Ron Gallo is the name of a Philadelphia-bred rock musician whose music embraces elements of both roots rock and garage punk with an abundance of smarts and passion. Ron Gallo is also the name of the band he formed when he struck out on his own after years fronting the group Toy Soldiers. Moving on from the Americana influences that dominated his earlier band, Gallo formed his eponymous band with an eye toward a tougher, more angular sound that reflected the sharp wit of his new songs. Ron Gallo earned critical praise for their 2017 debut album, Heavy Meta, with a second full-length, Stardust Birthday Party, following in 2018.
Gallo got his start as a musician while still a teenager. He had picked up the guitar and began taking lessons, but decided he'd rather learn by doing, and formed his first band. Gallo once described their gigs as "VFW halls in South Jersey," but it taught him the nuts and bolts of playing in a band, and after working with another high school act, he got more ambitious with his next project.
At the age of 19, Gallo was attending Temple University in Philadelphia when he formed Toy Soldiers with drummer Mike Baurer. A band that brought together a diverse range of American roots music, including blues, country, and folk, Toy Soldiers grew from a minimalist two-piece to a ten-piece ensemble during their lifetime, with Gallo as the only constant member as they released two albums and several EPs. The most stable lineup was a quintet, with Gallo (on guitar and vocals) joined by Matt Kelly (guitar and vocals), Luke Leidy (keyboards), Bill McCloskey (bass), and Dominic Billett (drums and vocals).
In 2014, after a lengthy tour, Gallo decided to take a break from Toy Soldiers, and headed to the West Coast, where he played a short solo tour. Gallo felt energized by making music on his own, and in July 2014, Toy Soldiers played their final show. By this time, Gallo had released his first solo recordings, an 11-song album titled Ronny, in which he explored his pop sensibilities. Gallo relocated from Philadelphia to Nashville and assembled a band he called Ron Gallo, with Gallo on guitar and vocals, Joe Bisirri on bass, and Dylan Sevey on drums. With his new band, Gallo's style shifted into more aggressive territory, with a sound informed by garage rock and old-school punk. As Gallo and his band developed a loyal following in Philadelphia and Nashville and word about his energetic live shows began to spread, he signed a record deal with New West Records. His first album for New West, Heavy Meta, was co-produced by Gallo and Joe Bisirri, and was released in February 2017. Gallo followed it in January 2018 with Really Nice Guys, an eight-song EP informed by his experiences promoting and touring behind Heavy Meta. October 2018 saw the return of Ron Gallo with their second full-length album, the sharp and wiry Stardust Birthday Party. ~ Mark Deming