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‘THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROCK STAR DREAMS AND MUSIC INDUSTRY REALITIES LEADS ONE MUSICIANTO FOLLOW A DIFFERENT MUSE STRAIGHT TO OCALA MAGAZINE. CRE aoa eo Tife when, no matter how things turn out ee cae ee eee ts thing substantial. Even if it all came tum De ec nner a ered eee ae That was life in the music industry; the power Caen tere Seren ee ec} Sere mer ta er eect Pesto sma nee eee ered Se ee eC naesy arock star een er me ee ee Reece Ramey recording our debut record for Elektra Records, I got frecectent sent e sk ce Stseseny Cerca nr rena tat ces ropes at Studio 54 — I was a nobody amid a back: Creer ete or those who don't know, Cello is the birthplace rere rece tree tere et Renee ace Sa EG 1B: hosted a true who's who throughout music history Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis and Ray Charles all created hits there. The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes, Sheryl Crow, System of a Down, Motley Crue... you name it, they recorded at Cello, 1 passed the “A Room, where Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were recording a song for their newest record. They kept the door open in a constant effort to air out the room, if you know what I mean. AS 1 walked by a few times a day, I would strain my eyes: to see what was going on inside before having to turn the comer and lose sight of them. On a couple of oc- asions;Tom would look up and say,“How’s it going?"I ‘wanted to stop and tell him that it's never been better, because’Tom Petty just talked to me! Bur that was way ‘Our band, VonRay, had risen to the top of the local music scene and tried dillegently to get a recording contract, It seemed inevitable, but certain dumb deci- sions were holding us back — dumb decisions tend to do that.In the meantime, I had dsopped out of col lege at the University of Florida because I was sure swe would get a professional deal anytime. We tied for about a year under misguided management, but noth ing came of it, Eventually, my brother focused more and more on his growing family instead of on working, harder for a contract.That left me with the stark real ‘gation of what I had become — just another college dropout, Fortunately, in my darkest hour of despair, Creed's ‘manager, JefT Hanson, called and offered me a job as Hunter S.Thompson and Jack Kerouac were my original “rock stars” too gecky.and I would get thrown out for sure. Best to play it cool. Tu just nod, say “Hey Tom,” and float back to my studio room, T was the only noncelebrity there — well, except {or my brother, and Jead singer of our band, VonRay. As; ‘we roamed the hallowed halls for more than a month, recording our CD,T saw and met enough rock heroes to send any fan shooting off into the ozone. Eric Clap- ton, Audioslave, Weezer, Wileo — I couldn’ believe ‘who was milling around the building. T met Flea, the bassist from Red Hot Chili Peppers, when he dropped by the studio to pick up his motorcycle. Dean Delco, ‘guitarist from Stone Temple Pilots, was very gracious to stop and discuss our fledgling music career while he waited until his singer, Scott Weiland, was ready to ‘get hack to work. “Alright, you guys take it easy” Dean Said to my brother and me. ‘Yeah, okay. Somebody pinch me. EMERGING FROM OBSCURITY UP TO THIS POINT, my music career had consisted ‘of emerging from the very potent Orlando music scene — not to be confused with the Lou Pearlman's Trans Con camp that churned out the boy bands.This music community was downtown Orlando, not Downtown Disney, and it was light years apart in approach. Out of four scene came Matchbox Twenty, Seven Mary Three, Mighty Joe Plum, Creed, and to a certain extent, Collec- tive Soul. None were dancing boys. bassist for a new band he'd just signed — Memphis- based Dust For Life, He said that if I tok the job, in| a couple of weeks Tid be our touring. He had me “Hello? spent about a yeas on the road with Dust For Life. ‘We had very successful tours with Creed, 3 Doors Down and Nickelback, and we played one-off con- certs with a lot of popular bands, including Stone ‘Temple Pilots, Lifehouse and Disturbed We had videos on MTV and VEEL and were on rock radio stations from coast 10 coast. It was my maiden joumey on the road, and that's where they say you learn all your biggest lessons and never come back the same. Unfortunately the leaders of the band learned some harder lessons — nothing ‘could save the band’s ill fate once they began quar reling with their record label executives. The prime ‘movers in that band didn't understand the power and) influence the label hay over your career, and when the chips fell, just like the flick of a switch, the band) ‘ended, After the DFL crashand-bur, I came back to Flor {da to finish my journalism degree at UE realized how vulnerable the music world left me, so I finished col- lege — backup plans are a must in that business. Yet, while I was away with DFL, my brother got very moti- vated to continue his music carees,and he allowed me ack into the band when I returned, Before my final semester was over at UE we bad inked a record deal 99999992999 II9I99IEI LLY IIIIIILI IY SELLY IIIIIIIEPLLYIIILILLPLYSELELIIYIYILILILLYYIPVYIYYPVV III LIAI II (a