Bill Ray Interview 2019
Bill Ray, Paul Gilbert’s trusted time machine!
In a rare stroke of luck, Bill Ray chanced upon Vinnie’s Instagram post and left a comment. That quickly escalated to a newfound friendship and an exclusive interview with Paul’s drummer! In this interview, Bill shares his experience of maintaining the rhythm section for Paul. Similarly, he also talks about his experiences and plenty of tips for budding drummers! Full video of this interview at the bottom of the article.
Bill Ray, a man of wise words.
Throughout the interview, Bill was constantly giving tips and advice as a veteran musician. His years of experience translated well into his speech, helpful to all budding musicians. The interview is slightly over an hour long and we recommend you listen to it like a podcast. Put on a pair of earphones, make yourself a hot chocolate and absorb all the wisdom Bill has to offer. If not, we will try to summarize some of the notable quotes for you.
Music is a conversation, not a competition.
The idea of music as a competition is really strong in Asia. Everyone thinks that joining a music competition will guarantee some form of success, if not training. That is quite the opposite of what music should be. Music, as Bill mentioned, is a language. If you speak music, you converse with the rest of the band. When the band is talking with their instrument, they sound awesome to the audience. The common adjectives you hear people use are “tight” or “in the pocket”. Being on time is a by-product of being able to speak the language. Bill nailed the art of music as a language.
There is no level, it’s all circle.
When Bill was 21, he asked Dennis Chambers “How do you get to the next level?”. To which, Dennis replied, “There is no level, it’s all circle”. The idea of being successful in the industry really boils down to interpersonal relationships within the music industry. It is always nice to be nice – people remember nice. Can the person pick the phone and dial your number? (sic)
Learn to read music! Standard notation!
Bill shared how he would turn up to a gig only to find that they didn’t have a drum chart ready for him. For many drummers, this spells trouble because there is no way to play along to the band then. Bill would then request for a trumpet lead sheet or any lead sheet he can get his hands on. This is because those standard scores would have the structure of the song written out neatly. What a clever solution but only applicable if you can read music, properly!
If music can be boiled down to one thing, it’s congruent.
“If you can be congruent with other players, congruent with the environment that you are playing in, congruent with the music, you can get those areas covered, then people will definitely call you back. They gonna say this person listens to everybody in the band. He doesn’t try to play all the stuff at one time. They listen and put down what needs to be there. They’re not playing so loud that is blowing everybody off the club. Everybody is dialed in. If you can be congruent within that arena then you will be called back to work. ” – Bill Ray
In conclusion, Bill is perhaps one of the nicest musicians I have ever spoken to. Regardless of his tremendous ability on the drums, there isn’t the slightest hint of arrogance. Nice and sincere describes him best. Above all, I guess my biggest take away from this interview is that no matter what level of musicianship you are at, it is important to be a real and genuine human! Thank you, Bill, for this interview, and see you during your show with Paul Gilbert here in Singapore!
Get your tickets to Paul Gilbert Singapore 2019
If you are still undecided, note that the tickets are almost sold out! Or you can read our previous articles about this upcoming gig.