Do to a problem with the audio recording of my conversation with Little Caesar’s vocalist Ron Young, I am forced to present a much shorter interview than was originally intended. Ron is a great guy and tells it like he sees it. I had a blast interviewing him and enjoyed his perspective on the rock scene, Little Caesar’s past and current events. We tried desperately to recover the rest of the audio from this interview to no avail. And while it’s a very short interview, I hope you will check it out and definitely pick up Little Caesar’s newest album “Eight” It’s simply spectacular!
XS ROCK: Hey Ron! Thanks for talking to me today. So you’ve got a new album out with Little Caesar called “Eight”. Tell me a little about that came together?
Ron: It all came together really easily.It was really natural. We did the whole record in 22 days. We just felt like it had good energy and good flow.
XS ROCK: So you’re out on tour now, right?
Ron: We just got back from the U.K. this last week and we’re heading back over to Europe in May. Thankfully, we’re getting a lot of great feedback for the band, so we’re talking about going Australia, we’ve talked about getting to Japan, so it’s really exciting you know. We’re really grateful.
XS ROCK: I have a lot of respect for what you do. I really believe that you and Little Caesar are in it for the passion of the music and not for the money.
Ron: You know we were in this band and everybody told us we were going to be the next big thing. We had John Kalodner and Bob Rock backing us and we we’re of the mind that until we sell records we’re nothing. And that didn’t really happen for us. Instead we built a real loyal following and smaller fan base. So we went away for 8 or 10 years. When we came back, we decided the mantra had to be that we were doing this purely for fun. So we promised ourselves that we would do this fiscally responsibly but the motivation is purely not monetary. We’ve tried to do it with reverence to the fans and the music. I’m really grateful that we’re lucky enough to do it at a high enough level that we can keep making records and going out on tour.
XS ROCK: So you still live in California. I understand that the recent wildfires hit pretty close to home, literally.
Ron: Oh, it literally did. Right over one hillside.Every night for about two weeks, they couldn’t get the fire out. Every night the whole hillside as far as the horizon, was glowing orange. It was a very disconcerting, anxious feeling to know that if the wind shifts just a little bit, it would take very little time to come over that hill. I have a little ranch farm out here, so I’ve got all of these animals to get out and once that smoke shifts, they start panicking. So it was like two weeks of us waking up every two hours and checking up on that hill and looking at our cell phones, looking for the alert to evacuate. It was really, really crazy and scary.
XS ROCK: So going back to Little Caesar, which songs are your favorites to perform live?
Ron: It kind of depends on my mood. Some nights I’m in the mood for a more soulful ballad type thing where I might do, In Your Arms from the first record, or Time Enough For That from the new album. Other nights, I’m in a more raucous kind of mood where songs like Mama Tried, a Merle Haggard cover might be the one. When we go in to make a record, we’re fans of music before we’re music makers. So for us, our albums are our way to pay tribute to all of the artists and the history of music that we love. We’re not innovators. We’ve never written anything that hasn’t been written or performed in some shape or fashion beforehand.
XS ROCK: Who were the artists that influenced you originally and made you want to perform?
Ron: Growing up when I was a kid, I was lucky. I had an older brother and sister. My sister was really into Motown, and Blues. And my brother was the one who liked the bands who took that sort of music and turned it into raucous rock n ‘roll like Johnny Winter and Led Zeppelin. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a black guy singing in a shiny suit on the Ed Sullivan show back in 1968. All of the guys that I loved like Paul Rodgers and Rod Stewart were obviously trying to do the same thing. Paying tribute and doing music in that same kind of blend that moved them. In the 80’s it was more pop metal kind of stuff that we were up against. And here we were trying to be that sort of 70’s based rock band. People looked at us like we were kind of the odd man out.
XS ROCK: Where do you get your influences from when you’re writing lyrics?
Ron: Well, you know I try to be an adult now. I tried to have a kind of tongue in cheek sort of thing in my songs. Bon Scott was one of my heroes, lyrically. He had a great sense of humor and there was intelligence in hos sort of cock-rock-esque lyrical forays. So, I try to put a little bit of humor, some observations and I try to be a little bit of a wordsmith without being too esoteric so that the lyrics don’t make sense at all. I try to be age appropriate, genre appropriate and yet not waste the ability to smae something with the lyrics.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene? Do you listen to any of the current music that’s out there?
Ron: I do. I really love Rivals Sons. I love Blackberry Smoke and Greta Van Fleet. They’re digging back into music that was influential to me. There’s some really good bands out there and thank God they’re growing their fan base, doing big shows and selling more records. I think it’s great that they’re keeping it all going. When guys like Gene Simmons say that Rock N’ Roll is dead, I think he’s referring to the commercial aspects of it.