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Interview with Daniel Ray, May 14, 2019

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:12 - Getting Involved in Music

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Partial Transcript: Daniel talk a little bit about where you grew up...

Segment Synopsis: Daniel Ray explains how his involvement in music progressed from a young age, beginning with his parents buying him a violin at the age of four. In the seventh grade he joined his school's drum line, but became uninterested in violin and drums when his parents got him an electric guitar at thirteen. It wasn't until his guitar teacher gave him an AC/DC record that he ever considered creating music. He also mentions his band, Let's Surf, for which he was one of the two lead vocalists.

Keywords: Back in Black; Brandenburg Concertos; Chris Hopkins; Heidelburg Method; Johann Sebastian Bach; Simon & Garfunkel; Suzuki Method; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

00:07:34 - First Band

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Partial Transcript: How long did you take, uh, guitar lessons for?

Segment Synopsis: Ray spent three years in guitar lessons and began writing songs. He talks about his band Third Generation, which lasted most of high school. They were the only rock band in his small school in Pella, Iowa and so they performed some original and cover songs for kids' parties and at small shows.

Keywords: AC/DC; Bad Religion; Green Day; Hüsker Dü; Metallica; Nirvana; The Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo; grunge

00:13:05 - Moving to Athens

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Partial Transcript: ...but, certainly, you know, I graduated high school...

Segment Synopsis: Ray explains how he decided to move to Athens almost by chance. He wanted to leave Iowa to pursue his rock band and made a checklist of criteria for his new home, Athens meeting all requirements. He got a job his first day in town and met a coworker that invited him to a house show at the Dead Body House. He quickly got a new job at Lee Epting Catering which led to more networking and opportunities.

Keywords: Athens, Ga; China Express; Dayton Family; James Greer; Jason Griffin; Lexington Rd; Tate Student Center; University of Georgia

00:20:11 - Forming a band in Athens

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, meeting anyone...?

Segment Synopsis: While working for the catering company, Ray mentions meeting Jack and Sage Rogers, who introduced him to The Grit. At The Grit, he met his soon to be band member, Mohawk, and they began practicing together. After trying to work with a few people, they formed a lineup that lasted several tours and years. Ray wrote a lot of songs, which they practiced relentlessly before recording a seven-inch record at Shaken Rock Studios.

Keywords: Bad Religion; Bully; Dead Body House; Exit 86; Foo Fighters; Fugazi; Green Day; Jason Richardson; John Reckner; Kip Jones; Michael Guthry; Porn Orchard; The 40 Watt

00:28:55 - First Tour

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Partial Transcript: Talk a little bit about that, the first tour...

Segment Synopsis: Ray describes spending his first tour along the southeast playing guitar and singing for Exit 86 while also playing drums for Donkey Punch. He refers to himself as the fuel that powered the band because he sent out demos, booked their shows, and bought the van. He also discusses the anarcho-punk scene he found them involved with, considering his own band a clean version because their music was fast and aggressive.

Keywords: Alabama; Florida; Georgia; North Carolina; Punk Rock; South Carolina

00:35:22 - Successes as a Band

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Partial Transcript: So no single yet, no record or anything?

Segment Synopsis: Ray lists some of Exit 86's successful moments in the five years they were together. The seven inch record they recorded was sent to five punk rock magazines and a review from Punk Planet gave them a boost in success. They were on several compilations and CDs, and they completed several tours with Jucifer and others.

Keywords: Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy; Mission Records; Wrapped in Plastic

00:40:36 - Forming Let's Surf

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Partial Transcript: What, uh, toward the end of Exit 86...

Segment Synopsis: Ray explains how he and some members of Hunter/Gatherer formed their band Let's Surf towards the end of Exit 86. He believes the tour with Exit 86 and Let's Surf is what officially brought Exit 86 to an end. He discusses the difference in his two bands' music. Although Let's Surf never released any records, they toured just as much as Exit 86 and made a few recordings.

Keywords: Donkey Punch; Rock; anarcho-punk

00:44:45 - Touring/ Band Gear

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Partial Transcript: So, a bunch of touring with that band.

Segment Synopsis: Ray shares his beliefs of how and why Let's Surf was a better band based on their networking, gear, and experience. He also describes the band gear and equipment they had and how it was acquired.

Keywords: Exit 86; Hunter/Gatherer; Les Paul; Mesa Boogie; Michael Guthry

00:48:55 - Other Bands

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Partial Transcript: Um, so, where are we now...?

Segment Synopsis: Ray provides brief description of the different bands he played a role in, including The Dumps and Jack Burton. He also says Jack Burton was a refreshing experience because he focused mostly on guitar rather than singing and playing, which allowed other vocalists to take the band in a direction he never would have been able to.

Keywords: Andy Hollingsworth; Brian Kindamo; Greg Collins; Jason Richardson; Jeff Rapier; Matt Palmerlee

00:54:30 - Later Lessons in Music

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Partial Transcript: Greg brought a whole lot to that band...

Segment Synopsis: Ray discusses what he took from playing in Jack Burton with Greg Collins, it being the first time he played with someone who studied music in college. He also talks about going back to school for an undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia, where he learned more than he was expecting to. He also shares some of the epiphanies he had while enrolled.

Keywords: Aaron Copland; Athens, Ga; Great Gate of Kiev; Introduction to Music; Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky; UGA

01:01:27 - Guitar and Rock

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Partial Transcript: What did you, uh, what did you go to school for?

Segment Synopsis: Ray mentions that he initially went back to school to teach biology like he planned in high school. However, he ended up opening a bar and never finished his undergraduate program. He and Curtiss Pernice discuss the lessons Ray learned in the Intro to Music class and compare learning music on different instruments.

Keywords: Jean (Django) Reinhardt; Larry Eugene Carlton; Pentatonic scale; Rock Music; Steely Dan; Suzuki Method; University of Georgia (UGA)

01:06:51 - Other Bands and Musical Experiences

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Partial Transcript: Was there anything, uh, we can talk about...

Segment Synopsis: Ray describes having assembled string based bands, as well as joining one called Timber, for which he played violin and occasionally fiddled. He also recalls his last band The Tightness, previously Tight Blacks, before forming his newest band Noise Mountain with Ian Schmutte, Ryan Berkowitz, and David Brown.

Keywords: Bluegrass; Country Bar Rock; Exit 86; Punk Rock; The Dumps; Uncle Tupelo

01:11:55 - Reese St House

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Partial Transcript: Can I ask you justa little bit about the Reese St house?

Segment Synopsis: Ray recalls the Reese St house, which he briefly lived next door to. He also discusses the Cohen St house, which was ran by Jason Griffin and James Greer. He says he played some of his biggest house shows there and feels it is very important.

Keywords: Disband; E Broad St; Let's Surf