The album bearing the title III
The third studio album by this hard rock project from New York with Ed Terry (Rage And Beyond, American Mafia) on vocals/vocals and drummer Carmine Appice (Cactus, Vanilla Fudge). The album 'III' features JZ Barrell on guitar and Randy Pratt (Cactus, The Lizards) on bass. Many other guest musicians - Pat Travers, Pat Thrall (Pat Travers Band, Hughes-Thrall), Dave Meniketti (Y&T), Vinne Moore (UFO), Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Guns N' Roses, Sons Of Apollo), Tracy G (Dio), Jim McCarty (Cactus), Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Sons Of Apollo).
Alan - Hello and good day everyone. Who will participate in the interview?
Randy - Hi, Alan, I’m Randy…and that’s my NAME, too. I play bass with so many effects pedals that you might not know it’s ME at times. I guess that you could cal me the ”main instigator” of this glorious run of riffage that I’ve been privileged to participate in.
Alan – The third album of the Ruffyunz project is being released this year with the apt title III. Whose idea is Album III? And where did you approach the musicians for this album?
Randy - After 45 years of being the guy who was constantly told “Randy, you. KNOW that NOBODY rehearses this much, right?” I decided that I wanted to write songs more than perform live. I started fumbling around on garage band, writing rough arrangements and vocals. I’d been introduced, by heavenly intervention, to the 3 key people in my life around that time. My wife, Joy, my co producer and all around smart guy, JZ Barrell and the singer that I’d been searching for my whole life, Ed Terry. Let’s ad to that beautiful collision, finally figuring out that, my decades long dream of using wild effects pedals HAD to be done professionally…which I did pronto as soon as I realized that there was a local guy who set me up quickly with 3 large pedal boards. I had them all set on TEN and just went for “crazy”. The first album I did with BASS / DRUMS FIRST writing style was “National Wrecking Co.” using Cactus singer Jimmy Kunes and T.C. Tolliver fro The Plasmatics on drums, then Phil Bader and Jesse Berlin on guitars. ( That band has just finished their 2nd album, about to be mixed ) While on tour with Cactus, we found ourselves on a double bill with Pat Travers. I know Pat well, having done ling tours with my band, The Lizards opening for him all across Europe…even played St. Petersburg, Russia. I handed Pat a copy of NWC and said that I was doing a new band with singer Ed Terry, the young virtuoso shred guitarist Jesse Berlin and T.C. on drums again.…would he be interested ? He said that he was game. What I figured would be one song ended up being a whole album with that line up. We got great reviews and I really enjoyed the process. Josh somehow adopted to my “Black Sabbath / James Brown / Alien invasion efx pedal bass riffs and we created, I think, something probably not exactly METAl or PROG, but definitely heavy and I think, original. Much of RUFFYUNZ II and all of RUFFYUNZ III was created during lock down, giving me access to a breath taking array of…well, they’re celebrities to ME. I’m a FAN as music as I am a musician. Between my long time drum GOD partners, Bobby Rondinelli ( 6 years touring with The Lizards )and Carmine Appice…who I’ve toured the planet with since 2005 in Cactus on harmonica…but never bass…I was introduced to a “who’s who” of RANDY’S favorite guitarists and keyboardists. Covid lockdown was perhaps my most jam packed, non stop creative period ever.
Alan – III which means the third album. What is the difference between the first two and this album? Here you have a link between classic rock/metal and funk. I would say it is quite a difficult connection to make musical sense.
Randy - Well, it’s made perfect sense to me since hearing Trapeze around 1971-72. I’ve tried to explain my musical goal as “finding that sweet spot where Black Sabbath and James Brown meet.” You hear it in ZZ Top, Trapeze, Led Zeppelin, Stray Dog, but I try to push it a little harder in the funk direction…but it’s not a rule that dominates every song. I’m glad that people think the music is funky, but sometimes it’s just HEAVY or WEIRD to my ears. I love all 3 RUFFYUNZ albums and they are all different, but I think by number III Josh, Ed and I had our creative techniques fully coordinated. I think it may sound more consistent, style wise. Which seems to matter to many people.
Alan - I always ask everyone this question when it comes to a project. Are you touring with this project? Or does everything remain for radio purposes only?
