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1. INDIE MUSICIAN SPOTLIGHT - Todd Ronning of King Karma
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Copyright 2005 by Music Morsels,
a Serge Entertainment Publication.
Editor: Sandy Serge
Contributing Columnists/Writers:
Mark E. Waterbury, Scott Turner


ARTIST NAME: King Karma bassist Todd Ronning
MUSICAL GENRE: New classic rock
BIRTHPLACE: Vancouver, BC Canada
YEARS IN MUSIC BIZ: 3 years (as King Karma)
CDs SOLD: approx. 3000
FAN BASE SIZE: several thousand or more

MM: Tell us a bit about how the band formed
TR: The guitarist Markus Wolfe and I started writing songs together in the mid 90's We started looking for different players, and we really focused in on what we wanted to do in '98/'99. I went to Nashville looking for a singer from the South with a bluesy background and a soulful voice. Markus and I had just finished working with Paul Rodgers at the time. I spent about three years down there and finally found Shaun Williamson for vocals. We had a drummer Rick Fedyk waiting in the wings when we got a singer.
MM: Once you had all the pieces together, did you feel it was the right mix? Did you bond together right away, both musically and as a band?
TR: Definitely. When we were putting the band together, we spent some time with each prospective member. Getting to know them, finding out where they were at and what they expected. The reason we came together is because the reasons we are all doing this is very similar. We want to play some real rock with some real feel, and record it that way as well. The integrity that rock music had in its heyday has gone a bit astray if you ask me. We want to bring that back.
MM: You self-released your first CD. What did you do to market that?
TR: We set up a web site to sell it, and Shaun and myself started connecting it to as many music sites as we could. We made our CD available on our site and on CD Baby which is a great place for unsigned artists to sell their CDs. Opportunities started coming in and we just followed every one. I think a band can really create a buzz on the internet right now. Of course, playing in your hometown and the surrounding area is important as well, but I really think the world is a bigger place and it is right there at your fingertips. It definitely helped us create a buzz which got Centurion Records interested in us because they saw there was a market for us out there.
MM: What kind of vibe do you feel on stage, both with the audience and with your band mates?
TR: Awesome. We have had some great shows. We played one in front of sixteen hundred people when Paul Rodgers came up and did a show here. The band had a great time, the audience was very receptive...wesaid, "Let's do this every night!" (Laughs)
MM: Being signed to a label means that the hard work is just beginning, doesn't it?
TR: It is definitely time to pull up our sleeves, because the closer you get to the top of that mountain, the steeper it gets. There is a lot more to do now, and people who sit back and think the label will take care of everything are going about it in a really bad way. There is a lot of work to be done. We've been taking more creative control in revamping our web site, and spending a lot of time writing new songs. Our focus is more on the creative time where we need to be anyway.
MM: You and Markus played with Paul Rodgers and the other guys worked with some well-known acts as well. Even with that cred on your resume, do you still have to do it the grass roots way?
TR: You have to do it grass roots. Playing with those kind of people opened our eyes as to what needs to be done and what you have to strive for. I don't think someone reading our bio is going to go, oh, they played with Paul Rodgers, I have to check this out. Maybe some will, maybe some won't. I don't see it as what is going to make someone buy a CD or not. Paul Rodgers, Atlanta Rhythm Section, BTO, these guys we've played with are still doing it the grass roots way, too. They get out there and keep playing and it never really ends.
MM: What is the most common feedback you get about your music and what do people like the most about it?
TR: The most general comment is that it gives them a familiar feeling and a nostalgic vibe while at the same time it gives them something new and fresh in their collection. A lot of people like the grooves, the melodies and the soulful singing. They kind of miss that in a lot of today's music.
MM: You played in Paul Rodgers band, and obviously that must have been a great vibe, playing with basically a legend on stage. Do you feel an even greater vibe on stage with King Karma since it is your own music?
TR: Paul has a devoted fan base where everyone knows every song and sings along with this starstruck look in their eyes. Of course with King Karma we may be playing in front of people who have not heard us yet and we need to win them over during the set. It feels so much better playing songs that I had part of writing and in a way, it is tough to describe that. It may be great hearing the response of fans when playing classic songs by someone else like we did with Paul, but when you are doing your own stuff and have this responsibility to win over a crowd that hasn't heard you yet, you get bigger chills when it works right.
MM: What level of success would you like to see with King Karma, and what do you think it will take to get to that point?
TR: I have two levels of success. When I dream I would like us to be as big as we can be. My other thought is let us just make enough money to make that next record. To make the next record you can take a couple steps to do that, while with the dream you have to take a whole pile of steps. I like to take it a step at a time, and right now, step number one is to sell enough of this album so we can record another one and make another great album.
King Karma - King Karma
Centurion Records
This foursome from Vancouver, BC cranks out potent rock and roll with a comforting rootsy feel melded with the right touch of modern style. If you took the bluesy rock edge of Foghat and the gritty growl of Audioslave and brushed it with a soul bite ala Black Crowes, it may sound like this. Shaun Williamson has a bit of Lonesome Dave's inflection in his voice, although you can tell the emotive feel is born deep in his own soul. Guitarist Markus Wolfe's power-riffing is matched with his ear-catching solo work, something a lot of modern rock tends to lack. Bassist Todd Ronning and drummer Rick Fedyk harness volcanic rhythms to drive the band's back beat. From explosive rockers like Into The Everlast to the soulful power ballad I'm Listening, King Karma proves they have something rock has been missing for all too long. Heart, soul, and honesty. URL: :->
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