• Third Trumpet Ron Miscavige and the “incredible lie” he’s telling


    A letter to St. Martin’s Press from Denise Sommerville, Director of Audio Operations, Golden Era Productions

    Denise Sommerville
      Denise Sommerville  
     

    It has come to my attention that you are planning to publish a book by my former trumpet player, Ron Miscavige. I worked with Ron for 25 years while he was in the Church’s band at Golden Era Productions. Nearly all of that time I was either his direct superior, his superior’s superior or the head of his department. So I know him very well.

    I and all of his former band members have had a chance to see what Ron plans to publish in his book. We personally know just how incredible a lie he is telling. The truth is that Ron was no more than third trumpet in a Church back-up band. Ron had zero to do with Church management and our new Ideal Churches. Sure, Ron was aware of those Ideal Churches (as every Scientologist is) and while he was here he couldn’t have been more effusive about the Church expansion and the growth of the religion his son leads. He stated many times to me how proud he was of what his son had accomplished and he would boast like a proud father and say—and I quote: “I never thought I would see this much expansion in my lifetime and I attribute this to COB [Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board, Religious Technology Center]. I am proud to have him as our leader since there is no one else that could do what he has done to lead this crusade.”

    I further understand that Ron is speaking about various external affairs matters of the Church. And I am in the position to tell you that:

    1) He was never involved in any planning of any Church external affairs matters.

    2) Nor was he privy to any Church litigation, other than hearing the news at public events of our numerous victories. He otherwise knows nothing about it.

    3) Ron also claims that he understands and has knowledge of how his son ascended to the seat at the head of the Church. That is a Pinocchio-sized lie. Many of Ron’s former fellow musicians were working in the Church long before he was ordered into the religious order. By the time Ron arrived, his son was already the leader of the religion. Many of the musicians in the band were there and saw his ascension occur. Ron was not there, never saw it, and knew nothing except that his son was now the leader of the Church. He knows far less than most of us do.

    4) Ron claims to have personal insight that no one else has regarding his son and his work. That again is an outright lie. He did not work with his son any more than we did. In fact it may be less, as he was just a trumpet player and didn’t have any key role in the production of music here. We are a church band. Anybody can understand the role of a church band and its position in the church hierarchy.

    5) If his book is not entirely filled with stories about all of us, by name, then the book is just a flat-out fraud. Because we are the ones who worked and lived with him every day, all day, for the entirety of his time in the religious order.

    6) If the book leaves out his life as a musician in the band, then it also is a complete fabrication, because that’s how he spent 27 years of his life. I heard Ron’s “book” is supposed to be a memoir. Is it a memoir of his time growing up? In other words, his life? Well, based on what I've read, he is fraudulently calling this a “memoir,” because he’s really writing about the life of his son and the Church. And that’s not just dishonest, it’s offensive, considering his son’s position in the Church and the fact that Ron was no part of anything that happened with the Church.

    Here are the facts:

    A) While in the religious order, he was a musician. He played in our band. That was his job. We are the ones who worked with him, day in and day out.

    B) Considering we are the ones he worked with for all those years, a “memoir” of a quarter of a century of Ron’s life would certainly consist of the experiences of a band member, as a band member, since that is what he did and what his experiences consisted of—like any musician’s memoir would.

    C) Ron’s son was not part of our band. Of course we saw Mr. Miscavige on various occasions for Church events. As did many others. But that was in the role of the band performing and regarding our music presentations at Church events. And that's ALL. Ron and his son rarely crossed paths because of his son’s jam-packed schedule and the fact that the work he was doing had nothing to do with Ron or the musicians.

    When Ron did see his son for a personal visit (which was not often because Mr. Miscavige is so busy), it was always strictly personal and about family. In fact, the times Mr. Miscavige called Ron or came to see him, were always a total treat, with Ron boasting and bragging afterward to everyone he could find (or run into) about how he saw or spoke to his son and all the nice things he would say. Ron always made a point of telling all of us details about these special moments, how much it meant to him, how he enjoyed these times—I remember Ron doing this very thing at the beginning of 2012, just before he left. To the very end, Ron would brag about how smart his son was, and how proud he was to be his dad.

