Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: February 6th, 2006
What kind of kid was Gamma Raye growing up?
Ha-ha, oh man, I was a little nerd. Ah just a regular kid playing army and GI Joe’s… running around on the railroad tracks and shit like that.
What kind of kid were you in high school?
I started to get into drugs and rock and roll. That’s when things started changing in the late 70’s.
What was the first concert you attended?
Kiss Alive. When the double live album came out it was awesome. I was a little kid, my cousin was a biker dude, and he talked my parents into letting me go. I was in hog heaven.
What was the first record you bought?
(Laughing) The Jackson Five or The Osmond’s, then it was Three Dog Night with “Elli’s Coming.”
What garage band did you play with first?
(Laughing) it was called Blast. It was a bunch of guys in the town I lived in. We did parties every weekend… not for money just to hang out. (Laughing) Yeah it was fun. That was a really good time… junior high school days. It was my first experience getting out… I was real shy. I sang and played guitar. I always knew what I wanted to do there was no choice involved. Even now… I don’t call it fear… maybe you can call it anxiety or excitement; I have to take some breathes sometimes. In a big show I might be fine and yet a small show might freak me out, it’s weird. You force yourself out there and your character takes over.
Was there any person or band that influenced you in the music direction you have taken?
I played it safe. I have been in this business along time. Then in 1999, I just got out of Roxx Gang. They brought me down to Florida and I was with them for two years. I was in their fan club and saw them on MTV so that was pretty big for me. After I got over that experience and quit that band in 1999, I started The Blessed Virgin Larry. I wanted to do something night and day… something that I never did before because I always played it safe. So I wanted to take chances and the whole thing behind this band was I was going to put out something as crazy as I could with a picture and a song and see what the hell could happen. The next thing I knew I had two songs and then an album and started to put a band together…we did that for two years. Then I went on tour, coast to coast with another band for three years. I came back a year ago and I saw there was still interest online in The Blessed Virgin Larry. So I went and recorded “The United Police States of America” and put the new band together. Last year was a good year and I think this year is going to be even better.
Tell our readers a little about Roxx Gang.
They had a big name before I joined the band. They were with Virgin Records and went on tour with Alice Cooper and Warrant they really did the deal. We did album signings and I got to rub elbows with Dee Snider, Zakk Wylde…big time people. There was always a big line when I was with Roxx Gang to get their things signed. It was a great thing and the lead guitarist for the band is now in L.A. Guns.
Were you in any band before TBVL that released material?
Bishop Steel out of Kansas City, Missouri… it was a band that was together for eight years through the late 80’s. We went a long ways. We had a giant following but that grunge shit really pulled the rug out from under everything. It was something that needed to happen.
What is the club scene like in Florida?
Good and bad, there’s a scene if you create a scene for yourself. People come out to see who they want to. It’s not like what it was, when people came out to see everyone and support all the bands. It’s a lot harder now, but it’s a cool vibe down here and there are clubs to play here in Florida. You gotta work real hard to have a fan base here, though.
Tell me about the game you and Cid Ronik designed.
The original game is a card game, and you can still download it on some sites. It’s about two or three years old, I pulled it down from our site because we have a new game being designed. The new game is a first person shooter… it has three levels; you shoot zombies and vampires it’s pretty cool. It will have all the new band members with some songs from our last album.
So tell us how did TBVL form and in what year?
I was really into Marilyn Manson at the time and I wanted to do something crazy and wacky. I didn’t want to mimic Manson. What I tried doing is use latex appliances that actors use in these vampires movies. I was trying to create a bizarre character but I don’t have the background or a make-up person… to try and get someone in to help me would cost me too much… so I went into the face painting. I went through so many people to form this band… Musicians, a lot of them want to do it and they can do it better but it never happens. All I ask is to learn the songs and show up to practice and a lot can’t even do that.
Tell us about your stage show.
The new band has been together since Sept 2005. We did our first show up in Connecticut at Gothstock 2005. The new band is more masculine and matured. We took off the make-up and I’m not wearing dresses anymore. The new thing is more about the music and being real instead of being something that we’re not…like Marilyn Manson, they don’t see him out of character, most of these people have a different side once they step on stage they become a different person.
The Blessed Virgin Larry debut came out in 2000. “I’m Killing You” sounds like the Munsters and Batman theme and you brought it back with the new album, was there any fall out on copyrights with that song?
