Category: Well...Hello There!

26 years…

That’s how long it’s taken me to get here. And last night, I had a moment that reminds me why I do this.

I have to set it up…

In 1985, I was in attendance at the WBCN Rock n’ Roll Expo @ the Bayside Exposition Center in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. This was a sort of trade show that masked itself as  a cool event where one could go and see a bunch of concerts and buy records. Now that I’m older, I understand that it was a client “job fair” where they could try to sell their gear. The programming folks at WBCN knew they needed to get some bands in there to get listeners to come.  I had no clue who any of them were at the time. I was just happy to see my favorite Rock station in my neighborhood. It was close enough that we could walk there.

So, I go.

I walked around the center, and saw the car stereo people, and guitar shops, and smoke shops, and poster hawkers, and there were two stages and I got to see two bands that I still dig to this day; Angel City & Keel.

Neither band are household names. Angel City are actually known outside of America as “The Angels.” Due to an American band owning the name in the US…they make an adjustment here. Keel are one of those Hard Rock/Metal bands that never really got their due. They wrote great songs, had a decent show, and a good following. For a while, they got on MTV with a few videos. Most notably, “The Right To Rock,” “Tears Of Fire” & their cover of both Rose Tattoo’s “Rock n Roll Outlaw” & Patti Smith’s (Bruce Springsteen) “Because The Night.”

When I saw them back in Boston, I had one of those cool moments when you’re a kid, that sets you on a certain path. During the set, the required “throwing out of drumsticks” resulted in yours-truly ending up with Keel drummer, Dwain Miller’s stick. (Cue: Jack Black moment) It was as if I were being selected by the Rock gods, to take that stick forward and preach the gospel of Keel.

And preach it I did.

For the better part of the next 5 years, Keel were my favorite “band nobody’s ever heard of.” That’s not meant to be a slight. But, in the world of Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Warrant, Guns n’ Roses etc, Keel weren’t exactly someone everyone name-dropped. Those that knew, liked ’em. Those that didn’t, just didn’t pay attention. The band released a string of records. Solid, but no breakout record like Whitesnake. Just a band, working hard to make it.  I had several opportunities to meet the band during that time. The stories are fun to us. But, more than likely, uninteresting to you.

Years passed, and the band splintered. Members went their separate ways. You saw their guitarist in both “Wayne’s World” movies. And a few years ago, heard their song “Speed Demon” during the scene with Biz Markie in the mailroom in “Men In Black II.”

Despite being featured as a former heavy metal singer, gone country, occasionally the band would pop up on Metal-related websites and all.

Which brings me to about a month ago…

We got a call from a  local promoter asking us if we wanted to feature Queensryche, Great White & Keel as our station Halloween show. We could promote the return of Queensryche to the Valley, and Jani Lane from Warrant was singing for Great White. And as a bonus, Keel were celebrating their 25th Anniversary. It worked out well, and we decided to do the show.

As it turns out, one of the women at the station gets an e-mail from Ron Keel. Oh, did I mention they’re actually a Phoenix band? Yeah. How funny is that? Anyway, Ron Keel says to this woman that he’d love to come by the station. It’s the one he grew up listening to in Phoenix. (insert blatant plug for KDKB here)

So, of course I tell her to ask for his e-mail address, and invite him to hang with me on-air.

Ron, Dwain, and Geno (Keel bassist) come by the station and we spend the better part of an hour promoting the gig, and new record (blatant plug for Keel’s website, here). Some of those aforementioned stories are told, and we had a good time.

Halloween Night comes, and I draw the duty to bring the band onstage. When I get there, Ron Keel hands me a pair of autographed drumsticks from the band. The circle is almost complete (something, something Dark Side!).

Anyway, Ron tells me they have a huge intro tape and he’ll give me the cue to go. I’m standing onstage and waiting. Suddenly AC/DC starts going over the PA, and the stage manager is all up on me to “Go! Go! Go!” So, I’m looking for Ron for my cue. I look down and see Geno Arce (Keel bassist) and he yells up “I guess we have a new intro tape!”

So, I go out and do my thing. I pump the hell out of the band… (blahblahblahblah KEEEEEEL!!!)

Then I run offstage…and into Ron.

“What are ya doin??”

“I was told to go.”

“By who?”

“Well…the stage manager and Geno. I couldn’t find you.”

“Geno’s the bass player man!…We have like a 2 minute intro tape. You gotta do it again!”


“You gotta do it again.”

“OK…you let me know what’s up.”

At this time, one of the promoter’s people steps up to the band. Ron asks “Have we been paid?” The promoter-guy says; “I’m working on that.”

“Oh no…I need (amount edited out of professional courtesy) in my hand right now, or we’re not going onstage!”

…meanwhile, the AC/DC song is coming to an end rapidly.

During this time, I’m telling (Keel guitarist) Bryan Jay, that I’m about to go on stage and relay the events we’re witnessing to the entire crowd as a cover for my fuckup. He says, “Don’t tell anyone I said it was OK!”

Money exchanges hands, and the band is a go!

I’ve got about 20 seconds to tell Ron Keel that I’m telling that story. He’s just looking at me with a stare and a smile like “You wouldn’t!”

I did.

I jumped up on stage and said “You are never going to believe this…I just witnessed a moment right out of “Oceans 11.” I stood backstage and watched Ron Keel say to the promoter those four magic words; Pay. Me. My. Money!”

Crowd roars their approval.

“Well…as you can see they’re taking the stage! Someone got paid! Let’s make ’em feel appreciated now! Please welcome home; KEEEEEL!”

And off they went…

It was a great set. I could have easily spent the entire time standing on stage, and watching. But, just as it was 25 years ago…I went down to the front, and remembered why I do what I do . Because I love music.

There are moments that you always remember. This is not one of those surreal, “I met a legend” moments. This was a real moment. With a real band.  Afterward, I officially met Ron’s lovely wife, Renee’. We spoke of insider industry crap that wouldn’t interest you. But, it was the capper on a fun night, with a band that still isn’t a household name. But, I couldn’t care less.

I had a great time! If you were there, I hope you did too. If you weren’t, I’m sure we’ll have pictures up at the station website, or you can hit our Facebook page. I’ll also drop some on my FB page as well…and get the audio uploaded here so you can hear the interview if you’re interested.