You just kind of have to like a guy who got booed off the stage as opening act for hip-hop star Mya at Six Flags Great Adventure park. Imagine, if you will, a rowdy crowd of 1,500 freezing cold fans eagerly expecting the sweet R&B jams of their beloved Mya, only to be greeted by “a bald guy playing ‘80s-tinged electro-pop”.
Saying it wasn't pretty would be an understatement.
But Ron Scalzo, aka Q*Ball, is a bounce-back kind of guy. Hardworking, resilient, and wildly talented, this sometimes-DJ, part-time radio station roustabout and full-on label owner will surely always end up on top.
Under the umbrella of his label, Bald Freak Music, Ron has released three CDs. Running the label is no small feat, and Tuesday through Friday Ron spends his days working on music, bookkeeping, making calls, writing emails and generally “staring at a computer all day”.
When Friday rolls around “I’m ready to throw in the towel,” says Ron, “wondering where the week went and why I didn’t get any sleep.” The week isn’t over yet, though, and Ron still has two more jobs to attend to.
After working full-time at one of the biggest radio stations in the country for nearly a decade, Ron suddenly found himself on the loosing end of industry downsizing. He didn’t leave the company entirely, though, and rather than wallowing in lemons Ron made some serious lemonade; he was allowed to stay on and do the ‘board work’. Translation: very late at night, Ron pushes lots and lots of buttons, making sure that the “music (happens) without a hitch.” This is a boon for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is money, but Ron also gets to reap the benefits that being an employee of Big Radio can offer an artist. “As an artist and a label owner,” says Ron, “working at a radio station couldn’t be more of an asset in so many ways… I’ve picked the brains of the powers-that-be there many times over the years, and I’ve had the benefit of playing my stuff for them before releasing it to get their valued opinions. I definitely feel more ‘in-the-know’ because of my time in radio, and it gives me confidence that I know what I’m doing as a label head”
Working as a DJ is also a job that, in theory, should be a dream situation for an electro-junkie and music lover, but even here appearances can be deceiving. “After awhile, lugging equipment around and dealing with drunken retards who want to hear bad hip-hop - or something worse - makes something that should be fun a dirty stinkin’ job,” says Ron. “So I try to pick and choose where and when I spin carefully.” Though he admits that DJing has its benefits, playing your own music is decidedly not one of them. “They want to hear “Don’t Stop Believin’” and Rihanna instead.”
You never know what stage Mya got booed off of before she hit the big time, or how many music execs groaned when Journey tried to get their fair shake. For the dedicated few with talent to spare and a rock-solid work ethic, stoppin’ believin’ just isn’t an option.
Visit Q*Ball's excellent website for sound clips, merchandise, information and an all-around good time.
*Note: The above pictures of Ron, as Q*Ball and with Mr. Hulk Hogan, are just absolutely priceless.