No, Not at all. There are a few bands that have that kind of feel like the Cramps. A lot of people compare us to the Cramps, which is a big complement to me. Otherwise, I think we have the whole niche on the whole creepy goth thing and I like it myself, that’s what I wanted to do. The second album I pulled that out of my ass... the press agent up in New York wanted a new album, he was pushing me, and so I pulled the songs out of my ass.
“The Jesus Conspiracy” came out in 2002, which I thought had some good songs. What was your view on that album?
There are some songs I’m not ashamed of on that album, but there are songs on there I was not happy with either and some of the songs on there I’m the most proud of.
I thought the song “Don’t Give a Damn” was a great song. It changed the style and direction of the band. What are your thoughts?
That’s cool man thanks, that song we’re doing in the live set now. The only regret on that song is I was not happy with the drums. I wish I had spent more time on the drums. But the thought process behind it all I really truly thought I was going to get signed and all the material would get redone in a big studio environment. Every single album was recorded on an eight track in my bedroom. I’m real proud of what we have done but its all demo work.
“THE UNITED POLICE STATES OF AMERICA” came out in 2005 which had songs like “Lil' Red Riding Hood”, “My USA”, and “Sick” with the Munster theme again. I paid attention to the lyrics on that album closely and “My USA” which was also your video, it really tells the story. Almost everyone when there is a cop behind you, slows down and you’re shitting, ‘Is he going to pull me over?’, even if you’re doing the speed limited. The video was great, can you give us your views.
Most of the cops are cool man, but you don’t know. Its too much power, your stomach goes down to your knees the thought processes ‘What the fuck!’ If one of those guys is having a bad day, it turns into your bad day. Dude, as I told you, I went on tour from coast to coast and the exposure I got from local law enforcement across this nation was unbelievable. When I got off this tour I was so fucking pissed off, I’ve lost some of this anger that I had when I wrote that song “My USA” and with the direction I took with it.
Is there anything the band will not write about?
No!!! (Laughing) On the new album “Lil' Red Riding Hood” is getting a lot of attention because people love that song. “Sick” was written about the second conception of the band the “Jesus Conspiracy.” We had two transsexuals in the band, which we didn’t tell anybody, and the guys would go nuts over these chicks. It was our little joke, they were pretty hot… if I showed a picture of one of these transsexuals to a guy, I wouldn’t tell she is a dude, and they would say damn she’s hot. So I wrote about one of the transsexuals in the band who left the band. I found out a year ago she killed herself, which was a bummer… so we will write about anything.
All three of your releases are done independently are the labels afraid of the controversy the band projects?
No, no I don’t. I think what happened is that we got lumped in to this Marilyn Manson clone. The only things I can think of is the people are looking at me and writing their reviews and weren’t listening to the music. Some reporters got it but most didn’t. The music is not Marilyn Manson its hard rock.
How did you get some of your endorsements, and who are they?
Dude, I’m working real hard to make this happen, no one is coming to me. One is Agile Guitars … I bought a Gibson Studio, which cost me twelve hundred and ninety-five dollars, I was so unhappy with it… it was a piece of shit. I got this Agile; it’s an Agile designed Les Paul three hundred and eighteen dollars brand new. The thing kicks the Les Paul’s ass. I got a three-guitar deal with Agile Guitars. I think I’m the only endorsee with them. HotpickUSA, who are getting huge, they treat me like I’m somebody. I was with them from the beginning they’ve blown up with some huge artists but they still give me the time of day, which is awesome. I am a HotpickUSA slut.
What are your feelings about President Bush?
Well man, I think he is puppet for his father. I’ve never voted until this last election and I went down, registered and voted against him. It’s not just Bush, it’s the political machine. I think it went in the wrong direction. Dude, we went over and saved Kuwait's ass. Iraq came in to Kuwait and took over and we kick Iraq ass back. I’m proud of that. Afghanistan we had good reason to go in there. Iraq is total bullshit. I served in the fuckin’ military and I earn the right to say what I want to say. I had veterans come up to me when we’re setting up for a show. We have a giant flag, which we hang upside down on stage, and veterans come up to me and give me shit. I will tell them to shove it in their ass. I was elbow to elbow with these fuckers and I served my time.
What are your feelings about the current state of the world?
