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Ray Gillen

(May 12th, 1959 - December 3rd, 1993)


Birth Name: Raymond A. Gillen
Born: May 12, 1959 - Cliffside Park, New Jersey
Died: December 3, 1993 - New York, New York
Cause Of Death: AIDS Related Complications

1987 Phenomena II - Dream Runner
1989 Badlands - Badlands
1991 Badlands - Voodoo Highway
1993 George Lynch - Sacred Groove
1993 Atsushi Yokozeki - Raid
1995 Sun Red Sun - Sun Red Sun
1996 Rondinelli - Wardance
1998 Ray Gillen - 5th Anniversary Memorial Tribute
1999 Sun Red Sun - Lost Tracks
1999 Badlands - Dusk

Ray was born on May 12, 1959 in New York but was raised in Cliffside Park New Jersey. He was an only child and started singing while in High School. He played the New Jersey club circuit with various bands, most notably Vendetta and Harlette. In 1985 he joined Bobby Rondinelli's band, Rondinelli.

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 quitting 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 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. Gillen was eventually replaced by Tony Martin, 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 Ray do exist on the bootleg circuit. Also, in an interview Tony Martin revealed that the sinister laugh heard on the track Nightmare is in fact Ray's voice.

During the time of the Seventh Star tour, Gillen was asked by project director and co-producer Wilfried F. Rimensberger to join Tom Galley's Phenomena for the recording of the legendary Dream Runner album, a recording that now contains the best rock voices of the time including also Glenn Hughes, John Wetton and Max Bacon on one album.

After that fell through, he joined John Sykes' (previously with Whitesnake and a different band called Badlands) new band Blue Murder. Ray sang demos but parted company when Sykes decided to handle vocals himself.

Ray then contacted Jake E. Lee to form a band. In 1988 Ray started to form Badlands with Jake E. Lee (former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist) and recruited his friend Eric Singer with whom he had played in Black Sabbath. Ray recorded three albums (Badlands, Voodoo Highway, and Dusk) with Badlands and toured from 1989 until 1992. Jake E. Lee was not getting along with Ray Gillen to the point where Ray left the band as Jake was already telling magazines he was fired and being replaced.

Ray went to New York City to form the band Sun Red Sun with old friends, but died from an AIDS related disease in a New York Hospital on December 1, 1993.

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