PROVIDING SECURITY FOR THE STARS
NASHVILLE SINCE 2016
Ron Stein spent 24 years as a police officer in Maryland. Now, he runs his private protection company with access to some of his experienced colleagues and co-workers to keep country music’s biggest stars safe.
Ron got started in security about 10 years ago at a radio station part time, which turned his career towards music. “I met some people in the industry and it sort of snowballed from there,” he says. His first introduction to the industry was Jack Ingram; since, he’s done security for artists including Little Big Town, Justin Moore, Hunter Hayes, and Halestorm. As his work part time with artists continued to grow, he decided to make the move to Nashville, where he worked first for Florida Georgia Line and now for Sam Hunt full time.
For Ron, the aim is to be discreet and professional. “If I’ve got my earrings in, shorts and a t-shirt, and I’m walking around, people have no idea that I do security,” he says. “They think I’m either the rigger or the drum tech.”
While situations like that are often the norm, situations like the recent Vegas shooting are an unfortunate reality. “We were there Saturday night,” Ron says of the shooting. “If he would have come out shooting Saturday night, I would’ve been prepared for that. It’s not about the brawn and the pushing people around, it’s a mental thing now. You need to know what to do, where to go, and what’s going on, when there’s a bomb, an active shooter, whatever. It’s not getting 16 year old screaming girls off your artist anymore.”
Ron extensively prepares in each situation. “We stayed in a hotel in Las Vegas where we’re on the 55th floor,” he says. “I go all the way down 55 floors on the steps.” In case of emergency, he doesn’t want to end up with a split in a route and not know which exit to take. He’s been trained extensively in anti-terrorism and active shooter scenarios, training he maintains routinely. “I make sure that I do the best job that I can for that artist,” he says.
Even in such an important and high-demand role, starting your own business has its challenges. “I would come down here, pay for my flight, pay for my hotel, pay for my rental car, and get two or three hundred bucks for an award show,’ he says, “to get in the industry and meet people.” Nashville is a town of connections, and, especially in private security, the next gig most likely comes from word of mouth. “They’re not going to Craigslist and going, ‘Oh, I’m going to look for a security guy,’” he says.
The road life can also be tough. “Even nowadays, it’s very taxing on your family,” he says. Though country artists generally tour on the weekends, west coast runs last longer and rock artists will be gone for months at a time. “There’s been times where it’s like, okay, I have my pension, I have everything I need back in Nashville, do I wanna continue going out every weekend?” he says.
“On the other hand,” he continues, “there’s things I’ve done that most people in their life will never do, and that I never would have thought I would,” he says. He’s traveled the world, seen incredible shows, been at awards shows mere inches from icons like Madonna. “It makes it all worthwhile.”
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