Veteran vocalist/musician/songwriter/entertainer Ron Keel’s amazing career has taken him around the world and across the borders that separate the styles of music that he has performed and recorded. From the concrete jungles of heavy metal & arena rock to the dirt roads and backwoods of country music & southern rock, Keel is an artist who has been there, done that, and still has a lot to prove.
As frontman for hard rock/heavy metal bands KEEL, Steeler, Saber Tiger, and Fair Game (he also spent a brief moment in time with Black Sabbath), Ron Keel sold millions of albums, toured the world as a headliner and opening act for icons such as Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, and many more, plus notched several hits on radio and MTV including classics “The Right To Rock”, “Because The Night”, “Tears Of Fire”, and “Somebody’s Waiting”.
As Country singer ‘Ronnie Lee Keel’ he has also toured the world, performing for US troops at military bases across Europe and opening for major stars like Jo Dee Messina & Chris LeDoux, releasing a solo album and a CD with Nashville country-rockers The Rat’lers.
The current millennium has seen RK fronting the hard-edged southern rock group IronHorse and the aforementioned duo Keel & Wayne, continuing to follow the winding road of expression wherever it leads – so far it has led to two releases from IronHorse as the band performed 600 shows since the turn of the century, from coast to coast, as opening act for ZZ Top, The Doobie Brothers, 38 Special, The Outlaws and as a headliner for events such as San Diego’s Freedom Festival, welcoming troops home from the Middle East, and major motorcycle events like the LoneStar Biker Bash at Texas Motor Speedway. In 2005, Keel & Wayne hit 13 states on their first tour and as part of the Acoustic Outcasts tour package.
As a songwriter, Keel’s compositions have been featured in an impressive array of hit TV shows (“Desperate Housewives”, “The Simpsons”, “X-Files”, “Guiding Light”, and many more), major films (“Men In Black II”, “Chill Factor”, “1000 Acres” etc.), and recorded by his own bands & projects plus other artists such as Vixen (Keel co-wrote the title track to this EMI act’s sophomore effort “Rev It Up”).
His music can be heard on any given day on both VH1 and CMT; VH1 Classic and VH1 frequently air KEEL videos and special programs that feature Ron, and his tunes have become a background staple on such CMT programs like “CMT Insider” and “CMT Total Access”. Anthology albums like “The Soft Side Of Hard Rock” put Keel’s compositions alongside those of KISS and Deep Purple, while a “New Country” collection showcased a Ronnie Lee Keel cut with those of Kenny Chesney, Rodney Crowell, and other country superstars.
Other accomplishments extend to other aspects of the entertainment industry; Ron has experienced the thrill of acting and working in movies like “Bad Channels” and “Never Too Young To Die”, and the responsibilities and challenges of being the Producer and Executive Producer of a number of recording projects for other artists as well as his own.
All this from a man who began his career in Phoenix, Arizona, and dropped out of high school to pursue his dream of music; at the age of sixteen, he was already in demand locally as a session player and playing nightclubs from Arizona to Texas and back. At 20, he had his first regional radio hit in Nashville with his first hard rock band, Lust; a year later he was in Los Angeles rocketing to the top of the early 80’s metal revolution with his band Steeler. The Steeler album is a cornerstone of that genre and generation; among the biggest selling independent albums of all time, it is also (according to Metal Edge Magazine) one of the Most Underrated Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time.
This success afforded him the opportunity to develop his vision of the ultimate hard rock band, called KEEL, of course, and with the help of producer Gene Simmons and the muscle of a major label recording contract, that band became the vehicle by which Ron Keel would gain the stature and profile in the music business that he maintains to this day.
After three albums in BillBoard’s Hot 100 and five hit videos on MTV, Keel the man and KEEL the band called it a day, and Ron moved on to become the first rock frontman with an all-female backing band in Fair Game, his next project. Though the music and image were a package primed for success, and RK was just hitting his stride as a vocalist and songwriter, Keel was caught in the shifting tastes of the times. Refusing to change and follow the trends in music of the early 90’s, Ron Keel instead followed his heart and found sanctuary in country music as Ronnie Lee Keel.
Being stripped of the trappings of a Rock Star allowed Ron to reinvent himself and build a new sound and persona based on his voice, his lyrics, his songs, and his experiences. For the better part of the decade, he wrote, recorded, and performed country music as Ronnie Lee Keel in venues across the Southwest and across Europe. This period of his life, now affectionately referred to as ‘The Country Years’, was in many ways as successful as his chart runs and arena tours: he played more shows during this time than any other era of his career, many years doing as many as 300 gigs, and his country songs and recordings were featured in a myriad of television shows and movies.
Eventually the stereotypes of country music became as constricting as those he had experienced in heavy metal, and Keel felt the only way to satisfy his creative hunger was to combine the two styles in a way that had never been done before. So he conceived of a musically androgynous animal called IronHorse, and blended the sound of screaming guitars and thunderous drums with mandolin, banjo, and harmonica, melded the sweat and leather of arena rock with the sensitivity and sensibility of country music and classic southern rock. The band’s latest album “Bring It On” is two fistfuls of energy and emotion that come straight from the heart – one hits you in the gut, the other right between the eyes, while taking you on a musical and lyrical journey straight through the life of the man singing the songs to you: Ronnie Keel.
The release of "Alone At Last", the first-ever Ron Keel solo album, is one of the highlights of 2006. This disc features new acoustic versions of Ron Keel classics previously recorded by KEEL, Steeler, IronHorse, Fair Game, Saber Tiger, and Ronnie Lee Keel – and one new tune, “Hillbilly Heavy Metal Rock N Roll Soul”. Touring plans this year include solo acoustic dates, IronHorse shows, Ronnie Lee Keel country shows, and Ron Keel Band gigs.
If rock and roll is about rebellion, then Ron Keel is rock and roll to the core, because he’s rebelled against everyone and everything that ever tried to put a fence around him or his music.
If being an outlaw means breaking all the rules and living to tell about it, that’s a hat RK is proud to wear. Ron Keel is here to stay and is still coming on strong with both barrels blazing - find out much more about this enigmatic entertainer at http://ronkeel.com