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.

earl thomas and the kings of rhythm - live in san francisco


  • Earl Thomas - Vocals
  • Ryan Montana, Leo Dombecki - Saxophone
  • Armando Marcos Cepeda - Bass
  • Seth Blumberg - Guitar
  • Paul Smith - Keys
  • Bill Ray - Drums

Released 2010

Ah, Earl Thomas & The Kings of Rhythm. The "band that is like a solar eclipse; rarely seen but when you do it's always interesting". We've had many good times together. In the Spring of 2010 we did a full tour of the UK with the legendary John Mostyn as our tour manager, then in the summer of that year made a full tour of Italy and Sardinia. What a total blast that was!

From about mid 2009 to the early part of 2010 we were doing every last Saturday of the moth at the great blues venue Biscuits & Blues located on Mason & Geary streets in the heart of The City by the Bay. So we decided to record an album.

This album taught me a lot. A lot about life, about people and also about business; As I mentioned "It's always interesting to see what happens. So as a result this is one of the more "Interesting" albums I've been involved with. I hope it somehow becomes a cult classic and sells a bajillion copies.

Wait until you hear the Ike & Tina "American Songbook" collection we recorded over the Fall of 2012. It's gonna be siiiiick!

Ernest Lane Born With The Blues


  • Ernest Lane - Piano, Vocals
  • ? - Bass
  • Seth Blumberg - Guitar
  • Leo Dombecki, Paulie Cerra - Sax
  • Mackinley "Mack" Johnson - Trumpet
  • Bill Ray - Drums

Released 2006

Note: Please let me know who played bass on this recording.

Ernest Lane was the pianist who played with Ike Turner and was his oldest childhood friend. They grew up together in Clarksdale, MS and maintained that friendship all the way to the very end.

The stories that they would tell were hilarious mostly, some dark and incredulous. It was always fun to sit around and listen to them argue too. Lane always kept $500 on him, as he would occasionally come out with "Ike Turner, here's your $500 from such & such"...some long ago debt that he wouldn't let go, and Ike would never thak the money. Or if he did take it would give it back a little while later. Those guys...

We recorded this album in about 2006 up in Los Angeles at Leon Heywood's place off Crenshaw. It was funky through & through. The room we tracked in was the scene of many great albums. One of my heroes James Gadson had tracked in that room so for me it was a spiritual experience.

On another note, I also did the album cover for this; it was my first attempt and I since learned a lot about design and layout. One has to start somewhere!

state of mind


  • 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


  • 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.

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