1959 – Present
I was born in Dover, Delaware, the first of 4 children of Linda and Ron Wikso (the first). After finishing their tour of duty in the Air Force, my parents moved the family back to their native Long Island, New York where I lived from age 3 until adulthood.
I started playing drums at the age of 7 and studied privately with Larry Ramsden while growing up on Long Island. Along with my private studies, I played in several local bands and began playing my first professional gigs around the time I was 12. I also participated in as many of the school bands, orchestras and choirs as I could in an effort to learn as much as possible about music.
After graduating from East Islip High School, where some of my classmates included now world renowned Contemporary Christian artists Kathy Troccoli and Margaret Becker as well as former NFL football player, Boomer Esiason, I moved on to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts at the ripe old age of 17.
Ron Wikso Onstage with Cher
After studying at Berklee for a year, I found myself working quite a bit over the summer in various bands in New York so I decided to stay in New York and continue playing professionally rather than return to college. Not long after that, I found myself playing a 4 month engagement on the Caribbean Island of St. Maarten…a far cry from the cold winters of Boston and New York…I could get used to that!
Upon returning from the Caribbean I continued to work in New York before again finding myself in the tropics…this time as the drummer in the house band on the Holland America Cruise Ship, SS Statendam. The cruise went to various ports in the Caribbean such as St. Thomas, St. John’s, St. Maarten (again), Aruba, Antigua, Curacao, Martinique, Guadaloupe, La Guaira/Caracas (Venezuela, South America) and Haiti to name a few.
After completing the engagement on the SS Statendam, I returned to New York. It was January and the temperature, when I left Miami was around 85 degrees and sunny. When I landed at JFK International Airport in New York, it was something like zero degrees, with a wind chill factor that made it feel like negative twenty.
I had been offered a chance to play on the SS Rotterdam on a cruise that was going around the world but I decided I’d had enough of the cruise ship thing for a little while, partly because it was a 3 month cruise, out of which only 30 days would be spent at ports (the rest would be at sea), and partly because I was only 22 years old at the time and the demographics of people who could afford to go on a 3 month cruise around the world, skewed much older, so I decided to stick around New York and see what was next.
About a month later, I decided to take a trip out to Los Angeles to visit some friends I’d met on the cruise and see what LA’s music scene was like. It was February of 1982, the weather was gorgeous and I made the decision to move out there and give it a shot. My entire reasoning was that I could be a starving musician there too, but at least I wouldn’t need a coat!
So, I went back to New York for a few months, worked as much as I could so I could save some money, and then at the end of April, I loaded up my car with everything I owned (I even stuffed clothes inside my drums to save room!), and moved out to Los Angeles.
Initially, I got a job in a clothing store, then got a job at Guitar Center that lasted about 3 weeks, and tried all the while to meet as many musicians as I could, and try to get some work playing wherever and whenever I could.
As I started to get to know and work with more and more great musicians, I was blessed to eventually start getting called for various recording sessions and tours with some of the best musicians and well known entertainers in the world. Some of the people I’ve been fortunate to have worked with at various times include the Steve Miller Band, Cher, Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Foreigner, David Lee Roth (Van Halen), The Storm, Gregg Rolie (Santana/Journey), Eddie Money, CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revisited), Player (featuring Ronn Moss & Peter Beckett), Randy Meisner (the Eagles), Denny Laine (Paul McCartney & Wings/The Moody Blues), Dave Amato (REO Speedwagon/Ted Nugent/Jimmy Barnes), Michael Monarch (Steppenwolf), Dave Meniketti (Y&T), George Burns, Sammy Davis Jr., Peggy Lee and many others.
Some of the tours I’ve been on with these artists have taken me all over the world to places in Europe, Asia, Australia and North, South and Central America and have featured other artists such as Bryan Adams, Peter Frampton, 10,000 Maniacs, Deep Purple, The Doobie Brothers, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Paul Rodgers, Journey, John Fogerty and many others.
I’m also blessed in my personal life to have my significant other, Marcy and my son, Jesse. I’m currently dividing my professional time between live touring gigs and session work, mostly at my private studio, where I record live drums, and coordinate/produce/mix project for clients from all over the world.