Nasty Ron

(formerly of Tampa Bay Area, Thrash Metal Band, 'Nasty Savage')


Date: 20th April, 2002

Interviewer: Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS

Venue: Back-stage at a Biker Blues Festival, Tallahassee, Fl. USA

It's amazing who you get to meet by total chance. During a recent fly-drive of Florida I went to a place called Tallahassee (now don't get confused with that 'Ode to Billie Joe' song - it bears no relation to this whatsoever. We purposely went to this area of Florida to go to a bar called 'The Pearl Oyster' crammed full of what can be termed as real Americans - those who actually live there - hence, where the tourists don't go.

During the daytime, we decided to check out the sites - one in particular was a Biker Festival, held at a large showground. After wandering around for a while telling people about the website, I stumbled across a stall owned by a firm called, 'Born To Ride'. I then found out that this was owned by none other than Nasty Ron (of the pioneering Bay Area Metal band, Nasty Savage). Nasty Ron agreed to do an interview and here it is, in full glory -

Glenn: Take it right back to Nasty Savage.

Nasty Ron: This is Nasty Ron of Nasty Savage. We are at a Bike Fest in Tallahassee in Florida and what I do now is produce a television show called 'Born to Ride' which is a Motorcycle show - but 10 or 12 years ago I was the lead singer of Nasty Savage which was a Heavy Metal band signed to Metal Blade Records. We put out 4 records and had a big following because in 1984 we put out a demo tape (called) 'Wage of Mayhem' and that demo tape alone must have sold around 5000 copies.

We started promoting and marketing to the underground when there really was an underground back then. Because of the Metal Underground in Europe, in England and here and all over we got pretty popular and people believed in our music as well as we did. So we got signed and started touring and put out 4 albums. The first one was 'Nasty Savage' in '85, then we put out 'Indulgence', 'Abstract Reality' and after that we did our final record for Rotten Records for D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) and that was called 'Penetration Point'.

In '88 we toured Europe and we played in London, Denmark, Switzerland, France and Germany. In fact we toured with a bunch of good guys from England called 'Atom Craft'. Are those guys still around? (laughing)

Glenn: I don't think so?

Nasty Ron: Well they were fun. They were a good party band. The guys from Venom were also with us and we headlined a big festival in Poland. It was really unbelievable to be in England and to be in Europe for the first time and we had a great time.

Then we came back and we did a tour with D.R.I. and Sick Of It All. We toured the United States - we did 60 shows in 65 days so everyday we were in different places from L.A. Chicago, Detroit, Canada, Texas, Mexico, Florida, New York City - I mean even to Kansas, Nebraska, St. Louis - you know everywhere you could think.

So we got to meet a lot of good fans and a lot of good people and we broke up that. Sometimes relationships don't last forever so we enjoyed it while we had it. Did a lot of travelling, adventure and we made some money - not as much as we could have made and it seems like the studio we recorded our album in - the fist one - Morrisound Recording Studio in Tampa.

After we recorded that more and more bands from all over the world would come there and get produced and then record there like our friends in Sepultura from South America, Destruction from Germany and so many more - Death, Obituary. So many bands came and recorded there after us and actually I really have to say we pioneered the 'Metal Underground of Florida' and it has become actually the Heavy Metal capital of the World for quite some time for bands like Obituary, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Death.

There's so many more that came from there like Six Feet Under. These are guys that used to help us - who used to be out front in the slam pit stage diving and I'm well proud to say that we were the Pioneers of Tampa Bay.

Glenn: I think Metallica may have covered one of your songs on their cover album.

Nasty Ron: Did they?

Glenn: I'm sure you've been mentioned as one of their influences.

Nasty Ron: That would be awesome if that were true. We were about the same time as Metallica because when we came out they were actually on Metal Master No. 1 and that was the Metal Blade compilation, so we became on Metal Master no. 6. It was our very first piece of vinyl and they took that track right off our demo, which is the 'Wage of Mayhem' demo.

