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Ron Keel Tour Diary Parts 4 and 5, 8/14/05



Parts Four & Five

Ron Keel is on the road with his "Acoustic Outlaws" tour, featuring himself and other players that we all know and love. Whenever Mr. Keel has an update from the road, we’ll post it here for all to see.

This will be a chronicle of my activities for the next month – two weeks with my new Acoustic Outcasts project, and then two weeks on tour with IronHorse. Thanks to all the sites that are including this tour diary and to all the fans for hanging out with us on-line and at the shows.

The Acoustic Outcasts Tour is a collection of some of my good friends, and some of – in my opinion – the best voices in Rock, banded together to create an acoustic format in which we can showcase those voices and our songs. In addition to myself, the cast includes Terry Ilous (XYZ), Kelly Keeling (Baton Rouge, Michel Schenker, George Lynch, Blue Murder), Charlie Wayne (Keel & Wayne), and guitarist JK Northrup (XYZ, King Kobra, etc). During the course of the show, everyone will be performing solo, and in various combinations, and ultimately all together as a group. The first show, in Nashville Tennessee, also features vocalist Danny Vaughn (Tyketto, Waysted).

The tour kicks off in Nashville on Thursday July 28, and the first leg is concentrated in Ohio July 29-August 6. All the dates can be found at http://acousticoutcasts.com

Acoustic Outcasts Tour Diary:

Day 16: Friday August 12 2005 – 6:10 Eastern Standard Time

I called a good old friend of mine today because I’m in the neighborhood, and he tore me a new asshole for not returning his calls (I haven’t even had time to check my messages)…I just checked my emails, and everyone is harassing me with “OK, fuck you for not responding to my email.” No one seems to realize what we go through out here, trying to cram three days worth of living into a 24 hour period and sometimes not having the time to take care of business or personal relationships.

It’s been over a week since I posted an entry, which is surely a good thing – if I had had the time or strength to post, I would have just said, “Fuck it – this sucks – I quit.”

I admire Jizzy Pearl’s honesty in regard to his tour diary – I wish I had the balls to call a spade a spade, but the only way I’ve managed to survive in this business is to see the good side of things, celebrate the small victories, and tuck the bullshit away somewhere where it can’t get to me. If not for that ability, I surely would have killed people and/or gone insane by now…and I’m certain I’m not sane by any stretch of the word.

But now that the first leg of the Acoustic Outcasts Tour is behind me, and I’m now on the road with my band IronHorse, I can look back and smile. After my last Tour Diary post, we proceeded to do the final three shows of that leg – I had to switch into ‘survival mode’, just gritting my teeth and getting through it, because I have never been so stressed, so physically or mentally exhausted. The Outcasts is my concept and my baby, so I shouldered a great deal of responsibility and assumed the bulk of the workload – after the very first night, I drove every single mile, in addition to doing most of the gear setup and staging, plus dealing with the venues, promoters, and getting ripped off and lied to by the booking agent, and saving just enough gas in my tank to pour my heart out on stage every night. All this led to my 19th nervous breakdown, not a pretty sight – anybody that knows me will tell you I’m tough as nails and I live and die by my work ethic and I’ve never been afraid to bust my ass, but this tour taxed me to the core. But neither quitting nor committing suicide were viable options, so I held on to my primary philosophy – The Show Must Go On – and got through it.

As I said earlier, I can look back on it with a smile – I really enjoyed our time on stage, the way the show flowed together. I love listening to Terry Ilous sing – what an amazing talent, and great songs. I enjoyed the late-night talks with JK, recounting our various UFO sightings, listening to music with Kelly. The shows were by far the easiest part of my day – with so many great singers on the tour, no one had to wear their pipes out, and no one was on stage for the whole show, and some of us were sitting down for large portions of the performance.

The next leg of the Acoustic Outcasts Tour, in September/October with Don Dokken, promises to be a much more rewarding experience in every way – Don’s name adds considerable weight to the package, we have a good agent for this run, we’ll have a tour bus and a minimal crew, we’ll have some fun and make some money. But I’ll never forget that first experience with the Acoustic Outcasts, and now I have a lot of new road stories to tell.

I was able to go home for a couple of days to my cabin in the woods, and my wife was very supportive and sympathetic – when she saw me, she just rolled her eyes and shook her head. I managed to recharge my batteries, catch up on a little (very little) business, and then it was back on the road with my band IronHorse.

