Bill Ray, SD drummer, On Touring and Playing With Ike Turner and more 03.01.06 Buy Ike at Amazon


I've been playing with Ike since November of 2001. The first gig I did with him was in Tahoe at Harrah's. It was Thanksgiving day weekend and that Saturday night I got the worst case of food poisoning I've ever had. The next gig I did with him was a week in London at Ronnie Scott's (a very famous Jazz club) and yes, I got food poisoning again! Then in June of 2002 I went on tour in Europe with him, landed in Corsica and (you guessed it....) ANOTHER case of food poisioning!! I was beginning to think that every gig I did with Ike was gonna include a gut-wrenching experience....

Ike taught me how to be a great musician. Going into that gig, he took my "drummer ego" and threw it out the window. Over the course of a year, we would rehearse 3 times a week and it was akin to leaving your skin at the door and walking in a seething mass of nerve endings, with Ike sitting in his chair throwing salt at us when we would make a mistake. Sort of gives new meaning to the term "seasoning"......

Because of that experience I can walk into any situation and "just fit." There is no ego involved. It's just "being a good conversationalist". If you equate playing an instrument to speaking, all the decorum of holding conversation comes into play. "Don't speak over others in a loud voice." "Stay on topic." "Appreciate the interplay of conversation and interject your own humor, satire, point of view".

Ike has gotten a bad rap over the years because of the sensationalism of the movie "What's Love Got To Do With It". When I encounter people that speak ill of the man without knowing him as a person, I ask one question. "What would YOU do if someone took your darkest moment in life and made a damning portrayal of your misdeeds in the form of a movie, and that movie will be played on major network media for all of eternity?" With Ike, You really have to look beyond the public perception and really look at what he did for music. He "officially" wrote the first rock-n-Roll song (Rocket 88), He was there when Elvis was just getting started, He defined a whole style of popular music, He RAISED AWARENESS of domestic abuse, and he has touched millions in one way or another. Sure he's been no angel at times but deep down, he is the most wonderful person that I've ever met and I will always love him for the contributions to my soul and person that he bestowed upon me.

The band itself is filled with the most amazing people I have ever played music with. Most of us live in san Diego county with the exception of Ernest Lane (piano), Paul Smith (organ), and Mack Johnson (trumpet, formerly of James Brown). The San Diego contingency is a very tight unit consisting of Ryan Montana, Seth Blumberg, Leo Dombecki, and Kevin Cooper Sr. Together Ryan, Leo, Seth, Kevin and myself have a new album coming out; selections from that album can be heard at http://www.myspace.com/ryanmontana and is due to be released in May of this year (2006). Another project that the aforementioned are involved with is a band called "Vocé" and it is in the "Smooth Jazz" genre. We will be playing Humphrey's Backstage Lounge April 6th, 2006 and are currently looking to market this Vocé CD to car dealerships as a "complementary" CD with the purchase of a car. Contact me at bill@billraydrums.com to get more details.

There's so many great stories but here's one more for the road: We were in France and had just done a gig in Cognac. Due to the hustle/bustle of traveling I forgot my stickbag in the van. Inside my stickbag was my wallet that had in it about $3000 USD. I thought it was lost for good, and you certainly don't go telling people "Have you seen my stickbag? It's got $3000 in it". The concert promoters located it for me and had a van containing my bag coming to meet us at the airport in Bordeaux. Before we found out about the delivery, Ike pulled me aside and said "Hey, Billy Ray, if you don't get your money back I will make sure you go home with all the money you were to have made." If that doesn't speak volumes about the person he is then I don't know what else to say.

I like Ike. Very much.

