East Bay Ray and The Killer Smiles
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East Bay Ray and The Killer Smiles

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"Record Review - East Bay Ray and The Killer Smiles"

EAST BAY RAY AND THE KILLER SMILES - S/T: While the Dead Kennedy's were touring East Bay Ray was using his spare time writing new material along with Skip McSkipster from the Wynonna Riders and recent DK's tours. Between them they've written a pretty cool twelve track album produced by Paul Leary of Butthole Surfers fame. While there's some DK influence in there it's fair to say that this self released is far from predictable. When the opening track 'Raising The Stakes' came blasting through the speakers I did think this was going be another DK's album but as the album went on I realised that they had some really good songs on this release. Just have a listen to songs such as 'The Heart Is Something' and 'I'm A User' which prove that East Bay Ray and Co can exist without having the need to mimic the DK's. I'm so pleased this album came my direction as it's pure Rock n Roll with social aware lyrics which are certainly up there with the likes of Bad Religion and Social Distortion. Forget what the past arguments have been about the DK's and check out what these guys have been up to in their own right and you'll be pleasantly surprised like I was. I promise this album will kick ass big time! 8.5/10 - Street Voice UK


"Interview: Dead Kennedys' East Bay Ray Discusses His New Band, The Killer Smiles"

by Alex Rice
By his 22nd birthday, Dead Kennedys guitarist Raymond “East Bay Ray” Pepperell had already made an indelible impact on the music world.
The San Francisco band’s debut LP, 1980’s Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, marked the arrival of hardcore punk rock into the mainstream and has held up incredibly well, having been heralded by numerous publications as one of the genre’s essential works.
The seminal punk group hasn’t released new material since 1986, but East Bay Ray has been working as hard as ever over the past quarter-century. He recently took the time to talk with Guitar World about the first offering from his new project, East Bay Ray and the Killer Smiles, for what turned out to be a wide-ranging conversation.
“I really had fun writing and recording new music,” said the guitarist, who’s been back with Dead Kennedys since the band reformed in 2001 (sans original lead singer Jello Biafra) and started his new group with current Dead Kennedys singer Skip McSkipster (of Wynona Riders fame), bassist Greg Reeves and drummer Steve Wilson.
East Bay Ray and The Killer Smiles’ self-titled debut is due to be released September 13 on MVD Audio. Produced by Butthole Surfers guitarist Paul Leary, the 12-track set finds McSkipster singing about “personal relationships and politics” over East Bay Ray’s punchy riffs.
GUITAR WORLD: What got you and Skip writing together? What was it like going from touring with each other to writing and recording?
I’ve always been writing. We wanted to do it, so we started doing it and it started coming out better than we expected, so we carried on. It was an easy transition — from the sense that we had artistic standards, shall we say. We went back and forth and had a good give-and-take, just trying to make it better, and I think we did it successfully.
In your mind, what’s the difference between Dead Kennedys songs and Killer Smiles songs?
There really are no new Dead Kennedys songs, but from my viewpoint, not a whole lot was different because I’m playing guitar in my own unique style. Of course, Skip is singing, and the lyrics are more towards personal relationships and personal politics rather than overt politics. We really don’t think change is going to come from the top-down — it’s going to come from how people treat their friends, family and co-workers. That’s more what the lyrics are about — they’re more poetic and artistic and less journalistic.
I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but are you saying that there’s not going to be any new Dead Kennedys material in the near future?
[Laughs] No. This project actually started as Dead Kennedys, but we decided not to do that since the lyrics were different and we have a different rhythm section. Both Greg and Steve have filled in on Dead Kennedys tours, so I feel like we can get the Dead Kennedys sound, but like I said, the songs are different because it’s a different team of people. We decided at the beginning that it’s not going to be Dead Kennedys part — what would it be? — part six.
Where did the Killer Smiles’ name come from?
Actually, a friend of mine had it. We assessed the current situation, where peoples’ charisma is more important than the content you have. There’s a lot of incompetent phonies getting a whole bunch of time on TV and Twitter, and it’s kind of scary how everybody has an opinion now, but they really don’t know the facts. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.
The name is kind of referring to the hypocrisy of how people are very nice and smiley on the surface, but underneath they don’t really have your interests at heart. It could be a person, it could be a corporation, it could be a politician, or it could even be a journalist. Present company excluded, of course.
Of course. You guys played South by Southwest this year. What was that like?
It’s a big circus there. The best part was that Skip and I were walking down the street and heard this band starting, and it turned out to be Foo Fighters playing a surprise show. We didn’t have our credentials yet, but we talked to a security guy who knew who Dead Kennedys were. They waved Skip and I in, so we watched Foo Fighters play and tried to find our way backstage.
They came back offstage and we figured we’d only go in for two minutes and say hello, but we ran into (Foos guitarist and hardcore veteran) Pat Smear and then (lead singer and survivor of D.C.’s hardcore scene) Dave Grohl grabs me and takes us backstage. We ended up talking for half-an-hour, and he said he had three musical idols — John Bonham, Paul McCartney and myself. I said, “Are you joking?” But one of the first shows he ever saw was Dead Kennedys in D.C. He said his aunt took him and it was the first rock show he ever saw. He’s a really down-to-earth guy, so it was very refreshing.
What kinds of gear have you been using at shows and in the studio?
I use the same thing as in Dead Kennedys. Right now, I’m putting together a Stratocaster-style guitar, although there’s not many Fender parts left on it. I like Seymour Duncan pickups and I’ve been using a Schecter S-1, Marshall 2000 DSL amp, Echoplex tape unit and Line 6 DL4. I don’t use a lot of pedals and I don’t use channel switching in Dead Kennedys, but sometimes in Killer Smiles.
After the recording and touring cycle is over, is the plan to go back to Dead Kennedys or do more Killer Smiles stuff?
I really had fun writing and recording new music. Touring is grueling — it’s a lot of hurry up and wait, so you have 23 hours of traveling and then you bounce around and play for one hour. Skip and I have already started a few new songs together, so hopefully this will do well enough that we can continue on. There’s some places that Dead Kennedys haven’t been to that I’d like to go to, like Cuba and China, but wherever Killer Smiles goes, that’s fine.
Well, you’re a very prolific man.
[Laughs] Well, I wouldn’t say that. Quality over quantity! - GuitarWorld.com


