“Bad guys are a lot more fun to play,” he said. “Bad guys get to make more interesting decisions. You always know what the good guy is going to do because he always does the right thing. But now that people know me for suited villains, it blows their mind when they see me with a guitar.”
In the early 1990s, Cox decided to dedicate more of his time to music. He has released nine albums since that time. His live performances are typically folk songs broken up by jokes and storytelling.
“I did a country album in Nashville in 1992,” he said. “It took me another five-six years to find the folk music community. Some people think you should shut up and let the music talk, which is a valid point of view, but it doesn’t work for me. I’m a storyteller. Without sounding too self-congratulatory, I can communicate with people in ways others can’t. Some people should be forbidden from speaking onstage. I’m good at telling stories, and a story doesn’t have to be true. Often, in a true story, the punch line is in the wrong place. If I don’t have a story at all, I’ll make one up.”
Cox said that it was because of this intimacy with the audience that he prefers to play small venues.
Cox is 78 years old. At this stage of his life and career, he performs approximately 100 shows per year and turns down most of the acting offers he receives.
“About six years ago, I decided that I wouldn’t let any movie or TV show interfere with any gig I’d booked,” he said. “Which is hard to explain in the film business. I’m not rich, but I’ve made enough money. I love acting, but I never loved it as much as music.”
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How to go
What: The Ronny Cox Band
Where: Fairfield Community Arts Center, 411 Wessel Drive, Fairfield
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 4
More info: 513-867-5348 or www.fairfield-city.org/tickets