Pentwater's Ron Fox

Electric Guitars, acoustic guitars, nylon string guitars,
slide guitar, oboe, backing vocals

Ron's first Pentwater encounter was playing music with cousin Ken Kappel in a band called Liquid Tension. Ron recalls, "This had to be around 1967-68. We were no more than twelve years old at the time. I have fond memories of Ken playing the Farfisa intros to "Light My Fire" and "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" over and over and over again. He was, and still is a focused fellow, I tell ya! Ken's brother Rick (who was Pentwater's Manager for a time) was instrumental in my taking an interest in playing guitar. I had been playing drums since the third grade after watching the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan show. Discouraged by the inability of my parents to afford that red sparkle full drum kit at Sears (I had this outrageous Slingerland kit from the 40's- If I only knew!), I was inspired by Rick's "Louie Louie" solos and other Kappelisms. I went out and purchased a red sparkle Norma guitar for a meager $39.00. This was the start of an expensive addiction."

As they grew older, Ron and Ken separated musically. "I guess it made more sense to jam with kids from our own schools. Liquid Tension continued through my sophomore year of high school. I then moved on and met other musicians from surrounding areas. I recall playing mostly Cream and Jeff Beck style blues at the time. After the movie Woodstock, I became enamored with Hendrix and of course, Alvin Lee. I remember painstakingly trying to figure out "I'm Going Home" at 16 rpm on the phonograph for hours at a time."

Ron's extreme interest in progressive music came while studying music at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. "Although I was a huge King Crimson and Jethro Tull fan in high school, I really dove deep into the progressive scene at that time. It all fit so well with the music theory and composition I was studying. During that time, I remember getting back together with Ken on occasion. Once specifically, I recall him showing me "Kill the Bunny" as he was writing it. He needed to know if it was going to be possible to play the guitar parts he wrote. It was possible, however, as with most of Ken's later works, it was always torturous to play and memorize! I had seen Pentwater a few times early on and thought they were pretty good. I then heard the studio recordings of "Gwen's Madrigal" and "EM54" and was totally blown away. Although I never told anyone this, I was quite envious and secretly wanted to become part of this music machine. From my recollection it was shortly thereafter I was asked to join the band. I was truly elated!"

Ron Fox blisters 32nd notes at
Sigwalt Studios, 1976

During the transition into Pentwater, what Ron remembers most is Phil Goldman's graciousness. "I remember to this day, Phil phoning me and telling me how happy he was that I was the one replacing him. It was his choice to leave Pentwater, but for most human beings I think there would have been some negative feelings about their replacement. Learning the many years worth of material was quite challenging. Mike Konopka was instrumental in that process as I remember spending hours and hours going over the repertoire together. Most of my musical compositions were penned with Tom Orsi writing the lyrics. He was always fascinating to work with. I would simply give him my concept and he would churn out the words. It is quite ironic how over the years I turned into exactly what the songs were about. For example "Entropal Pause" was written about the maddening experience of the workers commute which I ended up doing for 10 years. "Billboard Smiles" was about selling things. I won't even go there."

Ron continues, "After the Pentwater era, I pretty much gave up music for many years. It was when my lovely wife gave me a surprise birthday party and invited all sorts of old musician friends. We had a huge jam session party, during which my musical inspiration was rekindled. I have not looked back since. Mike helped me design and build Timewarp Studios. We have since recorded all sorts of great music including some soon-to-be released Pentwater material. I have remained fairly active musically, although it has not been my primary vocation. I have formed a Power Pop style band with my friend and musical colleague Patrick Potts. I enjoy the pure simplicity of this style of music. Mike helped engineer and produce The Drysdales, our first release, back in 2000."

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