    Ron also probably forgot to tell you that every year his son made sure he had an absolutely incredible and memorable birthday. Mr. Miscavige would buy his dad a new trumpet, or one year his kids bought him a new car. Every year his son would get Ron an incredible spread of exotic food and give him time off to celebrate his birthday—waited on hand and foot by the galley staff who treated Ron like a king. He drank champagne and wine with his wife and ate for hours. It was practically tradition. This is how “mistreated” Ron was. In fact, Mr. Miscavige treated Ron with the utmost respect and love. So, what Ron is doing now, in exchange for those years of love and care is pretty sick and demented. I can’t imagine any father stooping so low—and particularly in this circumstance where Ron was always treated so special.

    Finally, I understand Ron is claiming that he was never "cut any slack" and that he was "picked on" because he was the father of the leader of the religion. That is truly incredible—and laughable. In fact, as I will detail, the exact opposite was the truth—as hundreds of staff in our Church organization, Golden Era Productions, could easily tell you. Out of respect for Mr. Miscavige, everyone here went out of our way to care for his father. In fact, the love and respect we all have for Mr. Miscavige alone afforded Ron an amazing amount of leeway. And boy did he know it and take advantage of that fact.

    I do not know Ron’s lifestyle today. But I know for certain it could not possibly be at the standards he enjoyed while in the religious order. There is no way he could be getting the care and comfort afforded him here.

    For example, not only did he have fully prepared organic meals—three times a day—beautiful surroundings next to a beautiful golf course, impeccably manicured lawns and gardens, a fully appointed gym for his personal use, sports field (with basketball & volleyball courts, soccer and baseball fields, and a par course), pressed linens, dry cleaning & laundry service, and unending medical care, but there was a Medical Liaison Officer waiting on him regularly to ensure he had everything he needed and was doing well physically. He had his own schedule with extra rest and time to do what he wanted. Everything was expense free, while he was collecting his Social Security payments to put away for himself. Ron lacked for nothing.

    And in his earlier years with the band, Ron traveled around the world performing—Paris, England, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Mexico, every island in the Caribbean, and many places across the United States. He went on island excursions—snorkeling, swimming, beaches, dinners and movies. Days off shopping in London, gondolas and fondue in Switzerland, walking the streets of Paris, concerts, outings to amusement parks, water parks, clubs…movies.

    He celebrated holidays with huge spreads of food, sports, movies, pool, football games...the works.

    I was there for all of this. As were several hundred other people who will be more than happy to expose Ron’s twisted lies for what they are. In fact, I have hundreds of photographs of Ron as proof of everything I’ve just described.

    His story in the Church is the story of a musician. That’s it. And let me tell you, as his superior, a musician that required more babysitting, coddling and attention than any other band member in history.  

    The bottom line is that Ron was a simple musician in the band. The Church back-up band. This was his job for over 25 years. His story in the Church is the story of a musician. That’s it. And let me tell you, as his superior, a musician that required more babysitting, coddling and attention than any other band member in history.

    Let me detail some specifics regarding this last statement:

