Ronny Munroe
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Ronny Munroe

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"RONNY MUNROE To Be Recognized At Mexico’s Mortal Fest 2009"

RONNY MUNROE, singer of the legendary band METAL CHURCH, will be recognized during the 11th edition of Mortal Fest 2009, to be celebrated on May 3rd, 2009 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Each year the producers of the Festival dedicate the event to an artist for its outstanding contribution to metal music through the years. This time Ronny Munroe, singer of Metal Church will have the honor to receive this award.

"I am overwhelmed and very grateful for this recognition. Thank you all at Mortal Fest. Metal horns", emphasized the singer.

With over 30 years of musical experience, Ronny has performed alongside international recording artists, and has done over 3,000 live performances, including playing in Europe to over 60,000 people. He is a dynamic performer with a very broad range and a unique vocal style that sets him apart from other singers. An innovative lyricist and songwriter, Ronny fuses melodic with hard hitting rock in a way that will take your breath away.

Mortal Fest began in 1998 as an initiative to support and promote Mexico’s metal scene. The first event surpassed the expectations of everybody and the following year the producers decided to expand the concept to an international event, combining metal music and art in one of the most important metal expos of Latin America.

For more info visit

Ronny Munroe has announced that his upcoming solo effort, The Fire Within - will be released in April.
Munroe told John Larson from that he has 15 original songs to choose from for the album. He and Metal Church guitar legend Kurdt Vanderhoof is co-producing it. On his solo material he can go in some different directions. Munroe said these songs show a wider vocal range, bigger choruses and different melodies compared to his work in Metal Church.

Munroe has new material streaming on -

"RONNY MUNROE Signs With Rat Pak Records For Release Of The Fire Within"

METAL CHURCH singer RONNY MUNROE has issued the following update:

"I'm proud to announce that I have signed with Rat Pak Records for the release of my first solo effort, The Fire Within. I've known the label CEO for a while now and I have to say that I am very impressed with his work ethic, relentless drive, passion, and tenacity.

I have no doubts and that is why I've decided to put my work in his hands. Joe and Rat Pak are on their way to the top and I am very pleased to be part of such a talented roster of bands . You can visit them at

The Fire Within will undoubtedly be my best work to date and I look forward to sharing it with you all

Thank you for your continued support,

Metal Horns!"

As previously reported, The Fire Within will be released in April. Ronny and Metal Church guitar legend Kurdt Vanderhoof are co-producing the album.

Munroe recently said these songs show a wider vocal range, bigger choruses and different melodies compared to his work in Metal Church. -

"The Seattle Times interview with Ronny Munroe - 'Alex-palooza' for special young"

By Marian Liu

While Alex Macomber lies in intensive care, his friends are rooting for him by rocking out.

Macomber could use their encouragement. After six weeks of testing, his doctors determined the 18-year-old from Tacoma has a rare cancer affecting his liver, spleen and bone marrow, called Hepatosplenic T-Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

His is the second case in the Pacific Northwest, one of just 21 in the United States, and the only diagnosis under the age of 35 nationwide. And with that, doctors gave him a bleak prognosis — just eight months to live.

That was March. Since then, his mother, Melissa Streed, quit her job to take care of her son full time. But she has three other kids to take care of, too.

"She needed some money and she had exhausted all her savings," said Christina Flory, Streed's best friend, who met her when they worked as loan officers at a Tacoma bank. "The only thing I could think of, coming from the music community was to help raise money for her. I know a lot of people that were musicians."

Flory rounded up her friends and started organizing a concert, fondly named "Alex-palooza," or "Metalfest for Cancer."

The concert is set for Saturday at the Royal Bear in Algona, south of Auburn in King County. Flory also sought the support of Seattle rock station KISW-FM (99.9).

"It's amazing that these band members that don't know us are so generous with their time," Streed said. "Just taking care of Alex has been overwhelming to me, so it's been very touching that these bands are so willing to rock and roll for my son."

The concert not only raises money for Alex's medical procedures, but also makes up for a show Alex missed last summer.

He was all set to see Queensrÿche. But before setting foot into the White River Amphitheatre, he threw up. Other fans started laughing, thinking he was drunk — but it was the chemotherapy making him ill.

Flory said, "He had gauged ears and piercings. He looked like the average rocker kid. So other teenagers were laughing at him, pointing at him, thinking it was just another kid that got drunk. He never did see that concert."

So Alex-palooza has a lineup to make a metalhead proud, with such local bands as Metal Church, Mechanism, Shades of Sanity and Silver (from Seattle, Puyallup, Bremerton and Tacoma).

"My hopes are that we going to pack the house and raise a lot of money for Alex and his family to help ease the pain," said Ronny Munroe, lead singer of the Seattle heavy-metal band Metal Church.

Adds Rick King, bassist of the Tacoma old-school punk band Silver: "It's really a tribute to his life ... to help him live longer."

