Band leader and founder Ron Keel first came to the attention of metal fans as the singer for Los Angeles-based Steeler, the band also featuring Yngwie Malmsteen. The man would depart from Steeler in 1984 and immediately form a hard-edged Los Angeles metal band, called Keel.
The initial line-up featured Ron, guitarist Ferrari and bassist Kenny Chaison. Former Steeler drummer Bobby Marks would not last long. The band was ostensibly dead when several US magazines would announce Ron as the newest singer for Black Sabbath. This collaboration would never actually materialize. Being bound to Shrapnel Records, through the earlier affiliation with Steeler, the band’s heavy LP Lay Down The Law would be issued by the independent label in 1984. At this point, Poison was one of the openers for Keel. The album would attract attention not only for its metal, but also the sexy cover artwork. The band would find favour with members of Kiss and reportedly utilize this connection to sign to A&M. Gene Simmons produced the album. The band’s next album, again produced by Simmons, would mark a more commercial sound that signalled the grab for a wider audience. The LP would sell well, helped by its tribute to space travel and more particularly the then-recent NASA shuttle disaster. Keel would open for Dio.
The self-titled 1987 would be produced by Dio’s bassist, Jimmy Bain, as a result and would be considered a disappointment for fans. Its polished Michael Wagener production would also come in for some criticism. The band would open for Bon Jovi. Apparently not seeing the desired breakthrough, the band’s guitar team would depart. Next up was Larger Than Live, which true to its title featured a mix of live material, cover versions and new songs. The band now also featured a dedicated keyboard player. The band would not support this release with any shows.
Having lost fans and not picked up many newer ones the band would throw in the towel. Ron would front an all-girl band, go into country music and stay in touch with the hard rock scene.
The band would inevitably reunite in 1998 and re-record old material and newer nuggets. The album would not see much promotional action and the band would again go into hiatus. Ron Keel would continue in Iron Horse. A 2005 acoustic tour would be cancelled. De Rock issued the band’s Larger Than Live in 2001. Metal Mayhem Records re-issued The Right To Rock. Ferrari, in the meanwhile, would become an actor and run a music licensing firm.
And then there were none: the very last holdout was not holding out any longer as of November of 2008. Inevitably, Keel was reforming following a 20-year absence and in time for the band’s 25th anniversary. The band was playing on January 31st at Club Vodka in Hollywood and planning more shows. The group signed with Chavis Records and was releasing an album that summer. The band was appearing at Rocklahoma 2009. The band’s Streets Of Rock 'N' Roll album was to be co-produced and mixed by Pat Regan who has worked with Warrant in the past. The vocals were to be produced by Paul Shortino of Rough Cutt fame. Chavis Records expected to release the album in the autumn. Hair I Go Again, a documentary about the determination and failures of a former hair band chasing its dreams, would commence a U.S. film tour on Tuesday, March 8th 2016 in Dallas, Texas followed by the film’s presentation on Thursday March 10th in Austin. Members of Tesla, Keel, Quiet Riot and others appeared in the film.