Ron Dante Interview

As a singer, writer, and producer, Ron Dante has achieved the kind of success that most people dream about. He's responsible for the sale of over 50 million records, including "Sugar, Sugar." As a producer, Ron's worked with Barry Manilow, Pat Benatar, and Irene Cara, to name a few.
Handshake Records has just released an album by Ron Dante titled "Street Angel.''

Q. Ron, what'd you think of "Stars On 15" version of "Sugar, Sugar?"
A. I loved it. 1 thought it was great. They copped my voice wonderfully. I was really proud that "Sugar, Sugar" was at the beginning of that medley. It was a real kick to hear something I'd done be reproduced that well. I wish I'd gotten a royalty on the original "Sugar, Sugar." Boy, it would have been worth a lot.

Q. You mean you didn't?
A. I did it for scale. I was out of work at the time. I never thought it would be a big hit. See what I know.

Q. Ninety percent of all records released today bomb. What does that tell you about the record business today?
A. It tells you the competition is incredibly high and the quality is very high. Those ten percent that are hits, pay everybody else's way. To make a hit record in this business is not as easy as everybody thinks.

Q. Why do the record companies release so many records then?
A. Record companies have to spend a certain amount of money each year and they budget accordingly. They put out a lot of records that are borderline, that could or might make it, and they won't give it the big promotion until it gets radio play and becomes a big success in a couple of areas. That's because they have to spend the money in certain areas. They spend a lot of money or else they give it lo the government. And record companies being big businesses and corporations and very industrialized, spend the money.

Q. Have you ever wanted to produce a heavy metal act?
A. No, not really, only because they're so self-contained they almost produce themselves. The only thing I've really wanted to produce would be like the Rolling Stones or maybe an individual superstar rocker like Bruce Springsteen.

Q. Is the producer disappearing from the studio, as these groups gain more studio control?
A. I think the producer's role has been reinforced over the last ten years where they have played a more important role in the production of people. I don't think it's a big swing towards self-production. The producer of a record is very much like the director of a film. When you say "cut." everybody looks to him to see if everything is going down right.

Q. What makes a good song in your hook?
A. I look for a memorable melody and a memorable title And then something that's so intangible I can't even describe it. Something that makes me feel good. It's a combination of the song, the singer and the record.

Q. Is rock 'n roll dead?
A. No. I think rock 'n roll has gone through 25 great years and is headed for another 25 great years in different forms. Rock 'n roll has only reflected what people want it to reflect. It's changed because people have changed. We don't look, act, or think the same as we did in the late 50's.

© Gary James All Rights Reserved