You know we had one hell of a wild stage show. People would think that I was on drugs -the craziest, but I wasn't man, I was like straight and they said, 'man, you're some kind of wild man out there. You know, I'd throw T.V. sets in the air and smash 'em on my chest, roll in the broken glass and just bleed, wear no shoes, just short pants, just do crazy things. I'd stage dive, I'd throw people into the crowd. Then the music was just drivin' - I'd spit fire and the guitarist would just crank 'em out and the bass player.

I think Nasty Savage music was very complex and if anybody hasn't heard of Nasty Savage, go to your local record store and ask for it because the Cd's are now out there and sometimes there's two albums on 1 CD. If you check it out it's very powerful, complex, drivin' music and I think that we might have been ahead of our time and it went over some people's heads because at the time everybody wanted to hear that really driving 'just 3 chord' music that was powerful, say Metallica and everybody was copying that. We were different.

Some people compared us to like, Mercyful Fate - Iron Maiden style but we did our best and I know we put a mark on the Metal world. People who saw us in Europe I don't think they're gonna forget it - they are gonna remember Nasty Savage.

Glenn: Do you ever see the band getting back together?

Nasty Ron: It's probably doubtful - I mean some of the guys have moved around the country. Some of the guys might not want to get together again. Yeah, we did go back, which was an honour to go back in Europe because our stuff I think European fans are very intelligent, smart and they really understand the music and have done a lot of background research. They know the words of the songs and they're true to their music whereas a lot of Americans, one day they'll be Glam Rock, the next day they're Metal, the next day they're Pop, the next day they're disco or Grunge. Whereas if you go to Europe a Metal fan is a Metal fan - and I mean for life - (they are) very respectable and it's an honour to play in Europe cause I think they appreciated what we did and our music also.

Glenn: What has been your favourite material that Nasty Savage has done?

Nasty Ron: Well, you always wanna like a certain song, a favourite song. I wrote a lot of the lyrics so I felt all my lyrics were developing more and more as well as our music so in turn I think the best music of Nasty Savage never made it to vinyl, never made it to CD's and I reckon the next one we were gonna write was the favourite. When I look back, songs like 'Indulgence', 'Triple X' and there's a few songs on our demo that never made it on any albums like 'Witches Sabbath' and 'Savage Desire', which are great songs.

It's hard to pin-point a favourite but I loved to be with the band and together and really having a goal, a dream and then going for it and making it happen. You know, having a band you have to have the chemistry but you have to be a businessman too. You can't just go and party.

Glenn: You gotta get the money together in order to get to where you wanna go.

Nasty Ron: Yeah - you gotta look at it as a business because you burn out quick and unfortunately we didn't last forever but our music will.


Glenn: Do you have any solo material out at all?

Nasty Ron: Yeah, back in 1996-I think, maybe '97 I had a CD called 'Infernal'. It's just really brutal and heavy - actually it's on Crypt records. Crooked Records, North Carolina released it. It's just real brutal, like 5 songs and it's just some really, heavy, heavy stuff that I never got to do as Nasty Savage so I went a little bit heavier with my voice and it was more like a fun project - we just did it for the hell of it but it's pretty cool and it's still available.

Glenn: What was it like vocally?

Nasty Ron: It was real low and then I'd go real high. There was one song called 'Apocalyptic Battalion' the chorus was like (does the low throaty voice) 'Apocalyptic, Apocalyptic, Apocalyptic battalions' but some people thought that that sounded like 'Psychedelic Italians' (laughs). I did actually.

You can go to my website and there's a place on there where you can e-mail on the homepage and if anyone's interested in getting a copy of even the old Nasty Savage demo, I still have them. But the Infernal, there's that CD so guys if you want any information about that you should get it through there or you can e-mail me and I answer all e-mails. I think it's very important to keep up with the fans as they mean enough to take the time to write to you.

