Killers Drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr Talks About Sonoma Cider, First Gig, More

Founded in 2013, by father and son David and Robert Cordtz and Fred Einstein, Sonoma Cider recently announced a re-imagining of the hard cider category. The California-based business did so with the launching of their three craft, organic hard ciders: The Hatchet (a blend of sweet and tart apples), The Pitchfork (apple based but infused with the essence of pear), and The Anvil (apple cider with a measure of barrel-proof bourbon flavor).

In the spring, they announced the addition of Ronni Vannucci to the Sonoma family. Vannucci is most known by his other job: drummer for The Killers. “The association with Ronnie, a Las Vegas native, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of our mission, will give us a terrific boost as we enter the Nevada market and help connect with like-minded music fans across the country,” says Cidermaster and CEO Cordtz. “The good people at Sonoma Cider work tirelessly and at really odd hours to hone in on creating the best hard cider out there. I’m happy to be a part of it, they make me look good,” says Vannucci.

What drew Vannucci to Sonoma cider was the story. “A father and son start up company in my back yard. I was introduced by a mutual friend and it blossomed from there,” he says. “Oh, and yes, I do enjoy a well crafted cider, like ours.”

The Killers (Vannucci, Brandon Flowers, David Keuning and Mark Stoermer) were formed in 2001. “We started in a garage and would play anywhere from punk clubs to transvestite bars.” They bought a van, quit school and their jobs and went for it. “The rest is, as they say, on the Internet.”  

They all met the same year the band was formed. “Vegas, then typically known for incestuous rock band coteries, made it easy to meet and play with other musicians.” Strangely, none of them knew each other, much less played together before they met. “So, in many ways we began to really get to know one another in the first years of the formation of the band.”

Vannucci was nice enough to answer a few questions for CraveOnline about Sonoma, his first gig, and what’s on the horizon for The Killers.

CraveOnline: How do the worlds of music and beverages connect?

Ronnie Vanucci Jr: I’m not sure how it all started; maybe on a porch or in a tavern. I do believe that the two share the common ground of celebrating something. Both music and beverages are to be shared respectively I think.

What’s the best way to drink Sonoma and when?

It can be as casual as a beer. They’re great paired with different foods and can even pass as an alternative sparking wine in those fancy glasses.

When did you know that the band had “made it”?

When you’re able to pull up to Sizzler in a white stretch Hummer limousine and buy dinner for your homies, that’s when you’ve really “made it”.

How long have you been drumming?

Since I was 7 years old. I should be much better for as long as I’ve been at it.

When did get your first paying gig?

I think around 16 or 17. It was a wedding. An all black goth wedding where the bride wore a black dress instead of the typical white mumbo jumbo. Someone knocked over one of the many candles that was set up for the occasion and it started a fire. It burned our bass player pretty good. He still has scars. He’s now my dentist.

What’s on the horizon for The Killers?

We’re working on a collaborative Christmas song now. We do one every year for charity. This is our eighth or ninth one. It’s gonna be a hoot this year.


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