Ron Miscavige likes to talk big and act big. He tells stories that have no semblance of reality. Stories that utterly reinvent history and attempt to camouflage the man he is. That said, those who worked with him for over 20 years well describe him as a lazy con man, unwilling to work, negligent, irresponsible and inconsiderate. And that is the best they had to say about him. That doesn’t include the statements of him being a misogynist, racist, uncouth and overall unfit individual who they tolerated out of respect for his younger son.
Ron actually tipped me off to his method as a con man “getting by in life” mentality when I first met him in the mid ’80s. At the time I was a successful songwriter (Jeffrey Osborne’s “On the Wings of Love,” Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo film music, etc.) and he confided a few things to me. He told me that when he joined the Marines as a young man, after basic training, he had figured a way to get out of work by rubbing shoulders with enlisted officers (i.e., top brass on the base) and offering to play at their weddings, outings, picnics, etc. for free. He said he was essentially buying “leverage” to use at a later time—“perks for perks” as he called it. And he used it. He was given a cushy job, had full run of the canteen and never had to do kitchen duty. In other words, he never had to work to serve his country while in the military. To him, it was a con game he built around leverage and perks and he bragged about it to me on many occasions. While this is, in itself, not considered a crime, it does show how he used people to his own advantage instead of having to work for a living.—PS
Beginning in the mid 1980s, I worked with Ron Miscavige daily. I was head of the Church band at that time and he was in it. Being in a band with someone, you get to know them well, and Ron was the most crass, offensive individual I have known. Part of his personal philosophy is that “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.” He always said that if you complain often enough and loud enough, you’ll get your way. This piece of wisdom hallmarked his self-serving career, and because he was conveniently unimpeded by scruples, he actually did in most cases get what he wanted. Normal people do sometimes holler or complain if they hear a harmful lie or see a friend shortchanged at the market, but Ron Miscavige hollered and complained simply because, no matter how nice his living arrangements, he just always had a problem with something. A perfect example is when we were in Paris for a concert. After our first night, Ron made a horrible row about how bad our hotel was and so got the whole band moved to another hotel. After staying there for a night, we awoke to Ron screaming at the hotel staff for stealing one of his shoes. We were detained from leaving for rehearsal as he just knew they had stabbed him in the back and he wasn’t going to sit still for it. After finally calming him down, we found his shoe where he had put it, under his bed, and finally left for rehearsals.—RC
Ron Miscavige lived a constant life of con games and dishonesty while putting on a façade. For instance, he once offered me $25 to do his community service work. He had been bailed out of jail by the studio after he was arrested for speeding and unruly behavior with a law enforcement officer that chased him down and pulled him over (the only staff member in the history of the studio to be arrested). Subsequently, the Church worked out his community service for him and rather than do the service himself he tried this stunt with me. This is the level of integrity of Ron. Attempts to buy people off and con people are his methods and the way he operates.—RG
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 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. 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.—TM
Ron put up an incredible pretense that he wanted to do honest work. His true motive was belied by his refusal to do the most ordinary actions every musician in the world does to create high- quality music. For example, Ron is the only musician I have ever met anywhere who consistently composed music for a film without doing the smallest bit of research on the subject the music was being written for. He tried to degrade anything he was pretending to “work on.” For example, he was once given the simple assignment of writing music for a video about Nashville. Any professional would do a study of Nashville and listen to music from Nashville—but not Ron. Incredibly, after writing a terrible piece of music that was completely inappropriate, he freely admitted that he didn’t listen to a single piece of music from Nashville or study up on it before he worked out his music. This example is all too typical of the unchanging criminal work ethic that was his life.—AR
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.—DS
Despite Ron Miscavige’s false portrayal of himself, those who know him, know him for the lazy, uncaring, deceitful individual he is. He will sell a lie and con and trick anyone he can. Unfortunately, the reality is that Ron Miscavige is out for Ron Miscavige.