SXSW in Austin can be an incredible musical experience or it can be incredibly frustrating, depending how everything falls for you. A friend had told me I needed to catch Toy Soldiers there. I checked them out and really liked their sound, but it did not look like our schedules would align this time. On Friday Night, I made one of the best choices I’ve ever made at a SXSW visit. I went to the Communion Music showcase at St. David’s church. A guy I know started Communion Music. I remember when it was primarily for he and his friends to do solo shows of their own material. St. David’s is a beautiful venue. The crowd was silent the whole night and it was an incredible line-up; Lucius, The Staves, Lucy Rose, Leif Vollebekk, Joe Banfi and Half Moon Run. I enjoyed being in one place all night with a silent crowd that I wanted to do the same thing the following day. Sofar Sounds puts on intimate house shows in cities all over the world. I’ve been wanting to attend one in Dallas but my schedule never worked out. I showed up for the show and Toy Soldiers were one of the groups playing. They put on a great set. Fun, Rocking, entertaining + they were from Philly, my old hometown. They are working on their next album, “The Maybe Boys”, and you can be part of their album. Now, I’m thrilled to introduce you to the frontman for Toy Soldiers, Ron Gallo.
Philadelphia based human that fronts the Rock N’ Roll band Toy Soldiers. Also, relentless solo performer, show host, amateur basketball player posing as a professional musician, vehicular narcoleptic and chicken enthusiast.
What is your songwriting/composing process?
It’s a lot like blacking out and waking up the next morning with a bunch of various sweet treats in your arms. And some of those sweet treats are fresh and some are rotten. In the sense that I’ll sit down with some sort of instrument and then somehow a few minutes later i’ll have a song or two but not remember exactly how i got there. I have a very nonchalant approach to writing where it just kind of happens and I don’t try to write but I just make myself available for a song to happen.
Some songs come from singing something while riding a bike then taking out my iphone voice memo to remember it then rush home to work it out. Some songs come from playing some chords first and matching it with some gibberish I’ve written in a notebook. Some songs I’ll listen to someone else’s song and find some obscure way to rip them off so no one knows. Some songs just plain suck.
What are you most proud of?
Songs that I can still sing and mean it. The lighthearted ones with a good sense of humor as well as the pained ones that came directly from some sort of very real moment or heartbreak. They’re on opposite sides of the spectrum but I feel everything in between was afraid to commit one way or another.
What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Right now I think this is great: (Father John Misty “Funtimes in Babylon”)
I would like to abuse my lungs
Smoke everything inside with every girl I’ve ever loved
Ride around the wreckage on a horse knee-deep in mud
Look out Hollywood, here I come
What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Don’t think to much, or at all. You can’t sit down with the intention of writing the greatest song in the world. Just write songs, lots of them, about nonsense if you have nothing else to say and eventually great things will start to happen. Keep it simple, no one cares about technical for the sake of being technical. Have fun, love it, live it, be honest, don’t force it and be your damn self.
To view Ron’s selected playlist and other bonus items, please go to;
All interviews and Bonus Materials will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.
I truly appreciate everyone that has stopped by, talked about this blog and/or shared with friends. Please continue to share this page and site with fellow music lovers.