Vocalist & singer/songwriter Ron Scalzo not only has had a lengthy solo career under the moniker “Q*Ball,” he is also presently lead vocalist of the rock band “Return To Earth.” Ron heads his own label, Bald Freak Music, which includes artists such as Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron Thal (a.k.a. Bumblefoot) and up-and-coming pirate metal band Swashbuckle on their roster.
Ron, what are your top fave 5 records which have
impacted you the most in your life musically or otherwise?
The Joshua Tree by U2
Vocally, I’ve been compared to Mike Patton, Bono, & David Gahan of Depeche Mode – if everyone truly believes that, then I guess I’m doing my job well, because those three guys are up on the mountaintop in my eyes. I know some people think Bono is a pretentious ass clown nowadays, but I became a fan of U2 too early to buy into all that. U2 will always be “the band” for me because they still write, record perform as “a band” after all these years. Bono may get the most face time, but Larry Mullen, Adam Clayton, and most definitely The Edge – probably my favorite guitar player – contribute so much to the legend of the band, and “The Joshua Tree” is still their finest, and most honest work. From the epic jangley guitar intro of “Where The Streets Have No Name” to the haunting finale, “Mothers of the Disappeared,” they never miss a beat.
Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails
“The Downward Spiral” is better, and put Trent on the map, but as a teenage music geek of the late ’80s & early ’90s, looking to free himself from the chains of hair metal, I didn’t only turned to grunge (like everyone else my age). I also started steering my ship towards Wax Trax-style industrial music & synthpop, and this was the music that really shaped my beginnings as an electronic musician. “Pretty Hate Machine” was that happy medium between Tears For Fears & Ministry – a little more accessible than the latter, and a little less fruity than the former. I vividly remember the first time I heard “Head Like A Hole” – I was in the back seat of a friend’s junker car on the way to a club, and I had him stop at the record store (remember those?) to pick up the album on the way to our final destination. I was hooked instantly & never looked back.
Mr. Bungle by Mr. Bungle
I haven’t been too enamored with most of Mike Patton’s projects these days, but I still think Mr. Bungle is one of the most innovative, original bands I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear on record or see live, and I miss them much more than a lot of other now-defunct bands from my teenage years. Like most on the East Coast, I discovered Bungle after Faith No More’s “The Real Thing” (another awesome album) blew up, but once I got my hands on the self-titled debut, I was addicted. A buddy & I used to spend time on the quad in college singing the entire album acoustically instead of getting drunk & meeting girls. I met Trey Spruance by the mixing board before a Bungle show in NYC & we were talking about music & electronic gear for about 20 minutes before he identified himself as “Trey Spruance.” Then I watched him and the seven other brilliant musicians in the band blow me away while Patton toyed around in a seemingly endless rack of mics & vocal effect processors. Still one of the most technically efficient bands I’ve ever seen or heard.
…And Justice For All by Metallica
I grew up in the late ’80s. I missed the Sabbath boat, I missed the KISS boat, I missed the AC/DC boat. As a drummer growing up (I moved in front of the mic in my early 20’s – take that, Phil Collins) in a Brooklyn neighborhood full of metalheads, the records that spun endlessly on my turntable for awhile were Def Leppard’s “Hysteria,” Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet,” and especially Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite For Destruction.” My parents were strict, but fair, and they were big music fans & borderline hippies, so all this music was somewhat tolerable to them, even when blasted at unreasonable decibels from my small room upstairs. Then I saw the video for “One” on MTV and their patience wore thin much quicker. “Justice” turned me on to thrash, speed metal, and a heavier sensibility, not to mention about 100 bands that I would have never thought I’d become a huge fan of, including Anthrax, Pantera, and System of a Down.
Abbey Road by The Beatles
I could easily fill up this whole list with Beatles albums, even tho I was 5 when John Lennon was shot & killed. But like most, my parents’ influence on my musical tastes was huge, and I quickly fell in love with their music – Zeppelin, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, The Stones, Elton John, Billy Joel. But none were more prevalent in my house than The Beatles, and “Abbey Road” is one I still appreciate the most as an adult. The “Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End” piece was the first thing I ever learned to play on drums, and The Beatles’ songs were always ones my early bandmates & I tried to cover (poorly) when we first picked up instruments. I guess that speaks for the album’s timelessness as much as anything – it transcends generations, and it maintains its catchiness, its experimental nature, and its originality 40 years later.
Thank you Ron for joining us! High-5!
© 2008 Guitarhoo!