Though they never met with success the way other like-minded sleaze metal bands did (Skid Row being a prime example), Spread Eagle created a minor splash with tracks like “Switchblade Serenade” and “Scratch Like a Cat” from their self-titled MCA debut in 1990. Both videos received limited airplay on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball and the video for “Scratch Like a Cat” was shown on an episode of “Life Goes On” (it might have been in the episode entitled “Corky Rebels”).
After a (saleswise) disappointing second release, Open to the Public, in 1993, Spread Eagle called it quits. Singer Ray West joined a band called Girls of Porn but then disappeared for a number of years. Rumors around the internet were that Ray had AIDs and had moved back to Florida (where he got his start) to live with his mom. As you’ll soon read, those rumors were completely unfounded and Ray knows who started them.
In 2006, Ray resurfaced with a MySpace page, posted some solo tracks he was working on as well as Hostel, Inc. tracks he had recorded, and also hooked back up with Spread Eagle bassist Rob DeLuca for a short run of reunion tour dates.
Just a few weeks ago, Ray released his first solo CD (under the name All Pointz West) and while it’s definitely NOT an ’80s hair metal rehash (think more like modern metal bands Avenged Sevenfold, Seether, Killswitch Engage), Spread Eagle fans should recognize Ray’s vocals pretty easily on many of the tracks.
I’m a huge fan of Spread Eagle AND the Metal Sludge website so I figured I’d copy that site’s 20 Questions format and send questions to Ray in hopes that maybe Metal Sludge would be interested in running it on their site (offer is still there, Stevie!).
1. Tell us who Ray West is & why we should or should not care?
I think am the type of person who doesn’t take himself too seriously.
I think I know how to have a good time, at least, that’s what my friends tell me….
I treat others as I would like to be treated ..
I consider myself to be a generous and kind person until somebody pisses me off..
I am very passionate about music , but I am also very passionate about life ..
As for why should anyone care, or not care, about Ray West? I try to express myself in the best way I know how, I don’t expect people to care about me just because I’m a performer. I do expect people to give me a fair listen, and if they like what they hear, then I’m a happy SOB. If they don’t, then they can turn the shit down or put on something else. All that matters is that I care about Ray West.
2. You got your start in the South Florida glam rock scene fronting Defiance (Oni Logan replaced Ray after Ray joined Spread Eagle). At the time, bands like Tuff Luck and Cryer were getting a little bit of attention on a national level. How did Defiance fit into the scene and were you ever close to “making it”?
I really don’t know where we fit in. But I can tell you that we were a group that worked hard to get peoples attention. We had some hook-y songs. We played the cool clubs, had beautiful women. Back then, Ft Lauderdale was a Rock n’ Roll Paradise. It was a great time to be in a rock band! “God bless America”
Did we ever come close to making it? No
3. How did you end up in NYC fronting a band of ex-Bostonites (Bang) who used to sound like Van Halen?
I will try to keep my answer short…..I was invited by my soon-to-be-manager to come to NYC and join a band that was doing showcases. While that was happening, the manager of the ex-Bostonites needed a singer for their project. (I was torn between 2 bands). Anyways, we thought the sound of the boys from Boston was a better fit for me, so we jumped ship and recorded some tracks for a demo. We all liked what we heard and we went on our way to make Spread Eagle music.
4. The NYC hair metal scene seemed a bit sleazier/rawer than the Sunset Strip scene. How do you think Spread Eagle would have fared if you’d been based in L.A.?
I think we would have fared just fine. LA was the center of the universe as far as the music business went. Our sound was very accepted there and we could have definitely made a bigger dent than we did..
5. Rate the following singers 1-10. A 1 being someone who sucks & a 10 being a ruler!
Davy Vain of Vain = Doesn’t rate, lol. Okay, how bout minus 1?
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row = 9
Tim Mosher of Broken Glass = 7
Kenny Monroe of Tuff Luck = 5
Constantine Maroulis = 7
Jon Olivia of Savatage =8
Shane of Law and Order =7
Joe LeSte of Bang Tango = 7
Jizzy Pearl of Love/Hate = 9
Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys = 8
6. What rock star deserves a face full of brass knuckles and why?
Axl Rose, cause he’s a full on DICKHEAD. I met him twice and that two times too many.
7. You toured with Vain to promote the first Spread Eagle CD. Give us 3 high points and 3 low points of that tour?
3 High points:
1) taking the cross country ride in our first tour bus to Portland
2) doing our very first gig in Portland , We went fucking crazy on that stage!!
3) going to the Alice in Chains band house with Mike Starr when we played in Seattle. He played me the Facelift album ruff mixes before it was released. I was trying to pick up the girl he was hanging with ..lol
3 Low points
2) Davey Vain
3) having to listen to their music every night
8. Open to the Public wasn’t as gritty as the first album. Was this a decision by the band or was the record label trying to make you more commercial sounding?
