Ronni Le Tekrø, the only consistent member of TNT, has just released the fantastic album Bigfoot TV, his first solo album in six years, and it is an impressive vinyl beast. MetalTalk’s Steve Ritchie spoke with the impressively talented Norwegian about his home, the new album, and his worries for the future.
Ronni Le Tekrø – Bigfoot TV (TBC Records)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Steve Ritchie
Zakk Wilde is a fan of Ronni Le Tekrø, saying that he used Ronni’s guitar tone from 10,000 Lovers on Miracle Man, from the first Ozzy album Zakk worked on. Ronni is one of those guitarists who has a great reputation in the music business, something he must be proud of. “Yes, I think so,” Ronni says. “I kind of always felt that I have had my own tone, if I dare say so. But I never expected it to go that far. Although I see that I’m like an underground kind of guitar hero, I like it underneath the surface.”
With the arrival of Covid-19, Ronni stayed in his studio in Toten, Norway, a wonderfully remote place to channel his creativity. “Yes, I had that, so that was actually great,” Ronni says. “So I could focus like I hadn’t done for four years. That would be the positive side of it. Of course, the focus has been a tragedy for everybody except AC/DC and Iron Maiden.”
Bigfoot TV is a wonderful album, impressively written and delivered with love and grace by his band, focusing on songwriting rather than just a vehicle for Ronni’s guitar talents. “I think I’ve done that for many years now,” Ronni says, “and then, of course, you will be a subject of criticism from guitar purists. You know, from the people that expect me to go fast. But the older I get, I realize the song itself has a kind of real energy in the guitar playing. So that’s what I try to do.”
The current line-up has been with Ronni across four albums now, and it is something he continues to develop alongside TNT. The album opens on Life On Long Island, a story of his time spent in the US in the ’80s.
“When I first came to America,” Ronni said, “I came to Long Island and luckily, I met lower-middle-class Americans. I made friends with the right people, if I dare say so. It wasn’t, you know, famous rockers. It was regular people. So that shaped me a lot. Coming from industrial workers myself, I’m labour class, and that was interesting to meet those Americans. They’re pretty much like us, the same dreams, and they’re more radical than you would think.”
An excellent opener, the song bounces along wonderfully with some fantastic guitar, and Ronni’s unique singing style fits well. Taken as an introduction to the album as a whole piece of work, Bigfoot TV is a further example of the benefits of listening to an album in full.
“I just listen to vinyl myself,” Ronni says. “I never play music that was made after ’79. I constantly get that vibe when I’m relaxing and listening to music. That’s what I do. I listen to full albums, and that’s what I’m trying to do in my work. To create the good old LP vibe or the composition that lasts for 40 minutes.”
Demons is a standout song. The song is framed by an acoustic guitar piece and is built around a fantastic riff. Opening lyric, “All I have is emptiness inside,” and the closing lyric, “And that is the reason I need to have an angel by my side,” suggests a theme of tragedy, which, Ronni says, is a topic across much of the album.
Moving Like A Cat is filled with humour and leads to the dramatic song The Black Rose. Ronni’s vocal style on this song is excellent, and the heavy guitar note which runs downscale in the chorus is a focal point providing rhythm, presence and great song emphasis.
“That was a song I spent a lot of time composing and writing. It felt like it was almost there for three or four days, but I didn’t give up, and then those weird harmonic structures came along. I’ve had the feeling that there’s been a black angel just spreading its wings around us with Covid. Then we go from Covid, and we’re going to war. And I’m thinking, what’s next? Well, I’m telling you that UFOs are for real. We’ve had the plague, and now, it’s war. When the war is over, it’s UFOs. That’s next.”
A Handful Of Time is a fantastic song, with a great chorus and the doubled guitars running towards the beautiful outro solo. “That’s about my friends I lost over the last three or four years,” Ronni says. “A lot of really close friends. It’s about realizing that it’s just a handful of time left at my age. The first verse in the song is dedicated to my dead friends and the second verse to my friends that are still alive. So I thought that was an interesting topic to dig into my own thoughts about these things.” It certainly makes the song more poignant knowing this.
New Day In The Morning is Ronni’s Beatles inspired piece. “I’m so fucking Beatles influenced,” Ronni says, “and I’ve always been. There’s only been one prophet on the planet, John Lennon. That’s my opinion. On that song, I was looking for the early ’70s, late ’60s style.” Ronnie had to adjust the recording style, reducing the number of microphones to ensure the recording matched his crafted expectations. It is a song that highlights the wonderful variety on the album.
The track UFO is great and back to a great riff with powerful guitars, and it is a big sounding track. “I just wanted that massive fucking jet landing type of blow it out of proportions sound because I had the close encounter in 1994. So, the whole song is specifically about what happened to me that night.” If you want to know what happened that night, you have to buy the album.
The final track, Eyes Of The Woods, is a powerful piece, and the scowling “you dirty old bastard” lyric coupled with an amazing solo delivers the warning message about deforestation with incredible drive and motive. “It’s heartbreaking because obviously, they are the oxygen makers,” Ronni says. “I have like the most personal relationship to this piece because I sense that trees are alive and have feelings. Studies from the last couple of years show that they actually communicate and have emotions and all that stuff. So where will we be in 100 years?”
Bigfoot TV is a wonderful release, and Ronni and his band will be playing some shows this year. Conceived while holed up in Toten, it oozes with the quality and thought that has gone into the recording process.
This is another piece of lockdown genius.
Ronni Le Tekrø band
Ronni Le Tekrø – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
Markus O. Klyve – Keyboards
Henrik Fossum – Drums, Percussion
Ove Husemoen – Bass
Jon Johannessen – additional Guitar
Leif Knashaug – additional Vocals, backing vocals
Rodmar Johansen – Lead vocal on Not Today
Bjørn Kristiansen – Guitar solo on New Day In The Morning
Tim Scott McConnell – backing vocal on Life On Long Island
Produced and mixed by Ronni Le Tekrø and Kjartan Hesthagen
Engineered by Kjartan Hesthagen
Recorded and mixed at Studio Studio Nyhagen