by Sarah Scott / vos
You could say 1982 Seguin High School grad Ronnie Dannelley has come a long way since his days of playing in the marching band for the mighty Matadors. Now a successful architect in Atlanta, Georgia, Ronnie is probably the only person from Guadalupe County that can say he talks to rock stars on his lunch break, plays in a band on the weekends and runs his own internet music magazine - a venture that started as a hobby and has grown into one of the most popular web 'zines in the field, giving Dannelley the opportunity to talk with some of his biggest musical idols.
"It's such a blast to talk to these rock stars that I grew up admiring," Ronnie says. Britney Spears, Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys, Lemmy from Motorhead, Rick Neilson and Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick, Daryl Dragon of the Captain and Tennille - all of them have been on the receiving end of an 'Ear Candy' interview most likely done right from Dannelley's home or office.
Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols even called Ronnie from England during Dannelley's lunch break to do an interview.
"It's kinda funny to hear our secretary say, 'Ronnie...there is a Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap on line 2 for you,'" Dannelley says.
Ear Candy started in the fall of 1999, not long after Dannelley's move to Georgia. "I wasn't playing in a band and wanted to be involved in music somehow. My brother Ken mentioned that he had written an article in the Austin magazine, Pop Culture Press. Well, I contacted the publisher and asked her if I could write an article for her in Atlanta. One article led to another and another. I also started writing for some other publications such as 'Indie File' and 'Bad Trip,'" Dannelley remembers. He then used the contacts from those publications and his interest in the internet to come up with the idea for Ear Candy. With no overhead, no printing costs and some free web hosting, Ronnie was up and running in no time.
The site - http://earcandy_mag.tripod.com - has since been seen by thousands of music fans and features reviews of everything from garage bands to heavy metal to oldies. Most of the reviews are done by Ronnie himself, as are most of the interviews, but Dannelley still insists he's "no journalist" and says he probably won't ever make Ear Candy his full time job.
"It's the same reason I couldn't do music (playing in a band) full time. I'm just a little too accustomed to the basic necessities of life: groceries, heat and electricity!" he laughs. "I would never make a good starving artist."
He does still play in bands part time, however and is thinking about bringing back together the old group "Airport Noises" a band that was formed in Texas several years ago.
"Well, the original version of Airport Noises was all comprised of alumni of Seguin's high school marching band, although we played different
instruments from high school band...you couldn't rock out with trombones, trumpets and baritones," he smiles. "It included my brother Ken on drums, Bill Vordenbaum on keyboards and Eddie Block on rhythm guitar and harmony vocals. We played originals that I wrote with my brother. I played guitar and sang. We played all around Seguin, San Marcos and Austin. During our existence in Texas, airport noises released 5 cassettes of original material That was how we knew we were good - unlike most local bands, people didn't leave in droves once we played our originals. Plus, we were always asked back to the venues we played," Dannelley remembers.
"When I moved to Georgia, I had just about given up on playing in a band. Then my brother Ken drove up over his spring break and we went into a studio and recorded a CD's worth of material of all the old 'noises' songs. Since it was just Ken and I, I overdubbed all the other instruments myself and did all the singing. We had these CD's pressed, called them "Last Flight In" and basically gave them out to friends and people who remembered us. Well, I gave one to one of my wife's friends, named John who happened to play bass. He called me in a few days and wanted to know if I wanted to start up airport noises again as a power-pop trio. We auditioned for a drummer and started playing around Atlanta, even playing a full radio broadcast live," says Dannelley.
"I haven't decided whether or not to revive Airport Noises a second time. I was talking with our old drummer in Atlanta bout starting a cool cover band - just to play weekends and have fun - but that hasn't gotten of the ground yet."
In addition to Airport Noises, Ronnie has played in every kind of band from heavy metal to country, even a Beatles tribute band, and even got an opportunity to produce and arrange an album for the group 'Minnie Tee'.
Ronnie met his wife Lindy during his one and only acting experience - an audition for the part of Paul McCartney in a play about John Lennon. Lindy was the director and writer of the play and now owns her own production company.
"Two years later we married. We have two wonderful kids from her previous marriage, so I had a ready-made family," he laughs. He has even gotten his daughter started in music, as well. She's started doing reviews for him and has even had a few essays published on Ear Candy herself.
Ronnie misses Seguin, he says, mostly because of the lack of Mexican food and barbeque in Atlanta he will tell you with a smile, but he is happy where he is doing his dream jobs - all of them.