Ron Gallo is one of the most interesting and innovative minds in the music industry today. Known for his commitment to social change he is continuously using his platform as a musician to comment about various important issues ranging from politics to the environment. His two latest and greatest achievements being an amazing new album entitled Foreground Music and a companion book filled with journal entries, essays, reviews and various other musings called “SOCIAL METEOR”. Recently, I interviewed Ron before his show at the Basement East in Nashville where I had the chance to pick the brain of one of the most unique and interesting musicians I have chatted with in a while.
Hey Ron, thanks for taking time to chat with me today, let’s get right into this. So in your latest song Yucca Valley Marshalls one of the lyrics states “When the most famous singer from my hometown comes on the radio, it was quite romantic” was that based on anyone? And if so, who is the most famous singer in your hometown aside from you?
- Ron: Haha! So I remember it now. There is an artist named Amos Lee. He is from Philly and he is a local staple. It was actually one of his songs. The song is very old and I was very into it. It’s called “What’s been going on?” by Amos Lee.
Do you spend a lot of time listening to other musicians? Or when you start getting into a creative headspace do you block out music so you can focus on doing your own thing?
- Ron: Definitely with this album. I found myself not listening to music for that very reason. I actually heard in an interview once that Missy Elliot does that with all of her albums which I thought was really cool.
Were you a big music consumer growing up?
- Ron: My memories of music consumption come from when I was young and I would go to the Walmart behind my house and buy music. The first album I ever bought was Usher’s album My way. I also got Limp Bizkit Significant Other right out of the box when they were unpacking it. Cd’s and singles, Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP, Korn. I remember being really into CD’s. There is a record store called Tunes in my hometown and I would just go through the 50 cent rack and just buy random stuff. When I was 14 I used to steal CD’s from Hot Topic haha!
Could you ever see yourself being in a heavy style band? I don’t mean like Korn or Limp Bizkit but perhaps an evolution of the music you are currently doing?
- Ron: I have this urge for the future where I either go completely quiet and go full Jazz or maybe have a thrash punk band where I just sing. Just act like an absolute idiot on stage. Maybe just doing both. Whereas my current project is in the middle of both of those worlds.
I heard an interview with you once and you were talking about how when you first started you had to do more vocally to get the crowds going. In the interview you compared European crowds with American crowds, what is the difference you have seen in the two audiences? Do you think Europeans have a greater appreciation for music?
- Ron: I do, I think there is less of a pretentiousness of it in Europe. People will go to a show and have a good time. They aren’t afraid to have a good time, where here people kind of hang in the back with their arms crossed and they act more stiff. They are too afraid to move around and express themselves. Also, some people here like what they are told to like sometimes and they don’t have their own opinion. I feel that often, in the indie music world people do things because of hype. They go to shows they think they are supposed to go to rather than going because they genuinely enjoy live music. In Europe they are more open minded and they will go to shows simply because there is live music going on, not so much about who the band is. You discover many more cool bands that way. They approach music with an open mind, not just what’s trending.
Speaking of “trends” do you feel like the American fixation on social media like Tik Tok, is ruining music in some ways? Meaning, some artists are writing songs specifically for 30 second hooks to trend on Tik Tok, rather than caring about the full story a song can provide?
- Ron: I don’t think it’s sustainable. Sure, they are feeding into current trends but ultimately I don’t think it’s realistically sustainable. It’s eventually going to go away. If you find success in that world, then more power to you. It’s good in some ways when you can reach a massive audience in such a short time and it takes the power away from the industry. It puts the power in the artist’s hands but sometimes the way it’s done is ruining our brains. I don’t really get pushed to be in that world because the people I work with understand who I am and encourage me to find my own way to do things.
On your latest album you have a hilarious new song called “Big Truck Energy” . Is that based on real life experiences?
- Ron: Yes! Definitely. The story of the song itself is not based on just one experience but a conglomeration of a bunch of experiences and incidents that have happened. I almost didn’t want to put that song on the album but she (Chiara D’Anzieri, bass) ended up producing the song and is responsible for it being on the album.
- Chiara: The Big PeePee energy part is me. Whenever I see trucks like that I always think “You must have a very small penis to compensate like that” They love to destroy the planet and I hate it. It’s a reflection on the consideration they have for others and themselves. I am very spicy about it haha.
When you set out to write this album did you have a direction in mind or did songs just develop organically over time?
- Ron: When I started making this album I actually went back to older songs that were ones I liked but were never finished and I started working on some of them to get into the proper headspace. Songs like Entitled man,Yucca Valley Marshalls,Vanity March, they were previously B-Sides from other albums I never finished. Once I did that, in combination with everything going on in the world and my observations on everything it made it very clear why I had to make an album in 2022.
If you were given a box of everything you have ever lost in life, what would you look for first?
- Ron: The first thing that came to my mind was a green jacket that I left in a hotel room that I left on tour while in Europe. I loved that jacket and called the place but could never get it back. I don’t lose a lot of stuff and it was hard to lose that one.
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