As I write this, I have to be at tonight’s venue (Big George’s in Plain City OH) in about 45 minutes, and need to get cleaned up and ready for the show, so I’m going to pause and finish up this entry later tonight when I get back to the hotel.

Back from soundcheck. It is so good to be back with IronHorse, which has been my band for over five years now, and when we play together it’s always like coming home. After what I’ve been through the past couple of weeks, this feels awesome – and although I love the acoustic shows, it’s always good to get back to the high-energy high-volume high-impact workout that is an IronHorse show.

I flew into Columbus yesterday, checked into the hotel, and went to soundcheck – we haven’t played together since May, and that was just a 45-minute opening slot for the Outlaws – some of these songs we haven’t done since our last tour in February, and we dared to jump in cold without any rehearsal this time. Luckily we’ve been together half a decade and it really is like riding a bike – there were a couple of songs that I had to refresh the lyrics, even though I wrote them. But the first show of this tour on Thursday in Columbus was very smooth and comfortable, like a handshake from an old friend, and the band and crew all went the extra mile to make it happen. IronHorse was built in Central Ohio, and we have a very strong and loyal following in this area and these people make it worth every drop of sweat – and there’s plenty of sweat, wearing leather in mid-August in Ohio…and we pack over 3 hours of music into these types of gigs, it’s very physically and vocally demanding for me. We play almost every song from both IronHorse CD’s, and many of the KEEL tunes – something like this:

American Thunder

Evil Wicked Mean & Nasty


3 Sheets To The Wind

Run For The Border

You Can Have What’s Left Of Me

I’m A Fighter

The Show Must Go On

Haunted Saloon

Train Train

Shooting Star

Dancing With The Devil

Bring It On


I Can’t Stop You

In My Wildest Dreams

Redneck Rock N Roll

The Best Move

The Other Kind

Desert Rain

Dixie Highway/drum solo

Sin City

Give Me All Your Love Tonight (Saber Tiger)

Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

Half Past Goodbye

Because The Night

Here Today Gone Tomorrow

Tears of Fire/One Hell Of A Ride

The Right to Rock

We’re An American Band

I hate to post and run, but I’m grabbing a nap before I have to get my game face on. Thanks for reading this and hanging with me on the road. RK

Day 17: Saturday August 13 2005 – 4:22 Eastern Standard Time

Last night’s IronHorse show was a rush to say the least. Big George’s Bar in Plain City Ohio is like home to me and the guys – Plain City (about 30 miles outside of Columbus) was the band’s first home, in 2000-2001, and the venue owner Big George is one of my best friends in the world, and it’s always a huge homecoming celebration whenever we play there. Great sound and production thanks to our crew from LoneWolfSound.net, a packed house, the band tighter than a rat’s ass – it’s nights like these that keep me doing what I do, that make all the other bullshit worthwhile.

Not much time to rest, though, and I’ve set myself up for an ass whipping today – two shows in two venues in two towns. We’ve already done our soundcheck at the IronHorse gig in Marysville OH, and now I’m rushing to get ready for my first show of the evening – as opening act for Metal Sludge Xtravanganza II at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus. I’m excited to be a part of the Sludgefest, and looking forward to seeing some old friends, especially Stevie Rachelle – we’re doing a short 40 minute gig to kick off the festivities, packed with the heaviest IronHorse tunes, some Saber Tiger, and the KEEL hits. I’ll be backed up by several of my IronHorse bandmates – Jay ‘Snakdaddy’ Rusnak on lead guitar, Geno Arce on bass, and Gaetano Nicolosi on drums – here’s the set-list:

American Thunder

Evil Wicked Mean & Nasty

Saber Tiger – Give Me All Your Love Tonight

Because The Night

Here Today Gone Tomorrow

Tears Of Fire

The Right To Rock

After that, we’re off to our headline gig in Marysville, where we’ll do the usual 3+ hours marathon gig. Then immediately after the show, my buddy Chris Wicks will shuffle me off to the airport, where I will catch a 5 am flight home to Nashville. All in a day of my rock n roll life…

I will post my reflections on the Sludgefest and the evening’s other activities when I recuperate on my couch in a day or two. Thanks for reading this, I’ll be back… RK


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