Alex is now in intensive care, on a ventilator, at the University of Washington Medical Center.

"We had regressed the disease until remission in August, but it's a seductive cancer," Streed said. "It goes away, then builds immunity to chemotherapy and comes back. ... It has been touch and go, until the transplant."

Just last week, Alex had transplant surgery, with stem cells donated from his little brother, 16-year-old Max.

"One big reason why he's still holding on is for me," Max said. "He's tough. He's the strongest person I know. He's stubborn as hell."

That stubbornness gives strength to his mother.

"His encouragement mostly comes in the form of fearlessness as he faces this," she said. "It's scary, thinking about the prospect of losing a child, but he's just really supportive. ... This is what he says to me — 'It's not like I'm going to die mom, because that'll be dumb.' "Alex got to make a request to the Make-A-Wish Foundation — a nonprofit that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions — and asked to have Christmas with his family.

So back in October the nonprofit decked his house with decorations and a Christmas dinner. His Christmas wish? A MacBook, so he could plan out his future.

"He's has a really great attitude in the down moments, when he's sick he refuses to even acknowledge that he's going to lose," Streed said.

"I need that attitude. I can't think about this because he won't let it be thought about."

Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company


"Ronny Munroe treads new territory with solo project"

Ronny Munroe treads new territory with solo project

By John Larson
Tacoma Weekly

Ronny Munroe is up early on a Saturday morning, feeding the ducks in the back yard in the outer suburban ring of the Puget Sound region. Not exactly the picture one might associate with a heavy-metal singer.

Munroe is among the countless number of musicians who have been active in the local metal scene since the early 1980s, a time when international attention was drawn to the area by Metal Church and Queensryche.

Munroe was attending Fife High School when Metal Church emerged from Aberdeen, relocated to Kent and garnered international acclaim with their debut album.

For 20 years he paid his dues, fronting groups playing original material and cover bands. Metal Church broke up and reunited on several occasions during this time, going through lineup changes along the way. When they reformed five years ago Munroe joined the group and has recorded three albums with them since then. The latest, “This Present Wasteland,” came out in September.

Shortly after its release founding member Kurdt Vanderhoof, one of the group’s two guitarists, announced he would need time off from music for treatment of back problems.

Vanderhoof had encouraged Munroe for some time to do a solo project. With Metal Church’s plans to tour in support of their new album on hold, this offered an opportunity for Munroe to do so.

He assembled a group of musicians to perform and record with. They include guitarist Rick Van Zandt, who recently joined Metal Church.

They played a show last month at King Cat Theater in Seattle and plan to do three shows in Mexico in the near future. Live shows include Metal Church songs and Munroe’s original material.

They recorded three songs recently for Munroe’s solo album, which has a working title of “The Fire Within.” They have 15 original songs to choose from for the album, which Munroe expects to release next spring. He and Vanderhoof will co-produce it.

In Metal Church, Munroe realizes he is following the original singer, the late David Wayne, and his replacement, Mike Howe. The style he utilizes, therefore, is in keeping with the same realm as his predecessors. “That is what I am expected to do.”

On his solo material he can go in some different directions. Munroe said these songs show a wider vocal range, bigger choruses and different melodies compared to his work in Metal Church.

He writes the lyrics and comes up with melody lines, while Van Zandt is writing some of the music.

Munroe is looking forward to playing a benefit show at the Royal Bear on Dec. 20. It will raise funds to assist Alex Macomber, 18, who is fighting a rare blood cancer.

Munroe knows someone who is a friend of Macomber’s family. Macomber just had a stem cell transplant and the medical bills are considerable.

Munroe was moved by hearing of Macomber undergoing a round of chemotherapy one morning and attending a heavy-metal concert that evening despite severe nausea.

“He is a true metalhead,” Munroe said of the teenager. “That says a lot about a person’s character. He is not going to let this bring him down.”

Munroe said he likes to play benefit shows, although he sometimes has to turn down some requests when they conflict with his busy schedule.

Some of the local metal musicians in Munroe’s age range have recently found themselves back playing again after long periods of time away from the band scene. Some needed a break from the personality conflicts or the heavy partying that tend to revolve around rock music.

Not so with Munroe. “I have been striving to make a living at music,” he remarked. “In the last few years that has come true.”

For more information visit or

Ronny Munroe plays the Royal Bear in Algona Dec. 20. The show begins at 9 p.m. and the bill includes Mechanism, Shades Of Sanity and Silver. Cover charge is a $10 donation.


"METAL CHURCH Singer Ronny Munroe - Working Title Of New Solo Album Revealed"

METAL CHURCH singer Ronny Munroe spoke to John Larson from recently about a number of topics including his upcoming solo record.

