RAY WILSON – Conversating Ray Wilson
While the uncanny effect of Christmas time was coming again, some had to make their efforts in letting the world know what was happening on the music scene. In the cold morning hours of winter I called up Ray Wilson to get a feeling of how he was doing, what he had been up to in his career, and above all, what he had in mind as his next move. Hope you enjoy our small talk.
ET – Hi Mr. Wilson, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I doubt you get interviewed by Metal based websites very often?
Ray Wilson: I did have Metal Hammer on tour with me and CUT_ in 1999 but mostly I get Prog mags.
ET – Coming from Edinburgh and being of a certain vintage. What are your memories of those early days?
RAY WILSON – I remember them fondly. I always look at those days playing the pubs, clubs and so on as the apprenticeship for my career. I was also in many other bands from the age of 14 and most of them were Metal based actually. The first and most memorable was ELECTRIC MISTRESS. We were into MOTÖRHEAD, AC/DC, IRON MAIDEN, THIN LIZZY and so on and wrote our own stuff. (Thanks for the information.) You can imagine the faces of the teachers at the school concerts. (Yes, I can. “I’ve been there and done it”.)
ET – How difficult was it going from pub gigs to Number One on the charts and then watching it fall away so quickly?
RAY WILSON – It was not a good feeling watching the band (CUT_) fall apart. It had such potential. The music business is like that though. One minute your up, the next your on your ass. The strong survive I guess.
ET – And then it was GENESIS. It seemed a strange move. I imagine they made an offer you couldn’t refuse, but what else made you decide to take the gig as singer?
RAY WILSON – You answered the question. I couldn’t refuse. It was a great experience working with them and I would do it all over again.
ET – To be honest, I never belonged to the GENESIS camp, but their musicianship is respectable works known over the world. Were you surprised when Rutherford and Banks decided to give up so easily?
RAY WILSON – Not totally surprised. They were one of the biggest bands in the world and it was always going to be tough coming to terms with not being at the same level anymore. I think they will be back.
ET – The “Cut” record which came out around that time was intended as your next move after STILTSKIN, but GENESIS got in the way. In retrospective, do you think you should have pushed that instead of joining GENESIS?
RAY WILSON – No, I would have regretted not doing the GENESIS gig.
ET – Was doing solo a strange feeling after everything that happened in the previous few years?
RAY WILSON – It was the best move I ever made. Getting an acoustic guitar out and going back to basics gave me my love for music back. It is hard to do acoustic gigs well and I enjoyed the challenge. I still do a lot of gigs and I am seldom disappointed with them.
ET – What solo record would you point people towards, if they wanted to get to know the ‘real’ Ray Wilson?
RAY WILSON – Buy the live album next year. It will cover all sides of me.
ET – You’re in the middle of a lengthy European tour just now. How has it been going, and how is your voice holding up?
RAY WILSON – Pretty well, I did too many acoustic gigs and rehearsal dates all in a row and fucked it for a couple of months but it’s better than ever now. I did have some vocal problems recently.
ET – Many central European gigs planned. Is it down to promoters, money or opportunity?
RAY WILSON – I seem to get things moving here. I am still succeeding and I’m in a state of luck.
ET – After the tour, what’s next on the agenda?
RAY WILSON – Live album and a new studio album. I will also do more acoustic shows.