It’s scary!!! I think that for humanity to proceed, something major has to happen. I am talking devastating wise like an asteroid hitting the earth and a few people come out of the ashes and start things over, that kind of shit. Personally, I think the earth will turn over in 2012 ha-ha. I believe that kind of thing. I studied religion and prophecy, I studied so much stuff and if you don’t keep it in context, it gets confusing.
So do you believe in God?
Well, not as we’ve been taught. I believe in Jesus but I don’t believe he is the son of God, which I found out later that is the way the Jewish people believed. I believe there is something, if you want to call him God that is cool. I don’t believe the bible but I do believe the bible is a good guide for man; without it, we would have destroyed ourselves a long time ago. When you take it literally, I think that’s a problem too. I think were too stupid to perceive what’s really going on. I don’t think anyone can understand it. I believe in good, evil and karma. When I started this whole thing, I was attacking organized religion. I never attacked religion I think religion is good. What I’m really against is the organized religion and its hypocrisy.
If Gamma Raye donated money to a cause, what would that cause be?
(Laughing) That’s a great question you caught me off guard. It would probably be like Normal or something to do with legalizing Marijuana.
Tell me what your feelings are about downloading.
Fuckin' I got pissed off about that whole Napster thing and I got pissed off at Lars (Ulrich) of Metallica. He came off as such a piece of shit over that whole thing. I got my songs up at some sites you have to pay and I got my songs at sites where you can get it for free. I let people download my material for free but if you want to buy the hard copy for your collection and want to support the band that’s awesome. I think you should give a little to get back a lot and I have not got a lot back yet, (Laughing).
On a typical day what does Gamma Raye do?
Most of my time is spent networking our band - The Blessed Virgin Larry. If you do a search it’s crazy the amount of links you get for band. Right now, I am transferring a new DVD for “My USA” to as many avenues I can. Here are just some of the people I am sending it to Larry King, Howard Dean, Jesse Jackson, MTV, American Liberty Association, Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Jay Leno, Carson Daly, Conan O’Brien, Universal records, Ted Kennedy, it’s just insane. I tried to send ten DVD’s a day.
Are you working on new material for the next record?
Yeah we got a TV show coming up on Cable and we’re going to reveal one of the new songs. We have five new songs done already. We are going to release a new EP in about three months. We have the original drummer back and we’re back at full force.
Will there be a possibility that TBLV will be performing at Gothstock 2006 in New York this year?
If they will have us, we will be there. It’s huge. We actually put this band together to do the first Gothstock last year, which was huge. We didn’t have a real good show it was our first time out. We had a really hard time, but we did our best and we got along well with everyone and I’m hoping they will ask us back since we are a viable entity now.
Tell me the wildest thing that has happened on stage.
We had two shows. One was all ages and one over 21. It was hard to pull it off on most of the shows because most of the shows were all ages where the club would make more money. We had this giant six-foot penis that I would bring out and squirt the audience, and the crowd would try and get a gulp. Ha-ha. It was amazing because we could put anything in there. It was this giant six-foot penis with a super soaker in it. We put Mountain Dew in it. Then we would have this guy dressed as a penis and we would send him out in the crowd. He would be covered in foam and people would beat the shit out of him. So when we did some of the shows we would have people coming up to us before the show begging to be in the penis outfit. I guess the craziest shit that happened was with the two transsexuals in the band that were in love with each other. One of them caught the other one after our show with our bass player in the closet. I had this giant male on male love triangle going and no one wanted to play on stage with each other. I haven’t had band members fucking each other since.
What about the women in Gamma’s life?
I don’t like wild woman. Let me tell you this I heard Ron Jeremy say in an interview he had eighteen hundred women. I went out loud to myself, by myself and I said "fucking amateur," (Laughing)!!! The chicks I go out with… I like are chicks out of the bedroom that are classy and in the bedroom that are total whores.
Do you have any other projects in the works right now?
I’m directing videos for different bands. I have my own company called Media One Concepts. Low budget, big budget I have the means to meet everyone’s needs. I am a video nerd and into video animation and all that shit.
Would you like to say anything in conclusion to your fans, the world and our readers?
I like to thank anybody who hung out with us and love our music. Feel free to burn our music and distribute it at will. There’s a lot of love here. We have a definite message, but everything is done tongue-in-cheek and we don’t take ourselves too seriously man. Later brother.