Interview with Ray West - Lead Vocalist from Spread Eagle
AMAB: In January 2018 Spread Eagle signed to Frontiers SRL Records for a 2019 studio album release. ...Congrats on the new Cd and record deal with Frontiers. Yourself along with Rob De Luca - Bass, Vocals; Ziv Shalev - Guitar; and Rik De Luca - Drums are back together. How is the writing and recording process going? Would you please elaborate on this new disc, such as musical direction or tracklist?
Ray West: The process is always in play. We take a fairly easy approach to writing . Each band member has riff ideas, that they bring into the room , then we jam on the idea till something clicks. We then start to make a rough draft of the arrangement, which usually triggers a melody and lyric idea. To me, the art of writing Rock music should be easy. It should be free flowing. I mean let’s be real, we are not building Rocket ships, even though it can feel like that When overthinking shows its dirty mind. I honestly believe this album will be a product of all the things we have learned over the years . Which is kind of a very long process. lol. As far as our direction goes, we are not going to put ourselves in a box, that’s for sure, but I’m sure we will lean towards cool pocket grooves , and melodies that are honest .The Beauty of what we’re doing now is, we get to find out our true potential as a band. As far as a track listing, because it’s very early in the process, I don’t have a track listing for you at this time.
AMAB: Is the whole band involved in the writing process or do you have other collaborators you work with?
Ray: lol. I think I might’ve just answered that , because I got a bit over zealous in the previous question. Rob, Rick, and Ziv are all individually very strong writers, so I’m grateful that we all get to collaborate, and work towards the same Musical goal together.
AMAB: Are there any plans for shows this year and after the Cd is released in 2019?
Ray: Yes indeed ! SE thrives in a live setting. So we plan to do some gigs the latter part of the year, and definitely to support the album.
AMAB: What are you favorite tunes to play in the setlist and would you add any new ones?
Ray: I love the vibe of “King of the dogs." It translates well when we play it live. I especially like the songs that we all sing together on, like "Rhythm Machine," "Devils Road," and "Switchblade." They all have lots of vocals, that we have fun pulling off live. As far as new material, We’ve been playing the songs for so long, it’ll be a blast to add new songs in the mix. In my opinion, playing fresh material always rejuvenates any band.
AMAB: What have been your favorite or worst tours and who would you like to work with?
Ray: My fave tour was our very first. We were young dumb, and full of crazy. I don’t think anything can really compare to the first time you hop on a bus, and go do a full on tour, with endless parties, etc. It’s the Rock and roll American dream. BUT if I had it tell you my fave tour experience that I was sober for, that would be the one we just did in the UK, and Germany, we got to play for some really passionate Rock fans. Most had been waiting a long time to see this band a very long time, because we had never gotten a chance to go play Europe before. So It was a very cool, and fresh life experience for Rick, Ziv, and myself. Rob has obviously been there many times with his other bands.
There were big smiles on stage and in the audience. The worst tour has got to be, the one where, Spread rode home on top of the gear, in the back of our Ryder rental truck. Can you imagine, four young crazy rock ‘n’ rollers, leaving New York City on a bad ass bus, then finishing the tour in the back of a Ryder rental truck. Not too pretty. That’s some brutally honest stuff I’m laying on here.
AMAB: As a powerful Vocalist, who are some of the Singers that have helped and influenced your technique in your voice?
Ray: I grew up listening to a very eclectic group of singers that influenced me. I was raised on Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Soul music. There’s The Steve’s, “Stevie Wonder, Steve Marriott, Steven Tyler. Then there’s Ozzy Osborne, Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillian, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, etc. The list goes on for quite awhile, also Karen Carpenter, Tina Turner,Janis Joplin, man! I could do this for Pages and Pages. Lol. I think you get the picture.
AMAB: In 2006 Rob De Luca and yourself reformed Spread Eagle. The debut album which had been out of print for over 10 years was remastered and re-released by the small independent label Lovember Records. You started touring in 2006 with Chris Caffery on Guitar and John Macaluso on Drums. How was the experience working and concerts like with Chris and John being involved at that time?
Ray: At that time Chris and I had been really good friends, and Johnny Mac played Drums on open to the public, so needless to say, there was a lot of comedy and lots of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Rob Deluca worked tirelessly, at getting the SE album released. I am grateful for Rob’s intestinal fortitude, and I’m grateful to him not only as a bandmate , but someone I highly respect and consider my brother.
AMAB: Do you have any contact with former members such as the original members Paul DiBartolo and Tommi Gallo or Thommy Price, who played with Billy Idol.
Ray: I haven’t had a conversation with Paul or Tommy in years. I have huge respect for both as players. Paul was an amazing gifted Guitar player and Tommy was a pure bred Rock n Rolla !
AMAB: For awhile you turned your back on the music business. Then began singing in a band called All Pointz West or A.P.W. Is that the motivated or outside outlet that you need when you're on down time from S. Eagle? Are you still involved with A.P.W. and have you thought about doing a solo project? Who would you have performing on a solo Cd if you decided to do one?
Ray: I did get tired of certain aspects of the music business, and I did take some time to regroup, but life is funny, isn’t it. I found that if I wasn’t singing, I just wasn’t happy, so I did miss out on lots of opportunities, but I put on my big boy pants, put my head down and started moving forward. I enjoy writing outside of Spread because, as a singer, you have to evolve. If I had to do the same thing over and over again, I’d go crazy. I do have a certain style that I really like to write in, and APW provides that for me. I call it APW because my ego won’t allow me to call it by my name sake .
AMAB: Any last words you would like to add that we didn't mention?
Ray: I just want fans to know that we are gonna deliver, because the fans mean everything !! Oh I almost forgot. We didn’t touch on that’s very important to me is: I really dig being a vocal coach to singers who want to find their true tone and explore the uniqueness of their voice. The book helped me break down what my vocal approach is and how I could teach it. My good friend and vocal guru, Jamie Vandera, pushed me into writing a book
about how I look at the art of singing. It’s called: “Melody to madness.” It’s published by Vandera Publishing. I like to brag to my friends that I’m a published author. Man I get a kick out of saying that. Lmao
AMAB: What is the best way for the fans to keep up to date with yourself and Spread Eagle?
Ray: Friends can go to our Facebook page and our official webby. We are very good about being on point with all things Spread Eagle.
Some big news!!!