Meet Ronnie Ciago of Diane & The Deductibles
Ronnie Ciago performs his percussive magic within the ranks of Diane & The Deductibles. A world class musician with absolutely epic credits, Ronnie has worked with the likes of Brand X, Bill Ward of Black Sabbath, legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius and more! Highwire Daze recently caught up with Ronnie Ciago to find out more about his vast and brilliant career.
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Diane & The Deductibles, and how long you have been in the band.
My name is Ronnie Ciago and I play drums & percussion in Diane & The Deductibles. We’ve been playing together 4 years.
What could one expect from a live Diane & The Deductibles show?
We have a new set ready for the show and we’re also working up a new Progressive Rock song with odd signatures, vocals and a very interesting arrangement.
What are you looking forward to the most about the Brand X show at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills?
I’m looking forward to reuniting with John Goodsall and Percy Jones. We are long time mates.
What was your experience like playing with Brand X and how long were you involved with the band?
John Goodsall and I have a long history together. We’ve known each other since 1994 and worked together performing hundreds of live shows together along with recording, composing and producing together. We played in a band that was a cross between Blues & Progressive Rock together called Blue Thunder with lead singer Paul Williams from Allan Holdsworth. The lineup was Doug Lunn on bass (who was the bass player in the house band for band The Dennis Miller Show, Andy Summers Band, etc.), Chuck Turner on keyboards, John & myself. I met John through manager Shawn Ahearn. Our first band together was a version of Brand X with acoustic bass player/producer Malcolm Cecil who was a co- producer for Stevie Wonder’s records such as Music In My Mind, Innervisions, Talking Book, and Fulfillingness’ First Finale.
I also played percussion on the Brand X CD called Manifest Destiny with producer David Hentschel who worked with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Genesis, Yellowjackets, Jean Luc Ponty, etc. David and I also performed live together as he was the keyboard player.
On the Brand X X-Files double CD, John & I composed a track on called Dance Of Life. I played tablas, assorted percussion, composed, co-produced & engineered. Mixing and mastering was Bobby Owsinski. The last project I did with John a few years ago was called Off Brand. The lineup was John Goodsall on guitar, Jerry Goodman from Mahavishnu Orchestra on electric violin, Billy Sherwood from YES on bass guitar and myself on drums. We all composed the track together as a team.
What was it like working with Bill Ward of Black Sabbath and how did that come about?
I came from Miami as a session musician and moved to Glendale. I lived with my long time band mate and friend bass player John Pena and his wife Terry until I found a place to live in Glendale. I was already hired by producer/song writer Jonathan Perry who had a backer/manager who hired me, guitar player Keith Lynch (Editor’s Note: Also in Diane & The Deductibles), bass player Marco Mendoza who played on Bill Ward’s 1st solo record called“Ward One. Bill would come to our shows and little did I know he was checking me out. I played rock with a jazz background and feel. Bill was looking for that. Keith Lynch asked me if I’d be interested in auditioning with Bill and I said yes of course! We got together at a sound stage and began to jam for a few hours. Bill asked me if I’d be interested in joining his band. 40 + recordings & 20 years later the rest is history. I played drum set and percussion on When The Bough Breaks, Accountable Beasts and the record Beyond Aston which is still yet to be released.
I played with the keyboard player/composer from the bands YES and The Moody Blues fame Patrick Moraz for 5 years as a duo called Moraz & Ciago. I composed/recorded, performed live with Patrick. We had a great comradery. We were asked to record together for a Genesis Tribute CD and rearranged the Genesis song called Los Endos. I played drums, percussion and sang lead vocals. There is a another Moraz & Ciago track on Patrick’s solo CD called Change Of Space.
Among your massive credits including working with bassist extraordinaire Jaco Pastorius. What was the experience like ?
Jaco and I first met through orchestrator Michaell Gibbs who I worked with and became friends with at Berklee College Of Music. Micheal worked on Jaco’s 1st solo album, Narada Micheal Walden, Joni Michell, Gary Burton, etc . Then I met Jaco years later in Ft. Lauderdale. We became friends, hung out and jammed and talked about a new record with manager/friend Bob Bobbings. Jaco passed 3 months later.
What advice would you give a young drummer seeking an endorsement deal?
Stay true to the art of drumming, be original and exceptional. Put a video together, send it out to drum company artist relations managers.
When performing with Diane & The Deductibles, what is your equipment of choice and why?
I play Sawtooth/Chromacast drums & hardware thanks to Joe Fucco @ Chromacast. They look and sound great!
What’s up next for you and with Diane & The Deductibles?
Lots of Shows are coming up. Please go to our website: dianeandthedeductibles.com
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photo by Jack Lue)
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