Let the fire from within speak as Ronny Munroe speaks out.
Former vocalist for Metal Church Ronny Munroe has had his fair share of fame with Metal Church, who have been around since the 80's, and Ronny joining the band back in 2004 and the band recorded their debut album with Ronny titled 'Weight Of The World' in 2004. For a debut this saw the band moving higher up the ladder of fortune and yet more successful albums were to follow. Thus been 'A Light In The Dark' in 2006 and the band last album before breaking up 'This Present Wasteland' in 2008. Ronny has a great voice, with a wide range of high and low pitches Ronny is a fine singer that will go along way. With the release of his solo album 'The Fire From Within' just been released through Metal Heaven Records the future is looking good for Ronny. I managed to chat with Ronny about his time with Metal Church and his solo album and what the future holds. Here's what Ronny had to say.
Ronny is a pleasure speaking to you again, we met a Bloodstock and Wacken, do u remember that? Long time ago man!! I'd like to start by asking you some questions about your vocals, is it true you were taught by Geoff Tate (Queensryche) and Nancy Wilson (Heart) vocal coach? How did that come about?
"Hey Jason, yeah I remember you man, great to finally speak to you again long time man!! With regards to your question, yes you are correct, his name is David Carl and I am originally from Seattle (U.S.) and he was well known world wide and so after singing for 12-13yrs I finally decided to go and see him as I thought I'd need some help with breathing techniques etc... and in the end I got a hold of him. Unfortunately he passed away a couple of years ago which is so sad. So I went to see him and sang for him as a audition and he was pleased with my performance he decided to take me on board as a pupil. I went to him for about 6 months and which was enough to help me out with breathing techniques and I went on from there. A friend of mine named Rob Young told me about David, he plays in a band called 'My Disgrace' many years ago."
So are you sill leaving in Seattle?
"No I actually moved and I live in Porto Rico. I came here last August with Metal Church and we opened up for Queensrcyhe and I met my wife to be. I actually moved here officially about 2 wks ago and I love it here, its an island and my future wife is here. There really isn't any metal bands out here, there's a couple but there so far between so I think there a little excited for me to be here haha!!"
As a singer which singer have inspired you and influenced you? Is there also any new singers that you admire?
"Well I use to play drums and the reason why I stopped was because I heard the song 'Man On The Silver Mountain' by Rainbow, Dio just blew me away. I use to listen too a lot of stuff with my mum, AM radio with R&B, AM Rock like Deep Purple - Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, David from Uriah Heep, and as far as metal vocalist are concerned I was influenced by Dio, Dickinson, Halford. I'd love to meet Glenn Hughes 1 day, he is amazing!! Well I like the singer from '3 inches Of Blood', and they opened up for Metal Church on the 'Weight Of The World' tour and he has that high pitch voice and he is also powerful, I like some of the Metal Core stuff, were it's half singing and half growling. I don't know a lot about the new singers, I still follow all my favourite bands and I also like Tom from Evergrey, he doesn't have a lot of range but he has a lot of soul and emotion in his voice. I also like Russell Alan from Symphony X, he's amazing and Jorn Lande is also great!! I also like Tobias from Edguy, Tony Martin, and Rob Rock. I love high pitch screams and good solid singers."
What do you think about people comparing you to Dave Wayne (R.I.P.) ex Metal Church. I think you have some elements of Dave in your vocals. Do you also think it is very difficult for a new singer to be unique and to totally different?
"Well Jason, I appreciate that thanx, I have a lot of respect for Dave (R.I.P.) and also Mike Howe (ex Metal Church/ Heretic) and he was a great singer in his own rights as well. It doesn't matter what you do, you will always get compared to other singers or musicians. Yes I do think it is hard to be totally unique these days, and for me I try not to sound like anybody else, ands when I played with metal Church I throw my own voice into the songs as well as try to keep the unique sound of the original Metal Church singers like Mike and Dave. That is what the fans want, and I sing from my heart and soul and in this world Jason not everybody is going to like you. (ED: You really have to take criticism these days, I do with the webzine so I can improve it, no point been bitter about it right?). Yeah I'm happy you mentioned that Jason, because there has been quiet a few message left for me on my myspace were people have said good and bad things about me. People saying your records suck and your no Dave Wayne and I do respond by saying 'Hey I'm sorry you don't like my voice, but I will try harder on the next record and maybe you might like the next 1"
So why did Metal Church call it a day? What happened for you to break up?