Three songs were recently recorded for the album which has a working title of The Fire Within. They have 15 original songs to choose from for the album, which Munroe expects to release next spring. He and Metal Church guitar legend Kurdt Vanderhoof will co-produce it.

In Metal Church, Munroe realizes he is following the original singer, the late David Wayne, and his replacement, Mike Howe. The style he utilizes, therefore, is in keeping with the same realm as his predecessors. “That is what I am expected to do.”

On his solo material he can go in some different directions. Munroe said these songs show a wider vocal range, bigger choruses and different melodies compared to his work in Metal Church.

He writes the lyrics and comes up with melody lines, while Metal Church guitarist Rick Van Zandt, is writing some of the music.

Munroe is looking forward to playing a benefit show at the Royal Bear on December 20. It will raise funds to assist Alex Macomber, 18, who is fighting a rare blood cancer.

Munroe knows someone who is a friend of Macomber’s family. Macomber just had a stem cell transplant and the medical bills are considerable.

Munroe was moved by hearing of Macomber undergoing a round of chemotherapy one morning and attending a heavy-metal concert that evening despite severe nausea.

“He is a true metalhead,” Munroe said of the teenager. “That says a lot about a person’s character. He is not going to let this bring him down.”

The Royal Bear show begins at 9 p.m. and the bill includes MECHANISM, SHADES OF SANITY and SILVER. Cover charge is a $10 donation.



MetalSucks pensman Corey Mitchell recently had the chance to chat with frontman Ronny Munroe of Aberdeen, Washington thrash titans Metal Church, whose new album This Present Wasteland he gave a glowing four and a half out of five horns review. After the jump, read Ronny’s thoughts on the new record and a bunch of other topics.

MetalSucks: Tell me about the recording of the new album, This Present Wasteland.

Ronny Munroe: It starts with Kurdt (Vanderhoof) when he decides to go into writing mode, that’s when everything starts to happen. Once he gets some songs finished, he sends them to me via MP3 for me to start writing lyrics and melodies. With this one, we were actually able to do quite a bit more pre-production. I think that shows within the songwriting.

I can tell you were influenced by Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, and even some Rik Emmett from Triumph.

Oh, you caught that. What did you catch that on?

I want to say it was Breathe Again. By the way, that’s not a put down, that’s a compliment.

Oh no, Rik Emmett has a great voice.

Even though you may sound like those guys, you have your own unique sound. Too many vocalists today do Cookie Monster vocals, so it’s really nice to hear good singing again.

Thank you. I really appreciate that. I always bring up the Cookie Monster thing, too. I sing with emotion and that’s really what I like and that’s where my influences are.

Can you give me a brief rundown of your history before joining Metal Church?

originally came from a place called Fife, Washington, between Tacoma and Seattle. I began banging on pots and pans and stuff as a baby. As soon as I could talk, I wanted to be a rock star. I didn’t want to be a fireman or a policeman; I wanted to be a rock star.

In elementary school I started off with saxophone. That lasted all of about two months. I finally talked my mom into buying me my first set of drums. I played for about seven or eight years, messing with singing in between.

I started jamming in this band called Madhouse. Something happened one day at practice, someone didn’t show up, and the guys asked me to sing a couple of songs. It was “Man in the Silver Mountain” and “Hallowed be Thy Name.”

On the way home, the guitar player, Ray, said, “I think you should become a singer. Let’s start a new band.” And I was like, “okay.” So, I sold my drums and got a mic, and that’s how I became a singer.

How long did you perform on the club circuit in Seattle?

Probably over twelve years, off and on. I would take a break because nothing was really happening. I did Top 40 a couple of times, and a 80s tribute band called Glamm Slamm. Eventually I just had to get back into originals. What happened was in 2001, I ran into the band Rottweiler. They ended up calling me back and wanted me to play the Wacken Festival with them in ‘02.

So long story longer, about two weeks before I was about to record the new Rottweiler, I met up with Kurdt through a friend of mine and I was asked to join Metal Church.

Were you a full-on Metal Church fan from the early days?

Oh, yeah. I used to drive around with the cassette tape from the first album in my car and singing Gods of Wrath at the top of my lungs not knowing one day I would be doing it for real.

How does that affect you now when you look back in retrospect?
I was overly excited about it, and I still am. It’s an honor to be in this band. I’m very glad I met Kurdt, and that he chose me. It’s awesome. With the things that I’ve done previously in my musical career I was prepared to do this. There were a lot of situations that I went through over the past few years that prepared me for this moment. I’ve been ready for it.

Did you play together before with bassist Steve Unger?

Oh, yes, Steve and I played in Glamm Slamm.

Was Glamm Slamm hair metal meets Suicidal Tendencies?

It was all hair metal, man!

Sweet. Did you dress up?

Oh, yeah! We had this sickening promo video that I can’t even watch anymore. I’m wearing this sparkly shirt and we’ve got pyros that go off and only one side goes off. We had no budget. It was pretty much Spinal Tap.

