36 years after I bought Abbey Road 2005 is like a fortunate tidal
wave for Beatles fans. With your record, Rustys record and Pauls
new album Chaos And Confusion...(oops - ed.)
BR: Chaos And Creation...I can understand the confusion in
the chaos...but go ahead...
RS: So what was it like playing on Pauls record?
BR: Its great fun. To work with Paul in the studio is such an
honor. We got to work at Abbey Road for quite a while. We worked at
RAK in London and we worked a few different studios. Its just
great to see his mind work and see him bubbling with ideas and loving
music so much. Its just very inspiring.
RS: Rusty told me theres more music you and he recorded with Paul
and David Kahne that was being devised around the same time as Nigel
and Paul made Chaos And Creation In The Backyard.
BR: Yes, right. We were recording with Paul with another producer
as well. With David Kahne, who did Driving Rain, his previous
studio record. We recorded at Abbey Road. We have some material already
recorded with David Kahne as well. But, Paul chose to finish the record
with Nigel and obviously he made a great decision because look at the
result. The result is Chaos And Creation In The Backyard, one
of Paul McCartneys best records ever.
RS: Like I told Rusty, before Id heard the 1970 McCartney record
I never knew musicians could do all that.
BR: Yeah, its just great to hear Paul accompany himself on a record
again. It reminds us of his early solo records and some great Beatles
stuff that was all Paul McCartney. Paul McCartney played all the instruments
on...what is that John Lennon song?
RS: Didnt Paul play everything on The Ballad Of John And
BR: Yeah, exactly. Thats all Paul. And it has that sound to it.
RS: It sounds like John singing on a Paul record.
BR: Exactly. So Chaos And Creation has kind of content to it.
It sounds just like he ever did, like he ever sounded.
RS: Theyll be listening to Paul for a thousand years. If the planet
is still here. Maybe they should send his music in a time capsule into
BR: Yeah, thatll be in there for sure, right? A bestseller on
RS: Do you consider yourself part of the L.A. pop scene? I was telling
Rusty theres been some great players coming out the L.A. music
scene like The Wondermints...
BR: Yeah, great guys The Wondermints, really nice guys. The guys that
play with Brian Wilson. Great people. Of course I consider myself part
of the L.A. scene. I was born and raised out there, I love the clubs
out there. I love going to Largo and I love going to the Mint and some
of the various clubs around there to see my friends play music. You
know, Rusty and I met each other 16 years ago, years ago, in Silverlake
we were neighbors. And we used to borrow each others vintage guitars
and he played on a demo of mine in 1990. But we never played in a band
together until this one. And I always used to think, oh, itd
be so cool if Rusty was the other guitar player in this band Im
touring with, instead of the guy whos on tour right now. Oh!,
if only Rusty was the other guitar player with me. And finally
it happened, with Paul McCartney.
RS: Man, you couldnt get a better combination.
BR: We have a great time playing together, Rusty and I. A lot of laughs
and were very good friends.
RS: Jason Falkner also played on Pauls record. Do you share Jasons
fascination with exotic guitar sounds. You must cause you have
some great guitars as well.
BR: I have no idea what Jasons taste is. Ive loved guitars
for my whole life. Ive always loved vintage guitars. Ive
always loved vintage amplifiers. Ive always loved vintage pedals.
And Ive always been a huge fan of guitarists who were unusual,
who had tones that were outside the norm. People like Randy California.
I liked Jeff Beck in his very earliest years, like the Jeff Beck Group.
Most unusual lead guitar sounds. Or Jeff Beck when he was playing on
the Donovan songs like Hurdy Gurdy Man and when he was playing
with Yardbirds, yknow all these great crazy fuzz lines. And I
was influenced by the great blues players in America and then influenced
by all the great British Invasion players like George, Paul, John and
Ringos drumming of course and all the guitar playing of all the
British Invasion bands. And Im a huge fan of British blues invasion,
Clapton, Mick Taylor and most especially, Peter Green. And I loved Kim
Simmonds. I loved all these great guitar players that came over from
England and was listening to it as they came on the scene in those years,
when I was just a little kid. Fascinating.
RS: So which guitars are you using on the Paul McCartney tour?
BR: My main guitar is a 1961 SG Les Paul with PAF, patent applied-4
pickups. Its in gorgeous condition and it was owned by Alan Holdsworth
apparently. And its a brilliant, brilliant guitar in perfect condition.
And Im using a 1959 Gretsch Double Anniversary, the kind that
Brian Jones used to use with the two tone green body. Im using
a 1963 Gibson Dove and a late 70s or early 80s Guild M-85
bass. You probably know that I play bass on half of the songs too, covering
for Paul when he moves to piano or guitar.