    • Ron knew how to play the trumpet but lacked the dedication it takes. Some of our music productions utilized a full brass section on recordings. Unfortunately, Ron refused to practice and this went on year after year. As a result, his playing went more and more downhill to the point of embarrassment. The other brass players here at Golden Era practice daily to stay in top form and have for years as professional musicians do who take their craft seriously. In fact, they are some of the top players in the industry. But not Ron. Despite being told to practice over and over through the years, so he could be used on recordings, he refused. Because he played out of time, out of tune and could never keep up in band rehearsals, Ron was relegated to playing occasional background parts in live performances. The parts were always written in a way that it wouldn’t matter if he played or not, as he couldn’t be counted on to hold his part. Often the mixer had to mute Ron’s part so the audience couldn’t hear it because it was degrading the sound of the band, and it would cause a dissonance that would offend the audience, not to mention the rest of the players in the band were top professional level players with a reputation for being so. Often Ron did not even play on songs (because the parts were too difficult for him and he refused to learn them), and Ron would just go on stage as a sort of shill to fill out the brass section. Ron would often try to talk the band out of playing the more impressive arrangements as he couldn’t pull off the parts. 
    • In the late 80s and early 90s, Ron tried his hand at being master of ceremonies for the band. He was not the band leader, though he pretended to be while on stage. The Music Director made all the decisions and directed the band—Ron was just the mouthpiece as he had a big mouth. Unfortunately, because Ron is so crass, the things that would come out of his mouth when talking to audiences were offensive and inappropriate—akin to what you would hear from a washed-up comic at a Catskills resort. So, eventually, we made him a scripted MC—and had to drill him before every performance to make sure he knew what he was supposed to say and was not supposed to say for fear he would blurt out something stupid and embarrassing to the audience (and the band). Here’s an example: He introduced Golden Era’s local public relations officer as “Ladies & Gentlemen, she dances on one leg, she dances on the other, and in-between she makes her living.” Can you imagine a CHURCH band leader saying such a thing to the local public? Inevitably, despite all efforts to keep him in check on his inappropriate comments, he would blurt out some insult that made the band (and everyone in the room) want to cringe. Ultimately the band refused to let him MC anything because after many, many chances, he could not be trusted to not bring the show down to his gutter-level humor.
    • On this count, to illustrate Ron’s proclivity for insults and offensive humor, some real live examples are in order. Ron particularly liked to make fun of Nazis. In 1989, we went to Germany to perform at the Frankfurt Book Fair. We were in a 5-star hotel, where we would be performing for a large reception. Ron, in all his glory, walked into a room with a piano, sat down at the piano, and started loudly playing and singing “Springtime for Hitler in Germany” (from the Mel Brooks Movie “The Producers.”) We all immediately reacted to this and had to get him to stop as he was in the middle of Frankfurt, Germany. Ron was also famous for painting cork mustaches on himself and imitating Hitler whenever there was a cork in sight. I’ve attached photographic evidence of this one, so you can see it for yourself. Lastly, on this front, Ron had a gag he used to pull, where he would tell some innocent person he was doing a grammar test on them and ask them “What is the present tense of the word sought?” The person would of course say “Seek,” to which Ron would say (a la Hitler) “Heil!” I’ve seen him do this at least 30 times—one time in Germany, to a German.
    • In the Music studio itself for a short period, Ron was supposed to be a Composer, to write melodies and do the basic composition of music pieces for films and videos. Because Ron would not study and bone up on different genres and types of music, his melodies were always the same—just monotonous and boring. They were always unimaginative and unmemorable, and rarely got used for anything. Ron sat in his Composing room, writing junk that never saw the light of day 95% of the time. Ron blamed his ineptness and lack of creativity on the fact that he didn’t like modern music, and made a career out of advertising how he was too old to learn it. Repeated and continued assistance was offered to Ron so he could learn music composing and arranging. The Music Director gave him many drills to help him improve his musical skills, so he would be able to produce music that could be used on our films and videos. Ron continually refused to take advantage of that help, and in fact the only thing he ever lifted a finger to do was complain about it.
    • The one thing that Ron did do—which he used to try to pass off as actual production—was sit next to the musicians actually doing the composing and arranging work on the music that was being produced. Ron prided himself on being the side man on the music scoring team—literally—sitting next to the arranger full time while he played his fingers off, doing nothing but what could only qualify as “glorified cheerleading.” He would sit there and say “yeah, that works great” or, acting like a PR salesman, telling someone like me who would come by to see how the production was going how great it was and how fast it was going. All while he was doing nothing but sitting around gabbing, while someone else did all the work. And, to add insult to injury, while he sat next to the musician writing the music, Ron would do things to continually distract the person while they were trying to work. He’d pick up the phone and make loud calls having nothing to do with the music being produced (like finding out when his car would be ready at the shop, or when his food he ordered was coming in)—all full volume, about six inches from the ear of the person trying to write the music.
    • Ron was an expert at doing anything but his job. When he wasn’t being an arranger’s side man, or wasting time with his disposable melodies in his scoring room, Ron spent his days hanging out in one of the two fully appointed studio kitchenettes, where he had a continually filled, full-size refrigerator with his personal food. This fridge was meant for all musicians to be able to use, but Ron took over the majority of space and everyone else had to fight for a little bit of room for their food or drinks. Ron had a second refrigerator in his office that he also kept full of food. Ron’s car was full of food. It became part of my daily routine to discover Ron in the kitchen when he was supposed to be working and to tell him to get back to work—which was met each time with an argument about why he had a valid reason to be goofing off in the middle of the day and how I was picking on him. I want to add that if he had worked hard and produced anything of value, no one would have cared if he was in the kitchen 50 times a day.
    • Similarly, it became routine that I would find Ron wasting time when he was supposed to be working, eating, shopping on the Internet, making personal phone calls, ordering things on the phone, hanging around outside the Music building trying to start conversations with people walking by—basically anything he could come up with to avoid work and do his job.
    • I could never get Ron interested in anything that extended beyond the four walls of his own tiny self-involved trailer-trash world. The only things that interested Ron were food, sports, food, his car, food, making degrading jokes at someone else’s expense, distracting people from production, yelling at the other musicians, complaining, catalog shopping, buying presents for his wife—and I actually think that’s pretty much about it. Ron did not attend production or planning meetings, and the only “inside” information he was privy to was upcoming music productions, when I was able to get him involved, which honestly was not often and was the exception more than the rule.