"Dead Kennedys' East Bay Ray Returns With the Killer Smiles"

By Greg Prato
July 29, 2011 2:30 PM ET Although the Dead Kennedys have been back on the concert circuit for several years (with other singers taking the spot of Jello Biafra), the group hasn't issued a full-length album of new material since 1986's Bedtime for Democracy. But DK guitarist East Bay Ray's unmistakable six-string work will see the light of day again when his band, the Killer Smiles, issues The Killer Smiles on September 13th via MVD Audio.

First, though, he and the rest of the Dead Kennedys are contending with the unauthorized use of one of their classic songs, "Too Drunk To Fuck." Nouvelle Vague's lounge version of the song was used in a European Heineken ad – and the band is none too pleased. "A friend of mine told me about it, because basically, the Dead Kennedys have never done a commercial," says Ray. "Our attorney has sent them a letter. We're asking for a public apology. It's shocking in this day and age that some corporate beer company would just take a song and not know that you have to get permission. We would not have given it."

Joining Ray in the new group are three members who have played in recent years with the Dead Kennedys – singer Skip McSkipster, bassist Greg Reeves and drummer Steve Wilson. "I really had a desire to do new songs," Ray tells Rolling Stone. "So [Skip] and I started writing, and they were coming out good. We decided to record them, and I knew Paul Leary from back in the day – the Dead Kennedys and the Butthole Surfers used to play warehouses in Texas. Really hot nights. Paul and I stayed in touch, so I called him up, and he said, 'Send me some tracks,' and he ended up producing it."

Ray also says that fans of his earlier work should be able to connect the dots, musically. "It's got my guitar playing and my guitar sound. But the lyrics are different, because Skip has a different viewpoint on the world. In general, I'd say he's more 'personal politics' and more 'poetry,' rather than 'journalism' and 'regular politics.'" And it's no surprise that the band's name has a political bent – Ray explains that the band's name was partly inspired by the hypocrisy of politicians.

Would Ray, bassist Klaus Flouride and drummer DH Peligro ever consider reuniting with Biafra? "We would. Klaus, DH, and I have been playing together for years. We've offered it to him, and he's had people come talk to us. He's the 'crazy uncle' of the family." - RollingStone.com


"Rankopedia.com - Greatest Punk Guitar Players ever - EBR is currently #3"

The driving forces of punk had a distinctive style and sound from the chunning chug of Doyle from the misfits and Gorgeous Frankinstine. To the high pitch squeel and crush of James Williamson of the Stooges and everywhere in between, the question remains who was the best of them all? Who made you want to mosh and smash?

