About Bill Ray


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 has been playing with guitar virtuoso legend Paul Gilbert and has appeared on his last three releases "PG30", "Behold Electric Guitar" "Werewolves of Portland" (appears on Japanese release "bonus track"), and the new "DIO" album.

In 2007 I joined my friend David Ybarra in a band that goes way back in San Diego musical history; the Playground Slap. Marcelo Radulovich and Ray Dezonia rounded out Guitar and Keys respectively and it was a lot of fun to play with these guys. Guitar God Mike Keneally joined us for a few gigs and that was a lot of fun. Check out his guitar solo on "Automatico", down in the video list.

Marcelo and I currently are playing in Nice World together, an Avant Garde experimental band.

The Playground Slap Disco Nausea

Review of "Disco Nausea" in The San Diego Troubador

The Project:

Recording original music in the Jazz Fusion vein, with a third album on the way. These start out as drum solos and become works of music.

bill cornish

The Odd Get Even is a project with my friend Bill Cornish who lives in Chicago. The tunes start off as improvised drum "solos" which are actually my sketching out a drum part for something I'm just clicking along to in my head. There's an organic nature to all of this that lends itself to some pretty cool arrangements.

The general philosophy is to play the drum track like a hole of golf; "play it like it lays" with no nips/tucks but sometimes a small trim or loop is necessary for continuity. In any event, the inspiration is there. If ever there were truly an album "created from the drums up" it would be this collection.

The project picked up steam and Bill finished the album in 2009; Self-titled. In 2010 the next album was being written and it became "Objects in Motion".

We have a third album on the way with the title "Happy Critters". The tunes are as eclectic as you'd imagine and there is one that is a 10 minute epic titled "Stumbling Towards Nirvana" with a guest guitar player Mike James on two tracks.

lee venters

When I was 17 years old I had had enough of the war zone that was my childhood and decided to pack it all up and pursue my musical dream 1000 miles away from anything or anyone I knew. Oh, it was brutal. I was still quite a boy and a gawky, insecure nail bitin' long-haired hippie kid who wanted to do nothing but play drums, and in the back behind a kit was probably the best place for me. "Heard and not seen"!

So in I'd say March of 1986 I was in George's Drum Shop in Jackson, MS dinking around on the newly released Simmons SDS-9 or whatever the kit of the day was...there was a Pearl electronic set there as well... Steven Garrett, a guitarist who resides in Nashville and a fine player/songwriter heard me play and was immediately interested in hearing me play with his band. In Tampa, Florida. That was all the excuse I needed to get out of Jackson!

roger friend

Back in 1989 I moved from Jackson, MS to San Diego, CA. and began to work in town. Being the impressionable young drummer that I was, finding someone to glom onto as a mentor was essential. I went to Croce's Top Hat (now a pizza joint) one Wednesday night and ran into this amazing band called "Len Rainey & The Midnight Players". They were playing this funky Blues music- right up my alley!

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