfinished business!

I think you’re a very respected singer on the metal scene. Do you have any offers from other bands? I think after Metal Church’s break-up a lot of bands want to see you in their line-up!

I have had a couple offers, as of right now I am concentrating on “The Fire Within” but will see who and what approaches me. I would not be opposed to joining up with the right people!

Which moments with Metal Church were the happiest for you?

I would say the first three years, when we were touring all the time and staying active, before all the letdowns!

Which songs written before you joined the band do you like to sing?

I like to sing the whole set but my favorite is “Gods of Wrath”.

Let’s talk about your early career, if you don’t mind. When and why did you decide to be a singer? Do you have any musical education? Who were your favorites at that time?

I was a drummer until I heard certain vocalists that made me want to be a front man. My favorites would be Dio, Dickinson, Halford, Gillian and many more! As far as training, I took lessons from David Kyle, the teacher of Geoff Tate of Queensryche and Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart.

You were a singer in Paladin. I like this old-school heavy metal with you screaming “Knight Driveeeeeer” in the Halford style. Can you say a few words about this band?

Paladin was chosen because of the Knight thing, there’s nothing more metal than knights and swords, right? The line up was just a bunch of friends, we did a few shows and I moved on.

Looking back at the mid-80’s, it seems like a paradise to hard rock and metal bands. In your opinion, what made the style flourish so much back then? It seems that anybody could form his own band and became a rock-star back then.

That was a different time for sure. I think it was just the time period, it was what the fans wanted and the bands gave it to them. I wish that would come back!

In 1991 you released an EP with Far Cry. I was very surprised when I first heard this band – I didn’t expect that you like melodic rock with keyboard-focused sound. How did you end up in Far Cry? Do you know something about Far Cry members now?

I liked Far Cry, those are very well written songs, we came out at the totally wrong time but I will always cherish that time. I am still in contact with most of the guys and things are cool!

In 2002 – 2003 you were with Rottweiller. But I don’t know anything about your career between 1991 and 2002. Did you sing in any band? How did your go through this period which seems to be not very friendly for metal music?

I took a break from the original scene and did some cover stuff, I was burned out on trying to make it, so to speak.

What do you think of the present-day metal scene? Which bands do you like or dislike?

I just hope the downloading thing will be rectified, it’s killing the industry. As far as bands, right now I listen to Mastodon and Evergrey, bands like that!

How did you join Rottweiller and why didn’t you do any records with this band?

I got a phone call from Izzy asking if I wanted to lay Wacken with them in 2002. The reason I didn’t do a CD with Rottweiller is I got the gig with Metal Church two weeks before going into the studio to record the next Rottweiler CD. The rest is history!

When and how did you get to know Kurdt Vanderhoof? Were you the only candidate for the position of Metal Church singer?

Kurdt and I met to talk about his Vanderhoof project and I kept bringing up Metal Church to him and then he finally said, “Alright, you wanna do Metal Churck, let’s do it”. He had heard me sing before and knew I could hit the notes.

How do you feel when listeners compare you to David Wayne or Mike Howe? Do you try to outperform them, or do you think your style is quite different?

I just go out there and do my best, try to stay as true to the original as I can, and that’s it.

Can you say a few words about your life outside the music scene? Do you have to do any day-job? What are your hobbies? How you like to relax?

When I am not doing music I spend time with my son and daughter and just hang, but music is always flowing through me at all times, so I do a lot of writing.

What we can expect from you in the near future? A new solo album? A big tour? A new band?

All of the above, I am going to keep making records for as long as I can, I can’t deny why I was put here!

Many thanks in advance for your answers! Do you have anything else to say to your Russian audience?

Thank you for having me! I really want to say thank you to all the Russian fans for there years of support and I hope to come there and rock your world as soon as I can!

Ronny Munroe on the Internet: http://www.myspace.com/ronnymunroe 

Konstantin “Hirax” Chilikin
July??, 2009
(с) HeadBanger.ru

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