It’s a small world after all

Chance meeting leads to fruitful collaboration for R. Ring

By Tim Anderl
photo: [l to r] Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery of R. Ring; photo credit: Chris Glass

If it hadn’t been for an altogether different opportunity for musical collaboration, the world may have never known the sonic pleasures of unorthodox rock duo R. Ring.  Introduced by celebrated Dayton/Cincinnati rock act Buffalo Killers, a casual friendship between The Breeders’ Kelley Deal and Ampline’s Mike Montgomery, from Dayton, Ohio and Dayton, Kentucky, respectively, became an official band. Teaming with Gem City-based Misra Records, the duo released their debut 7” on Oct. 30 to much critical praise.

Dayton City Paper caught up with the duo as they rehearsed for a Columbus, Ohio show, as well as a European tour to support the release of a new EP overseas. This is what they said about their collaboration and the band’s near-term plans.

How did you guys meet? Was there a particular event or catalyst that inspired you to decide that this was the right time for a collaboration with each other?

I was invited to contribute to a GBV tribute record called Sing For Your Meat. I asked the Buffalo Killers to play with me on it. -Kelley Deal

They were recording with me at my studio in Cincinnati and we became friends through that project.  When another Ohio band asked me to open a show for them solo, I expressed my nervousness to Kelley who offered to sing with me to assuage my fears.  After that, other people asked us to play some shows and it just sort of grew from there.

– Mike Montgomery

What is it about working with Kelley that catalyzes you in your work together?

She has an inspiring enthusiasm for sonic exploration. “Music” for her is not relegated to a band setting. That is refreshing. Her willingness to experiment forces me to think outside of the shit I would naturally play on a guitar.  -MM

R. Ring has a show coming up in Columbus and I noticed that tickets were limited to 100. Is this kind of intimate setting the ideal setting for experiencing R. Ring and live music of your ilk?

Yeah. I think we fit sonically in smaller rooms better than big, loud clubs or bars. The songs are all over the place texturally and there are no drums to steamroll over chatter, so the chance to grab an attentive ear is always more appreciated than the “rock slot” at a party palace.  -MM

Mike, you produced the first R. Ring 7” for Misra, correct? Was it difficult to wear both artist and producer hats?

Kelley and I were both very hands-on with the Misra 7”.  She learned the board pretty quickly and would hit the buttons and turn the knobs while I was tracking my parts.  She’d make a good tape op! These days it seems like the lines between artist/producer/engineer/mixer/masterer are getting more and more blurry. I started recording music as a kid to understand my own music better and my interest has never really changed or wavered. While I have gotten the chance to record/produce some amazing music over the years, I never really set out to be an “engineer.” -MM

R. Ring has always had a focus on packaging, with the first demos being released at South Park Tavern with special packaging, and then again with the whimsical cover art for the 7” on Misra.  Do you feel like this attention to detail sets R. Ring apart from the pack?  

Mike and I both like working with our hands and making things so it’s a natural outcome.  The artwork for the Misra single is the brainchild of artist Ali Calis, from Able Projects in Cincinnati. I couldn’t even begin to guess where the inspiration for his stuff comes from! -KD

What was it about Misra that appealed to R. Ring in terms of label support? Will they be releasing future output by R. Ring?

Misra is easy to work with and everyone got along. It was a very stress-less arrangement and we were both looking for a real low-key ease into the turbulent waters of record pressing. -MM

Leo Deluca is the reason we worked with Misra on the 7” and we look forward to working with him and Misra again. He’s from Dayton, a music lover and a musician so it’s a great relationship. -KD

What plans do you have for future releases and how will this differ from your past output?

We have an EP due out any moment in Europe and we plan to continue writing and recording when we get back from our trip. -MM

Kelley, you will head back out with the Breeders beginning in May, correct? How will the Last Splash celebration impact R. Ring’s activity?

Well it will limit the activity of R. Ring, but I’m not complaining. What a great problem to have! -KD

Are you still working with the guys in Ampline Mike?

We are indeed still a band and are playing Feb. 21 at Blind Bob’s.  We’ll have a new split 7” with surf weirdos Daikaiju in tow. -MM

R. Ring performs Friday, Feb. 8 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Also on the bill are The Ridges [Cincy], The Seedy Seeds [Cincy] and the Raging Nathans. Admission is $5 for 21 & up. Doors at 9 p.m. For more information, visit

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