    The truth is, that out of the tremendous respect we have for his son, we tolerated Ron. We let Ron keep himself busy wreaking daily havoc within the Music Department, as we felt it was for the greater good. By doing so we could prevent him causing trouble for his son and others. No one wanted his son to be distracted by Ron’s crap. It was almost like pacifying Ron qualified as doing a service to the community. Everyone (except Ron, of course) knew that Mr. Miscavige never stands for such childish and dishonest conduct.

    The truth is, that out of the tremendous respect we have for his son, we tolerated Ron.  

    So, yes, considering all we did to care for and tolerate him, it is unbelievable to us what Ron is saying now. He lied to all of us. He was a belligerent cranky old man with never ending complaints. He was constantly getting attention and assistance from friends to make sure that everything was okay with him and that he was doing things he felt he could do. Right to the very end. And to find out that he was planning for five years to take off without a word. I tolerated him during those five years as did all his fellow band members and the many people he worked with here who thought they were his friend, while he was busy conspiring and being dishonest. He was acting like he was my friend the entire time. He acted like the other musicians were his friends. Betrayal does not begin to describe his despicable behavior toward all of us who cared for him for so many years and worked beside him right up until the very last day. He never contacted any of us after he left. We wrote him letters and he refused to even read them. I have attached letters written to you by the staff here who worked with Ron.

    Ron is writing about his son just to make money. But the fact is that a Ron Miscavige memoir containing the truth would have to be about his time with the Golden Era musicians because that’s the only position he ever had. And if that is not what the book is about, then it’s not a memoir at all and has nothing to do with what really happened or the truth. And from what I’ve seen, I know it is not that. It is a bunch of fabricated lies.

    I imagine that Ron has invented this web of lies to justify and explain away the fact that he wasn’t willing to do a scrap of work to contribute to anything or for any cause but his own. The truth is that he is lucky he ever was here and got to work with this band. Working here gave him the opportunity to work with some of the finest musicians in the world and live a quality of life he would have never had. And now he’s claiming it was like a North Korean concentration camp? Defiling us with his BS? Give me a break.

    It’s unfortunate that he’s decided to take others, such as yourself, along for the ride here on his train of lies. Well, the truth will come out. And the reason it will is because it is so well documented and so witnessed by so many and so TRUE. Nothing Ron can fabricate will be able to withstand the facts of what actually occurred.

    His book is a lie-ridden fraud.

    Denise Sommerville
    Director of Audio Operations