I really think it was a little of both…
9. Memory Lane with Ray West.
1978 = Saw Van Halen play with Black Sabbath on acid
1982 = Spent a lot of my time going to see Pink Floyd laser light shows
1986 = I was in a band
1990 = I remember getting on the tour bus, the rest is a bit fuzzy…
1993 = I tried my first hit of exstacy
1997 = I was in rehab
2000 = I was in another rehab
2003 = I was doing music, stand-up comedy, theater, and every drug I could get my hands on
2007 = Moved back to the place of my birth, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
2009 = Releasing my first album in years and doing theater. Fuck Yeah!!!
10. Spread Eagle (well, you and Rob) reunited for a few shows a couple years back. Would you consider doing more shows in the future with Rob under the Spread Eagle name?
Why the hell not? All I’d have to do is tie some fishing wire around my balls and give a pull, for the high screams ..lol
11. Name 3 bands who deserved to get a real shot but fell short. Who should have got signed, went platinum, etc.?
There are too many to mention, so many bands got lost in the mix.
12. When did you know it was the end for Spread Eagle (the first time around)?
When we were not getting the help from the label we truly needed . The money that should have gotten invested in SE went to bands that were safer. Plus, I was just wasn’t feeling the vibe anymore.
13. Of all the bands Spread Eagle shared the stage with over the years, what bands were the coolest, and who were the biggest assholes on the planet?
Body Count was the coolest ! Ice T was a very accessible dude. We played with Body Count at a Concrete Marketing event in LA.. The biggest assholes would be the glam band Vain. FYI , they wanted us off the tour because I announced during one of our set somewhere in the south that “We weren’t here to play any of that glam fag rock shit; we came to play Rock n’ Roll!!” I’ll never understand why they took offense to that. I have nothing against homosexuals..lol
14. Axl Rose has continued to tour with a bunch of hired musicians under the name Guns N’ Roses. Did you ever give any thought into releasing your new stuff using the name Spread Eagle just to reach the fans that may still be out there?
Honestly, no. With Spread Eagle having a social network presence, it’s very easy to see what the former band members are doing now. Plus, what I’m doing now sounds nothing like SE. The new album reflects the sound I’ve grown into. I move forward, not backwards, ya dig!!!”
15. I believe the Girls Of Porn website said something about “new music coming soon” though no music was ever released. Did that band ever really stand a chance or was it just something to keep you in the music biz?
10 years ago it was something that kept my passion for performing alive! Those guys have moved on to put together a great band under a different name and they are making some cool music nowadays.
16. After Girls of Porn you disappeared, at least you couldn’t be found on the internet. The only mention of you came on some metal message board where a poster claimed you were living in Florida with your mom and had AIDs. Any idea who started this rumor and why?
Yes I do know who started it. As we all know, once a rumor gets repeated enough times, people actually start to think it might be true. Well, as you can tell, I’m alive and well. I do know who started the rumor and that person has since apologized to me a million times over..
17. Word Association: (we mention a name, you give us your thoughts)
Dave Scott = talented
Joey Uttaro = who ? (Ed. note: Ray is credited as the singer on a Uttaro CD that is often mis-labeled as a Spread Eagle demo bootleg)
Lonn Friend = Acquaintance
Gerri Miller = Kind
Bruce Dickenson = created a monster that ate itself
Gov. Bob Martinez = shit sandwich with pickles
Chris Burke (Corky) = cool
Saigon Kick = Awesome!
Marilyn Manson = Genius !!
Dave Volgraff = Friend
Ray Freeman Jr. = tenacious
Salvador Poe = India (Ed. note – Formerly known as Paul DiBartolo, Spread Eagle guitarist)
Rob DeLuca = professional
Charlie Gambatta = Pimp
Tommi Gallo = great entertainer/artist/comedian
Chris Caffery = awesome guitarist and great joke teller
Axl Rose = Prick!
18. Tell us about your biggest regret ever in life related to being in a band?
Signing with MCA
19. Your biggest ever musical related check and what did you buy with it?
I think I took the biggest check I ever got and smoked it in my favorite pipe.
20. The last of Ray West.
Last show you played under the name Spread Eagle = Sept of last year at the Trash Bar in Brooklyn
Last show you watched from the crowd = Pat Benatar @ BB Kings in NYC
Last time you puked from drinking = It must be a while cause I really can’t remember
Last ’80s hair band CD you listened to = Ratt
Last famous person you shook hands with = Actor Jason Ritter on the set of the indie film “The Perfect Age of Rock n Roll”. It’s just too bad my performance got cut. lol
Last fast food drive thru you hit = McDonalds. Had a vanilla milkshake and fries. How can something that tastes so good be so bad for ya.?
Last time you were in the Button South = I saw a Pantera show
Last time you signed an autograph = 2 months ago at a gig in Queens. I remember that because it’s so rare…lol. This dude steps up to me with the first SE record in vinyl.
Last CD you listened to in the car = The Carpenters Greatest Hits
Last time you visited Metal Sludge = I read a review about Judas Priest, I think
Not sure about other Spread Eagle fans but I’m happy as hell that Ray is back and hope that we don’t have to wait another 15 years to hear new music from him. Make sure you check Ray and Spread Eagle out on MySpace and pick up music by both if you don’t already own it – All Pointz West on CDBaby.com and Spread Eagle on Lovember Records.