Every once in awhile I go to show with no expectations and leave with my life changed in a positive way. That happened earlier this year during a night at Baby’s — that is where I was first introduced to the sounds of Ron Gallo and I was hooked immediately.

Ron Gallo himself, towering above 6 feet with curls-o-plenty, is the former frontman of the Philly based band Toy Soldiers. Since closing that chapter, he’s returned with his new project Ron Gallo, a solid, three-piece unit made up of Ron, Dylan Sevey on drums, and Joe Bisirri on bass. Their live show is intense — a spiritual experience of sorts — starting off with Ron’s calm and serious banter before exploding into their tracks with a vengeance. Wild guitar bits have Ron running through the crowd and spinning on the ground. It is easy to see their passion, and they ignite the crowd with it.

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I caught up with Ron & Co. as they rolled through New York this past weekend. Extremely open and kind humans, they welcomed me in like old friends, laughing over science jokes and sharing fries at dinner. They have hilarious chemistry all while being extremely driven and serious about their craft.

Their headlining show at Shea Stadium was an absolute blast. It had everything — real talk courtesy of Ron, wildly infectious tunes, dancing, and laughter. At one point during the set a beautiful mosh pit opened up. Ron was so delighted that instead of finishing the song, he had the band play the song a second time through so that the moshing could continue. Shea Stadium was hot and sweaty and full of good vibes, climaxing with Ron crowdsurfing into the middle of the room. A perfect ending to a rock’n’roll show.

I haven’t heard a sound quite like Ron’s before; it grabs hold of my eardrums and shakes me into awareness. It is real and raw and the right amount of gritty. I was so curious to learn more about Ron and how this all came into fruition, so I sent him some questions that I had stewing. Huge thank you to Ron for letting me pick his brain!

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[LM] Our childhood years are super impressionable. What is your earliest musical memory and what artists influenced you most while growing up?

[RG] I remember driving through Ohio with my dad listening to Tom Petty’s greatest hits album. Also, I remember having a childhood obsession with Michael Jackson that did not withstand the test of time.
[LM] Since Heavy Meta is nearly complete (:praise hands:), what sets this album apart from your previous installment? What track are you most excited about?

[RG] It is the first thing I’ve done that is closest to my “true self”. I think the song “Black Market Eyes” turned out really well.
[LM] I read an article where you mentioned that Kill The Medicine Man resulted from cutting out alcohol and drugs from your life. I really connected with that, as someone who has struggled with alcohol and has now completely cut it out. Has this been beneficial in keeping you focused on your craft? I’m sure it is also tough, since you’re involved in the touring/nightlife scene.
[RG] Yes. All of that is more of a personal ideology for me than dealing with an issue. It all stemmed from a relationship I was in with someone that did have struggles, and my experience with giving up any drinking I partook in in support of them, and then the eye opening transformation that came from that for myself.  Even though I never struggled with substance myself it certainly didn’t have a positive effect on my life. That I would not have realized without removing it. I think people should feel their pain, face it, overcome completely as opposed to just relocating it. Also, I’m not into all that “rock and roll lifestyle” bullshit. It’s not 1975 and I think it’s a good time to stay clear and become our best selves. In the words of Ian MacKaye “don’t dull the blade.”

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[LM] I admire your insightful, poignant lyrics infused with dark humor. In these chaotic times, it is so important to use art as a platform for positive change while speaking truth. In an industry that is saturated with manufactured commercial acts leaning more saccharine, what helps keep you grounded as an artist?
[RG] Having a creative fire fueled by exactly that. Realizing that my purpose in the realm of music and art is to address real things and stay honest, to reflect the times. It’s amazing to me that isn’t the norm. Bands don’t even write lyrics anymore, it’s just words that I can’t even hear, it might as well be a synthesizer melody because I don’t care about the night you had last night or you drinking whiskey on a mountain or your uninteresting approach to your feelings. There are very few artists nowadays I feel actually have something to say and it’s bothersome because there is a lot we should be talking about. However, the few that are I love very deeply.

[LM] If you could only play one album on repeat for the rest of your days, what would it be?

[RG] Stan Getz/ Joao Gilberto “Girl from Ipanema”

[LM] Now that you’re heading off to the Nashville scene, what are you looking forward to most?

[RG] I’ve already dug into it a bit since moving there over the last 6 months but I think continuing to cultivate something there. And now that the band and team will be there we can really create and do more.

Ron Gallo-7Keep an eye open for some more tour dates this fall as well as Ron’s sophomore album ‘Heavy Meta’ which will be releasing early next year.

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