About Bill Ray

br-15mos

Bill Ray has been playing drums since the beginning. Finding his father's drums at 15 months old and discovering the power of 2 & 4, his purpose on this plane of existence was set in motion at the age of four, having seen the local drum guru perform a drum solo at his parents' photography studio in Jackson, MS.

In 1989 a move to California was inevitable and taking gigs of any musical style turned out to be a fertile training ground. In 2001 Ike Turner offered BR the gig and as he said many times "Billy Ray is the drummer of my soul". Bill played with Ike on up to the end of his life and played on his 2007 Grammy Award winning album "Risin' With The Blues". Bill also holds over 150 other album credits to his career in all styles of music from Rock to Jazz, Country, R&B, Funk, and Eclectic "experimental" styles.

Bill is currently enjoying residence in the beautiful Pacific Northwest; Seattle, WA.

Bill endorses Stone Custom Drum, Sabian Cymbals, Pro-Mark Drumsticks, Aquarian Drumheads, Kickport International, Sonall Percussion, Humes & Berg, Etymotic, Eccentric Systems, and Slug Percussion Products.

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state of mind

Musicians

  • Lincoln Kroll - Vocals, Guitar, Keys
  • Mike Sherman, Mark Bonney - Guitar
  • Frank Lazzaro - Percussion
  • Ben Moore, Dave Chesavage - Keys
  • Bob Rosencrans - Bass
  • Bill Ray - Drums
  • Calvin Fan - Cello
  • Stellita Harris, Andie Mahn, Lisa Sanders and Kate Cowden - Backing vocals

Released 1997

I met Lincoln Kroll in 1995 along the way; a bassist I worked with back then Bob Rosencrans was playing in his band and they needed a drummer so I stepped in and was introduced to this ball of unadulterated creative energy known as Lincoln.

When you came up to Lincoln's recording/rehearsal facility in Carlsbad, CA. it was "total Rock & Roll". There was a full-size tour bus parked along the side of the house and once you walked that length his backyard was a garden of sorts dedicated to his band. You see, he had taken plaster casts of their faces and planted them into the yard so it was a very strange sight to behold!

One of the things he did that I found brilliant was create a plastic shell-mold of his own face, fill it with swag such as a CD, stickers, keychains, even candy. Can you imagine the look on some A & R person's face when they open his box and see a face staring back at them?

We recorded this album in the old Golden Tracks studio across from Guitar Center on El Cajon Blvd in about 1997. It was the last time I tracked to 2" tape I'm certain, because digital was beginning to make it's great debut. (For the record, I miss the warmth and sound that 2" brings).

Jamie Varley You Ride

Musicians

  • Jamie Varley - Vocals
  • Leo Dombecki and Jeremy Miller - Piano, Keys
  • Nick Melucci - Bass
  • Seth Blumberg - Guitar
  • Bill Ray - Drums
  • Todd Gunnerson - Engineer

Released 2006

There's some albums that never get heard by enough people, and I feel that this is definitely one of them. If I had to narrow down my favorite personal works, this would be in the top 3. It's a very accurate representation of not just my playing but also personality.

I knew Jamie through the connection we had at SOTA Music in Del Mar. Back in 2005 when we recorded the Ryan Montana CD Jamie heard it and asked me to play on his stuff. And that's how that got started.

I remember showing up the first morning we recorded and it was cold out; I was still half asleep because of the gig I did the night before but a little bit of coffee remedied that. The first thing I cut with him was the song "Flooded Heart". I gave it a cursory listen and then we were off and running!

I remember this music was so easy and intuitive to feel and to play. It was a completely natural process and were Jamie ever to call me for a gig I'm certain we would have a great sense of communion on stage.

The two songs I have chosen are significant; "Runaways" was the first song I heard when I received my copy of the CD and was completely floored. "Slow" is just epic all the way to the "sideways" drumfill at the end of the tune. I just love love LOVE the harmonies on the vocals. Jamie Varley is a talented cat. I'm proud to have played on this.

bastard sons of johnny cash - walk alone

Musicians

  • Mark Stuart - Vocals, Guitar
  • Alex Watt - Guitar
  • Tim Butler - Bass
  • Bill Ray and Paul Kimbarow - Drums

Released 2001

I began playing with BSOJC in about 1998 for a stretch. We did a bunch of gigs around San Diego and the area. Josquin Des Pres was brought on board and we recorded my tracks at Signature Sound in San Diego, one of the more epic rooms this town has.

I played on four of the tracks- "Texas Sun", "440 Horses" "Seven Steps to Your Heart" and "Interstate Cannonball". While it's not "the full Monty" still, this album marks what I feel a significant place on my list of "cool things I've done".

Every so often Mark calls me for a gig here and there and I'm always happy to see my bastard brethren. :D

larry robinson - cadillac and trailer

Musicians

  • Larry Robinson - Vocals, Guitar
  • John Foltz and Wolfgang Grasekamp - Keys
  • Chris “Sully” Sullivan - Bass
  • Bill Ray and Larry Grano - Drums
  • Tony Dean - Guitar
  • David Berzansky - Steel Guitar

Released 2012

I don't get the opportunity to play Country music nearly enough. Being a native Mississippian would dictate a certain level of appreciation for the idiom. So when I got the call to play on this gem of an album I was like "Yesssss!!".

I first met Larry Robinson back in 1995 as we were both sidemen in another artist's band. His easygoing demeanor and smooth voice coupled with his absolutely wonderful spirit made "hitching up to his musical wagon" a total joy.

We went in to Kitsch -n- Sync (Sven Erik Seaholm's place) and recorded this disc in 2011 and it was released in early 2012. It's total Country Americana through and through.

These are artists who have had a tremendous impact upon my drumming and overall "concept" of music.