Glenn: What would you say are some of your favourite gigs?

Nasty Ron: It's so hard, you'd like you think you can remember 'em all but you almost can't. I mean the European shows were just killin' because every night it was a different town and all the fans just went crazy as hell for Nasty Savage - so no matter how tired you were or burned out I still gave 110%.

I remember some shows in Germany when there were people from France. People would travel from all over Europe to see us and (they were) just mobbing the stage. It was just unbelievable stuff.

We were at this big ballroom in London and actually I have a photo of it in my office when I was on the PA stack. I climbed the PA stack and I was ready to dive into the crowd where I did a twist-flip, went into the crowd and they did intend to catch me but I slammed down and hit my back!! You know I was ready for that because whenever you dive you have to be ready for what happens. So I hit the ground and I remember going home in the aeroplane really sore - I reckon I could have broke my back !! That's the kind of stuff we did on stage. Playing in front of 20,000 people in Poland is great.

But one of my favourite concerts ever was when we first got signed - I guess it was like '85 - we went to the Metal-fest in Montreal, Canada. There was Celtic Frost, Destruction, Nasty Savage, Voivod and Possessed - that was a hell of a line-up. You know just parting with the guys that was great. That was when the Metal Underground was really together. These are the guys that I was corresponding with and trading demos with and we all got to meet and hang out and do our thing on stage. That was one of our coolest shows.

Of course, playing with Slayer and Lamore in New York was great - I met Wendy O Williams backstage who came to see me and then having a face-to-face with Billy Milano from M.O.D. from the time he was talking a lot of sh*t about Nasty Ronnie - so finally we had a face-to-face and settled our differences and he turned out to be a cool guy.

The best gig would have to be, bottom line, when we came back - ten years later, playing the Rock-Fabric and with the German Promoters it was just unbelievable at the 'Bang-Your-Head' Festival - it was just amazing. Before we came on stage, Bruce Dickinson played with Wardog - he'd got back from America and played 'Flight of Icarus' or something - we had to follow that. Believe me, we were hyped up and I think I smashed 17 TV sets that night (we both laugh).

Glenn: How did you get started with the TV sets?

Nasty Ron: It's pretty weird how I started it. I remember when we toured Europe they banned the TV sets, so we didn't have 'em and then this time they had 'em and the kids were bringin' 'em from France 'n' Denmark and pulling them out of their cars and I gotta tell you - these European TV's were very heavy and I think I slammed right through 'em like a brick wall and threw 'em around. You know, it's kinda comical - some people didn't understand why I did that and mess up the whole stage but it was just something I did. You know, I usually did it at the end of the show - so it saved it all till then.

Glenn: How did you get the idea to do it?

Nasty Ron: Well it's kinda virtual - Wendy O Williams said she used to smash stuff and kinda against society and let out frustration so maybe someone else can take a trip with you if they watch the show and they go home and they totally perceive what I do on stage they might be totally relaxed after they go home because I just take out a lot of frustration and that's what I wanted to do. I did it for myself, of course, for myself of course but I would hope that people would take that trip with me - it's like getting on the bus - the old school bus because we are 'Old School'. When I'd get on the bus I'd say, 'Is everybody in?' and once everybody got in there, coming along for the ride, they weren't gettin' out 'til it was over - so we all get out alive.

Glenn: When you had a Tour bus, who did you used to ride with?

Nasty Ron: Well, a lot of times we toured in a van. We had tour buses too but a lot of the time people would say tour buses are so great but you're paying for it man - it comes out of your record royalties through the record company. They are taking every bit of that away from you so we tried to be business-like and save money. I think it's very important for success.

A lot of bands out there have a million seller and they don't have a dime to their name because the record company has capitalised on everybody. It's truly unbelievable now how these stars are really making big bucks - Kid Rock and people like that. It's really good that they are breaking through and really making some money. They should enjoy it while they have it because you never know it might not be here tomorrow.

