This section is dedicated to our former bandmates who have meant a lot to us and who helped make the Hedonistic Punk Vatos what the band is today.
-Hedonistic Punk Vatos
AFTER 10 YEARS, OUR FRIEND AND BANDMATE, RAY, HAS CHOSEN TO LEAVE TO FOCUS ON HIS HEALTH AND WORK/LIFE BALANCE. WE WISH HIM THE BEST.
Ray "Rayzorbladez" Herrera
How many years of experience do you have?
A little over 7 years experience, since 2012.
List of bands you’ve played and type of music?
Hedonistic Punk Vatos and Gypsy Lux, both rock and roll but HPV is more well rounded when it comes to type of music. Bluesy, punky, lovely, evil, angry, some Spanish influence and then some muthafucka heavy but melodic flavor, as it should be!
What type of equipment do you use, model info, why do you use that type and any special mods?
Four string Squier P-Bass by Fender Affinty Series with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder pickups and new electronics, GHS Bass Boomers or Ernie Ball strings (the heavier, the better), Markbass Little Mark 250 Black Line amplifier, Peavey 15” Black Widow cabinet 4 Ohm and Korg Pitchblack tuner but no special mods. I use it because it sounds great and it’s what I could afford.
What style of playing do you see yourself playing?
I’ve never been schooled on how to play. I don’t know how to read chords, so I play by ear. Yeah, I have the gift of listening and repeating, imitating, whatever. Don’t know how, but I do. I can’t use a pick for shit. I’m a thumper and a slapper, but mainly a thumper… when it comes to playing bass of course. That’s my style!
What’s your philosophy regarding music and your role in the band?
My philosophy as far as music and my role in the band is that just like my band mates, I play what I want because I love it! When other people love what we play, compliment us, whether as a whole, individual, or both, that’s a plus. We love to perform and when we mesh, whether a song is previously orchestrated or a total improvised jam session occurs, you can definitely hear and feel it. I love music, it’s a huge part of my life and you can tell. I love other things in life as well, but music is one of the few things that produce the biggest and best natural high for sure.
Music isn’t something just anybody can play or hear. It takes dedication, the drive, the love for it, the reason of why you want to play it the way you do and the way it ends up sounding. Music is therapeutic. It can make you feel happy, sad, angry, etc. Sometimes it can make you feel all of that; sometimes it can remind you a certain time in your life. Music is more than just some notes being played and lyrics sung. It isn’t just a way of life; it means a whole lot more to me. In a sense, it is a form of life because a song becomes alive if you can understand that.
My role is to keep these guys in check and make sure they’re in total synchronization, so we perform the best when we’re on stage and in general. As my drummer, I keep the steady beat going, this way we’re all gravy baby. And I provide the low end frequency for that beautiful sound you can hear AND feel flowing through you, just like the Force!
Why did you join a/the band and what led you to choose to play?
Well, like I said before, I love music! I love music since I can remember hearing my first lullaby. Yeah, that far back. I grew up listening to different genres of music and it only expanded more as I get older. I’ve seen friends in local and well known bands as well as my share of concerts but never felt that influenced me to be in one.
My guitarist, as well as my best friend, got me hooked onto playing. Can’t remember if it was a year or two before being in a band, but I ended up buying an Ibanez rbx170 and a Behringer Thunderbird 15 watt amp to start off. I would hear him play and I would reproduce it on my bass. I wasn’t as dedicated then but after that I cofounded Hedonistic Punk Vatos with him and so many vocalists, guitarists, original drummer and a temporary break later, he, our drummer and I are the band. The only brief stint I did was with Gypsy Lux in that temporary break from my band, mainly because my guitarist was asked to come back to play with them and his only condition was that I be included as well. It was a learning experience, but it didn’t last that long and their drummer ended up being our drummer.
If it weren’t for the support and positive feedback I’ve gotten, I wouldn’t be here. I also sing some of the songs and I had a tough time coming to terms with that too. I did NOT like the way I sang in the beginning, but you are your own worst enemy. I’ve always had music running through my veins, I just needed the proper direction to get where I’m currently at, to be able to thrive with my mates and become successful way beyond my/our dreams. Playing for free and loving it is great, but it’s gotta pay off sooner or later!
List 5 favorite albums
Well, I have more than five favorite albums, but right off the top of my head:
Blood Sugar Sex Magik by Red Hot Chili Peppers because this was the first album one of my brothers bought me and I fell in love as soon as I heard it. Great musicians coming together and producing what I consider their greatest album!
Second Hand Smoke by Sublime because I love the raw cuts and how Bradley Nowell just sang his heart out. The music, greatness!
Rage Against the Machine self titled album because these guys played the fuck out on the entire album and Zach De La Rocha sang so angrily and passionately!
Judgment Night Soundtrack because I love the collaboration of hard rock, heavy metal with rap, hip hop. This soundtrack couldn’t have come a better time and I thank Lance Fontaine, my high school classmate, for introducing me to it. You fucking rock brother!
And of course I gotta represent the Mexican side of my musical taste. No specific album, but anything by my tocayo Ramon Ayala. ‘Cause if anybody can rock the accordion and in what is considered cantina music, this man right here is the accordion king and no one comes anywhere close to him. Unless you’re Ricky Munoz from Intocable, who was taken under Ramon Ayala’s wing, but that’s another story.
What band, musician, or song inspired you to pick up an instrument?
I have many influences, probably too many to list hahaha! I had a couple of buddies that played bass and showed me a little bit here and there. Like I said before, my guitarist is the main reason I’m here now. Had he not asked me to start/cofound a band with him, I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now. Flea is major influence as far as wanting to play bass although I don’t play anywhere near his caliber. But I don’t mind because he has his own style and I love and appreciate it. I play my own way, influences or not.
Do you have a ritual or routine before playing live?
I get butterflies, jittery, nervous, whatever you want to call it. I get it before playing live. I can’t help it and the day I don’t feel it, I know I’m dead for sure or something is wrong with me, hahaha. I stretch my hands and arms for sure. I psyche myself to get into professional mode. If a little liquid courage is available to help out, I’m there. But I do my best to not be influenced by that. Like I said, it helps out sometimes, but playing takes the edge off everything and gets my adrenaline going.
What instrument would you buy if you could afford it?
There are many basses and I can think of one for sure: the Fender Duff McKagan Precision Bass. As far as a combo amp, I would get the Hartke KB15 Kickback 500 Watt Bass Combo. Definitely would get a hard shell bass case. Last but not least, I would get a Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner.