Ray started his music career back in 1972 when school friend Martin Cilia introduced him to the guitar. Martin has gone on to become Australia's premier surf guitarist and is currently touring with Mental as Anything.
Their first band - Plastic Iron featured Martin on guitar and Tony Cooper on drums. Other than the odd school show the band did not gig. Tony went on to play with legendary Perth bands Visitor, Saracen and Trilogy before moving to Sydney, where he has worked steadily over the years recording, playing and producing work for Channel Ten, Seven and many others.
Ray also headed east in the late 70's, finishing school in Brisbane then heading south to Sydney where he played in a number of rock bands. The most notable (or is that forgettable) was Warlord, a band covering Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, Aerosmith & The Rolling Stones, to name a few.
In 1977 Ray drove back across the Nullarbor and joined folk singer/guitarist Will Stewart. The two formed an acoustic guitar duo and worked regularly. "We played small wine bars like The Chelsea Tavern, The Hare n Hound and some tertiary institutions like The Claremont Teachers College and The University of WA in Nedlands. Later I joined The Boogie Street Band playing gigs such as The Albion Hotel in Peppermint Grove and Steves Hotel in Nedlands. Through this period I wrote a few jingles and did a small amount of studio work."
In 1982 Ray drove to Esperance to mix cover band Ethos. This experience led to a stint mixing local Perth band Tuxedo Wave. That band would later become The Motors, one of the most successful money making bands Perth would ever see. Ray continued mixing for a number of years. The experience would prove invaluable later in his career.
Through the same period he played guitar and toured with a couple of hard rock bands - Room Service and Hunter. Neither band was particularly successful, but that didn't seem to matter a whole lot. "Point was, we were out and about gigging, albeit with little or no real direction. Playing in Hunter with the late Andrew Clayton-Smith, one of Perth's great local singers was a fantastic experience." Most gigs were regional WA - as far north as Derby and as far south as Albany.
In the mid eighties, Ray met Rick Veneer aka Gerry Stoll from Rick Veneer & the Vigilantes. He asked Ray to join as bass player. "I worked under the alias Mal Function which was probably quite fitting on reflection!"
The band had reasonable local success playing blues in small bars such as the Karrinyup Tavern, Back Stage Bar, the Scarborough Hotel and the Mosman Park Hotel. Although, essentially a cover band doing ZZ Top, George Thorogood and some R & B standards there were some originals penned by Rick that were also performed.
In the late 80's Ray became a father and that put the brakes on music for a while!
In 1992 his young family made the move to Narrogin, a small rural town about 200 kms south east of Perth where he opened a music store with an old friend, Geoff Rowe, who was the drummer in Room Service and Hunter. It was tough going and difficult to make a living, so he started playing as a solo guitarist/singer on the rural West Australian pub circuit.
"This period gave me the confidence to perform as a soloist and it taught me what being a musician was really all about."
In 1996 the family relocated back to Perth, where he joined saxophonist, Jim Sturrock in a two piece computer-backed combo.
After a few years together the inflexibility of the computer based backing tracks started to wear thin and they both lost interest.
That triggered a break from live playing.
In 2012, at age 53, Ray was diagnosed with cancer.
"My wife was an incredible strength to me through that difficult time. It was a pretty scary, but we made it through.
To those of you who have gone through, or are currently going through similar battles, I salute you - remain strong and stay positive!"
Early in 2013 Ray penned his first song since the 1990's called 'White Coats in Corridors'. It was a song written in recognition of his wife's strength, courage and her unwavering belief that he would be successful in his fight against his cancer.
Writing that song opened a flood gate. By the end of 2013 he had written over 20 songs and had ideas for a dozen more.
Since then, Ray has returned to live playing. Additionally and with help from some incredible local musician friends he recorded his first EP HUMAN which was released in September 2014. Because of the collaborative nature of the project Ray was loathe to release the recording under his own name, instead creating a recording entity - Book Of Shapes.
In June 2016 Ray, with the help from childhood buddies Tony Cooper & Martin Cilia, released another mini album - 43 YEARS . Book Of Shapes now had a sound! Clean distinct production, the use of baritone guitars bathed in tremolo and Ray's penchant for story-telling gave the album a strong, fresh Aussie ambience.
The songwriting continues but the live gigging is more centred on solo performance.