RS: Youve been asked this before but, is it challenging for you
to switch between guitar and bass?
BR: No, its okay. I love the question. Its not at all challenging
to switch between guitar and bass. I love doing it. You would think,
yeah...youve only got four strings and theyre giant and
its a whole different instrument, a different sound, youre
playing with your fingers on your right hand. Its got to be so
different from playing with your pick. I just love switching back and
forth. It makes it very interesting to me. I love both instruments and
I love the honor of playing Paul McCartneys brilliant bass lines
while hes playing piano or guitar. Its an honor.
RS: Rusty said you are also a great lead player too. Is there a way
you guys balance the lead and rhythm guitar in Pauls group?
BR: Oh, thats great. Thats very nice of him. Im a
lead guitar player and a rhythm guitar as well and I was always the
lead guitar player in the bands that Ive been in. With Paul Im
happy to play rhythm, lead, bass, acoustic, nose flute, toe dulcimer,
whatever it calls for. Im ready. And with Paul, I play lead on
about three or four songs. I play lead guitar on Get Back,
I play the lead guitar on All My Loving, I play the lead
guitar on The End when we do our three guitars solos at
the end. I play dual solos with Rusty, doubling Rustys solos like
the Beatles records, on Cant Buy Me Love or any number
of older Beatles records where theres a double tracked solo.
RS: Is Paul changing the set list?
BR: Its pretty much the same that we started with on the top of
the tour. This tour is, as you might know, completely different from
RS: I wanted to ask about the session work youve done. I know
you co-wrote a song on the last Bangles record.
BR: On the new Bangles record I co-wrote a song called Nickel
Romeo and that was a real fun co-write with Michael Steel, the
bass player of The Bangles. Shes very talented and that song is
on their new record called Doll Revolution. And that was a fun
session. I really loved playing all the guitars on the last Shakira
record, Laundry Service, all the sort of colorful guitars that
you hear on top of the tracks with Shakiras Laundry Service.
That was a fun record to do, in Miami. I loved doing the recording
with Smokey Robinson that we did where I got to play guitars and I got
to play keyboards and I got to play some of the bass stuff and some
of the synth stuff on One Heartbeat for Smokey. Playing
with Etta James on her late 70s record called Deep In The Night,
with Jerry Wexler producing and all those great players on that
record like Pocaro and Larry Carlton. Willy DeVille...I did a great
solo record with him that was really fun. The live record that I co-produced
with Etta James called Live From San Francisco, that was really
fun. Oh, theres just so many records. The new Paul McCartney record
was a joy to do.
RS: You also played with Santana?
BR: I did a live performance with Carlos Santana a long time ago with
Etta James. We did A Night At The Fillmore, and it was a celebration
for Bill Graham, when Bill Graham was still alive. We did this big concert
up there and it was Santana, and he sat in with Etta, and Al Kooper
on organ. He was in Blood, Sweat & Tears and he also wrote This
Diamond Ring and he was on Electric Ladyland with Hendrix.
And what was his name...the drummer for Band Of Gypsies...he was on
that gig too...
RS: Buddy Miles.
BR: Buddy Miles was on that gig. And Sly & The Family Stone was
on that gig. The fun thing about playing with Etta James is everybody
in the world wanted to sit in with Etta James so I get to play with
Keith Richards sitting in, or John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker...all
these people came through the doors when I was a teenager in my formative
years getting to play with some of the most important in rock and pop
history. And that was always a treat to get to have that influence.
RS: Ill have to go and check out some of the Etta James stuff.
She just blew me away on that Soft Machine track from your
BR: Oh, shes incredible. Shes just great. And I played my
1957 Les Paul Goldtop with humbuckings with her too, my whole time with
her, and a guitar that Ive toured with, with Paul. And its
a guitar I got for $850 bucks when I was a kid. Now those guitars are
a hundred thousand dollars. Yeah, its crazy.
RS: So youre a guitar collector?
BR: Yeah...I do collect vintage guitars. I love vintage guitars. I always
look for them. I love vintage amps and vintage pedals. Ive got
a lot of guitars now.
RS: You use Divided by 13 amps.
BR: On stage I do and then in the studio I use just anything. Ive
got a 63 AC30, Ive got old Marshalls, Ive got old
Fenders, Ive got an old Supro. Ive got all these great old
amps. Old Gibsons.
RS: Youve got some truly weird guitar sounds on the record. Like
the record starts off with some weird, bouncy sound.