Randy - I am 70 this Dec. I’ve toured for 45 years. I’ve found the woman of my dreams. I have 2 amazing studios and work-a-holic creative partners. I’m in a “just making music “ phase, I guess, but I’ve always been able to adapt quickly to an opportunity. I am in the process of creating a “HOME BASE” for my lifetime of music, videos both live and promotional with my amazing new video ARTIST, Dom from <Devillevideo>. I have people going through my massive lifetime trove of stuff and putting it up, free on <hyperspacerecords.com>. There are many pro shot live videos from many of my many bands LOL and at this moment, 30 albums to hear free…with 10 more lined up for final polishing. It’s insane. I guess I can say that I wasn’t lazy.
Alan - If I've had a chance to read the reviews and takeaways about the album, they've been positive. Especially in Europe. Regarding Europe, is your music heard/sold a lot?
Randy - We sold many thousands of cds while The Lizards were touring…same with Star People. The reviews have been so good, I thought at one point that my PR guy, Billy at Glass Onyun had a scam going where I’d pay and get good reviews…then I got some TERRIBLE reviews and felt much better. I don’t think that I want to make music that’s for EVERYONE…not to say that I want to exclude anyone in particular. I cannot claim to have had “hit records”, but I am very proud of my out put, all on display o the website. I feel “SUCCESSFUL”, artistically and have finally satisfied the most difficult critic ever…myself. The music on RUFFYUNZ III, to my ears, is my favorite album of the year…maybe a bunch of years, in the style of classic heavy riff rock…and it’s FUNKY.
Alan – After all, I write for European zines, so we'll stick to Europe. When was the last time you were in Europe? And have you been to the Czech Republic and Slovakia?
Randy - My last tour of Europe was with Cactus in 2017…it was the first half of my honeymoon my gal being a pal and riding in the van with the guys and video taping our shows through Germany and Belgium. Yes, I played a wonderful gig in the Czech Republic with The Lizards
Alan – Let's go back to the album. Who made the music? Who texts? And did anyone help you with editing the songs?
Randy - The songs are credited to Me, Ed Terry and JZ Barrell and, for the first time, the drummer, Carmine. It’s created bass / drums first, often vocals going on before the guitars and keys. I used to write much of the vocals and lyrics, but I have surrendered much of that to Ed lately. I wrote “WARM OASIS” but Ed added some and my wife wrote the lyrics to “MALEVOLENT FOOL”. Josh often, as well as arranging the songs, plays guitar…usually rhythm.The arrangements are sent to the guest players with little instructions. It’s like magic to an old school guy like me, but one of my main talents has always been coming up with riffs and grooves, so it all feels pretty natural to me… I guess I’d have t say that I’m steering the music more than in the past. On “FAR TOO LONG”, perhaps the heaviest song on the record, it’s just bass and drums except for Dave Meniketti’s PERFECT solo.…that bass tone is insane!
Alan – I'd say it's pretty good to know how you rank in radio ratings—both in Europe and outside Europe.
Randy - I actually DON’T know how I rank in that. I’ve just been keeping my head down and pushing forward, keeping those fingers limber every day.
Alan – As I wrote at the beginning of this interview, the album is split. What do listeners prefer more from the work of III? If I had to speak for myself, I'm very satisfied - I like the songs you (play) in the rock style of the 70s. So how do you stand with the listeners?
Randy - When I talk to people, they’re generally blown away. I’m not sure that I know what you mean by “split”…all the songs feel like my children…it’s hard to pick favorites. I feel great joy in making music…it keeps my outlook of a troubled world happy and positive, I feel extremely blessed to be able to make these sounds happen and for the world class group that have formed around me. I am in bliss.
Alan – In Europe, in the Czech Republic or Slovakia, have they already encountered your work? Have they already written about you? Did you get into radio for example?
Randy - I’m pretty sure that I have had my music reviewed from the Czech Republic with The Lizards . I do have a large file of reviews from my travels and releases. Europe has been very kind to me and my guys. I have some very close friends on the internet for the UK, Germany, Greece, France, Denmark …I don’t want to forget anyone, but, yes, Europe has been receiving the message.
Alan – Thanks for the interview, keep up the good work. And maybe we'll see each other sometime in Germany, Slovakia, or the Czech Republic.
Randy - Or…if you ever make it to the new “Best City on Earth” as far as ENTERTAINMENT and just the right amount of naughty, Las Vegas, please look my wife and I up.
Answered Randy Pratt's