Did you know the ‘RoboCop’ villain plays guitar?

The Ronny Cox Band, starring Hollywood character actor Ronny Cox (“Beverly Hills Cop,” “RoboCop”) will provide an evening of folk music and storytelling. CONTRIBUTED

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The Ronny Cox Band, starring Hollywood character actor Ronny Cox (“Beverly Hills Cop,” “RoboCop”) will provide an evening of folk music and storytelling. CONTRIBUTED

The Ronny Cox Band is coming to Fairfield.

Depending on what generation you hail from, you either know Ronny Cox as a corporate villain in films such as “RoboCop” and “Total Recall,” a septuagenarian serial killer in “Dexter,” or a mild-mannered victim in the iconic classic, “Deliverance.”

What you may not know is that he is also a folk guitarist and songwriter, he cut his first record in high school, and he will be performing in concert this Saturday at Fairfield Community Arts Center.

It was because of his musical ability that he was cast in “Deliverance” in the first place.

“That was my first movie,” said Cox. “Before that, I was a struggling actor in New York. I’d never made more than $6,000 per year as an actor. People knew that I was from New Mexico and also a musician. I got that part because I could play.”

Indeed, the “dueling banjos” scene in “Deliverance” is almost as iconic as the other notorious scene. Needless to say, Cox’s life changed dramatically afterward. Oddly enough, Cox was typecast as “the nice guy” for the rest of the 1970s and early 80s. It wasn’t until 1987’s “RoboCop” (with 1984’s “Beverly Hills Cop” as an arguable transition point) that his image began to change.

“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.”

Contact this contributing writer at aaronepple@gmail.com.


How to go

What: The Ronny Cox Band

Where: Fairfield Community Arts Center, 411 Wessel Drive, Fairfield

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 4

Cost: $25-$30

More info: 513-867-5348 or www.fairfield-city.org/tickets

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