METAL CHURCH Frontman Talks About Solo Project

Christine Carney of MP3.com conducted an interview with METAL CHURCH vocalist Ronny Munroe on Sunday, June 3. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

MP3.com: So why don't you get us up to speed on what you've been up to. I think you've been doing some stuff away from METAL CHURCH just recently, right?

Ronny: Yeah, I have actually. I've started my solo band and I'm doing demos right now. I've got a couple labels interested that are just waiting for my demos actually. My band consists of the guys from Seattle, the band Rottweiler, who I actually started out with. I played Wacken in 2002 with those guys. And I also have Rick Pierce on as the lead guitar who is known from Q5 from the '80s with Floyd Rose and TKO, and now he's in NIGHTSHADE — they're an American band but they're on Hellion Records, I believe, out of Germany. So I've been busy doing that and also, like tonight, I'm here in L.A., and I'm a guest judge at a battle of the bands for Cliveaid, which is [a benefit for] multiple sclerosis. Clive Burr, IRON MAIDEN's original drummer, has MS and they started Cliveaid, I believe, over in Europe a few years ago, and now they're branching out and they're doing a festival in L.A., September 22, and my solo band will be playing that show.

MP3.com: Wow. Is that the debut appearance?

Ronny: That is, actually. We're going to do a couple warm-up shows, but those would be kind of under wraps but, yes, that will be the major debut for Ronny Munroe's solo project, and I'm really looking forward to it.

MP3.com: Is it THE RONNY MUNROE PROJECT? What are you calling it?

Ronny: Well, you know, I started out with maybe THE RONNY MUNROE PROJECT until I saw "Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny" [film] and THE KYLE GASS PROJECT and that made me rethink. So now I'm just going to go with RONNY MUNROE for now, but who knows in the future depending on how things work out, because first of all I'm not leaving METAL CHURCH. METAL CHURCH is still going strong and no fears. METAL CHURCH is not going away, just everybody is doing separate projects and whatnot because we know these days in the metal world that to survive you really have to do other projects to try to make money to do what we're doing unless you're at another level such as METALLICA or these bigger bands, which we're not at this point. Maybe one day — and hopefully — that's what we've been striving for is to bring METAL CHURCH back to where it once was in the early '80s and mid '90s. And we did a pretty good job of that, but still the metal scene is totally different now in America than it was back then.

MP3.com: Right. Well it seems like METAL CHURCH is really going strong since you joined the band, and you guys put out a couple of releases. It seems like you're all over the place, playing all the festivals and everything.

Ronny: Yeah, actually, Kurdt [Vanderhoof] pushed us on that as well as the rest of us. We just wanted to get out — because the band had been broken up for I don't know how many years, quite a few years actually after they did "Masterpeace" in '99. And then Kurdt found me through a friend and we discussed it and whatnot and basically that's how METAL CHURCH got back together again, and we've just, like I said, we've just been trying the last four years to try to get ourselves back to where we once were, and I think we have done a pretty good job, and that's what the fans tell us as well. But like I said, it's really hard now in America. Europe, the scene never left as you know, but America is still building. I just wish it would build a little quicker.

MP3.com: You and me both.

Ronny: Yeah. Well, you know, it was a couple Saturdays ago I was in San Francisco. I had the privilege to get up on stage and sing with Mr. Jon Oliva, "Hall of the Mountain King", which is my all-time favorite SAVATAGE song. So it was an honor and it was a benefit, Guitars Not Guns, which is also a very cool thing. And the next day afterwards I had to make a post and send it out there because it was a Saturday night, it's Jon Oliva from SAVATAGE, TSO, all of that, CRIMSON GLORY, you know, a really good bill on a Saturday night and there was probably 200 people there.

MP3.com: Wow.

Ronny: On a Saturday night, and the club could have held, I would imagine, 600. So I had to make sure I put a post out and just say, "You know, you've got to come out. You've got to support the scene. If we want it to grow, if we want it to get back to where it once was, but you have to get off your ass and come out and support your bands."

MP3.com: That's true. Still, I would say 200 is probably a fairly healthy crowd.

Ronny: Well, OK, not to say anything bad about the people that were there because it was a great crowd, my statement being I just think there should have been more people, but the people that were there were diehard fans. I mean, I saw a lot of people that I know, that I recognized are at all of the shows. And those are the diehard, true metal fans, and we just need more of them. But, yeah, the people that were there were great. There was nothing wrong with that. My statement was we just need more people to come out.

Check out the entire interview in text and audio format at www.mp3.com.

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