Birthday: 12th March. Star sign: Pisces.
Born in Dallas, Texas, Ron started tap dancing along with singing at the age of three. He studied tap for eight years and was considered a "child prodigy" by many. By the third grade he was playing trumpet with the school orchestra, and at ten won first prize in a Dallas ukulele contest. At age eleven he tap-danced on the first ever program broadcast LIVE on television in Dallas/Fort Worth. It wasn't until the summer of his junior year in high school that Ron gave up the trumpet and began playing drums. Not surprisingly, he excelled and it became his passion. His first paying gig was with an excellent Western Swing band composed of skilled musicians, of which two members went on to become legends: Tommy Morrell on steel guitar and Leon Rhodes on electric guitar. This band later became the staff band for live radio broadcast on Saturday nights from the Northside Coliseum called "The Northside Jamboree." The significant point of this is that Elvis came on our show with Scotty Moore and Bill Black, meeting them for the first time.
Sandy Lee Fields & The Western Nightriders (Ron's far left)
Following high school, Ron studied music at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas but left after two to three years to pursue drumming full time as a professional. After working in the studios of Dallas and Memphis, Ron moved to Los Angeles in 1969 following his first appearance with Elvis Presley's "comeback" performances at the International Hotel, which was later to become the Las Vegas Hilton. The first hit Ron played on was the first "live" version recorded on stage of Suspicious Minds. Some of the most notable hits that soon followed were Merle Haggard's studio version of Oakie from Muskogee along with bandmate James Burton. Next was Bobby Sherman's Easy Come Easy Go, The Hughes Corporation's Rock The Boat, Cat Steven's Peace Train, Cher's Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, Barbara Streisand's Stoney End, Sammy Davis Jr's Mr Bo-Jangles, Billy Joel's Piano Man, Neil Diamond's Play Me, Delaney and Bonnie's Soul Shake...
Ron is also a talented singer and has recorded as a solo artist as well as singing backing both on stage and in the studio with Neil Diamond and numerous radio station IDs, jingles and tracks, including the bass solo voice on Johnny Rivers' Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu."
Ron has worked with innumerable artists including Jerry Garcia, The Carpenters, The Flying Burrito Bros., Emmylou Harris, Billy Joel, Linda Ronstadt, Little Richard, Los Lobos, Henry Mancini, The Beach Boys, Maria Mauldaur, Bert Bacharach, Michael Nesmith, George Martin, Roy Orbison, Bill Black, Gram Parsons, Ringo Starr, Johnny Rivers, Barbara Streisand, Tony Sheridan, Jackie Deshanon, Elvis Costello, Dory Previn, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Alex Harvey, Kenny Rogers, Bonny Raitt, Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, Michael McDonald and of course Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond (with whom he has worked since 1981).
On working with such legendary singers, Ron comments, "If I had to narrow it down, the greatest music influences on my life would be Elvis Presley, Jerry Garcia and Neil Diamond. Elvis for the flashy, explosive, slightly out of control, style of playing that he brought out in me that mirrored his performance and personality, Jerry for his casual, laid-back, no hype, soulful style, but Neil has influenced me to be a disciplined team player. He leaves little to chance. He makes sure we are all well-rehearsed and fundamentally prepared. We know we are going to win every time we go on stage - just like a great sports team, and that's a great feeling!"
Ron now lives near Nashville with his wife Donna, son Jared and numerous animal friends.