eMail titles can portend bad things and yesterday I received one titled, “Ray Neades.” I knew the dude was dead. I didn’t know “Tiny” well, he was one of a string of guitar players in the revolving door known as Angry Johnny and the Killbillies. I’m fairly certain I saw him play with the band at Chicago’s old Lounge Ax back in the late 90’s. Oh! Now I’m certain as I recollect a classic picture of Ray as a guest at the Klug’s Rock n’ Roll Hotel in Lombard, IL. (Dave, you got that pic?)

Anyway, I recall him as a big hearted guy and one who could make an electric guitar scream, even if it did look like a tiny mandolin against the mass of Ray. The late 90’s were a tough time, but it seems he emerged… better. Here’s a piece of a myspace post by Ray that brushes up against those long days and nights:

‘”Grudge Fuck” song by The Scud Mt. Boys -Back in the late 90’s I went through some truly dark times. I used to listen to this song over and over. It to this day means a great deal to me. Very beautiful melody combined with a truly desperate lyric that demands attention.’

Yes, it does. Rest in Peace Ray.

PS – In a “circle of life and music” instance, I did a quick update check on Joe Pernice of the Scuds and see he’s playing the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge on January 14th. Seems a good night to hear some great music and raise a glass to Ray.

Update: Jeff has a great story on Ray over at the Robot left out in the rain.