RON RUEDI - JOYFUL SURVIVOR
...Ron Ruedi & the Hurricanes - Photo by Bruce Polonsky
popularity demands a large venue.
For well over ten years, Ron Ruedi
was a one-man band act at the now-defunct Satellite Lounge in the Rockwood/Gresham area.He
was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for playing at least three instruments simultaneously for 29 hours, one minute on December 3-4, 1976, at a children's charity fund-raiser in Columbia, Maryland.
took no breaks, playing hundreds of songs with no repetition.The performance took a toll on his
body, leaving him with blisters and swollen feet and hands, along with exhaustion hallucinations part of the way through, but he
survived.Such intensity is typical of Ruedi's
generally limits himself to just the electric guitar these days.Now he
has a kickass rock'n'roll band (The Hurricanes) to fill out the sound.
By the early 1960s, barely into his teens, Ruedi
was playing classic surf-rock instrumentals with Dick Dale.
asked if the audience was showing up for the headliners and going away when the opening act started."No.We just play as though every show was our last day on earth."Ron Ruedi
learned from that attitude and plays that way today.Even if there are only a few people listening (a very rare event), he
heart and soul into the music and the performance.Along the way, Ruedi earned a BA in Economics at Cal. State Long Beach (taking as many as 22 credits per term), and also served two years in the Marine Corps in Viet Nam.He
pride in the Marine Corps; on patriotic holidays (especially around the November 10 anniversary of the birth of the Marines), he
sometimes performs in his
old uniform, which still fits him well because he
clearly works out and stays in excellent shape.With the demands he
puts on himself on stage, he
can only keep up the pace by staying in shape.Ruedi
lives a healthy and drug-free life (including no nicotine or alcohol), but has a metabolism that brings a hyperkinetic intensity to every gig.Dancers in the audience get a workout at each show, too.
The past few years have brought Ruedi
a series of setbacks that would make many less determined musicians despair.First, there was the visit to the doctor who had the old "good news, bad news" line for him.The good news: The source of Ruedi's
health problem at the time was identified.The bad news: The problem was a large brain tumor; he
was given little chance of recovering from an operation and only a few months to live without the operation.Ruedi
went through the 15-hour operation, dying once on the operating table.After the operation, he
had to learn to walk, talk and write again.The only thing unimpaired was his
again ended up in the hospital with spinal meningitis, this time dying and revived twice.In one of his
had an out-of-body experience, leaving his
body, then the hospital and even the earth.He
was disappointed when he
came back to earth and to his
body, but received a message on the way back.God told him: "Do your music."Considering the source of the command, he
was not inclined to disobey.But yet again, he
had to learn to walk, talk, and write again.And yet again, the only thing unimpaired was his
Audiences are all glad that Ruedi
came back and that he
chose to follow his
music.As a deeply spiritual person, Ruedi
considers bringing joy and excitement to audiences through his
music to be a blessing from God.Whatever one's beliefs, listening to him is a blessing.
When told that Ron Ruedi
would be the feature article in Positively Entertainment
, Pat Pattee of KISN radio fame could only say: "It's about time."
was much more humble, merely appreciating the attention with a somewhat perplexed attitude.It is clear that he
is more comfortable with people knowing about him through hearing his
music than reading about him.He
deserves to be heard.Appreciation follows easily and naturally.
As a guitarist, Ruedi pulls out techniques that are startling.He
knows the standard licks and adds his
own flavor to his
will do an open-string solo using his
left hand on his
will put his
guitar pick in his
teeth and intricately finger-pick his
electric guitar on a rock'n'roll number, where most lesser guitarists just strum power chords.
In addition to a great musician and performer, Ron Ruedi
is also a very charming, kind and funny person.His
great long reminiscences of performances and the musicians he
has known can bring one to tears laughing.As a result, talking to him can be almost dangerous.Cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing, eyes water.Life becomes a sacrament in and of itself.Considering the troubles Ruedi has seen, it is at once surprising and comforting.
On the other hand, Reudi has a serious side, spending much volunteer time with children's organizations, probably due to his
foster home upbringing.