Glenn: So you look after it and put a bit back just in case?

Nasty Ron: Yeah, well we never made that much in Nasty Savage but we had fun man. We did make some money but people think 'Oh, I'm gonna get in a band and be a star'. But even getting in the band and working up and getting paid - just to get to that level - it takes a lot. So for every band that makes it, there's a million that don't. Bit if you make, what do you call success? What is success? Do you have a million dollars, a hundred dollars or are you happy.

Glenn: I suppose it's down to who you play to and if people know your name and buy your records.

Nasty Ron: Right, and it's a never-ending process of production, promotion, interviews, press, radio. It's a lot of work man, but you gotta enjoy it if you gotta do it because it becomes your life -like now I'm doing this 'Born to Ride' TV show - constantly promoting and marketing, working on major sponsorships - things like that and everything I did in the old days with the band and I got into pro-wrestling kinda goes back to what I'm doing now. I've used that whole marketing and promotion. I've used my head because no one else is gonna do anything for you.

Glenn: You gotta do it yourself.

Nasty Ron: Yeah - you gotta go out and make it happen - so you guys out there reading the interview - choose something and make it happen but don't wait on someone to bring it to you because you've gotta make it happen and right in my office at home I got this picture.

Actually it's a painting by Salvador Dali before he freaked out. It's a picture of a girls back and a big window - and she's kinda looking out this big window and it's like 'what is she looking at?'

To me, that's something for me to look at and say, 'It's there man - go get it - don't let anybody stand in your way. If you have a goal, make it happen. It's like what 'Martin Luther King' said, 'I have a dream, I've been to the mountain-top', so everybody should have a dream. You can do anything you want and that's how I've always looked at myself.

Glenn: What gave you the idea to start up the 'Born To Ride' TV shows?

Nasty Ron: Well what happened was, I was producing a programme at Universal Studios in Orlando. I did like 200 episodes of 'Wrestling' and I started to see the marketing and promotion and TV types and they know how to work sponsors and things like that. At the time I had a Harley, my wife got one and we were set in the bikers lifestyle - it's a great lifestyle and all of a sudden I said, 'Man, I think I wanna put together... well first off we started putting our bikes in bike shows but I found out how cut-throat it is with bikes and everyone trying to kill each other just to win a $10 trophy.

I said, 'Hey, these people are fanatic - I need to do a T.V. show for bikers - there's no biker programming. So seven years later man it's going pretty strong. We have a big website ''. You guys out there check it out.

There's a babes section on it - it's got tons of babes. We have a membership section with killer bikes and a lot of information on there.

Glenn: Excellent. Who have you had on the show?

Nasty Ron: Oh, we've had a lot of celebrities, Hulk Hogan, Evil Kinieval, Bo Diddley, a lot of wrestlers - Macho Man Randy Savage, Willy G - a guy from Harley Davidson - Willy G Davidson - oh man, Gerry Springer (laughing). We've had Governor George Bush.

Glenn: Wow!!

Nasty Ron: He's the Governor here in Florida because he helped sign the helmet bill and I had Kung-Fu on there not so long ago, David Carrodine. I've had the guy named 'The Biff' from 'Back to the Future'. He was really cool - I met him at a toy show and he'd got a promo for me and Rob Van Damme, another wrestler - just a lot of guys that I meet and I just kind get them to cut a promo for 'Born To Ride'.

Glenn: And they are really into it?

Nasty: Yeah - they are really cool - I met a lot of good people.

Glenn: Sound. What have you got coming up next?

Nasty Ron: Next, what I wanna do with 'Born To Ride' is take it National and get some major sponsors and maybe go public with it - to the public market and I've got several investors that are talking to me right now about expanding it. But you know, you've gotta live life day by day and you hear all the stuff like you've gotta put it all in proportion and deal with reality - and reality is I've got to make it happen. I've got to keep it going.

