Tom McMurray has been a professional orchestrator and trombonist for more than four decades, the last 26 years as a musician at Golden Era Productions. He played alongside Ron Miscavige for more than two decades.
I was associated with Ron Miscavige for over 20 years, day in and day out.
What I saw was Ron being taken care of quite well because of his name (out of respect for his son). We would do so willingly unless Ron was being obnoxious, which unfortunately was more frequent than not. But he still received incredible attention and care.
Ron’s sole operating procedure has been distracting and undermining those who DO work and disappointing those who expected him to be a decent human being because of his son. Ron was a man who expected, even demanded, special treatment, on name alone, without having done anything to earn it. Yet he did get that treatment and now he betrays us all.
“It was rough working with Ron. He was far from an ideal bandmate. His idea of practice was to pick up his horn and play old songs…”
It was rough working with Ron. He was far from an ideal bandmate. His idea of practice was to pick up his horn and play old songs, the ones he played 60+ years ago. There was no desire to improve his skill. After all, he learned it then, and it worked then, didn’t it? What he did learn then was also very undisciplined, very loose. I come from bands. There is a whole other world of discipline expected of people who play in bands and orchestras. He didn’t have that discipline and wouldn’t bother to learn it. He was musically incompetent, not only in live band performances but also in studio recordings.
Then Ron complained that the trumpet music parts in scores that I had written were “too complex and complicated to play.” This is after I had already simplified the parts to where he could play them. I’ve been writing music for decades and I’ve earned a reputation, and one of the ingredients of my success is that I don’t write things that can’t be played. When I write something it’s musically correct, and I expect it to be played. Ron’s complaint, then, is not only a confession of his incompetence, it’s a confession that it’s too disciplined for him so he won’t do it.
Because Ron would not practice, his playing was so poor that he often faked it on stage. The horn section would cover up for the fact that he was faking on stage and when he did try to play, the sound man would mute his instrument because it just didn’t fit with what the rest of the band was doing.
SEE THE VIDEO:
Here’s another example of his obstinance. Ron was supposed to start using the Logic software (music scoring software) which the rest of the Music Department was using for writing music. He refused to study the manual and so did not learn how to operate the equipment. There was a basic “getting started” manual for this software that anyone could study in a couple of hours. It took several years to convince Ron to read this. Because he didn’t know how to use the software he would routinely distract other staff members to “Do this for me” or “Show me how to do ...” and of course the other staff member was supposed to do this instantly no matter the urgency of what that other staff member was doing. It was obnoxiously inconsiderate.
“Now he is abusing that relationship with lies, which I think is despicable.”
But we kept working with Ron. We tolerated him and treated him nice because of his son. He was incompetent and instead of becoming competent and living up to the standards to be a respectable representation of his son, he instead saw his son’s prominence as a ticket to refuse to cooperate, study and train. He was riding on his son’s coattails until the day he left us, not a word said. Now he is abusing that relationship with lies, which I think is despicable.