 

 


    Lotus House Records MP3
    High Mountain Tempel - Processional (An Invocation to Thee Angelic Sister)
    Raagnagrok - HJD
    Beggars - Will We Call It Love
    Maquiladora - Termez 1936
    Maquiladora - Song 26
    Buzz or Howl - Sendhe Mortu Chin Rigore
    Earthling Tempel - Celestial Inhabitants of the Sun
    Buzz or Howl - The Sins Of The Flower Are Visited On The Shunned
    Maquiladora - Light of the Rain
    High Mountain Tempel - The Ascended Master (Hang Gliding in Heaven)
    High Mountain Tempel - Fluctuat Nec Mergitur
    High Mountain Tempel - Tempel Walk
    Buzz or Howl - 05 Oct 05
    Buzz or Howl - Sun as the Destroyer of Dreams
    Live version at the Make Room SF 2005
    Maquiladora - In This Life
    Maquiladora - Simply to See You
    Maquiladora with Kawabata Makoto - Nampasen
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Drunk and Lighting Fires (A Waltz)
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ritual of Hearts
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ankle
    Maquiladora - Mayday
    Loraine Loraine - Pasqually Old Pasqually

    Beggars - S/T
    by Pierro Scaruffi

    Maquiladora's Eric Nielsen and Bruce McKenzie joined forces with Skygreen Leopards' Glenn Donaldson to form Beggars, whose double-disc Beggars (Lotushouse, 2013) is a tour de force of ecstatic Eastern-influenced freak-folk. Mostly these pieces lean towards the traditional song format, although inevitably deformed by the musicians' pedigrees.

    The ghostly hyper-dilated drones of Ghost Coyote are imbued with quasi-Morricone western-movie guitar twang and even harmonica. The sweet lullaby and the trotting pace of Eureka My Love as well as the romantic honky-tonking Justine (with a refrain a bit reminiscent of Dylan's Blowing in the Wind) hark back to the heydays of country-rock. 2-3-74 Floating evokes the martial laments of the young Neil Young although diluted amid discordant guitar jamming and lulled by waves of funereal vocal harmonies. Berserker's Boogie is a lively and poppy almost-bluegrass tune. They even intone the singalong Queen Anne's Lace with drums, banjo and all.

    Thankfully, the spaced-out yodeling of Lullaby de Bourbon (memories of Aoxomoxoa-era Grateful Dead), the free-form quasi-jazz guitar and vocal interplay of Will We Call It Love, the seven-minute dreaming psalm Big Pink Sun and its sublimely disintegrating coda, remind us of what Maquiladora are best at. The 23-minute Midget Decapitates Clownis an ambitious concerto for suspense and agony. Far from being just a droning piece, it piles up sonic event after sonic event, producing the trancey effect out of a multitude of traumatic sounds. The chirping and tweeting that accumulates half-way into the piece decays into a nervous organic filigree and dies away in the most cryptic manner; one of the high points of Maquiladora's career.


    Beggars - S/T
    by Naysayer at KFJC

    Released from Lotus House Records, this is psych country/psych folk territory. Heavy on acoustic guitar with background mandolin, organ and lots of harmonies, these songs are about lost relationships, missed chances and old secrets. They sound like they should be sung around the fire pit outside an old shack in Topanga Canyon. Dusty, weedy, afternoon sunlight that blurs the vision. Turn it on, kick back and look directly into the sun. Track 5 of CD B is a 22 minute deep listening style excursion.

    Earthling Tempel - Pilgrimage To Thunderbolt Pagoda
    by Aquarius Records

    Not sure if this is part 4, or just the first in a new multi part epic, hardly matters, what does matter is, this is another glorious expansive collection of meditative psychedelic abstract dronefolk ambience. Every High Mountain Tempel disc we're reviewed thus far has gotten played to death here, and this one doesn't appear to be any different. Well, at least in that respect. In one distinct way it is very different, HMT are not going it alone this time. They've assembled a pretty impressive collection of sonic alchemists and musical conjurers to help with this ritual, Isis Aquarian from the Source Family, Charles Curtis from La Monte Young's Just Alap Raga Ensemble, and two crews from the UK we've never heard of, Earthling Society and Astarism, but even with all those cooks in the kitchen, HMT and friends have managed to weave another dark minimal masterpiece, all hushed barely there guitar shimmer, drifting whispered vocals, delicate crystalline melodies, dense swirls of piano, warm swells of tape hiss, mysterious voices and field recordings, whirring organ, bowed steel strings... so lovely.