1. Billie Joe Armstrong ~ Green Day
2. Johnny Ramone ~ The Ramones
3. East Bay Ray ~ Dead Kennedys
4. Greg Ginn ~ Black Flag
5. Keith Levene ~ (P/I/L)
6. Steve Jones ~ The Sex Pistols
7. James Williamson ~ Iggy (Pop) and The Stooges
8. Jade Errol Puget ~ AFI
9. Noodles ~ The Offspring
10. Ray Toro ~ My Chemical Romance - Rankopedia.com


"CALIFORNIAN: The two faces of East Bay Ray and The Killer Smiles"

As the saying goes: "Nothing is ever what it seems." It is a notion that Southern California-based, East Bay Ray and the Killer Smiles, accepted long ago.

The quartet, which boasts East Bay Ray, the founding member of the Dead Kennedys, Skip McSkipster of the Wynona Riders, Steve Wilson of Tatu and Greg Reeves of Cordovan have met millions of people during their time spent touring over the years. It was a factor which played a big part in the naming of their musical ensemble when they teamed up with one another back in September 2009.

"We think the name Killer Smiles conjures up images of wolves in sheep's clothing and silver-tongued devils, the facades people wear to hide their true intentions and con others," East Bay Ray said. "Some of our songs deal with this kind of emotional fakery."
East Bay Ray and the Killer Smiles began as a side project for Ray and McSkipster whom felt a desire to do new songs during their time touring with the Dead Kennedys. Familiar already with both Reeves and Wilson, Ray inquired with them about joining up, and when the response was positive, East Bay Ray and the Killer Smiles was born.

"The landscape for talented musicians is different nowadays, and the Killer Smiles pretty much will have to reinvent how we proceed," Ray said. "But we still want to do it on our own terms and though the music may be less overtly 'political,' still make it relevant to peoples' lives."

East Bay Ray and the Killer Smiles play Friday at The Vault in Temecula, alongside Social Task, the Maxies, the Coltranes, Southern Pariah, and Majazlendie. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show is open to all ages.

"People can expect the energy and rock of a DKs show, but I expect to have a different level of connection and looseness with the audience since the songs are new," Ray said. - By Erika Sorocco - North County Times | The Californian


Discography

East Bay Ray and The Killer Smiles S/T, MVD Audio, September 13, 2011

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"This is a must for any fan of Dead Kennedys."
—Stereokiller

"East Bay Ray's unmistakable six-string work sees the light of day again."
—Rolling Stone

"The Killer Smiles may be the closest thing to a new DKs album since 1986's Bedtime For Democracy."
—Brooklyn Rocks

Legendary DEAD KENNEDYS guitarist EAST BAY RAY and current Dead Kennedys vocalist SKIP McSKIPSTER, from the WYNONA RIDERS, have formed an exciting new band, THE KILLER SMILES. Drummer STEVE WILSON of TATU and bassist GREG REEVES round out the lineup.

The Killer Smiles released their 12 track self-titled album in September 2011 on MVD Audio. The recording was guided by producer (and BUTTHOLE SURFERS guitarist) PAUL LEARY, best known for producing SUBLIME’s massive self-titled CD and their single “Santeria.”

For its members, the name Killer Smiles invokes images of wolves in sheep's clothing and silver-tongued phonies, those masks people wear to hide their true intentions and con others. Some of the songs deal with this kind of emotional fakery, “You’re Such A Fake,” “Raising the Stakes.” Other songs careen from frenetic post-punk, “It’s Broken,” to cinematically tinged guitar rock, “Area 51,” “The Heart Is Something.” A new classic worthy of the band members' heavy reputations!

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He is considered one of the top guitar originators and is consistently in the top 3 on Rankopedia.com “Greatest Punk Guitar Players ever” http://www.rankopedia.com/256/Greatest-Punk-Guitar-Players-ever/Step1/10979.htm

His guitar sound is at the forefront of such Dead Kennedys’ classics as “Holiday in Cambodia,” “Police Truck,” “Moon Over Marin” and “California Uber Alles," recently featured in the film "The Social Network." The DKs release “Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death” is a certified Gold Record in both the United States and the United Kingdom and “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables” and “In God We Trust, Inc.” are certified Gold in the United Kingdom.