MANCOW Exposes Local Rockstar Fraud Damon Ranger

By Kate Catalina

Shock jock Erich “MANCOW” Muller, host of MANCOW Morning Show on Chicago’s classic rock station 97.9 The Loop, can easily be considered a controversial character. His list of on-air confrontations runs long, rooted and wild, like a muddy river of quick-witted sarcasm rushing through the Amazon – but that’s his draw.

ua3qaf9lv1pzxmh5gnopTake his 2014 television debacle on MANCOW TV (The U), for instance, with legendary rock icon Ace Frehley (KISS) who appeared on the show to promote his solo album Space Invader. MANCOW, calling KISS “a little band” seemed to have ruffled Frehley’s rock and roll feathers as the rocker responded with his own version of sarcastic banter stating, “I wouldn’t necessarily call it a little band.”

A whole new tale of controversy (fueled by the “Cow” himself) currently unfolds, directly affecting members of the Chicago music scene and (apparently) the shock jock’s wellbeing.

Friday morning, September 23, 2016 will surely be a day to remember in the Chicago rock world, especially for local record producer (or is he?) Damon Ranger.

The alleged music man recently made headlines at this years’ Riot Fest performing with Twisted Sister front man Dee Snider and was deemed a guest on MANCOW’s show early morning on Friday. But the radio spot, which Ranger has been featured on in the past, did not go over with the gleam of a bright and sunny day as he likely thought.

Ranger has boasted an extensive list of accomplishments such as proudly taking credit for writing pop diva Katy Perry’s 2013 hit “Roar,” as well as having won an Academy Award for his work on the score for the 2012 survival drama Life of Pi, among other things.

As it turns out (thanks to MANCOW’s practiced bravery as that controversial radio personality his fans so admire), Ranger was exposed as a total fraud.

But how did the drama ensue?

In what seemed to start out as a friendly live radio chat between friends, MANCOW confronted Ranger with the ultimate question, warning listeners at home, “We have a lot to talk about here. I promise you a moment that you’ll never forget.” Inviting the supposed music mogul into the studio, he confronted the “record producer” and long-time friend about his mighty claims.

“Damon, how are you?” he asked. “You are a brother. We are brothers. We’re like family. Brother, I got a phone call yesterday from someone claiming to be legal… they said they were with the Academy Awards and that you’ve never won an Academy Award, and that you’re an actor, and you’ve been lying to me.”


In a video of the painstaking moment that went viral on The Loops’s official Facebook page shortly after (with nearly 10 thousand viewers by noon of that same day), Ranger can be seen mustering up the simple strength to breathe as his face turned a gut-turning shade of pale. He was completely incapable of responding, and, appearing rattled, took a sip from his coffee in dire attempt to collect himself.

“Did you win an academy award for Life of Pi?” MANCOW continued.

While Ranger replied with a meek, “Yes, I did,” his awkward behavior, emanating total devastation and obvious disorientation, said otherwise. He even ran out of the studio, later texting the crew dozens of screen shots of himself with famous musicians intending for the photos to clear his name. But, let’s be honest, if the guy wasn’t telling a major fib, MANCOW’s confrontation wouldn’t have triggered such a defensive response. Ranger even called the show back an hour later and was still not able to give MANCOW an easy yes-or-no answer in regard to his fake Academy Award win.

Following the rigid events of the morning, Ranger wrote to MANCOW in a group text to the show’s cast, “Dude. Ambush me on the air? You planned it. So not cool and so not what a friend would do.”

The question on everyone’s mind, however, is what exactly was MANCOW’s intent behind the live face-off? If Damon Ranger was a friend as he declared, why embarrass him on the air?


To put it quite simply, it is now apparent that Ranger was the lad not a friend, for as the age-old expression goes, “friends are honest with each other.” Indeed, as devastating of a blow as it seemed to be for Mr. MANCOW to find his friend was (to put it bluntly) a dishonest prick, the notorious radio personality and actor had saved the day among Chicago’s tightly-knit society of rockers who always looked up to Damon Ranger.

Billy Corgan, the machine behind Chicago-based alternative rock group Smashing Pumpkins (who has gained international fame for his work as a musician and a poet), couldn’t confirm his knowledge of who the darling pink-haired Mr Ranger was. After MANCOW called the artist up to address another one of Ranger’s claims of having worked on the set of Corgan’s 1996 video for “Tonight Tonight,” Corgan himself could not determine he knew anything of the deceitful poser by saying, “It sounds highly suspect.”

There we have it. Damon Ranger was rendered a phony, and MANCOW, who never actually took the side of those who were pointing fingers, but rather had hoped the accusations were untrue, shed a heavy sea of salty, grievous tears for a solid five minutes.

No, really, he did.

On a four-hour morning radio show attracting the attention of millions of listeners for its fast-paced script riddled with adult humor and informative political views, the show on this particular morning consisted of nothing but talk of the sorry Mr. Ranger.

But, wait, it gets better.

The force behind the tip-off to the Academy who contacted MANCOW and his tight crew of radio co-hosts (Cathy the Greek, Al Roker Jr, Abe the Chameleon, Johnny Chops, DJ Luv Cheese, Chip Z’Nuff) has something to say, too.

Hard rock guitarist Bill Bakopoulos (Jimi Falls) met Damon Ranger years ago as an intern at Planet 10 Studios in Palatine, IL (the studio no longer exists) when he was in college studying audio production.

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 11.28.06 AM.png

“After having personally worked with Damon and gauging his talent,” Bakopoulos said, “I was shocked to find out that he claimed to have won an Academy Award for collaborating on the musical score for Life of Pi. In my experiences with Ranger, I was underwhelmed with his musicianship which lead me to look deeper into the matter.”

