Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Catching up with San Jose's Ray Stevens II of The Faction, Los Olvidados, Drunk Injuns

Ray Stevens II with The Faction in San Jose on May 10. (All Chris Shary photos)
By Andy

Ray Stevens II: Solid player of bass, skater, upbeat and positive guy ... and DJ at my cousin Eric's wedding to bride Laura. If there was a King of San Jose, he'd surely be in line to grab the crown.

Not a bad resume, right?

This Saturday, Stevens will handle bass duties for THREE bands -- The Faction, Drunk Injuns and Los Olvidados --  at the Volume One Skate Punk Reunion at the Atomic in Las Vegas. Other groups on the bill are JFA, Minus One, Johnny Rad and the Eggplants and McRad.

On May 10, The Faction cranked up the tunes '80s-style for a reunion gig at the Blank Club in San Jose. We heard that the crowd ate it up and our man Chris Shary was on hand to capture the band with these here photos.

Following is a Q and A with Stevens, whom Cat and I know from back in our San Jose days before we took off for Seattle, where we caught The Faction and Los O at the Hey Punk! Fest in 2003. Stevens' other skate punk band Clay Wheels featured cousin Eric on drums and Jonny Manak on the six-string -- now that's a power trio.

Let the Q and A commence:

* What was it like playing with The Faction in the early days?

I was super stoked to play with all of the bands I have played with. The Faction had developed into a pretty good band by the time I joined and I would like to think I made them sound even better.

The Faction's Gavin O'Brien, top center, and skate dude/guitarist Steve Caballero, bottom.

* What were the guys like in the band back then?... describe the various personalities that made everything come together for the band live and the studio.

Stevie (Caballero) and Gavin (O'Brien) are awesome friends (as well as people in general) and the drummers were pretty much always cool to me. It was the lead guitarist that bummed us out to the point of breaking up. When we regrouped in the early 2000s, we made changes to make it easier to deal with. Things are better this time around, though.

* You've got some reunion shows these days... does the band seem just as vital now as it was back then? What's it like playing these tunes 30 years later? 

The sound remains the same. I love playing with those dudes and the songs still rule.

* You've been around music forever... what have you learned from being in bands? Does it ever get old?

To play like every time might be the last. Play better than the last time. Get Rad, Stay Rad! Music, to me, will never get old.

* Describe the recent SJ gig.

Sold out -- crazy packed. Real energy mixed with nostalgic emotion made for our best gig there.

The Faction's Adam "Bomb" Segal.
O'Brien with the wild SJ crowd.

* You've got Vegas on tap with the big skate show ... what are you looking forward to with that one? You'll be playing in three bands! Will you survive the evening? ha ha
I have played the same situation in Seattle, but I had to pick up my fingers from the hospital the next morning!! No, I am hella ready...Helen Reddy!! heheheh.

1 comment:

  1. Right on RAY! Keeping the spirit and soul alive. That is the nectar!