Did Steve follow you to the next band after Glamm Slamm?

Yeah, after Glamm Slamm we had a break for a couple of years. Then I was the singer for Metal Gods. It was very heavy. I brought Steve into Metal Gods, and after I got into Metal Church, we needed a bass player. Something happened with the guy Kurdt had before. He said “Why don’t we try Steve out?” I gave Steve a call and the rest is history.

Could you talk about some of the lyrical ideas on This Present Wasteland? Is there a specific theme throughout the album?

We don’t ever start out with a theme. A lot of bands do, but we just kind of fly off the cuff. All the songs are based around the world today. That’s a lot of what I write about: personal struggles, world struggles, overcoming them, rebuilding just to be torn down again.

For instance, “Crawling to Extinction” is pretty self explanatory. Basically we’re all going to hell in a hand basket if we don’t change our ways.

“Deeds of a Dead Soul,” the premise is someone or something in life that was just pure evil, (but also in death) still leaves that evil on this Earth. Whether it is followers of that person or sect or whatever, I don’t want to get too deep.

“Mass Hysteria” is kind of along the same lines. It’s the end of the world.

“Monster” is one that Kurdt wrote about the computer age and sitting down at the keyboard all day long and not knowing who you’re talking to and all the things that come with it. A lot of people think it’s about downloading, but that’s what songs are about: drawing your own judgment. That’s something I like to try to do.

My lyrics are never straight to the point. I like to think they’re thought provoking and that one person could get a different idea than another.

Well, ambiguity is art. That’s a very difficult feat for a songwriter to accomplish.

If I accomplish any of that then I’m a lucky guy.

Former guitarist Jay Reynolds left the band earlier this year…

Jay had some personal problems that he needed to tend to. We all thought it would be best if he would step down.

Did Jay play any guitars on the new record?

We parted ways before he had a chance to do any of that.

How did you guys recruit new guitarist Rick Van Zandt?

Rick was the guitar player in Rottweiler and in my solo band as well. I introduced Rick to Kurdt. He’s more than a confident player, he’s a good guy and he fits right in. Kurdt liked him and loved his playing, and he decided that he was the right fit.

Going back to 1986’s The Dark, it’s one of my favorite albums. David Wayne was just a fucking god as far as singing in that heavy, yet melodic style. How does it feel to fill in those big footsteps?

First of all, I send out much respect to him. I used to drive around screaming Gods of Wrath and The Dark. I sang along to all that stuff, much respect to David Wayne and rest in peace.

Mike Howe stepped in and also had a great voice. They went through a different level when Mike came in. They changed direction a little bit musically and politically. Both of them have great voices.

At first I thought “man this is going to be [some] heavy shoes to fill.” I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it. Most people have said that, but there are always the die-hard fans that don’t care for me. Some don’t care for Mike Howe, some don’t care for David Wayne, it’s a very mixed bag. I do have confidence; I’m not going to lie. I’ve got years of experience before I stepped into Metal Church.

Do you guys get flack from people because Kurdt’s the only remaining original member in the current incarnation?

I’ve seen some comments that we should just hang it up. There have been a lot of bands like that, but few have the main guy that was writing the songs from the beginning. Kurdt Vanderhoof is Metal Church. I’ve been a part of it now for the past five years. We’re all part of it, but when all is said and done, he is Metal Church. We deserve to be called Metal Church as long as Kurdt’s in there.

Do you feel you’ve won over a lot of those die-hard fans?

From what I’ve been told, yeah. Most people, I think, have accepted me. The ones that haven’t, all I can say is I’ll try and do a better job on the next record to win you over.

Final thoughts?

Music is a gift. I’m blessed. I’m in a great band and bonded with a great songwriter. Even if I wasn’t making any money with this, and trust me, I’m not making a lot; I would still do this for the love of music.

[Corey Mitchell is also a best-selling author of books and blogs about serial killers, mass murderers, and brutal crimes against humanity.]


"Interview with Ronny Munroe"

As far as U.S. metal bands go, there aren’t many that have remained as consistent as Seattle’s Metal Church has. Their self-titled debut came out on Elektra Records way back in 1984 and despite a five-year break due to changing musical tides in 1993, the band has consistently been releasing quality albums that are true to heavy metal’s roots without ever jumping on trends. Granted, that dedication has also been the reason Metal Church has remained underground with a loyal and devoted following rather than breaking through to the upper tier with their peers.

However, that is also what has kept Metal Church on the straight and narrow for almost a quarter century with THE DARK and BLESSING IN DISGUISE being their two best-known works. Along the way, members have come and gone but guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof has remained the one consistent as the band’s main songwriter. Three men—David Wayne, Mike Howe and Ronny Munroe—have also held the vocalist position over the years. Many will hold their loyalties but Munroe, no longer the “new guy” having three studio releases (coincidentally, the same number as Wayne and Howe) under his belt, has been eking out his own rightful place in the halls of Metal Church lore. It is on Metal Church’s new album, THIS PRESENT WASTELAND, that Munroe really cements his position, though, combining his classic vocals with Vanderhoof’s music to create Metal Church’s strongest and most enjoyable record overall in years.

