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Date Posted: 21:34:58 04/19/04 Mon
Author: Blu
Subject: Re: Ray's last days
In reply to: Cindy 's message, "Ray's last days" on 22:13:18 04/08/04 Thu

I can answer a few of these questions, tho those who knew him personally will be better able to give you the particulars and any corrections to some of it--tho it's understandable that people don't want to talk much about the intimate details of how he died out of respect; what's important is how he LIVED. Maybe Frank Aziza can weigh in on some of what he was like?

First, Ray reportedly did construction before getting going on the NJ cover band circuit; after F66 he did Van Halen covers in his band Harlett. From what I'm told from a few who knew him, he was a big Zeppelin fan. The guys in Badlands have all cited the 70s as a huge influence--plainly shows in their recordings. He was said to be a fan of David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes was a very close friend of his, as well as vocal inspiration. Glenn has talked a lot about Ray thru the years, and it's clear they were close.

Ray has a daugher, Ashley--hence the Jade/Ashley Music publishing name Badlands used (Jade is Jake E. Lee's daughter).

EVERYONE who knew him at all has said he was a very spiritual man, very interested in his Native American culture and history and lore. I'm told he was a movie buff, and that along with great looks and charm he was a bright, funny and engaging guy who could talk to anyone, respected everyone the same and always looked you in the eye (yes, I asked a lot of questions when I had the chance!). A guitarist friend of mine who met Ray comments all the time about how striking his eyes were, that they were an unusual shade of... not sure. Another guitarist who crossed paths with him and Jake told me that while Jake was quiet and reserved, Ray was really mellowed out (he took them in his little Vega to get fast-food burgers and couldn't believe it the entire time).

As for his death, well... no one talks much about that. There seems to be great respect for his privacy, and I think it's due in part to Ray's own silence about what he was going thru. Most who knew him have said they had no idea he was dying. In the liner notes of Ray's last project, Sun Red Sun, guitarist Al Romano talks about spending time with Ray toward the end. Al said the moment he saw Ray, he could tell he was very ill. He said he took it on himself to take excellent care of Ray and kept him healthy on a complex cocktail of vitamins and health supplements, and Ray flourished. He says that during that time Ray went home to visit family for a brief period, but homesickness caused him to dally. Al said he got a phone call from a family member soon after, asking what Al had been giving Ray because Ray forgot to take it and ended up in the hospital with a 105 degree fever. On the SRS CD, there is a clip from a telephone message Ray left a band member, in which he speaks of recuperating from an "evil" stomach ulcer but being just about ready to get back to work. There's another, unrelated funny clip of him talking about his drunken escapades, with lots of colorful language and notes of a heavy NJ accent.

Glenn Hughes said in an interview you can find online that Ray was deeply spiritual, and that Ray's family told him after Ray passed that he'd made his peace with God before he died. I don't think we need to worry about whether Ray was alone. It's widely reported he died at home in NJ, where he's also buried.


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