The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
I walked into the dressing room prior to the rescheduled show in Florida to the self proclaimed “kid from a punk band” is his skinny jeans and Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. It was unseasonably cold that evening, so the heaters in the outdoor amphitheater were running on high. Not exactly the best festival atmosphere, but the show must go on.
As Ronnie and I made our obligatory introductions, I knew right away this was going to be fun. He had a warm personality and was smiling most of the time. It did not matter what I asked him, he would just answer honestly and go with it. We started by discussing their recent offering, A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy called LA. As is typical in a great deal of song writing, it started with a girl. “I’m a song writer in addition to writing for TRJA, I write for other artists. I was flown out to LA and met a girl (in the studio) named Angela.” He went on to say he was surprised to see her running everything and he became intrigued. He goes on the clarify that it isn’t that he didn’t believe women could do those types of jobs, but that it is just so uncommon that he’s not seen it before. He called it a “unique day”.
While they didn’t speak much then, the next time they crossed paths, they ended up on a first date, and he ended up with a song, and it’s a darn good one too. While he and I both agree it is a “non conventional ” type of song, fans and followers at the time of this interview had already streamed the lyric video nearly one million times and it is still going strong. For the band, they are “killing it on all things we use to calculate success”. I asked if he ever got overwhelmed by the sheer numbers game of the internet. He actually seems to enjoy it and has not idea truly how broad their reach is.
Ron and the rest of TRJA spend a lot of time giving back with various charities so the reach to tens of millions of followers and fans can do nothing but help. From Truth in Lyrics, Coalition on Domestic Violence to Take Action- Suicide prevention, he is social conscious, having even spoke on Capitol Hill raising awareness of the brain as an organ. “If someone breaks and arm, they are taken care of right away, but with the brain, there’s a whole grey area. I’m just a kid from a punk band so it’s way out of my league, (but) one of the first to take it out in the open. So, a lot of our music touches on that.”
It’s a long way from the suburbs of Jacksonville, Florida to front man of an Alternative Rock/Punk band, so taking it way back I had to ask how he got there. “Well, if you listen to songs like ‘Flirtin‘ With Disaster’, it’s almost punk (plays drums on legs while humming melody). Southern Rock IS punk if you listen to it the right way.” He has a point and sells it well. “We came from a town linked to Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and 38 Special. We grew up listening to them and then the music of my generation, Blink 182, Fallout Boy, a new version of what those guys were doing. We even dressed somewhat similarly (with) long hair, skinny jeans were a thing then. People forget it’s not necessary Emo, look at those 70’s rockers. They wore VERY tight pants, the only difference is they had handlebar mustaches which is now ‘scene”. So it’s like a blend of the two. Sounds come and go, but rock evolves. You can see and hear their brand new song “Brace Yourself’ now on Youtube, and it will be available everywhere on Friday, 4/10.
He’s committed to much more than just music and awareness. Self described as a “full time dad, part time rocker”, he calls the band his “best part time job in the world. When I’m home, I try to just be a dad and a husband, as much as I can, and when I’m out here I get to pretend I’m in a rock band.”
I took this a step further following up of which effects him the most musically, his personal growth or the growth of his fans. “My personal growth. I mean a lot of my friends are dead. Too much partying, too much drinking, too much drugging. A lot of other bands who were doing well when we began are broken up, dead, or in jail. So, for me personal growth was a must or I was gonna die and I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay alive. I went through a metamorphosis, like most rocker do, into sobriety, about five years ago. I’ve done really good since then. So to answer your question: I need to keep doing this. There does come a time when you’ve done enough shows, you’ve made enough money. You’re good. You really don’t HAVE to do this unless you just love it and that’s when an artist goes the way of the dark way or the good way. Eventually everything is either a bonus or a hindrance. I have a lot of wants but not a lot of needs.”
If given the opportunity to sit in with any band he would choose drums for Tool. “I couldn’t sing because Maynard is so incredible.”
Be sure to check out The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on the usual platforms:
Official Website: https://www.theredjumpsuitapparatus.com/
Apple Music/iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/album/id1505413691?ls=1&app=itunes
Bands In Town: https://www.bandsintown.com/en/a/29-the-red-jumpsuit-apparatus