After a few tries to get connected for a phone interview (Munroe got held up coming back to California after taking in the Judas Priest concert in Las Vegas), I chatted with the singer on all things Metal Church, as well as the resurgence of thrash, his solo career and his involvement in some interesting charity work.

THIS PRESENT WASTELAND is out September 23rd and it’s hard to believe but this is the band’s ninth studio album! I’ve been listening to it repeatedly over the past couple of weeks and it’s probably my favorite album from Metal Church since BLESSING IN DISGUISE.

That’s awesome. Hey, thanks for the great review, too, man!

You saw it?

Oh yeah, I read it, dude! It was one of the best ones we’ve gotten, so I appreciate that.

I enjoyed all the albums through the nineties, A LIGHT IN THE DARK and THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD, but this really seems like a return to that classic Metal Church sound that everybody knows so well.

Quite a few other people have said the same thing, and I thought the same thing as well once Kurt [Vanderhoof] was sending me the initial mp3s of the music that he wrote, like “Crawling To Extinction” and all that. So I agree that it is kind of a throwback on some of the songs.

Vocally, you really shine on this album. It’s certainly the best work I’ve heard since you joined the band – lots of impressive screams and some really excellent vocal melodies. It’s just a great performance overall.

Thank you very much! I appreciate that.

Did you consciously spend any extra time working on your vocals for this album?

Well, there was quite a bit more pre-production on this one than on A LIGHT IN THE DARK, which was quite a bit rawer. Even though this one, production-wise, sounds a bit rawer, that’s not the case as far as the amount of time we spent preparing. I had two or three rewrites on some of the songs, and things really seemed to come together on this one.

You’ve got a new guitarist in the band as well – Rick van Zandt – how did he find his way into the group?

Well, Rick was the guitarist in the Seattle band Rottweiller, who I performed with at Wacken Open Air in 2002. About two weeks before we went into the studio to record the new Rottweiller CD, I was asked to join Metal Church. From then on, he and I have stayed friends over the years. He’s also the guitarist in my solo band. There were a lot of people who wanted the job, of course, because it is Metal Church, and Rick was close, a good friend, and a very competent player. He fit right in, and we’re glad to have him.

We know that Rick plays on the new album but is there any material featuring your former guitarist Jay Reynolds’ that made it onto the new album?

No, we parted ways before we started doing any of the recordings.

There are some really killer solos and leads on some of the songs, like “Deeds of A Dead Soul,” “Monster,” and “Breathe Again.” I hear a lot of NWOBHM influence on that last one. Did Rick bring a lot to the table in terms of writing the guitar parts or did Kurdt do most of it himself?

Well as we all know, Kurdt is the music writer. But as far as the solos go, most of those are Rick van Zandt’s – Kurdt gave him free reign. As you pointed out, the solo on “Deeds Of A Dead Soul” is a classic solo, and that’s van Zandt. We did have some guest spots, and on “Monster” was Angus Clark from Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and on “Mass Hysteria” is Chris Caffrey from Savatage and TSO. On the song “Congregation” is Matt Leff, who played in Wicked Witch with Jeff Plate.

It didn’t say anything about that in the promo. Usually there are mentions of the guest stars, but there wasn’t any mention at all.

(Laughs) Go figure!

“The Perfect Crime” is shaping up to be one of my favorite Metal Church songs. It’s just a great, classic metal song through and through. Is that planned to be a single or anything? It seemed like a standout track to me.

Well at the beginning, when Kurdt was going through the order of the songs, because he does that part of it – and he’s good at it, by the way – he did mention to me that he wanted “In The Company Of Sorrow” and “The Perfect Crime” to be the first two tracks. We didn’t talk single, but he did think that those two, including “Perfect Crime,” were very strong, and could have the potential, I guess, to be singles. But we never even think about singles – he writes, I put my melody and lyrics on there, and we just hope for the best.

I was listening to the last album, A LIGHT IN THE DARK, earlier today, and there seems to be a lighter mood on this album overall. There are a lot more hooks and accessible songs than on the last album. Is there something that might have inspired Kurdt to write a few more hooks on this album than on the last?

First off, I don’t think Kurdt really has a formula. But all bands that have gotten back together – a few times, in our case – always want to try to recapture their heyday, but I don’t think he’s ever consciously doing anything like that. I think he just gets a feeling from the first song that he writes, and then that becomes his formula right there, and then the songs just pop out. It’s incredible. But I agree with you, because I thought that if I could go back and do THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD again, which was my first worldwide release, I would. But I think there are a few more hooks on THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD than there are on A LIGHT IN THE DARK, as well. But he went to a more progressive side on A LIGHT IN THE DARK. There are even more hooks on THIS PRESENT WASTELAND than there are on THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD.

