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SUNDROP Music Festival: Q&A with Ron Gallo of Toy Soldiers.

May 27, 2011

Ron Gallo, co-founder and frontman of the roots rock band Toy Soldiers, will be playing the Sundrop Music and Arts Festival on Saturday at The Fire. Our Chris Diehl sat down with him to talk about the band.

You found the name Toy Soldiers while looking at art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, correct? What is the significance to you?

I was working at Black and Brew in South Philly and someone told me I look like the kid in this painting by Antonio Mancini. No real significance we just liked the sound of the title.

What drives you to write music?

I feel like it is something I kinda live to do. I just love the process of writing.

Do you find Philly audiences receptive to your music?

It’s weird, yes. There is a certain type that is into what we do. It’s a lively show. We don’t want a wall between us and the audience. When we play it is like a big collaborative celebration. We want the audience invested in the show.

People down in the south love it. That kind of music is rooted there.

What is your favorite venue in Philly?

Downstairs at the World Cafe. The sound there is the best around. Johnny Brenda’s is our fun venue. We’re always excited to play there. The Fire is like our second home.

We also played Kungfu Necktie. We were one of their first shows when they were still working everything out. I also like this place on Frankford Avenue called the Book Space. It’s new, a huge warehouse.

Toy Soldiers was originally a 12-piece. Was there any difficulty managing a 12-piece band?

Yeah. Managing twelve as a number is impossible. Those things naturally fall apart. It’s like having a girlfriend with the give and take. The twelve man band naturally crumbled.

Is that why you reunited with a smaller group?

Yes, mostly. We still have our other members come back and play but people just go their own ways at times.

You won an Independent Music Award for the song “Throw Me Down.” Did this boost your reputation?

It’s a weird thing, we actually didn’t know we were nominated, or won. I remember Tara Murtha from Philly Weekly congratulating me, that’s how I found out.

If you had to describe your band, what would you say?

We’re a hurricane of American roots. Rootsy rock and roll. This thing that jumps around the foundations of American music. We love the passion and soul of music that has happened in America.

Your major influences?

I learn bands I like, then keep digging and digging into the artists they liked and it becomes an endless web.

What’s the next step for Toy Soldiers?

We have a lot of plans. New split EP release in Nashville. We are trying to write chunks of songs and see where they go. We’re also trying to start a label of Philly artists.

We hope to have a new full-length done by the end of the year.

One Comment
  1. June 9, 2012 8:13 am

    Very nice write-up. I certainly love this website. Thanks!

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