"Well some of it was too do with SPV going under, but it wasn't all of the SPV thing, after the release of the last album we had fulfilled our contract and 6yrs of me been in the band we started with a bang and we toured for a full year and a half on the 'Weight Of The World' CD and then we did 'A Light In The Dark', and what it actually came down to was not having the right people in our corner and there was way too many cancellations because Kurdt has pins in his hips since has been a kid and his spin looks like a roller coaster and his back started to get a lot worse and we had to cancel a bunch of shows and we cancelled a tour in Europe with Over Kill which sucks, there great guys, I love Bobby he makes me laugh, much respect to them. We also never had correct management and the booking agents were total dicks and we never got to range our level. So in the end Kurdt called me 1 day and said he couldn't take it anymore, and asked what should we do and I told him he was the founder member of the band, it's your call man. I told him to think about it and call me back the day later and I told him I support you all the way. He called me back the next day and said the band is over. I told him I was sorry to hear about that and I totally understand. I will always be very grateful to Kurdt for hiring me and for bring me to where I am now. I now need to move on with my own band and raise the level and get some opening slots for my own band and just keep going. I was put on this earth to never quit Jason and I truly believe to that I can do. I still talk with Kurdt and maybe 1 day we might even reform Metal Church or something, so I will wait for him to call me & let me know."
Did Metal Church ever think of doing an album with your new label 'Metal Heaven'?
"Well if we come back it is something we can talk about or do a re-release of something because we have a lot of stuff we have not used by, audio stuff, video clips, or maybe a live record as we have tons of stuff from different shows. Having a live show with me on it would be cool because it gives me the chance to prove that I am a good singer & also for those who doubted me singing the original Metal Church material. I know there was a lot of people who didn't like Metal Church having a 3rd singer so I hope we do something like a live CD or DVD if we ever get back together. At the moment it's time for me to move on and do the Ronny Munroe band but if a bigger band comes along and asks me to audition for them then I am certainly up for that to in the right situation. I would move anywhere to be in the right band, music is my life"
So a live Metal Church DVD could be in the works in the future then? After all Metal Church released a DVD from Dynamo festival in the 90s.
"Well a friend of mine called Geoff Baker has a whole bunch of footage from Metal Church live and he was going to do a documentary & called it 'Beyond The Black' and basically what happened is that he ran out of money for investors to finish it off for him and the band. We also have a few bits of live footage and like I said some audio material too. I know there will be something in the near future, I don't know when but it will happen. I think it will happen in January of 2010."
Before me move on and talk about your new band, why did Jay (Malice) leave Metal Church, did he go back to his old band and are you still friends? How did you get Rick Van Zandt into Metal Church?
"Well Jay left Metal Church because he had some personal issues he had, so I will leave it at that. Rick came from a band called 'Rottweiller' who played Wacken in 2000, it was a band that Hellion records and that was my 1st time to play a big festival even though we opened up the day at 10am in the morning, so it gave me the experience and the stepping stone to prepare for Metal Church."
Didn't you play drums or sing for the band 'Far Cry'? What style of music was that?
"Yeah I was in that band, we had a 91/92 release and we were like a heavy keyboard metal band, and it was pomp rock and I was the singer not the drummer."
So let's talk about your 1st debut album since Metal Church broke up, which features Michael Wilton form Queensryche doing a of guest spot on the CD, how did that come about? Who else plays on the CD?
"Well Michael helped me out as he is a friend of mine, and we met 1 day and I just asked him if would like to appear on the debut album, which he agreed to straight a way and I was very honored by that. He played on the songs 'What You Chose Hell, I Call Home' & the power balled 'Across The Sea Of Souls'. I also have Tony Knickles from Meliah Rage and 3 contributed 3 songs to the record and the 2 guys who actually play with me live are from Texas, they play in the band 'Azreal's Bane' (ED: I use to know those guys). Cool Jase that you know of them. We just played in Texas and we shot the video for the song 'Delirium' which is a real video which has me in a straight jacket in a sanitarium which is cool. I also have Mike Heel who use to play in Helstar for a short time and he plays for James Rivera's 'Sabbath Judas Sabbath' tribute band and Mike is a guitar tutor, drum tutor, violin etc... he is very talented."
Did you ever think of using anybody off the album to play with you live or was that impossible?
"Well trust me Jason, if I could get Mike Wilton to play live with me I certainly could."
Is it difficult for you guys to rehearse if the band are in Texas and your in Porto Rico?
"No not really, I will just fly to Texas when it's time to rehearse or play live. The band usually practice without me and when I come in we just pull it all together."
Will you be using the same guys who play live with you on the next album?