We’re talking about accessible, but “Meet Your Maker” has to be one of the heaviest songs that Metal Church has ever done.

I agree with that – I had fun singing that one, as well.

Do you find it harder to find that aggression, or to go to a more aggressive place, now that you’re older and not so full of piss and vinegar?

Well, I’m not dead yet, but no, I don’t, because the subject matter of this album is just what the title – THIS PRESENT WASTELAND – suggests. I guess I had a lot of aggression in me that just came out. When I get in the studio, whatever happens happens.

Is there a loose concept to the album that ties in with the title?

Not consciously, but all the songs pretty much ended up being about personal struggles, and the demon within, and government, without really being into politics. I don’t discuss politics or religion, because it really gets you into trouble. But I’m just giving my point of view.

Metal Church seems to be one of those bands that are incapable of releasing a bad album. You guys have never had a dud, or anything that’s really been looked at as a failure. Even on our website’s forum, I’ve never seen anyone say anything bad about Metal Church. What is it about Metal Church’s music that you think seems to have such broad appeal and acceptance for almost a quarter century?

Well, it begins with Kurdt Vanderhoof – he’s still the main songwriter, and THE guy. He came up with the name, and it’s his songwriting. It’s an honor for me to be in the band, and to be able to write the lyrics, as much as he lets me, because he’s also a great lyricist. He writes actual songs, and that’s hard to find these days.

Definitely. You guys also did kind of a unique thing this time around – you asked fans to contribute artwork for the eventual album cover. What made you decide to go that route?

Well, I had brought it up sometime before A LIGHT IN THE DARK, because we all know a bunch of graphic designers and whatnot, and some are really awesome. And I said, “Hey, why don’t we hold a contest?” Anything that gets the fans involved draws them closer to us, so that’s what we did, and that’s how we found that cover.

The final choice is great. While it’s simple, it really says a lot.

Yeah, and I think that’s what Kurdt’s vision was on there, with the guitar/cross shadow. From the very beginning of the band, Vanderhoof has always wanted to send a positive message, and not a negative one – nothing really demonic. That’s always been his vision, and that certain cover spoke to him. He sent it to me and asked me what I thought, and I said, “Hey, if that’s what you want to do, go for it!” I thought it was cool, too, and like you said, simple is sometimes better.

I’ve noticed that the guitar cross made a return on the last two albums, even though they disappeared after the first album. Is there a reason that they made a comeback on the last two in particular?

I don’t really know, I think that Kurdt wanted to go back to the original “thing.” I don’t know if he’s trying to recapture anything or not, but that’s what he wanted to do. And I dig it – I like it being on there.

It’s an icon for the band. You see that, and you just know. It’s like an inanimate mascot – sort of like your version of Iron Maiden’s Eddie.

There you go! Exactly!

A couple of years back, the band was recording a live show, and it was reported that you were working on a documentary called BEYOND THE BLACK, which was focusing on the history of the band. Did anything come of that?

Well, right now that’s been shelved for a while. The guy who’s been doing it is a good friend of mine, but there are a lot of other things he’s trying to accomplish right now. So I don’t know when that’s coming out. He still needs to do some more interviews and get more footage, but I’m hoping within the next year.

Do you have any idea if that’s planned to be part of a DVD package – a bonus thing – or will it be a standalone release?

Not right now, but I’ll tell you that everyone can go to or the Metal Church MySpace, also the Ronny Munroe MySpace, and find all that stuff out as soon as we do. As soon as we find anything out, we post it.

Speaking of the band’s history, do you find a lot of people coming up to you and Kurdt saying what a huge influence Metal Church has been for them?

That actually happens quite often and it’s very flattering. My girlfriend and I were watching some kids in Trinidad covering Metal Church’s “Metal Church.” There were people around them cheering – and that’s in Trinidad, and they were teenagers. So that shows that the younger generation has not forgotten. Maybe their parents whip the old records. But Metal Church is still around.

The current flavor of metal in the U.S. seems to be the metalcore, but you get bands like Metal Church, Iced Earth, Jag Panzer, Cage, and a few others, that keep flying that flag of traditional metal. Do you think your style of metal will ever go out of fashion, or does it have a timelessness that will cross generations?

All we can hope is that people enjoy the songs that we write – I mean, music does transcend. I think Metal Church will last forever. One can only wish.

When you guys play live, do you see a wide range of ages – maybe parents with their kids?

We do – there are parents who were watching the band back in ’84 who are there with their kids, and now they’re coming out in 2008. It’s incredible. Generations of metalheads, man. That’s what it’s all about. I think that metal will always be around.

