Michael Ray

Michael Ray Biography

Michael Ray began playing the guitar at the age of 11, after seeing Jimi Hendrix performing in a Woodstock documentary film. He immediately began hounding his parents to buy him a Fender Stratocaster guitar, and when they relented and got it for him, Michael began teaching himself to play the guitar… by ear. Although he ultimately did, in fact, take lessons, he never played what was written, and always changed the notes to satisfy his own creative vision. He first met Gene Simmons of the highly successful rock band, KISS in a club called My Father's Place in Roslyn, Long Island. Simmons was scouting the New York area, looking for a replacement for Ace Frehley, and got word on the street that there was a guy performing there that he should check out. That guy was Michael Ray.

The band performed "hard and loud", and as soon as the set was over, Simmons invited Michael to the V.I.P. section where he and Eric Carr were sitting. Michael gave Simmons his phone number. Soon after he received a call from Gene, inviting him to the Record Plant Studios in New York where KISS had been recording the Creatures of the Night album. This was a test to see how Michael Ray's lead guitar sounded with KISS on multi-track. This would be the first of two major KISS auditions for Michael. After the departure of Vinnie Vincent, the second audition would later be held at Rocket Rehearsal studios in New York, where Michael performed 3 songs from the “Lick It Up” album (“Exciter”, “Gimme More” and “Fits Like A Glove”) – LIVE with KISS. Michael was soon asked by Simmons to start submitting original song ideas to him. Although Michael did not get the contract with KISS, he was in fact quietly being groomed by Gene Simmons himself for other projects that he planned to produce in the future. One of those projects was Wendy O. Williams of the internationally known band, The Plasmatics. Michael Ray signed a 5-year contract as lead guitarist for Wendy’s new solo act (the W.O.W. band). Soon after that he was preparing for his first international tour, which would take him all over the East and West coast in the U.S. and Europe. Michael Ray performed on the Tonight Show starring Joan Rivers in Studio City, CA. Michael wrote songs on the Plasmatics 9th Anniversary album that was released on Profile Records. It was considered to be the biggest selling Plasmatics album to date.

Michael Ray also wrote songs on Wendy's second solo album, the Kommander of Kaos, which was released in 2002 on Powerage Records. It included an added live track of a song written by Gene Simmons, Eric Car, and Vinnie Vincent. After Mark St. John became ill, Michael Ray was asked by Paul Stanley to record tracks on the Animalize album at Right Track Studios in New York but Michael was not available to do so due to previous commitments with Wendy O. Williams in the UK. Simmons was not in New York at the time to comment on the matter.

In the 90's Michael's career was managed by Galaxy Entertainment CEO, Gabe Vigorito who was executive producer and manager of the world renowned band, Kool and the Gang. In 2009 Michael founded his own indie record label - POWERSURGE RECORDS, INC. with his own money and with the help of a private investment firm called MEDIA STAR ENTERTAINMENT. The record company and its website are still under development and they are scheduled for publication sometime in 2010.

Although he has not toured with a live act in many years he continues to write songs and create new ideas. It is as essential to him as breathing. These days he is focusing his creative talents on video production and film, and has already finished production of the “Good Girls Go To Heaven” video, using the original music demo that was prepared for, and shopped to Major Record Companies in the 90’s. Today, Michael works a steady job to earn a living in these tough economic times (and feels privileged to do so) while continuing to express his creativity through music, video and other artistic endeavors.

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