Just a few days before Intelligent Music Project first show ever in Greece celebrating Rock Radio 104.7 birthday, an event that had to be re-scheduled because of the pandemic, Ronnie Romero talks about the Bulgarian band, his second time in Greece, rock radio, his various collaborations and his musical roots. Of course, he is referring to the current issue of replacing Joe Lynn Turner in Sunstorm. Interview: Yiannis Dolas
Rockpages.gr: How do you cope with Covid19 restrictions, limitations, no gigs so far? How much did your personal life change because of the pandemic?
Ronnie Romero: In the musical side of course it changes. To not to have shows for more than a year, when the last 5 years I was doing like 60 shows per year it’s a big change hahaha. But in the other hand maybe I was in the need to have a rest and just to be at home. It helps me in the way to have more time to become more creative. I was doing a lot of records anyway.
In the personal life it changes a lot. I didn’t see my kid for more than a year! Because I live in Bucharest and he is in Spain. So hopefully we can meet soon again.
Rockpages.gr: We are expecting you guys in Thessaloniki for Rock Radio 104.7 anniversary party! It’s the first time Intelligent Music Project play in Greece. What should the audience expect?
Ronnie Romero: They will have a huge dose of high level rock music and a lot of fun courtesy of myself haha. Intelligent Music shows are plenty of good vibes so I believe, together with the great Greek rock fans, it will be a night to remember!
Rockpages.gr: Since this show is about the radio station, 104.7, how important would you say that is rock radio in general nowadays? Do you have memories of yourself sitting by the radio listening to music? Do you remember the first time you heard one of your songs played on the radio?
Ronnie Romero: Well, everybody knows how the radio works nowadays. And its a little sad because I would love to listen more new bands in the radio and not just the same old thing all the time. Anyway, at least there is something to listen while you are driving, right?.
For me it was always important, I remember in the 90’s to listen full rock concerts in the radio. And very culture journalist talking for hours about my fav bands. I wish those times comeback.
Rockpages.gr: Intelligent Music Project new album, “The Creation”, is out. What were the reactions so far? This was your second album with the band so far and I think it sounds harder than the previous one, which matches to your singing style a bit better in my opinion, what do you think?
Ronnie Romero: Yes definitely. I think this is because we were working with Milen Vrabevsky together for two years already, we know each other better and he wrote new great songs which fit better with my vocal style. Reactions from the fans and press are going great, everybody think the album is great and you can feel and hear the band sounding tighter, even in the live shows, so its great.
Rockpages.gr: It seems that you are very “HOT” at the moment and everybody wants to work with you, do you have any more collaborations coming up? Are you flattered by that?
Ronnie Romero: No new collabs so far. I’m very focused working with Intelligent Music, my band Lords Of Black and a couple of studio projects with my record label, so that’s enough for me at the moment. Obviously is always great that people wants to work with you, but as I always say, it’s great to have the chance to decide what to do, and to how work with as well.
Rockpages.gr: You played with Ritchie Blackmore’s in Rainbow and Michael Schenker in MSG, two giants, very influential guitarists. How was these collaborations? Do you find similarities between Ritchie and Michael? Was this a dream coming true?
Ronnie Romero: Were great of course! You can learn a lot working with such a legends! But they are not similar, at all. Ritchie is more classic in the way he works, with more freedom, every rehearsal session is like a jam session. With Michael is totally the opposite, He is a hard worker who wants to rehearse for hours every single detail of the show. So as you can imagine, I have a lot of different elements to learn with the two of them.
Rockpages.gr: Michael Schenker told me in a recent interview that you were supposed to sing on the entire album, but that wasn’t possible because of the pandemic. Is this going to happen in his next album? Do you have any idea?
Ronnie Romero: Yes that’s true. I got all the songs to work on it and to go to Germany for the recordings, but because of the lockdown, I was not able to travel. So at the end he decided to count in some more singers for the album, even when I recorded more than the four songs you can listen in the final version of the album. For the future I don’t know, But we will keep working together for sure, because we have a nice chemistry working together, it’s a very respectfully and nice relationship between us.
Rockpages.gr: Lately you were announced as the lead singer of Sunstorm, the band which was led by Joe Lynn Turner, how did this come up for you and how did you feel that you have to replace this legendary singer?
Ronnie Romero: I just got offered to make the record by Frontiers. They told me that Turner is not in the project anymore so they thought I could fit in the band. I think we did a great record, against all the criticism and controversy before the release. When the people listened to the songs we got a lot of positive feedback, because it was the music speaking for us. At the end this is all about, we are just doing music, nothing more and noting else. Sometimes musicians just need to focus on music, and not on giving headlines to the press all the time… sadly some musicians prefer the second.
Rockpages.gr: What were your influences as a singer when you were growing up? Bands that you grew up with, singers that you admired? Favourite albums?
Ronnie Romero: I grown up listening many different bands and singers, luckily because my father was a huge fan of classic rock music. From Boston to Deep Purple, going through Frank Marino or Stevie Ray Vaughan to Ten Years After, Kansas, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Credence Clearwater, Grand Funk Railroad, The Beatles, Journey, etc etc. so as you can imagine my influences coming from everywhere in the rock world.
Rockpages.gr: From all the albums you’ve done so far, which one you think is the most underrated that rock fans has to check out?
Ronnie Romero: I think all the albums I did were well received by the fans. Lords Of Black, Michael Schenker, Vandenberg, Coreleoni, The Ferrymen, Sunstorm. Nothing to complaint about them. Very happy with everything I did so far and with the support and love from all the fans around the world.
Rockpages.gr: In Intelligent Music Project you get to work with huge names of rock music like John Payne (ex-Asia), Carl Sentance, Todd Sucherman (Styx), Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow, Black Sabbath), how is that experience?
Ronnie Romero: Maybe you should ask them how was to work with Ronnie Romero!! Haha. I love every single colleague I had the chance to work with, and I learned from all of them, all of them teached me a little and helped me to grow up as a musician. Everybody knows I’m a very normal guy, who loves friendship, and beers, so…
Rockpages.gr: In the music video for “The Creation” you had your girlfriend starring with you, how was that? Are you a sports car fan and what would be your dream car to have?
Ronnie Romero: Yes my fiancee and I we worked together in that one! She is very related to my work because she is my manager and sometimes, because she is also a fashion model, we make some videos together. Currently she is involved with Intelligent Music working in the promo for Romania, so we decided to make the videoclip together and it was a lot of fan!! We loved the experience to drive those cars.
I’m not too much into the sport cars thing, but who wouldn’t want to have one of those!! I would for sure, mostly an muscle American one!!