Metal went out of fashion in the nineties, and that’s when Metal Church decided to take a break, but it was always there in the underground. It just wasn’t on the charts like it was at the end of the eighties.

Exactly. I also remember that it never left Europe because grunge didn’t hit there.

Exactly. In Germany especially – they’ve always been crazy over there.

(Laughs) You can say that again.

Given that the earlier Metal Church material dabbled in thrash, what do you think of this resurgence of thrash metal that’s popping up?

I think it’s great. Didn’t Testament get voted best album of the year already? I’ve only heard a few cuts from it, but that kicks ass. Also, Iced Earth, though that’s not Bay Area, and Death Angel, and Lääz Rockit are back together, and they’ve got a new record. I think it’s great. The guys are getting back on the road again and bringing the metal to the people, and that’s what it’s all about.

Even Metallica, the big boys of the Bay Area, have a new album coming out. Are you excited to hear that?

I like Metallica. They’re definitely a big influence on a lot of great bands and I definitely respect them. And I’ve heard a new cuts, and it sounds like they’ve also done a kind of throwback, and that’s awesome.

I’m fighting the urge to go out there and look for it, because I’ve heard that it’s out there, but I don’t want to hear anything from it until it comes out. It’s tough.

That’s a true fan right there.

Exactly. I mean I’m 36, so I still come from being there the minute the store opens and buying it and getting the art. I’m not into iTunes – I haven’t gotten into that yet.

Well that’s good, man. I’m a little older than you – not much (laughing) – but I remember going to Tower Records in Seattle at midnight to wait for the new Iron Maiden record so we could all rush in and buy it. It was exciting – you got to read the lyrics and liner notes – the special thanks. That’s the way it still should be, but hey, it’s the wave of the computer.

It’s sad. Tower Records is gone now, and that’s too bad.

A lot of them bit the dust, but hopefully someday we can get some more of them out there.

Are there any tour plans coming up for Metal Church? I’m in Vancouver, and you guys haven’t been here for about four years.

Wow. Well I apologize for that. There are some plans being made as we speak. Like I said earlier, as soon as there’s anything concrete, it’ll be up on the site. But we had some dates that we had to cancel a few weeks ago. This was no fault of our own – just certain people we were working with at the time. We just have to make sure that next time we should be working with the right people. That’s all I’ll say about that. But as soon as we have anything, it’ll be up on those sites.

You’ve been in the band for four years now – you’ve sung on three records – do you think you’ve overcome the “new guy” status, in the fans’ eyes, or do you think there are still purists out there who aren’t accepting of anyone but David Wayne?

There are, but there aren’t a lot. For the most part, I’ve been greeted with open arms, especially when they see me live. I think I do a pretty good job – that’s what I’ve been told, at least – but there are always going to be the diehard fans. I respect that – these are heavy shoes to fill. Mike Howe was great, and David Wayne was great, so I give much respect to both.

The interesting thing is that David Wayne and Mike Howe each sang on three albums, which is the same number that you’ve sung on.

Exactly. So we need to break it and go to number four.

Were you a fan of Metal Church prior to joining the band? Obviously you’d heard of them, but were you what they’d call a fan of the band?

Oh yeah – I mean I have the cassette tape of the first album. I used to drive around screaming “Gods of Wrath” at the top of my lungs, not knowing that twenty years later I’d be the front man. It’s a dream come true for me.

It’s almost like the “Ripper” Owens story...

Well, pretty much, but his was Judas Priest. Not to diss Metal Church at all, but Judas Priest are Judas Priest!

On the back of the promo, there’s a little blurb that sums up your voice as “Rob Halford meets Dio.” Those are pretty tough shoes to fill – do you agree with a statement like that?

Do I agree with it? I’ll say this – both of them are influences of mine, throw Dickinson in there, and Ian Gillan, and you’ve got all of them metal-wise. Maybe I sound like that at times, but that’s because I sat in my room practicing to those guys for years. But I would like to think that I have my own sound. But those are heavy shoes to fill – trust me.

Personally, I hear a lot more of newer Bruce Dickinson meets Paul Shortino from Rough Cutt.

Oh wow – no one’s ever said anything about Shortino before. And Dickinson is a compliment, so I appreciate that.

Your voice is obviously suited for metal and hard rock, I mean your voice and your singing style personify those two genres.

Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to be joining “Gone Country” anytime soon.

Have you ever sung outside of metal and hard rock?

Yeah – I’ve got some easy listening – well, not easy listening – that’s completely retarded to say (laughing) – but some softer stuff. Just some stuff I recorded for my kids to listen to while I’m on the road, and a couple ballads here and there. So I have a softer side, and I do like a lot of different styles of music. But for me, metal has always just been in my veins.

You mentioned earlier that you have a solo project. What style of music is the Ronny Munroe Band?