"Yeah for sure, we have been talking about this and I certainly want these guys to be involved on the next album. I am proud of what I did with metal Church, but now it is time for me to move on and start my own band. This is a band and it is not all about me, it's about the rest of the guys in the band. The rest of the band are all capable of write songs and that is what I want, people who can write and contribute to the band, its a group thing, not just 1 person. 1 Day I may change the band name so that people are aware of this been a whole and not just Ronny Munroe, a really band."
So lets talk about the title for the album 'The Fire Within', was there a reason for this title? Also was there any other titles for the album in mind?
"Well the title is self explanatory and that is what I had running within me and like most musician's it takes them a long time to get too where they are at. I had a lot of hurdles in life, from tribute bands to originals so for me it was a fire from within, something I had to do. it was a title I had in mind if I was going to do a solo album and I knew it was the title I had to choose.
So does the album title reflect within the music you have created?
"Yeah it does actually, live we are manic but there is a fire burning within all of us and the guys in Azreal's Bane never got the the level I have got too, but there they are now. I have known them for some time, they have opened up for Metal Church about 4 yrs ago so Steve and I from M.C. went out to watch them and they thought it was cool that the head lining band were watching us as their support act. They were really good, so we all started talking and after which we became friend."
The album was co-produced by Kurdt and yourself, did you ever think of using anybody else to produce the album?
"Well when Kurdt first told me to do a solo album he asked if he could engineer it for produce it for me and when you get somebody like Kurdt asking to co-produce an album for you, you really have to get him involved. I was certainly honored that he wanted to help me out. This album was a pretty low budget production because I ran out of money that I had. I really want to next album to have a better production, not that Kurdt didn't do a great job, I just need more money to make it sound a lot better next time. I paid for the whole record to be made."
I presume that everything is going good with 'Metal Heaven' records, so they really should help you out on the next record. Who else did you approach besides Metal Heaven Records?
"Well so far I haven't heard any bad things about the label, I'm still doing interviews, and at my end I will keep on pushing the record as much as I can until the next album is released. I love my album, I think it turned out awesome considering how much money I had & with the next alum I want it to be bigger and better. Well here in the States it's on Rat Pack records with Century Media distribution, and I think Frontiers might of been interested in the album and a lawyer said that Metal heaven seemed to offer us the best deal so we went with them."
As I only have a promo CD, was the album co-wrote with anybody else on the record? If so who?
"Nobody really did anything on the record, only Tony from Melish Rage & Rick Van Zant wrote with me 'Delirium', 'Rebuild The Ruins', 'Far' and Kurdt helped with 'Desperate Man' and the rest were wrote on my own. I don't mind co-writing with friends I have met along the way."
I noticed that you have covered the Rainbow classic 'Man On The Silver Mountain', why that song in particular?
"The reason why I did that song was because I was playing my drums one day & it came on the radio & I heard the opening riff and then I heard Dio sing and it totally blow me away. So I ran down stairs and called the local radio station to ask them who sang the song, they told me it was Rainbow with Dio, I went out and bought the LP. After hearing that I guess the seed was planet sort of speak and I knew I wanted to be a front man."
How long did it take to record the debut album?
"Well the album came together a lot quicker than I thought to be honest, we talked about it for 2 years and when we finally got into the studio I was so prepared to sing the songs over & over which helped me a lot and my guys were very well prepared as far as the writing went. Mike took a couple of weeks to get the stuff to me but he was busy with Queensryche.
Do you miss not playing the drums any more?
"Yeah I do a little bit, sometimes I'll play a bit a sound check and I bought a cheap drum kit a year ago and so I will play drums ona couple of tracks on the next record."
How do you compare the newer songs you have written since the debut album?
"Well I will not try to throw anybody off, I want to keep it to that Power Metal feel & I might throw in a couple of keyboards here & there and maybe a acoustic song, a tribute to my father who passed away recently."
Are you getting positive reviews for the debut album? What do the fans think of it?
"The reviews so far have been very good and I have got a lot of great reviews and of course a few bad ones from Europe, who seem to be a little tougher on me over there. At the same time I am getting some good reviews too. Not everybody is going to like it and my future plans are to keep doing what I do best, that means touring with the debut album & working on the next record also looking out for other opportunities."
Well Ronny, thanx for the interview, do you have anything to say before we come to an end?
"Yeah, thanx to my fans I hope you like the new album and to the fans of Metal Church thanx for your support over the years when I was in the band. Stay metal and keep your eyes open for the future album and tours. Cheers Jason your a metal brother all the way!!"
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