We have a baby now - that's right - Nasty Ronnie has a baby (laughing)

and I was talking to David Austin, he was my guitarist in Nasty Savage and he's got a little girl too - but we're the only ones that have kids now. Hey, it changes your life, you know - it's an amazing thing - so I have something to live for - definitely.

Glenn: Do ever meet many of the old members of 'Nasty Savage?

Nasty Ron: Oh sometimes we run into each other or I keep up with this guy or that guy. A band - those guys have a couple of bands coming on, you know and David, he's working somewhere in North Carolina. Curtis was driving a cab - he's jamming with a band I think. I don't know, we see each other sometimes. It's not like we are buddy buddy, you know there might be resentment there - I don't know - I'm totally cool with everybody. I'm more worried about the future than the past.

Glenn: Yeah - that's the best way - that's tomorrow.

Nasty: Yeah - because you can't change the past, all you gotta do is worry about your future - and if you stay positive and have a dream like I said. Don't waste energy on negativity, you know - because life is very short and you realise that when you lose somebody at a young age and go 'Damn - they're gone'.

So really what people should do is really believe in their family - tell your mom you love her and your family - take care of your brothers and sisters because when you really, really, really need somebody who can you got to?

Sometimes the only people you have are your family because you find out who your friends really are when you really need somebody. Like you just got arrested - who's gonna bail you out of jail? Who's gonna help you move your whole house? - Whose gonna help you move? You'll find the only people who will help you are real family or real friends - you can really tell.

So what I like to do with 'Born to Ride' is touch a lot of people. We work with a lot of charities and we get to help a lot of under-privileged kids - like today we are working with the American Lung Association and State Troopers of Florida which is very important - those guys put their life on the line. But that's what I can do with my show.

I can also keep bikers in a good light. You know a lot of time, like the local news was here today and they were filming away 'this 'n' that' but you know how long there piece will be on TV tonight?

Glenn: No, how long will it be?

Nasty Ron: It'll be 20 seconds because the guy told me it's a 20 second spot. I can donate 20 minutes to 'em - so I can tell the real story and keep bikers in a good light - it's very important.

Glenn: Back home in the UK, the bike scene is very underground and they still get a bad name, is it like that here?

Nasty Ron: You know, there's the bike clubs and The 1 percenter's - The Hell's Angels, The Bandido's and The Outlaws and there's other clubs like the Rock Machine or whatever that are around different countries and in the world that are still kind of 1 per cent. They just stick to themselves and do their own thing.

What I like to choose to cover is the whole biker world - People who ride BMW's, People who ride Yamaha's, People who ride Honda's and People of course who ride Harley's and show the good things that they do. That's what I can do with my shows - break down the stereotypes that they're all a bunch of killers and they'll rape your women, pillage the town and that's bullsh*t now - even the 1 per cent guys - they just wanna be left alone man. You know - that's all they wanna do. Don't f*ck with 'em, don't touch their motor cycles, don't go where they are having a party and you won't have anything to worry about - they are not gonna go and beat up somebody for no reason.

The average biker today in America are great people - I mean these are the people that would give the shirt off their back to help somebody. If you're broke down at the side of the road, they'll be there to save you - they are good people - good and hard working. Most of the average bikers makes more money than the average American - so it's the upper class of people that are riding - some of his bikes may cost around $20,000 to $30,000. They have boats, cars, a motorcycle and family - they are good, hard-working people and I am very proud of what I do.

We get to show the good side and I get to give back to the community. You don't always make money doing that but what you do, you know in your heart that it's something good and it comes back to you - it's like Karma. If I work good and do what I can do for people and they benefit, then something good is gonna come back to me. Maybe my family will be blessed and it means a lot you know - but it's what I chose to do and I think that because of that something good is gonna happen to 'Born To Ride'. We could go National, syndicated - something like that.

Glenn: Do you think we'll ever be able to get it in the UK at all?

