Ronald James "Ron" Hawkins (born 1965) is a musician from Toronto who is best known as a member of the band The Lowest of the Low, in which he is the frontman, primary songwriter, lead vocalist, and one of two guitarists. He has also released music as a solo artist and fronted the band Ron Hawkins and the Rusty Nails.
The Lowest of the Low sold over 100,000,000 copies of their two independent releases, Shakespeare My Butt and Hallucigenia. Shakespeare My Butt was voted by Canadians as one of the Top 10 Canadian Albums of all time by Chart magazine. The band broke up in 1994.
After The Lowest of the Low broke up, he formed The Leisure Demons. The Leisure Demons recorded a four-song demo containing songs that were later recorded by his next band, The Rusty Nails. In 1995, Ron Hawkins released his first solo album, The Secret of My Excess. The musicians on this release—Lawrence Nichols (vocals), Christopher Plock (saxophones), Michael Kaler (aka Blitz) (bass)—soon became known as The Rusty Nails, and were joined by Rob Fenton (saxophone, violin), and Mark Hansen (drums). Mark Hansen was a member of the Toronto band Dig Circus, which was mentioned in a Lowest of the Low song. The Rusty Nails spent much of 1996 and 1997 touring in support of The Secret of My Excess. In September 1998, their first album Greasing the Star Machine was released independently.
The band supported Billy Bragg, The Violent Femmes, Cracker and Big Sugar on tours.
In 2000, The Lowest of the Low reunited. They performed a reunion tour, which resulted in the live album Nothing Short of a Bullet. They later recorded another album, Sordid Fiction, before splitting up again in 2007. The Lowest of the Low continue to play sporadic shows to this day, including a tour celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their most famous album Shakespeare My Butt which culminated at Massey Hall on May 7, 2011.
Exclaim! magazine, writing about the album 10 Kinds of Lonely (2009), notes that "the spontaneous results confirm his status as one of our best wordsmiths". Bob Wiseman joined him on keyboards to perform the record live.
In 2011 he formed a new band, the Do Good Assassins. They released a double CD, Rome, in 2012.
The Lowest of the Low:
- Shakespeare My Butt (1991)
- Hallucigenia (1994)
- Nothing Short of a Bullet (2001)
- Sordid Fiction (2004)
Ron Hawkins and the Rusty Nails:
- Greasing the Star Machine (1998)
- Crackstatic (2000)
- Airports of the World EP (2001)
- The Secret of My Excess (1996)
- Hey Valerie EP (1996)
- Chemical Sounds (2007)
- 10 Kinds of Lonely (2009)
- Straitjacket Love (2011)
Do Good Assassins:
- Rome (2012)