Singer/actor Ronn Moss has lost count of the number of times he has visited Australia but, he says, “It’s been several.” He does recall that one year, in fact, he came here three times. “I’ve been there quite a lot, especially with the tours I did with the remote shoot for The Bold and the Beautiful and times when I’d come just for the hell of it to hang out with some friends but I haven’t been there now in four or five years.” Clearly, he is overdue for another visit and he was keen to talk about his upcoming Australian tour when I spoke to him recently by phone for this interview.
For twenty five years we knew him as fashion designer Ridge Forrester, forever entangled in a love triangle on TV soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful but before Ridge, Ronn Moss had another life… as lead singer of the band Player who had a hit single in the 70s with Baby Come Back. Now the singer/actor is combining both those lives in his show An Evening With Ronn Moss and fans in Australia will be the first to see it.
“This show is going to be very interactive with the audience,” he explains. “It’s not going to be just people coming to see us perform. I will do the first part of the show myself and I’m going to have some video footage with me that I’ll be showing people for the first time. Nobody has actually seen this footage before. It’s behind the scenes stuff from The Bold and the Beautiful that I’ve shot over a twenty five year period. It’s kind of weird because not even anybody from the show or the crew has ever seen this stuff before. I always have a camera in my hand. I’m just a camera buff. And I did it pretty much since the beginning of the show, twenty seven years ago and now I’m compiling stuff that I think will be of interest and showing people stuff from way back.” Ronn will also be answering questions from the audience. “I’m just going to sit down and be one on one with them the whole time and then, for the first time, my rock and roll band Player is going to perform in Australia. Nobody has ever seen us perform in Australia before.”
“I’ve been with Player pretty much the whole time except for maybe a nine year period when I started in The Bold and the Beautiful. Player has continued on here in the States since then. Peter Beckett is my music partner of a lot of years and he and I were the original members of Player and we have been performing around the United States for many, many years. We came to Australia twice to do a solo tour of my own stuff but Player per se, the actual band, has never performed in Australia. We’re looking forward to that because it’s definitely a milestone for us. I don’t know if you know the history but Peter Beckett was in Little River Band for about nine years. He’s toured there several times with them but this is the first time that Player is going to be able to perform so it’s kind of a cool moment for us.”
He says that the show will be completely different from anything he has done before. “This will be the first time that we’re doing this format so Australia is being the guinea pig for seeing if this works or not.” Ronn is hoping that it will work and that this will be the first of many more tours just like it. “I’m gauging a lot by Australia’s reaction to it. You guys are going to see this whole format for the first time. We’ve never done this before so I’m hoping that everybody likes it. I’m hoping that we can continue it on.”
Ronn’s love of music began when he was a young boy. “When I was eleven years old, I knew that I loved music,” he tells me. “I had an affinity for it. I wanted to be a drummer. Basically, I wanted to be Ringo Starr so I built a drum set out of a bunch of old cardboard boxes and had little candy tins as cymbals and we would listen to The Beatles’ records and play along with them. That was the extent of my musical beginnings. Then I got together with a few kids in the neighbourhood and we formed a little trio; piano, drums and clarinet I think it was and we’d go around and play at parties. And I gradually grew to take up the bass guitar and the regular guitar. Rock and roll hit me big time and I decided maybe Paul McCartney was the way to go,” he recalls. “I threw the drums out and took up the bass guitar and I did that all through school. I was going to be a serious musician or I was going to be a doctor. It was one or the other so I chose the creative route and the music route.” It was Australian born recording mogul Robert Stigwood who encouraged the singer to try acting but it was a few years later that Ronn finally followed his sage advice. “And that launched me into a career with TV and movies.” He admits that it took a long time to build his acting career. “It was not easy by any means. The music did not afford me any leeway or any sort of kudos to launch into acting. I went from having something in music to having absolutely nothing in acting. I just worked my way up one inch at a time.” Then came the break that he had been waiting for. “It was when I went to an audition that one of the casting directors, who had seen me years before, told me ‘I want you to come in for this new show called ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’. I fancied the fact that it was a new show because that affords me the chance to form my own character rather than taking over a show that was already on the air. And the rest is history.”
Ronn played the central character of Ridge Forrester for twenty five years and left the series two years ago, by his own choice. “In fact,” he reveals, “I am the only actor to ever leave of his own volition.” He says that there were a number of reasons that led to that decision. “The main one was that I wanted to do something that was more creatively fulfilling for me. I wanted to go into other parts of acting; other parts of movie making that were more fulfilling. I felt like I was stagnant doing that show at that point for that long. I just felt like I was kind of dying inside. Sometimes you’ve got to jump over some walls; you have to take some chances. You have to give up what seems like a constant pay cheque. So I chose to jump over the walls and see what was there.”
Does he ever regret that decision? “Not one iota,” he assures me. “I’m very, very happy that I did. I don’t think I could have survived being on the show the way it was; the way it was going.”
Another reason behind his decision to leave was to gain more production experience and to be able to produce his own projects. “I think there are some really cool things coming up that I’m hoping people are going to love.”
In the meantime, you can still see Ronn in a show called ‘The Bay’ which is an internet series. He not only acts in the series but is also helping to produce it. “I think it’s going to go a long way. It’s going to be very cool to see this form and grow.”
When asked whether he prefers acting or making music, the singer/actor says that he has reached a point where he doesn’t feel the need to choose. “I feel like I can do them both,” he responds. “That’s what makes me happiest. I think of that phrase ‘Why not have your cake and eat it too?’ Why would you want cake if you can’t eat it? What’s the point of having to give something up? So I figure ‘what the hell!’ I can wear two different hats; actually, more than two different hats. I can do it all if that’s what makes me happy. They are different creative avenues and I can combine them which I’m going to do. We’re going to do the music for some of these projects coming up as well so it’s all there.”
“Player has a new CD now called ‘Too Many Reasons’ which is available on Amazon and iTunes. It’s our latest one and it’s one of the best ones we’ve ever done. We’re going to be doing several of those tunes on the tour as well and the CD will be available at the shows.”
He is excited to be returning to Australia and admits to having something of a love affair with the country. “There was a time when I was seriously looking at real estate (in Australia) because I was thinking about moving there. I think it’s a very cool place to live;” he observes, “a very cool place.”
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2014. All rights reserved
For full list of tour dates and venues and information on how to book, please click here