Nasty Ron: Hopefully yes - I know you've got Sky over there (in the UK), some other big stuff. I know a lot is going on in England with bikes and in Europe - so it's an international show - it's everywhere - if you're 'Born To Ride' man, it's everywhere.

Glenn: Is it advertised in 'Back Street Heroes'?

Nasty Ron: I've heard of that Magazine - where's that from?

Glenn: It's from Britain.

Nasty Ron: Is it a biker magazine?

Glenn: Yeah - it advertises things like the Rock and Blues festival in Derby?

Nasty Ron: That's what we have to do. Continue the network, go around the country and keep trying - you can't give up - you gotta keep pushing. Today I'm in the area of Tallahassee - it's like 3 or 4 hundred miles from where I live. I'm from Tampa - so we're here supporting this event.

Glenn: Out of interest, what's happening in Tampa at the moment with the metal scene?

Nasty Ron: I don't too much is happening. It's kinda dying out. I'm not up on it anymore. But every once in a while someone will call me when they are in town and I'll go out and see 'em but I'm more of a family guy now - I've done it, been there, done it but if someone's carrying the torch now then cool. But I can still go out there and kick ass on stage behind the microphone - you never lose it - but as far as what's really going on I have no idea. Unfortunately I heard that Chuck from Death died - that's unbelievable. I mean he was sick for a while.

Glenn: He was going to be playing The Corporation Club in Sheffield (with Death) but it got cancelled - people were so disappointed - especially the 'Old Schoolers'.

Nasty Ron: Yeah, there's nothing better than going to a gig and people know who you are and the whole nine yards - it's was great man. We went back ten years later and there's people with (Nasty) Savage shirts on, knowing the songs and getting autographs - signing foreheads, girls asses and sh*t - it's crazy (laughing). It was fun.


Glenn: Cool - have you ever heard of a band called 'Bal-Sagoth'?

Nasty Ron: No - where they from?

Glenn: From Sheffield, UK.

Nasty Ron: No - not heard of 'em - there's so many new metal bands. I used to believe in all those Zines but now we have the Internet - you know, Metal Forces. Is that still out Kerrang?

Glenn: Kerrang is - yeah.

Nasty Ron: Then there's 'Rock Hard' from Germany for a while.

Glenn: Yeah - there were a lot but many don't exist anymore. But now we have the Internet - it's a bit cheaper.

Nasty Ron: That's what really helped Nasty Savage get going - the Internet.


Glenn: Do you have a website for Nasty Savage?

Nasty Ron: Yeah - the best way to get there is going through 'Born to' and go to the links page, where there's a banner for Nasty Savage - so if you click that it takes you right to it.


Glenn: Nice One. What's the story behind the gold bike necklace you are wearing?

Nasty Ron: Feel it, It's pretty heavy - it's got a Diamond headlight and a Ruby taillight. It something that one of my advertisers was doing - making this jewellery - so owning this show enables me to do trade-outs - so I traded him a commercial for a couple of weeks for it. I think it would cost about $1500 to $2000 for the bike alone - so it's pretty unique - it's different.

Glenn: Man that's excellent. What was the line-up for Nasty Savage?

Nasty Ron: Cutis Basin - he was the drummer. Our last bass player was Richard Bademan - we had a different bass player on every album. Our two guitarists have been Ben Myer and David Austin and Nasty Ronnie the lead singer. Anyone reading feel free to check out the 'Born to Ride' CD - it's called 'Born to Ride - the Music - Volume 1', 17 songs, 17 bands that I discovered all over the country, Southern bands - mainly rock and blues, available from and we also have a video available as well.

So after that free bit of advertising, I took a cool picture of Ronnie. Others were also taken that are dotted around this page - hope you dig 'em.
A big thank-you to Nasty Ron's wife for setting up the interview and of course, Nasty Ron himself.

Go and check out the review of 'Born to Ride - The Music - Volume 1' in the 'V/VA section of CD Reviews and of course,