Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ron Keel Band, the American Wastelands

In my high school and college days I dreamed of some day being a big-time rock and roll photographer. Neil Zlozower was my hero who shot all the big-name bands in Los Angeles. I followed his work in many rock magazines and shot whatever concerts I could here in South Dakota.

As a lifelong KISS fan, I paid attention when demon/bassist Gene Simmons began producing records for bands he felt had the potential to hit it big. One of those was KEEL, fronted by lead singer Ron Keel who I'd never heard of. I listened to their first Simmons-produced album, but KEEL never seemed to hit it the Motley Crue level and I lost touch with their history.

So I was surprised a couple years ago when Ron Keel showed up in Sioux Falls, fronting the Badlands House Band and DJing on KBAD Radio. I looked up a little about his history since KEEL, but didn't dig very deep.

Earlier this year I got a message that I would have never imagined in my high school days. Ron Keel wanted me to shoot some promo pictures of the new version of the Badlands House Band, now known as the Ron Keel Band. Wow, a real rock star with connections to KISS, was calling and asking for my services!

Since then I've talked with Ron about his brief tenure in Black Sabbath, some about his KEEL days and even had some great photography discussions with his wife Renee via Facebook. I read his autobiography "Even KEEL" and learned that this guy's heart is really in the music, no matter what kind of crazy life he's lived. I also learned that when he really wanted to show off KEEL at its best, he hired my old hero Neil Zlozower.

So things came full circle for me when I realized when he wanted the Ron Keel Band to look its best he called me. Here's what we came up with when Ron asked for a cowboy-biker-ruined-apocalyptic-industrial look for the photo shoot.

You can catch the Ron Keel Band in Fort Pierre this Saturday night at the Silver Spur and throughout the region this summer. Check them out at

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