Ron Keel recalls how he was confirmed as Black Sabbath’s new singer in late March 1984
Keel and Ron Keel Band frontman Ron Keel was recently interviewed by Denmark’s Calles Rock Corner and went through a large portion of the various bands that he was in including Black Sabbath.
When asked by Calles Rock Corner to tell the story of how he almost landed the lead vocalist position in Black Sabbath in 1984, Ron Keel replied (with slight edits): “It was more than almost. I was confirmed and announced as Ian Gillan’s replacement in March 1984. That story is very well documented online (https://www.black-sabbath.com/theband/keel/) and in several books, including my autobiography “Even Keel: Life On The Streets Of Rock & Roll.” And now I am joining several other former members of Sabbath in a new tribute project called Emerald Sabbath http://emeraldsabbath.com – I recorded lead vocals on the Gillan track “Trashed” and the Dio track “Die Young,” and the Ozzy song “Hole In The Sky” so I’m very proud to still be a very small thread in the epic tapestry that is Black Sabbath.”
The “#1 Sabbath fan site” Black Sabbath Online reports as follows about Ron Keel‘s involvement in Black Sabbath:
“Who is Ron Keel, and why is he here? He was one of the attempts at putting the band back together after Ian Gillan departed at the end of the Born Again tour to reform Deep Purple. I’ll let Ron tell the story in his own words..
“My time with Tony and Geezer was limited to three days of hanging out in LA getting to know each other and making plans. One thing we all agreed on was that we couldn’t let Spencer Proffer and his ego turn such an iconic metal institution like Sabbath into a commercial 80′s hair band, which he was attempting to do by pushing the band to record outside material that was “radio friendly.” My voice on the demo of that material was what got me the gig, and my justification for even discussing that short period of time is the fact that Tony, Geezer, and Don Arden all shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and welcomed me into the band. I was really pushing them to get into rehearsals – Tony gave me a set list for a proposed upcoming tour, and I had rehearsed tirelessly on my own and was ready to nail the vocal chores, staying true to Ozzy, Dio, and Ian but adding a small taste of my own style- but Bev Bevan was unavailable during that short window of opportunity. I firmly believe that if we had gotten to that stage and actually played together, it would have cemented my position in the band and I would have been on the subsequent album(s) and tour(s). They said that Bev was still officially the drummer at the time and his unavailability was the reason we never got to the rehearsal stage. I recall conversations in which Geezer and Tony were hopeful that Bill could return but that was uncertain at the time.
After I was told by Tony that I was their man, I called a band meeting with my band KEEL, which was just getting started at the time, and told them I was taking the gig with Sabbath. I told no one else, under orders from the Sabbath camp – but as soon as I left that KEEL band meeting, I got in my car to go home and heard the announcement on KLOS radio in LA that “Ron Keel is the new lead singer in Black Sabbath.” When I got home, it was all over MTV. Shortly thereafter, the next issue of KERRANG! magazine carried the announcement as well.
This all happened in late March/early April 1984. KEEL was formed in early March of that year, and I got the Sabbath call within a week or two of that. The first KEEL gig was April 7 1984, and that was the last time I saw Tony & Geezer in person.””