Remembering Ray Gillen On The Anniversary Of His Passing

On this day, we lost the incredibly talented Ray Gillen due to Aids-related death. There have been many tries to re-release the Badlands albums, but the license is always revoked at the last minute reportedly that the label had made a deal with the ladies who contracted this disease from Ray that the albums would never see the light of day. There are always “new” Badlands CDs on eBay.

According to Wikipedia:

In 1986, Black Sabbath started touring for the Seventh Star album when, after only a few shows, singer Glenn Hughes got into a fist-fight and lost his voice due to the related sinus and throat injuries. Gillen was offered the job to replace Hughes, which meant leaving Rondinelli to accept the offer. After finishing the Seventh Star tour, Black Sabbath recorded their next album, The Eternal Idol, with Gillen. However, due to a mix of financial burden, writing difficulty (Bob Daisley was recruited for writing as Gillen turned out to be not much of a composer), mismanagement and miscommunication that plagued the band, Gillen and Black Sabbath drummer Eric Singer quit before the album was ever released. Tony Martin eventually replaced Gillen, and the vocal track of The Eternal Idol was hurriedly rerecorded note-for-note with Martin before the album was finally released in 1987. However, demo versions of The Eternal Idol featuring Gillen do exist on the bootleg circuit. Also, in an interview, Martin revealed that the sinister laugh heard on the track Nightmare is, in fact, Gillen’s voice. The album was re-released on November 1, 2010, in Europe in a 2-disc expanded set, including a bonus disc with Gillen’s recording.

During the time of the Seventh Star tour, Gillen was asked by the project director and co-producer Wilfried F. Rimensberger to join Mel Galley’s Phenomena for the recording of the album Dream Runner, which features vocals from Glenn Hughes, John Wetton, and Max Bacon. He recorded four tracks. Gillen is also featured in Phenomena’s ‘Did it all for Love’ music video, although he was not involved in the actual recording of that song.

After the Phenomena recordings, Gillen joined John Sykes (previously with WhitesnakeThin Lizzy, and a different band called Badlands) to form a new band Blue Murder. Gillen sang demos but parted company when Sykes decided to handle vocals himself.

Gillen then contacted Jake E. Lee (former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist) to form a band. In 1988 Gillen started to form Badlands with Jake E. Lee and recruited his friend Eric Singer with whom he had played in Black Sabbath. Gillen recorded three albums (BadlandsVoodoo Highway, and Dusk) with Badlands and toured from 1989 until 1992.

Following his split from Badlands, Gillen stayed in L.A. and was involved with two projects. He joined forces with drummer Randy Castillo and Iggy Pop band members Whitey Kirst and Craig Pike under the name Cockfight.[2] He also joined the band Terriff, led by guitarist Joe Holmes, fresh off his stint with David Lee Roth on the A Little Ain’t Enough tour. Gillen rehearsed with the group for several months before moving back to his native New York. He also went to form the band Sun Red Sun with old friends.

RIP Ray!

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