• Fellow band member on Ron: “In short, he is a liar”


    A letter to St. Martin’s Press from Tom McMurray, Orchestrator & Trombonist, Golden Era Productions
    Tom McMurray portrait
      Tom McMurray  
     

    I understand you intend to publish a manuscript from a Ron Miscavige, Sr. I have seen some of the assertions he is making in his manuscript. Many of them are about how badly he was treated while he was a member of the Golden Era Productions Music Dept. They are very contrary to my experiences while I was associated with him, which was for over twenty years, day in and day out.

    What I saw was: the Service units in Golden Era Productions take care of us quite well. They serviced him, too, and frequently they serviced him better, just because of his name (the father/son relationship) and would do so willingly unless he was being obnoxious, which unfortunately was more frequent than not, but he still received incredible attention and care.

    So now he’s writing a book–a book of untruths, written by a man who couldn’t/wouldn’t work and was loudly resentful of anyone who would demand that he work. His sole operating procedure has been distracting and undermining to those who DO work, justifying all the while, and proving wrong those who would expect him to be a decent human being. 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 by writing a bunch of lies. What about what he did to us?

    It was rough working with Ron. He was far from an ideal band-mate. His idea of practice was to pick up his horn and play old songs, the ones he played 60+ years ago. There was no intent 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 and wouldn’t bother to learn it. Thus, musical incompetence, 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 so he could play them. Now, I’ve been writing for the Gold Band for 26 years, and I’ve earned a reputation that extends way beyond the property of Golden Era Productions, 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 and 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.

    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 – obnoxiously inconsiderate.

    “But we kept working with Ron. We tolerated him and treated him nice because of his son.”

    But we kept working with Ron. We tolerated him and treated him nice because of his son. He was an 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 not cooperating, not studying, not training, and just 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.

    I will give you a specific example that what he says in his book differs from the actual truth:

    We were in the Band Unit of the Music Dept. Each summer, for years, we would go to a Caribbean cruise ship named “Freewinds” for a week of concerts. One year (2004) we also participated in the study and drilling of basic Seamanship activities. He asserts that he was made to be out in the heat of the day and varnish the handrails on the side of the ship. The actual details are that the project for that day was to do cleaning of the lifeboats and it occurred during the mid-day hot Caribbean direct sunshine (HOT!). The Ship’s captain decided that Ron M. and I (we were the “senior citizens” of the unit at that time) should do the handrail varnishing. We spent the day sanding and varnishing the handrails, in the shade, where it was actually quite comfortable rather than blazing hot, not to mention beautiful, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. It was also not physically taxing, you just stood there and varnished the handrail, which was waist-high. I never worked up a sweat. So what he says about it does not match up with my experience, and I was right there at the same place he was and by the way, I never saw a yacht sailing by with Ron’s son and any celebrity. Pure fiction. He is making it up. I was with him the whole time.

    “I never saw a yacht sailing by with Ron’s son and any celebrity. Pure fiction. He is making it up. I was with him the whole time.”

    Ron is stating outright lies. I say that because they do NOT match up with my own experiences and perceptions of overall conditions and situations. It is not what I observed and what I know. In short, he is a liar.

    Tom McMurray 
    Orchestrator/Trombonist