So I’m on the Twitter tonight and I see Drew McWeeny tweet the following…
It’s Ronny Cox’s birthday today. First official celebrity interview I ever did, when I was 17 years old. He’s awesome.
And that made me smile. Because I dig the hell out of the guy.
Ronny Cox is one of those character actors who’s been around forever. And a lot of everything. Movies (Taps, Deliverance, Beverly Hills Cop I and II.) TV (More series then I can count.) and he’s always solid. He’s the kind of actor that when you see his name in the credits of something, no matter how potentially schlocky it looks, you say to yourself “Well, he’s in it. So it’s got that going for it.”.
But there are two things about Ronny Cox that I love and the juxtaposition of these two facts always makes me cackle more than I should.
One: He played Dick Jones, the scheming OCP executive and creator of the ED-209 in Paul Verhoeven’s “Robocop”. A film made in 1987 but has seemingly aged only five minutes. If anything, it’s plot involving the privatization of a police department now seems less far-fetched. Looking at Detroit today, the only thing separating the film from a documentary is an armed cyborg. And Cox is wonderfully cold-blooded in it. The personification of every cooperate asshole who’s loves his profits and never had two fucks to rub together for the consequences of his actions.
Two: He has a second career as a folk singer.
And no, I am not making this up. If you type in his name on Spotify, Three albums will come up. And he’s really good too. Pleasant voice, Good picking skills, natural storytelling ability…Hang on a sec. Let me search the YouTube…oh, here we go.
See what I mean?
I just love how actors can surprise you sometimes. One minute, they can be the personification of capitalism run amuck. And the next, they turn around and start playing folk music. It’s effing charming, it is.
And it also going me to thinking.
What if Dick Jones had a twin brother who tried to be in the business world for five minutes and then said, “Screw this, I can play Guitar and I don’t need much to keep me going in this life.”, and then pulled a Woody Guthrie and headed off to soak up some highway, leaving behind a very resentful brother?
And as his brother worked to be the rat to beat in the rat race, this other Jones barnstormed across America. Trying desperately to feed the souls starved by the multiple malfeasances committed by the world he left.
And then one day, he’s playing a show somewhere, what the hell, let’s say Montana.
And he stops in the lobby of the Super 8 he’s staying at and sees on the TV news that his brother has been killed in what’s being called an “Industrial Accident”.
What kind of song would he write?
Would it be a jaunty, triumphal barnburner about the follies of greed and chickens coming home to roost? Or would it be a lament for a life wasted at the altar of a Golden Calf?
Or maybe just a song about two brothers who loved each other once but grew apart?
I have no idea myself. And since I have no musical skills to speak of, I’m throwing the idea out to anyone who wants it.
I’m serious about this. I know that there’s a number of musicians who follow me on Twitter. (I’m looking at you, Marian Call.) And if you guys or gals want to follow up on this idea and write “The Ballad of Dick Jones” (Or whatever title you can cook up.) be my guest.
Just remember to thank me at the Grammys when you win.
And Happy Birthday, Mr. Cox. And may you continue to play both music and douchebags for many years to come!