Ron Keel is best known in the music world for his Sunset Strip inspired hard rock anthems and high pitched screaming vocals while fronting 80’s bands Steeler and KEEL.
Yet, that widely known fact is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to the life and career of Ron Keel.
In his recently released autobiography ‘Even Keel: Life on the Streets of Rock and Roll’ Keel really doesn’t hold back on the details… except when it comes to protecting his children. In this case some of the family drama is spared for their sake. I don’t think anyone can blame him there and this lack of ‘dirt’ only drives home the point that Keel is a decidedly decent guy.
Working within a perfectly constructed timeline, Keel begins in the beginning and ends up in the here and now. No running off on tangents or details that don’t make sense. This book progresses as I feel Keel the man does; with a goal in sight.
Although his history prior to the move to LA takes up the entire first half of he book, it doesn’t feel unwarranted. By the time Steeler packs it up and heads out of Nashville you will most certainly have a firm grasp of his undying work ethic, a pattern of relationship travesties, and a winner take all attitude.
You’ll be privy to a new bands quest for rock stardom, its eventual metamorphosis from Steeler to Keel, a historical collaboration with Yngwie Malmsteen, the faintest of frontman gold with Black Sabbath, and of course the eventual demise. All of this is dusted with just a little bit of cocaine and surprisingly more stories of dirty warehouse robberies than sexual escapades. There are no Gene Simmons styled ‘love’ fests, but there is Gene Simmons.
Then just like that, rock is dead.
But instead of dying with it, Keel goes country.
A large portion of this bio is comprised of the country years, when Ron Keel became Ronnie Lee Keel. Detailed and dusty, it was my first look into the country world and I did find it educational and entertaining. I have a natural affinity against country music, but breaking things down on purely musical basis, it really is the same struggle. It’s just backed by a steel guitar instead of a Flying V.
Ultimately, this book is more a story of drive and persistence than ‘just’ a Sunset Strip rock book. It’s a lesson in survival. Of being humble and doing everything it takes to achieve what you love to do. You’ll buy the book for its nostalgia. You’ll finish it feeling you can do anything you set your mind to. At least, if you follow the lessons inside it, that is.
Available on Amazon.