BR: On Good For Nothing? You know what it is? I listened
to the song and I thought, okay, thats a great song and
if its going to start the record, I want it to lead into that
first chord with some kind of a sound. In the mastering session I said,
okay Ive to come up with something quick cause were
mastering right now. I said, Ill tell you what, I
want to take the last chord of the song where the guitars are just ringing
out, the E chord at the end...theres like a variety of guitars
all playing an E chord. Clip it off right at the attack of that chord,
and then reverse the whole thing, and a stereo version of it, and tack
it on to the front of the song. And thats what it is. Its
an E chord going backwards with all the guitars. With their slide-offs
and everything backwards leading into the song Good For Nothing.
RS: Are you going to have a signature guitar in the future?
BR: Well I just have a signature bass by Yamaha. A beautiful hollow
body bass in the shape of sort of like a 335. Dark, dark Emerald Green
with big de Armond pickups just like the ones that are on my Guild.
Its brilliant. Its sort of like a Guild Starfire bass. Hollow
body but solid down the middle. And that is gorgeous and it has beautiful
star inlays like an Everly Brothers guitar. And that could be a Brian
Ray signature guitar. Oh and you asked me about pedals...quickly. I
use an old... its an Italian wah-wah pedal and its the same
as the Clyde McCoy, except it was an Italian version, I cant remember
the name of it right now. Anyway, thats a great pedal. A Fox fuzz
pedal, a Vox tone bender pedal, a Boss BB2 vibrato pedal, I like the
Divided by 13 Dyna-Ranger a lot. I use a Line 6 delay modeler and modulation
modelers and just a variety of pedals.
RS: Youre also using the Epiphone Casino guitar?
BR: On my record? Yeah, I use that. I use my TV model Juniors, my 50s
TV models. Im using a bunch of Oliver Leibers great guitars.
Oh, theres a slew of great vintage guitars on the record and a
slew of vintage amps..
RS: It sounds just so cool.
BR: Thank you. Well we recorded it to tape. Thats another reason,
with a great engineer, Joe Zook. We got vintage guitars in a great studio,
recorded to tape... It should sound good, if youve got a great
engineer using all this great outboard vintage compression and stuff.
RS: Any other guitars youre using?
BR: I also have a Taylor 12 string acoustic and a Patrick James Eggle
Discus guitar and a James Trussart carve top guitar.
RS: Rusty said he was using a Duesenberg guitar?
BR: No, thats me, not Rusty. I was using a Duesenberg on the first
two tours. Not right now though. In strings, I use Daddario .009-.05s,
between a 9 and a 10. And I use a variety of strings like that. I use
big strings on the bass, with the big E string being a 105, I use pretty
fat strings to get the fattest sound. Ashdown bass gear...that about
covers the gear.
RS: Pauls synonymous with the Hofner bass. Did you ever play his
Hofner? (ask a stupid question...)
BR: Sure, except its a little inconvenient. Its upside down and
RS: Exactly, you caught me there! Okay one last question about your
soundtrack work. You did a movie score with Abe?
BR: I sure did, yeah. A great little movie called The Failures. We
did it in early 2003 I think. Its a really fun, offbeat, dark, romantic
comedy. A dark, romantic comedy I should say. And Abe and I did the
film score together in my house and we played all the instruments. And
it was a blast to do and I really look forward to the chance to do some
more of that. We had a really good time doin it.
RS: Is is available on CD?
BR: Not yet, no. Were working on that but doing film scoring gives
you the opportunity to play with so many different colors and not be
constrained by the parameters of pop songwriting. You can really just
go koo-koo and its just fun.
RS: Just again congratulations on the tour with Paul.
BR: Thank you very much.
RS: I hope they get to make a CD and DVD of the 2005 tour.
BR: By the time your readers pick up this magazine my new CD will be
out. But I made a deliberate determination to come here to just be of
service to Paul McCartney and not confuse my record with it for the
first, at least two thirds of the tour, before I put out my record.
Thats what Ive had a good time doing, now just to come and
be of service to Paul. Because if it werent for Paul I probably
wouldnt have the wherewithal to do my own record, much less the
RS: I second that emotion. I really like the record and I had a great
BR: Its been my pleasure Robert, thanks a lot.
Thanks to Brian Ray @ www.brian-ray.com
and Jorie Gracen - author of Paul McCartney: I Saw Him Standing There
(Billboard Books) and the Web master of the Macca Report - www.maccareport.com
Ms. Gracen is also an award winning photojournalist whose photos have
appeared in Rolling Stone, Newsweek, People, TV Guide and on Paul McCartney's
Tripping the Live Fantastic album.