Well, it’s still full on metal, but there are some keys here and there, and maybe some more harmonies. But basically, just good metal – songs that I’ve written on an acoustic and turned over to many friends of mine – Kurdt, Dennis Turner, Rick van Zandt, and it’s giving me a choice to get some of the voices out of my head, so to speak. Things I’ve been holding onto and wanting to release to the public. And as you know, Kurdt has his Presto Ballet, and Jeff’s doing something, as well. They’re just side projects – Metal Church is our number one priority, but when we’re not touring, it’s nice to be able to do things like that.

Is that just a studio project, or are you doing any live dates to support it?

I’m going to be playing the King Kat Theater in downtown Seattle on November 22nd with those guys, and I’ll go out and do some tours. Kurt Vanderhoof and Jeff Plate are both involved in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, so when they’re on the road, they’re on the road for about three months. During that time is when I can get out and do some things of my own.

I saw on the website that you and Rick van Zandt are playing an acoustic show for charity on October 4th. What is the charity, and how did you get involved with them?

Well, it’s the Breakfast Club for Kids. I got involved because I went to a rotary meeting where I live, in Castro Valley. I went, and they asked me if I would perform and donate my services. What that charity is for is to feed underprivileged children and their families in the mornings, and also to help them with tutoring for the children and their parents. I’ve got a couple children myself, and I’d like to be a part of anything for kids.

Very nice! What sort of songs are you going to play? Ronny Munroe originals? Covers?

I’m just doing three acoustic songs, and then they’ve got other performers. I’m doing “Time Will Tell” from THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD, and a song called “Always,” which is on my three-song EP, and I might throw in “Renegade” by Styx. I think people would know the words for that, and it’s something I’ve never done before. I actually have a high school string section and a small choir to back me up, so it’s something totally different from everything I’ve done before.

Sounds interesting!

Well, we’ll see! But it’s for a good cause, and that’s what counts.

You’re also involved in CliveAid, which is for Multiple Sclerosis, I believe?

Correct, and that was started for Clive Burr, the original drummer of Iron Maiden.

How did you get involved with that one?

Well, I met Sam Hill in London when we were playing with Paul Di’Anno about two or three years ago. He gave me his card, and we talked, and throughout the last few years, we’ve gotten to know each other a little bit, and he asked me to be involved. That’s another worthwhile cause. And I’m not out to save the world or anything like that, but I believe that once you can reach a certain level – though I’m not famous by any means, I have a fan base – if someone asks you to do something for a good cause, you should try to help out.

I was reading that you were working with Meliah Rage last winter on their new album.

Yeah! I see you did your homework – that’s good.

Well I won’t lie to you – I’ve got a loose friendship with Tony Nichols from Meliah Rage, and he sort of tipped me off that you were out there.

Okay, yeah (laughing). Well Tony’s a good guy. Those guys went on tour with us about a year and a half ago, and they’re all great guys, and a great band, too. I really enjoyed having them out with us. We stayed in touch after the tour, and he called me and asked me if I wanted to do a song on the new record, and I said, “Yeah, of course!” I wrote it, and it’s called “Last Rites.” I went to Boston a few months ago to record it, and now I’m just waiting for them to get it done, and to release it.

I understand Paul Souza left the band, and now Mike Munro, the original vocalist, is back in the band. Were you ever approached to do the vocals for the album, or was it just sort of a one off thing?

No – we’re just good friends. I did the one song, and I’ll say this – if they were to have problems finding someone, and they were in a bind, then I would’ve helped them out.

It’d be a great fit with their sound, that’s for sure.

Yeah, and they’re all good guys.

Well that’s all I’ve got for you, Ronny. Any last words, or anything you want to add?

Well, THIS PRESENT WASTELAND comes out September 23rd, so go out and buy it, and remember to check our official site – - and the Metal Church MySpace and the Ronnie Munroe MySpace. Keep your metal horns flying, man!



Internal Quest EP-2007 Ronny Munroe Solo Project
This Present Wasteland-2008 w/Metal Church
A Light In The Dark-2006 w/Metal Church
The Weight Of The World-2004 w/Metal Church



Ronny Munroe is a consummate professional in all musical arenas. His unique vocal style sets him apart from other singers and he brings something extraordinary to every song.

Ronny is a technically accomplished artist who has studied vocal and breathing techniques with Maestro David P. Kyle of Seattle and has learned the Seth Riggs speech level singing technique.

With over 30 years of musical experience, Ronny has performed alongside international recording artists, and has done over 3000 live performances including playing in Europe to over 60,000 people.

With countless hours in the studio and extensive local, national and international touring, Ronny is an in-your-face performer with a stage prowess that has been compared to some of rock and roll's greatest front men.

Ronny takes time out of his busy schedule with Metal Church and his solo album to make himself available for benefits and causes he believes in. He also mentors young bands and offers vocal lessons as his way of giving back.