Drummer Bill Ray’s got a lot of irons in the fire.
  • Drummer Bill Ray’s got a lot of irons in the fire.
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“I played Joshua Tree Music Fest with Earl Thomas & the Kings of Rhythm, primarily performing the music of Ike and Tina Turner,” says local drummer Bill Ray, who was part of Turner’s band when he passed away in 2007. The performance with Thomas was recorded for an upcoming live album.

“It was a tribute of sorts, a hybrid tribute being that we [Armando Marcos Cepeda, Seth Blumberg, Paul Smith, Ryan Montana, and Ray] had all played with Ike.” He says revisiting Turner’s music brought back polarizing memories of his tenure with the mercurial bandleader.

“Going into the project, anything to do with Ike, there’s a level that one has to rise to. When we played with Ike, a ‘bad’ night was equivalent to a ‘great’ night on the local scene. See, you had to start out at that place and work upwards. Every night had to somehow eclipse the previous one, and we did. For the British press to call us ‘impossibly tight’ was proof, because there wasn’t a moment that someone didn’t want to rip Ike a new one for the tiniest thing, being that he was who he was.”

The busy drummer also appears on upcoming releases with his band the Odd Get Even and a collaboration with Mike Watson (Greyboy All-Stars). “The Odd Get Even is the online project that I share with Bill Cornish. The tunes begin as drum solos, and Bill writes music over the top of them. It’s quite interesting to make an album from the drums up.” As for the record with Watson, “The best classification I could give it is Frank Zappa meets the Mahavishnu Orchestra. It’s witty, funny, some of it vulgar, but all of it challenging to play.... We plan on releasing it as a ‘play-along,’ with a tempo map in lieu of the drum tracks, so that others may experience the fun of playing this very creative stuff.”

Ray is also working on music with a newer experimental group called Nice World, featuring Marcelo Radulovich (Me Me the Moth), James Call (the Penetrators), Joyce Rooks (Trowsers), Joey Carano (Ian Tordella), and 21-year-old bassist Henry Wessman. “Nice World is actively recording the strange and beautiful sounds we manage to come up with. It’s an extemporaneous and unbridled creative dump.

“We just set up the gear and start playing whatever falls off our head.”

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Comments

BillRayDrums April 24, 2013 @ 4:46 p.m.

Wow! Awesome, possum! This is pretty amazing to see my mug in the big lights. Let me make a couple of corrections-

• The Earl Thomas and the KOR album is actually a studio version, however right now it's sorta in limbo....licensing stuff and whatnot...

• Mike Watson had a band called Schmaltz that was active up until the past few months or so. The band that was Schmaltz in the 1990's (Zak Najor, Chris Stillwell, Robert Walter) went on to form the GBA.

The drums on the Watson stuff are pretty much completed and now we're adding other instruments and editing... I just tracked Justin James' new album with Andy Williams (the Williams Brothers) producing.

Currently I'm playing the House of Blues on Wednesday nights as the "house drummer". It's a jam session so if'n you feel the urge to stop in cruise on down and play a few tunes!

http://billraydrums.com http://billysbeats.com http://theoddgeteven.com

Anyhow, I really appreciate the ink! :D

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BillRayDrums April 24, 2013 @ 5:09 p.m.

Oh yeah, also working with the Blitz Bros. AND RDG (Ray DiGiorgio). Keep an eye out, we've got some shows coming up.

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