Ron Riddle's career in music has spanned over 4 decades. Ron started playing the drums at the age of 8. His early influences were the Beatles and the English Invasion. He started his own band by the time he was eleven. Growing up in Midwest was both challenging and a gift for Ron because he found the experience limiting. He threw himself headlong into his passion, which was music. His musical inspirations were rich and varied. He listened to The Beatles, Hendrix, The Doors, Bartok, Stravinsky, John Coltrane, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams and Buddy Rich. Ron knew that he wanted to be a musician. He was fascinated by diverse musical genres early on and wanted to learn as much as he could.
After a year of music study at Wright State University, Ron applied and was accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied arranging and composition and was the drummer/percussionist for thirteen different bands. They ranged from symphony orchestras and opera companies, small and large jazz ensembles, and included various types of rock bands. Ron studied classical percussion with Fred Buddah (percussionist for the Boston Pops), jazz drumming with Alan Dawson (drummer for Dave Brubeck) and Vibraphone & Marimba with Gary Burton and Dave Samuels. He started playing and writing music on keyboards and mallets and wrote "Sonata for Percussion" which was performed at the college. It was during this time that he met members of the early "Cars" and began performing and recording with them.
Ron went on to join the progressive rock band "Happy The Man" on Arista Records. They started recording sessions in LA with producer Ken Scott (from David Bowie, John Lennon and Supertramp fame). The end result was the critically acclaimed album "Crafty Hands". Ron's comfort in playing complex multiple meters and his sensitive yet explosive drumming became an inspiration for many musicians of this genre. Next Ron moved to Woodstock, New York and worked as a session drummer for a number of different artists. Among them were the late guitarist/producer Mick Ronson (David Bowie), John Sebastian (Lovin' Spoonful), Gary Windo (Pink Floyd), Starland Vocal Band and Eddie Offord (YES). In 1980 Ron joined forces with a band of five singing sisters called the "Burns Sisters". This was an opportunity for him to take what he had learned as a player and a composer and start writing popular music. He wrote and arranged the music, played drums, and co-produced an album for CBS. The album did well, producing four singles, two of which made the top 40 charts. While working on the second album for CBS, Ron was approached by legendary rock guitarist Buck Dharma from "Blue Oyster Cult". Ron was asked to join the band for a world tour as the drummer for this popular heavy rock band. For years Ron played drums with "Blue Oyster Cult" and a trio with Buck Dharma and Jon Rogers (guitarist and bassist for the band) was formed. This band was called "The Red and the Black." In 1991 Ron joined bassist Stuart Hamm (Joe Satriani) and Alex Skolnik (Testiment) to support Stuart Hamm's then newly released solo album for a US tour. Then, in 1994 Ron joined Israeli singer/songwriter, David Broza as a drummer and percussionist to support his American tour.
Ron's touring career came to an abrupt end when a back injury made it difficult to travel. He set up a studio in his home and began composing. A year and a half later he completed a full length symphony called "The Journey", and received a grant from the New York Foundation of the Arts to finish scoring the work."The Journey" was heard by filmmaker David Gluck and Ron was soon writing his first score for film and television. "I found myself scoring two National Geographic films back to back. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do next." Over the last eight years Ron has scored over one hundred and forty films for national and worldwide broadcast for CBS, Discovery, National Geographic, Turner, Animal Planet, Disney, The Learning Channel and Discovery Health. For more on Ron and his specific filmscore credits go here and to hear a really good interview with Ron about his filmscore work go here. To see a wonderful mini documentary about Ron and his former pet timber wolf Chance, go here.