After selling millions of albums and touring the world as both a metal screamer (Keel, Steeler, and a brief encounter with Black Sabbath) and an outlaw country artist, he has combined those elements into a powerful brand as the Metal Cowboy.
In addition to Ron, RKB features lead guitarist Dave “DC” Cothern, bassist El Diablo (aka Geno Arce, also a longtime member of Keel and other Ron Keel projects), Jeff “The Rev” Koller on drums and keyboardist Dakota Scott Schmitt (the latter two are both members of the South Dakota Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame). They have been together for four years – starting out as the House Band for a Sioux Falls entertainment complex called Badlands Pawn. During that era, they toured heavily on their own and with Midwest legends Hairball, and backed up other singers like Paul Stanley, Jack Blades, Kip Winger, Mark Slaughter, Don Dokken, and Stephen Pearcy – and for a 2016 Sioux Falls performance they did a set of covers mixed with Megadeth hits with EMP founder David Ellefson.
Those experiences tightened the band into a well-oiled musical machine and cemented their bond as friends. So, when Badlands Pawn went out of business, they chose to stick together and “fight like a band,” hence the inspiration behind the title track of the new album.
“We’ve been to hell and back together,” Keel confesses. “Everyone in the band sacrificed a lot, leaving their homes, gigs, families and friends to be a part of that. When it folded, this group was too strong to stop, so we renamed it Ron Keel Band and kept doing what we do – kicking ass.” Ron also credits the band and their music with helping him stay strong as his wife Renée battled breast cancer last year. “This album is a monument to our fans and the tough guys in this band…and it’s the most personal musical statement I’ve ever made.”