    If the liner notes are to be believed, two of the tracks feature Earthling Society on their own, and those tracks do sound different, much less free and sprawling, a bit more structured, like seventies UK acid folk, swirling and melodic and quite lovely. The final two tracks find the two groups in full on collaborative mode, and the gears shift to something much more space rocky and Hawkwindy, all blissed out and heart-of-the-sun, until the final track which is a strummy, delicate, moody chill out closer, a sort of dour doom folk drift, that makes a perfect ending.

    Super nice packaging, silkscreened oversized 4 panel sleeve, white on black, with the cd-r affixed to the inside. And of course, SUPER LIMITED!

    High Mountain Tempel - The Glass Bead Game by Aquarius Records

    Part three in the ongoing series of limited cd-r explorations from mysterious drone combo High Mountain Tempel, and like the two before it, the band continue to delve into some murky sonic underworld, again presenting loooong songs, each separated by brief sonic interludes, this disc seems feature more actual vocals, the opening track features a processed voice, that sounds a bit like throat singing, or a Speak And Spell, intoning some arcane message, interwoven with long drawn out tones, and a thick ropy buzz, super dark and intense and atmospheric. Elsewhere sampled voices surface, there are bits of chanting here and there, all peppered throughout the disc. But even with the extra voices, the focus here is still on dark, lugubrious, extended dronescapes.

    The sound of High Mountain Tempel is probably closest to Expo '70, as their various permutations of dronemusic seem to have a definite krautrock vibe, that gives the sound a sort of spaced out quality, and a subtle propulsion, but unlike Expo '70, HMT seem to have a distinct Eastern influence, much of the music is meditative and subtly dramatic, a bit soundtracky, and some of it sounds like it could be Japanese. Especially the way field recordings are incorporated into the sounds. Giving everything a definite texture, some of it sounding like it was perhaps recorded live in some hilltop temple. Which we would imagine is the idea.

    Not sure what else to say actually. This is indeed fantastic, brooding and malefic, but also shimmery and dreamy, sonically it has much in common with the first two installments, so definitely check out those reviews to read more about their 'sound'.

    Needless to say, fans of the drone and folks into the current crop of cd-r soundscapers will for sure dig this, but like the other HMT discs, this is more than simple drone music, this is ritualistic alchemical soundwork, one can almost imagine stumbling across a group of cloaked figures huddled around a fire in a forest clearing, tossing various powders into the flames, causing the fire to change color and cast beastlike shadows on the branches above, and this is the sound filtering through the forest like a black moonlit fog...
    SUPER LIMITED of course, packaged beautifully in a foldover silkscreened sleeve, gold metallic on red on the outside, black on red on the inside.

    High Mountain Tempel - A Screaming Comes Across The Sky - The Faultline Scriptures
    by Aquarius Records

    Record number two from this mysterious drone-kraut styled duo. Their last disc was a huge hit around here, so we were pretty thrilled to get our hands on this one, a logical sonic extension of the first, delving deeper into some murky tripped out twilit soundworld.
    The disc opens with shimmering clouds of gongs and cymbals, whirring and sizzling, suspended over a deep distant rumble, a delicate intro to a record at once hypnotic and lovely, dark and dense.

    The record is arranged into three epic tracks, interspersed with short sonic interludes, ranging from field recordings of crickets, looped chants (Elizabeth Clare Prophet if we're not mistaken), spirituals and mysterious liturgical songs, whirring drones, and backwards percussion, but it's the long tracks where the duo get to spread out, let their dense soundscapes sprawl.

    The three long tracks sounds like movements of a greater whole, clocking in at 15 minutes, 11 minutes and nearly 17 minutes respectively, each rife with creepy delayed vocals, churning guitars and smeared chords, roiling muddy whirls, which often dissipate leaving streaks of fragmented melody and haunting slowed down voices. Buried amidst the drones and whirs, are lullaby-like melodies, skittery percussion, streaks of grinding distortion, hidden voices, more field recordings, thick swaths of cavernous rumbles, little bits of electronic glitch and lots and lots of low end buzz.

    Packaged in a fancy navy blue fold over sleeve, screenprinted in white ink, with a photocopied insert with liner notes and song credits.

    LIMITED TO 150 COPIES! Each one hand numbered.

 

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