I got an e-mail from my good friend Kevin over at PFA Media asking if I’d like to interview Ray Luzier, drummer from another planet about KXM. Are you kidding, of course I would!! If you have no idea what I’m talking about please feel free to hit yourself over the head with the nearest hammer or pipe wrench. I’ll wait…feel better? Good. Now, for those of you who don’t know KXM put out a HUGE contender for Album of the Year 2014. Also, Ray is the drummer for KORN. His body of work is long and vast, and you would do well to look into it (especially ARMY OF ANYONE from 2006!), ya hear? Anyway, here’s what we chatted about:
Amps: Don’t let me get all fanboy here but I’m a big fan of your drumming since ARMY OF ANYONE!!
Ray: Thanks a lot, man. It’s great to hear people appreciate that. That’s one that I can still put on and play and it sounds great. I tend to get embarrassed about my work or self-conscious, but I’m pretty proud of that one.
Amps: Tell me, what’s it like in the world of Ray Luzier right now?
Ray: Well, I’m a dad now. I have a three year old son, and a fiancé, and when I’m home, which isn’t often, I like to do family stuff, you know?
Amps: You have a lot going on, how do you keep it all straight and find time for it all? KXM…Oh my dear Lord!! “Stars”, “I’ll Be OK”, “Do It Now”, “Love”…just wow!!
Ray: Well yeah KORN takes up the majority of my time, but you know, living in Los Angeles you get to know people. I’ve known dUg forever and George and I jammed a little at my son’s first birthday party, and we were like, “You know it would be great to get in a room and write some songs”.
Ray: Oh man, it was great. When we set out to do this, we had one rule, and that was that nobody got to tell anybody else what to do. And if anyone had any pre-written riffs, melodies, or whatever, throw ‘em out the window. We started everything fresh. Even if George would say to dUg, “Hey why don’t you play this part in unison with me?” it was like, “Nope.” And I had never worked like that before. No producers breathing down our necks, it was a great experience.
We spent the first few days kind of feeling each other out, and you know with a virtuoso player like George they can just plug in and go nuts, and he was a little intense, but once we calmed him down (laughs) it really went smooth. His mind, it’s amazing what he does, and that’s why he’s been at the top for almost 40 years now.
Amps: I know you’re gonna get asked this like a million times, but is there ANY chance of this stuff being done live, either this year or next?
Ray: You wouldn’t believe the offers we’ve been getting. We just got asked to do Rock on the Range. I thought they wanted KORN and they were like, “No, KXM!” You know Billy Sheehan is a good friend of mine and I love what THE WINERY DOGS are doing. That would be great to go out together. Of course, Eddie Trunk’s been beatin’ us up a little (laughs) saying, “You gotta go on tour with THE WINERY DOGS!” And you know, we’d love to do something. The thing is KORN doesn’t take much time off. LYNCH MOB can take time off, KING’S X can take time off, but KORN tours a lot. But if something were to happen and say a leg got canceled, I’ll be the first one picking up the phone to call these guys. We’re also looking to do some shows at the end of this year and film a DVD for the fans who couldn’t make it out, so that should be fun.
Amps: So, are you up for album #2?
Ray: We’re already talking about it. If there’s any point where we know the three of us are gonna be in L.A. at the same time for a couple of days we just wanna write more songs. So, it’s coming. When, I have no idea, but there will be another album.
Amps: What’s on tap for you personally right now?
Ray: Well, I’m flying to Ohio tomorrow for a drum clinic with this insane amount of jazz masters and I’m gonna be playing a couple of tracks off the KXM record, so I’m looking forward to that. Then I’ll be heading over to Europe with KORN soon playing a bunch of shows. It’s crazy though, you can be playing all these arenas and then you get home and as soon as the three-year old jumps on you it puts things in a whole new perspective. It’s all “Daddy, come play trucks with me!” and I love it.
Amps: What would you say to aspiring kid drummers out there?
Ray: I think Dave Grohl said it best with that post he put up online about a year ago. Buy a shitty little drum set and play with other guys in your garage. And you have to practice as much as possible. I don’t want these kids thinking that The Voice or American Idol is the way to go. I drove by the auditions recently and they’re out there crying. I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” Yeah, it’s entertaining and all, but you don’t learn that way. I also have to say it’s important to play with different musicians as much as possible. You can have the guys you like to play with, but open your mind and experience jamming with different people. It’s only gonna make you a better player. Play every gig you can, too. I’ve played a Bar Mitzvah one night and an arena show the next. I’ve had gigs where I didn’t make enough to pay my phone bill, you know?
Amps: Say something to the fans of KXM.
Ray: Thank you so much for all your support. People like you Damian, who spread the word and get this out to everyone; you’re what it’s all about. And to the younger kids who’ve never heard of dUg, George, or me, and you dig it, thank you so much. There’s nothing like getting a message from some 18-year old who never heard of us and is all, “I don’t even know how to categorize this band, but I love it!” That’s the best right there.
It truly is. Ray Luzier is not only one of the greatest drummers on the planet, but he is one hell of a great guy that I could have talked to for hours. If for some reason you are one of the few out there who hasn’t picked up the KXM album, then do yourself a favor and go rectify that NOW!!