Ray's interest in the guitar began when he was very young. He started out by making cardboard cutouts of guitars, and "playing along" to the radio. Once he saw Warren DeMartini play guitar while jumping through the ceiling in the first Ratt video, he knew that's what he wanted to do.
At age 12, Ray purchased his first "real" guitar by delivering newspapers around Wisconsin. At 13, he met a friend who played drums, and they started their first band. "We couldn't play for shit", Ray says. Bassist Jim Turba joined later, and they played the current 80's metal covers - Ratt, Dokken, Judas Priest, and Metallica. In Justice For All had just come out, and by the time that album's single "One" had hit the shelves, they had already created their own arrangement of the song. At 15, Ray's band started playing shows, featuring the current metal standards, with their original songs thrown in. The band soon released a three-song demo.
Yngwie Malmsteen was a turning point for most rock guitarists, but players like Paul Gilbert and Jason Becker "changed my life. Jason Becker was God to me". At 17 he began taking lessons with Jeff Loomis of Nevermore. He was soon playing 2-3 shows a month, and won the prestigious Guitar Wars award at a regional music chain in Green Bay.
Ray has a fascination with fast guitarists. However, he enjoys all types of music, and feels that melody is very important. "David Gilmour blows me away." Ray brings these two elements into his own playing style - striving not just to play technically excellent, but also to "play for the song. I love to shred as much as the next guy! But after awhile it gets old. It's not enough to have the tools - you have to know how to use them."
As his lessons continued, his musical tastes naturally began moving into different areas, and he began playing with different circles of musicians. He discovered Dream Theater's first album, and decided not to limit himself to just commercial music. He formed a prog metal band with Jim, doing prog metal covers interspersed with their own originals, and eventually releasing another three-song demo.
Ray soon moved to Minneapolis, where he took lessons at the prestigious Music Tech. He played with various musicians at the school, looking to form a new band - until Equinox came calling.
Ray's playing brought a new dimension to the Equinox sound, as he began writing more guitar-oriented songs with the band. A confessed computer geek, Ray would spend his spare time locked in his home studio, absorbing all he could about computers and recording technology. As the band's lineup evolved, Ray eventually became the band's informal recording engineer/music director, bringing a higher level of quality to both the production and the overall sound.
As the band's sound and identity had clearly evolved, they felt that it was time for a new name. It was Ray who suggested the band's new moniker, Vox Tempus. He feels this new direction represents more of a well-rounded sound. "The original Equinox lineup was very keyboard oriented. Coming into the writing process with them, I felt the band could use more of a guitar edge. This album is a lot heavier than the first Equinox album - and yet there is a lot more variety. The Equinox album had a lot of straight-ahead grooves, with progressive twists. This album has progressive twists with some straight ahead grooves."