He continued by saying, “Ranger should have pursued a career in acting as he had Chicago fooled for far too long.”

Bakopoulos has something no one else caught as this exclusive story has caused such a buzz: the emails back and forth between the music department at Twentieth Century Fox and the true composer for Life of Pi, Mychael Danna. And to no shock, Damon Ranger is an unknown name among the lot of credible names associated with the film. Oh, and? The pictures found online of Ranger proudly displaying his Academy Award bring about a good laugh as Danna commented in one of his emails to Bakopoulos, “That is not a real Oscar, the base is wrong.”

Chip Z’Nuff, bassist and frontman from rock sensation Enuff Z’Nuff and co-host on MANCOW Morning Show, also had something to say about the man who he professionally associated himself with for years.

2016 Grammys On The Hill Awards
Chris May/NurPhoto via Getty

“I’ve been totally shocked and bamboozled at these allegations that have turned out to have validity as, for years, Damon has stated that he worked with all these big name artists like Taylor Swift and JLo. And now it turns out it’s a load of malarkey. I only hope in time these wounds will heal because right now it’s a bandage on a gunshot wound.”

Now a number of anonymous names have come out of the woodwork declaring Ranger owes them money and has cleverly weaseled his way into taking credibility for their work as a musician or producer on various high-profiled projects.

Ranger has also reportedly produced Dee Snider’s upcoming solo record We Are The Ones.

Snider and his reps have not been available for comment.

The moral of the story: honesty is refreshing when you find it in others but truly liberating when you find it within yourself.

Good luck, Mr Ranger.

16 thoughts on “MANCOW Exposes Local Rockstar Fraud Damon Ranger

  1. Yeah he is such a fraud, liar and doesn’t pay his debts. I own planet10studios, and was conned into “making” a record for Damon.

    Starting in 2009, I spent 3 years time total recording, producing and even writing parts with him while in the studio. In 2012, he decided to finish recording at another studio. My bill to him was 8000.00+ for the hours accrued. 2016, exactly 4 years later there is still no record release, for which I was to be paid on including royalties according to my contract.
    Damon did release one of the tracks we collaborate on in 2012 called ‘The Mistake’ on Excuses for Runaways. Why?? At the time I was facing a financial issue with my ex-wife and the release was to help me with that. Damon stated that all the proceeds from the sale of that single would help me, still no payments of any kind.

    Damon always “promised” big things to come, he always had something up his sleave.
    In 2011 together with writer/performer Malik Yusef, we collaborated on a single. It was pushed to a some what famous local artist, but turned down. It was always told to me that this song would end up with someone. Finally it ended up with WAR on their 2014 release ‘Evolutionary’. I was never told it was placed by Damon or Malik. I happened upon it while searching for Damon on some music industry websites. Again, I haven’t received any royalties from this.

    The thing I learned is this…..Damon can talk a great game and get you to buy into it. Promise this promise that and absolutely nothing is to come of it. I was scammed and wasted a big part of my time and studio to get screwed by him.

    You should dig into his time as an employee of Guitar Center Highland Park. Yeah he got fired and was almost prosecuted for fraudulent transactions.

    Get in touch with me, I can give you a lot more than this.

    Jimmy Johnson


  2. The last one who should talk is deadbeat dad Jimmy Johnson. His Planet10studios went under after he got caught imbezzling money from his partners and I can tell you the names of clients who never got their master recordings and the ones he lied about actually producing and taking way more credit for songwriting. He won’t show his face in public because hes afraid he’ll get served by the cook county sheriff for the money he still owes to both his exwife and kids and the people he screwed over in his studio business to buy a car. People in the industry think he’s a big joke. He doesn’t even have a studio to work out of and the pictures on his website are so old, so yeah he’s lying. If you ask Bryan Beller of the Aristocrats he’ll tell you everything g you need to know about the guy. Hes a total joke. That’s why he’s a nobody and nobody wants to work with him


    1. TK is correct. As being one of the partners in the early days of Planet 10. I saw the writing on the wall as I brought acts in from across the country and never saw a dime as well as my clients never seemed to get their tracks. They always seemed to go missing. All I have to say is the music business is great but there are a lot of blood sucking wanna be’s out there that will tell you lies and promise you the world. I have learned not to put such high expectations on people and to always get things in writing. Karma is a bitch and will always catch up to you.


  3. I am not defending nor attacking Damon Ranger but I do think there needs to be some clarification.

    I played Guitar on 2 songs on Dee Snider’s upcoming We Are the Ones solo Release. I have worked with Damon on a few other projects over the years and he asked to do it. From what I understand Damon wrote or co-wrote the songs and Produced the Album. It’s a fantastic Album mind you and Dee sang his Ass off! People will be really impressed when the record comes out October 28th. Everyone involved on the WATO sessions worked really hard to make a Great recording and you cannot fake that, and I want to make sure that everyone supports Dee as he put a lot on the line for this record. Dee was great to work for/with and play live with.

    There are rumors that WATO will be Nominated for a Grammy in the ultimate irony, which begs the question did Ranger always have the Talent and figured his only way into the Biz was to lie his way in? Would not be the first time in the History of Showbiz people finagle their way into the Biz. To be clear I am not condoning or condemning him or his behavior as I am not sure what to think as I am just as shocked as everyone. and Damon has always been fair to me but I cannot speak to his dealings with anyone else. and of course I am disappointed like everyone else.

    I do know that Damon did indeed write songs with or for J-Lo as I know the keyboard player who was with Damon when he went to J-Lo’s studio/Home compound in California. I am also certain he has won Emmy Awards.

    T D Clark


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