Photos © Heather Harris; Donna Balancia asks Ron Young, the dynamic frontman for Little Caesar, the important questions.
DB: Your band put on a great show last week at Paladino’s. What are your touring plans for the summer?
RY: We are headed over to Europe mid-June. We start out in Spain for a Motorcycle rally. Then we head to Holland, Belgium, France, Germany and then back through Spain.
DB: Is there a new release we can look forward to?
RY: We are working on new material we will hopefully finish when we return from tour. We will probably release an EP online … actual CDs are a way of the past. It also helps us get new material out faster and directly to our fans. Things have changed!
DB: How are the new guys working out with the band overall? What talents do they bring?
RY: The new guys, Carey Beare on guitar and Pharoah Barrett on bass are working out great. They are both incredibly talented and have a long touring and recording history.
Carey plays with Deanna Carter as well and that country blues sensibility fits us really well. His influences in blues-based rock really helps as well. Pharoah is a killer bass player and singer. I toured with him up in Canada when I did a tour with the Four Horseman years back.
DB: How did you ever develop your style?
RY: I always loved Blues, R&B, Soul and the the Rock and Roll it influenced. The combination of guys in the band bring such great elements. Loren is the “punk rock” Keith Richards in the group and brings a great edge to our songs. We emerged in LA during the “hair band” explosion and it really wasn’t any of our “cup o’ tea.” We were gritty dudes riding motorcycles and loved more traditional blues and soul based Rock…which was not the mantra of Pop Metal bands on the Strip in the Eighties. We put the band together to not lose our minds and to pay tribute to the type of Rock we grew up on in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s.
DB: What is the significance of Detroit in your history?
RY: Loren is from Detroit and was a big part of the scene back there. He was in a seminal Punk/Hard Rock band there that did shows with Bob Seger, the MC5, and the Stooges. Mitch Ryder and his take on RnR was a big influence as well.
DB: Who are some of the bands you used to follow in your the formation days of Little Caesar?
RY: We loved to do shows and listen to bands like Junkyard, Rhino Bucket, Little Kings, Bulldozer etc. They were very honest and gritty bands that side stepped the make up and hairspray like we did. We all played in great joints like Raji’s, The Scream, the Shamrock etc. There was a great communal scene in those days.
DB: Why did you cut your hair?
RY: For me, long hair became a parody. As I grew older it felt like leaving it long was a desperate attempt to cling to my youth. I have silvery curly hair and I would have looked like Santa if I let it stay long. I’m not a big fan of hiding my age behind L’Oreal blue black hair dye. RnR should exude confidence, and when you age and dye your hair it looks obvious and insecure to me.
I cut my teeth on the great innovators of Blues and Country Rock like Johnny Burnette, Elvis, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent. Short slicked back hair looked very cool to me and was a tribute to the real roots of Rock music….plus, it’s not a pathetic attempt to try to convince our fans that I am still 29 years old. This isn’t 1988 anymore. Our fans know that too and have evolved in life and fashion….except if you hang out at the Rainbow four nights a week. That place is in a great time warp lol.
DB: How do you come up with song ideas and what inspires your songwriting?
RY: I write all the melodies and lyrics. I will take a guitar riff or chord progression and do my thing over it. Will we openly say things like, “let’s write Bad Co feel type tune, or a “Stonesy” song. We make no claims to be innovators. We have such a love for great Rock that was innovated by earlier bands, if we can capture an essence of some of our idols and hybrize them all together, we figure it will be a song that’s good to listen to.
DB: If you four dream bands for whom you would open who would they be?
RY: Bad Co, AC/DC, The Stones and Skynyrd … Who we did have the great honor and pleasure to open for in ’91 with our buds Junkyard.
DB: How does living in California influence your style and the band?
RY: I hate what the music scene has become in California. “Pay to play” has ruined live music in LA. It’s very hard to do a good show with other good bands that people want to come and see. Now if a band has $500 to get on an opening slot, the promoter takes it and doesn’t care if the bands sound good together or if they have talent. We rarely play in LA because of it … But the weather is great if you want to go see something like that!
DB: I hear that you are an amazing talent also when it comes to fabricating, engineering and creating. How did you ever get involved with making cool things? Did you make the microphone you were holding the other night?
What makes that microphone you had different and/or better than others?
RY: I DO love to fabricate. I build custom cars and bikes, I do custom metal work like gates and architectural pieces and I’m building a custom home as we speak. I did “make” that mic. It’s the next level in an evolution of various designs of my vocal mic. The mic capsule is a Telefunken M80 mounted inside a chromed Shure Beta 56a housing with a Sennheiser ENG wireless block transmitter. It’s a very crisp yet warm mic … similar to a condenser … but with really good rejection … Too nerdy and techy for ya?