Ronnie morning after first gig (early SM58)
|Ronnie (left) & Les circa early 60s on a good hair day|
When Ronnie arrived at his most impressionable early teens—while happily being influenced by jazz vocalists such as Mel Tormé and Bobby Darin—along came the Beatles and Bob Dylan. What else could a boy do but join in? Around this time he was presented with three vital items: a Grundig TK1 portable reel to reel miniature tape recorder, a Sankyo zoom reflex 8mm cine camera and a respectable 120 format 'still' camera. He has been capturing image and audio for pleasure and (a little) profit ever since.
Fifteen had him in a duo with that big Brother of the car radio—strong on harmony and quite a good aesthetic match except for Les being 6'3" and Ronnie measuring 5'7". By Sixteen Ronnie was earning a modest living performing the previous generation's jazz standards—and the current generation's hits—in a smoky basement nightclub that could have been lifted straight out of a Thirties gangster movie. The music of bands such as the Stones, Manfred Mann and the Animals led Ronnie—and millions of other people at the time—to the music of the blues legends.
In June 1964, Ronnie attended the Beatles concert at Festival Hall Brisbane.
In 1965, Ronnie formed The 5. The band was signed by Sunshine Records and in late '65 moved to Melbourne, recording the first of the band's three singles in September. During this period, Ronnie had the privilege of working support to (or sneaking into parties with!) acts including the Stones, Roy Orbison, Dell Shannon and blues legends Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee to name a few. He even personally received a few tips on his harp playing from Sonny Terry.
When pop bands eventually became pub bands, Ronnie turned to writing and producing Radio & TV commercial and corporate multimedia. The renaissance of 'cool' jazz vocalists during the Nineties inspired Ronnie to emerge from the obscurity of the jingle jungle and return to what he knows and does best—singing (and occasionally composing) with passion!
ronnie at ronniewilliams dot com