Ronald C. Cates

Ronny Cates was born in Shreveport, Louisiana to Mary and Billy Ronny, growing up in Sunset Acres and South Broadmoor. His interest in music began early. As a child he had a pretend drum set and little guitars and remembers listening to the radio and learning beat and rhythm. He began taking guitar lessons when he was in fourth grade but the birth of his music career was in high school and it was about that time that he began playing the bass. Because Dorsey Summerfield was the head of the music department he chose to attend Caddo Magnet High School where he was in the first graduating class in 1983. While there he played with several bands and was often invited by Summerfield to play at various functions gaining valuable experience and exposure. He and his friends Robert Miller, Roscoe Meek and Geof Barkely started a band called Arrival, and began to play around town, at the Captain Shreve talent show and at the Red River Revel. At Caddo Magnet he was in the Jazz Band and though he found reading music difficult he could easily memorize any music once he'd heard it. The two big influences on his life were being taught and trained by Dorsey Summerfield and working at the Shreveport Music store where he learned the music styles, how to play various instruments, and spent time exploring music and musical equipment. His group of friends, who were also students of Dorsey Summerfield, did everything together including attending Broadmoor Baptist Church and because he was raised in a Christian home, he mixed his music with a Christian message. They began playing Christian pop music at youth camps, dances and at school. Don Teach was instrumental in getting him a job with Ricky Skaggs, who was then Entertainer of the Year in country music. At twenty, Ronny spent a year as Ricky Skaggs' guitar tech roadie which was like studying every night with some of the very best musicians. It was also a great environment, no alcohol or drugs - Ricky kept a tight ship. He found out that the band, Petra, needed a bass player and at age 22 he auditioned in the guitar player's basement in Franklin, Tennessee. Petra was one of the pioneers in Christian rock music and he was with the band for eight years. Petra recorded a number of albums including On Fire, Petra Praise, Beyond Belief, Unseen Power, Wake Up Call, and No Doubt. They traveled to Europe once or twice a year including Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, England, France, Belgium and Ireland. He left Petra in 1996 and moved to Gainesville, Florida where he worked at Mirror Image Studios. He eventually opened his own studio with a producer and an engineer and ran it for several years. He worked with the bands Less Than Jake, Creed and Sister Hazel. Ronny returned to Shreveport and worked at Summer Grove Baptist Church in production and at El Dorado Casino running sound boards. He also worked with the Tipitina Foundation. Now that he was back in Shreveport he began to enjoy music, and most importantly, his Christianity. He has not played much since returning to Shreveport but did play at First Bossier Baptist Church for about six months and occasionally for a few other churches. Highlights of his career were playing in Petra when they won three Grammys and were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. His favorite bass player is Joe Osborn, his favorite guitar players are Dann Huff and Keith Urban and he is a huge fan of Ricky Skaggs. His best advice for a musician going into the music industry is to know that you are not going to be doing it forever. So plan ahead. And as a musician, you must always feed your creativity by enjoying nature, art and literature.