Ron Gallo is a Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who is perhaps best known for an eight-year stint as the frontman of Philadelphia-based indie band Toy Soldiers, an act that initially began as a guitar and drum duo that at one point in its history evolved into a 12 member collective, before settling into a quintet when the band split up in 2014. Gallo’s solo debut, HEAVY META was released earlier this year, and as you may recall the album was initially written while Gallo was living in Philadelphia and was involved with a woman, who had a number of personal and emotional issues. And as the story goes, when that relationship ended, Gallo moved to Nashville and finished the album during a period in which he has considered one of the most transformative periods of his life, as he saw as a personal reawakening and a musical rebirth.
At the time, Gallo wrote and recorded songs in small batches without the support of a label — and initially, without the intention of making a full-length album. However, the material he wrote wound up touching upon a number of themes, including Gallo’s personal ideology on abstaining from drugs and alcohol, self-empowerment, domestication, dead love, not knowing yourself and what can happen when you don’t, mental illness and more, complete with a frustration with humanity and civilization. But it’s balanced by a feeling of optimism. As Gallo said in press notes at the time, “this record comes from my frustration with humanity and myself, and from my wanting to shake us all. At my core, I’m compassionate for humanity and the sickness that we all live with, and from that comes something more constructive.”
Building upon the growing buzz surrounding him, Gallo is set to release the follow up to HEAVY META, Really Nice Guys on January 19, 2018 through New West Records. Produced by Joe Bisirri and Gallo, the forthcoming release is a concept EP inspired by the past year that Gallo has spent touring and promoting HEAVY META with the material being a commentary on the contemporary music industry. The EP features songs about rough mixes (broken into three parts — iPhone demo, live band demo and overproduced, autotuned studio recording); the inability for those within the music industry to say that a band is bad, so that everyone winds up saying “well, they’re really nice guys;” all of your friends asking to be put on the guest list for your show, etc. Along with that, the EP features Gallo’s mother’s boyfriend Jerry’s real-time thoughts after hearing the material for the first time throughout the EP, captured by a hidden microphone.
As Gallo says about the forthcoming EP in press notes “Write what you know, Ron Gallo! Being constantly on highways, in vans, on planes, on stages, in green rooms, on guest lists, turning a person into a brand, turning a real life human moment into a song, into content, into an asset to be monetized, talking to people about myself and stuff I wrote 3 years ago, watching it all unfold in the public eye from a phone in a van on a highway heading to a stage. It wasn’t what I thought it would be and it was beautiful and I am grateful, but mostly this whole world of pursuing music and the music business is hilarious. So how do you deal with that? Have fun by entertaining yourself with an EP of you laughing at yourself about all of it and call it Really Nice Guys, which is probably all I’ve been for most of this.”
The EP’s first single, EP title track “Really Nice Guys,” will further cement Gallo’s growing reputation for jangling and urgent, garage rock, but unlike the material on HEAVY META, the song is full of a bristling and bemused irony; the sort that would come about as you’re placed in an utterly ridiculous situation in which you can’t quite tell that you’ve being complimented or insulted — and you don’t quite know what to do besides look a bit like a dimwit.
The recently released video is based on an early 00s skateboarding video which features Gallo performing a series of incredibly underwhelming tricks.