Wafubeh! Some of our subscribers may remember my review of Foreplay by Ray William Roldan. As fortune would have it, I recently got a chance to interview the living legend about his life as a guitarist, musician, and singer. I’m sure you will find our dialogue beneficial.
Warlock Asylum: I would like to extend a warm note of thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. For our readers, who may not be familiar with your work, please introduce yourself. Who is Ray William Roldan?
Ray William Roldan: Well! I’m 59, been workin’ since I was 1. Makin’ art since before that and writing songs along the way. I write, record, and perform Alt-Country, American Roots, Rock, and etc. I’m releasin’ my 4th album “Can You Feel This”, in the spring with my new producer (Max Allyn), whom I found up here in the hills of Topanga, Ca. It’s going to be my first vinyl release too. All of the songs were written in these hills, some inspired by my lifelong Muse and (same person) new wife, (that story later).
Warlock Asylum: How did you get involved in music? What inspired you to pursue your craft as a career?
Ray William Roldan: My grandfather was a Swing Drummer in the 40’s and my grandmother a dancer and singer (on and off Broadway). My parents were young parents of the 50’s, so Elvis and Hank were always on the radio. I started playing instruments at twelve and everything grew from there.
Warlock Asylum: Many people admire your sound as that of a country music purist. Yet, others are fascinated by it due to the fact that you are originally from New Jersey. How did country music become a part of your life?
Ray William Roldan: First off, I ain’t that pure figuratively or metaphorically! LOL! Country music spreads across a lot of lanes these day’s and so do I. And my folks used to see Hank Williams and many others live in Jersey all the time. I started with Elvis moved to Zep, Stones, and Sabbath; then from there to Muddy, Howlin’ Hank, Merl and so on.
Warlock Asylum: What obstacles did you have to overcome to make your musical career happen?
Ray William Roldan: Hell! There are obstacles every day! The biggest and most insidious ones come from your own mind though; stage fright, being left-handed and playin’ right-handed guitar, a little A.D.D. and bein’ older than some!
I spent a little time in acting class to get a grip on the stage right though. Also, the day my first album dropped and I received 5 cases of CD’s, Tower records closed and the whole damn industry changed. I’ve had to invent myself through social media and a lot of on-line stations along with the traditional sources that are still available.
Warlock Asylum: I remember writing a review for your song Foreplay. One thing that fascinated me about the song and much of your music is that you are able to capture our attention with voice and a single guitar. What is your relationship with the guitar and how did it develop?
Ray William Roldan: I’ve played for years. I play every day for hours. I write most of my songs on guitar (though I wrote Those Who Fall and Wyatt Earp on Mandolin). I’ve also been very fortunate to have some really great guitar players add to my albums such as, Bruce Watson, Mark Hayes, Doug Petti Bone. Eamon Ryland, and Max Allyn. I get a great deal of inspiration from the guitar. I carry one in my truck and write wherever I am.
Warlock Asylum: In your bio, you list such greats like Johnny Cash and Elvis as being some of your influences. What is it about their sound that you admire?
Ray William Roldan: It was so raw and real. They, and so many others, addressed and spoke to my rebellious spirit. They really made you ‘feel” something – something the establishment said didn’t exist, “freedom”. Songs say all the stuff most people cant say themselves.
Warlock Asylum: What projects are you currently working on?
Ray William Roldan: We’re getting the new Album “Can You Feel This” in the can. Were putting some videos together, talking to some publicists, publishers, and even a label. I’m also doing a lot of interviews, releasing some songs on compilations and through social media while preparing for live shows later this summer.
Warlock Asylum: What are some of life’s lessons that you learned as a musician?
Ray William Roldan: Well, one is to practice, which means even rebels need discipline. Don’t follow everyone else. Trust your muse and write shit down! Thanks, It’s been a kick talkin’ to ya.
*It’s been great talking with you as well! I would like to wish you all the best in your upcoming projects and musical endeavors. Your contribution to human society and the arts is deeply appreciated!