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ALL artists!  I am very, VERY happy to announce that IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION is ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS again.  I have been granted a (possibly long-term) stay of execution for my trip to Iraq.  I will still  be traveling all over the U.S., so new issues may be a little less timely, but (as always), we will review your materials as soon as possible after we receive them.  Look at the guidelines for submission below, please:


MUSIC:  All formats accepted.  Snail mail to:  Zzaj Productions, c/o Dick Metcalf, 5308 65th Avenue, Lacey, WA 98513  The only criteria for music you submit is that it MUST HAVE high performance energy... if you submit lacklustre material, it will be reviewed accordingly

POETRY:  Poems are accepted for publication ONLY via e-mail.  Poems submitted in any other fashion will NOT be published.  Poetry that includes some reference to music is granted first priority for publication.

BOOKS:  We will review some books; books about music are PREFERRED.  We will NOT return any books submitted for review.  Snail them to the address listed above for MUSIC.

DIY Announcements:  We will post your (e-mailed) ad about DIY projects, regardless of genre or medium... HOWEVER, this is ONLY for INDEPENDENTS... if you are a corporation, don't even BOTHER sending stuff... it will be marked and reported as SPAM!


Improvijazzation Nation - Issue # 77

INTERVIEW with Ronnie Rathers



Zzaj: If your ears are like mine, you recognize a RED H-O-T jazz player within the first few bars. I can tell you true, thatís exactly what I heard the first time I spun one of Ronnieís trax on MIXPOSURE. We want to thank him sincerely for takiní time out of his busy schedule to provide us with answers to our questionsÖ you should feel privileged, folksÖ this is a TOP OF THE LINE playerÖ

Zzaj: I see that you grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia; can you give us a little more history? I mean, what led you away from VA & all the way to Las Vegas? Do you live in Vegas? You know, a little expanded "bio" to help us know "who you really are"... that kinda' thang!

Ronnie Rathers: A good friend, Linwood Bell, whom I worked with in Richmond, Virginia in 1978 thru 1979 got me a gig in Vegas in 1984 gigging 10 days each month at Caesars Palace. From !979 until moving to Vegas I was on the road with various bands in Virginia working clubs and colleges on the eastcoast. Iíve been living in Las Vegas for 21 years and Iíve been blessed being able to play music for a living this is all I do and I love it.

Zzaj: What kind of music did you grow up with? How did that influence what you play now?

Ronnie Rathers: I grew up listening to soul music, meaning James Brown and Kool And The Gang when they were just playing instrumentals and so on. However, a sax player and school teacher, took me under his wing and introduce me to who I think was the greatest and thatís Mr. Wes Montgomery.

Zzaj: Your website makes it pretty clear that you've played with some real heavyweights in music. What attracted (or got) you over here to MIXPOSURE?

Ronnie Rathers: My personal manager LeRoy Graham brought me to Mixposure. I canít say enough about the hard work LeRoy has done to get me plastered all over the internet and we feel your website is very professional and possesses much class. We are proud to be on Mixposure.

Zzaj: What interests do you have besides music? I mean, there are some of here at MIX who do (pretty much) nothing else. Personally, I believe it's important to "take a break" from playing once in a while... what's your take on that?

Ronnie Rathers: My other interest other than music ofcourse is my family and I have a couple of vehicles Iím very proud of. Thereís really no time to take a break from music unless I go to Virginia and I never take a guitar.

Zzaj: I notice you've got a brand-new CD up on your website. Did you do the production, or did a "company" do it for you? The real reason I'm asking is because I'm a "fierce" believer in "independence" for musicians. How important do you feel it is for a player to have (as much as possible) independent production, etc? Or is it even an issue for you?

Ronnie Rathers: All songs on my CD Nutín But A Groove was written by me except for track 4 Say Youíll Be Mine which was written and produced by my good friend Linwood Bell. Steve and Brenda Cowart helped produce and sing background vocals the rest of the CD.

Zzaj: If you had the chance to play with one "star" (or "non-star", for that matter), would it be a guitar player? Or someone else? If you don't mind, tell us who it would be & why?

Ronnie Rathers: I would love to play with a vocalist named Kevyn Lettau. This lady has truly been blessed and I really donít think a lot of people know who she is. So audience and music lovers check her out she a great Jazz Vocalist. Iíd also would love to play with George Benson, however, Iím focused on making my on way through it all.

Zzaj: Based on your own experiences, is it possible for music to "pay the bills"? Or do (you think) most musicians (percentage-wise, anyway) have to maintain that "day gig"?

Ronnie Rathers: I guess I answered this question earlier in the interview. Music is how I make my living so yes itís possible and I know quite a few people doing it, however, it hard at times and itís not for everyone.

Zzaj: Do you do any kind of touring, or has your work been in Las Vegas for the most part? What are your plans for your music career for the next 5-10 years?

Ronnie Rathers: I pretty much work in Vegas hoping someday Iíll be able to get a Record Deal and play all of these Jazz Festivals and still work Vegas. The next 5-10 years I pray Iím still writing and playing music, Big Stage or Small Stage itís all a blessing for me.

Zzaj: What's the funniest thing that ever happened when you were performing or playing?

Ronnie Rathers: I really canít recall anything right now that funny that happened while I was gigging.

Zzaj: I believe it's important to let younger players know what's been most "harmful" to your music career, as well as what's been most helpful. Your thoughts on that? Any suggestions, or "words of wisdom" for folks thinking about a musical career?

Ronnie Rathers: I would never let anything stand in the way of my career. Iíve always stayed focused on reality meaning people Iím working with and people Iím working for. I canít nor will I put up with anyoneís bull and thereís a lot everywhere and you must know when to move on and keep your compassion and respect for yourself and your music.




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'k, alla' you hardcore D.I.Y'er's!  We've added a D.I.Y. forum board!  Simply click on the lil' button below to TELL US wot' you think...




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