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Ray Tomasino – Interview

Ray Tomasino – Interview

Lynyrd Skynyrd, Christmas Concerts, and the 70's
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Southern rock guitarist Ray Tomasino (High Velocity) is interviewed about his family roots, memorable performances, his band High Velocity, and much more.

What first got you into music?

I come from an old Italian family on my dad’s side, Irish and Indian family on my mom’s side, it was always Gatherings where people played on holidays and family get-togethers. Plus my mom play piano and that was a big influence.

Who are some of your influences?

Gary Rossington and Allen Collins from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Carlos Santana, Hughie Thomasson from The Outlaws. Tommy Shaw from Styx, Toy Caldwell from Marshall Tucker, Ricky Medlocke Blackfoot.

Ray Tomasino at Bay Street Blues

What draws you to your preferred genre?

They used to have Christmas concerts at the Savannah Civic Center in the 70s, or should I say the early 70s, that included Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels, and Marshall Tucker Band. We got to go to these concerts they were inexpensive and they were a fun thing to do on the weekends and watching these guys play I got hooked.

What’s the most memorable performance you ever had?

There are several that come to mine that were really pretty good shows, I think the Coolest at the time was the early City Market Saint Patrick’s Day shows. They were fun and there were a lot of people, and it was before it started getting so rowdy. Also the Southern Rock Wood Stock Shows with members from Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet.

There are so many very, very talented musicians here that I’d love to just hang out with for a while

How did you get started in the Savannah music scene?

I grew up in the savannah music scene, I’ve lived here all my life. Most of the local musicians lived in my area that were very good at that time, Bucky and Barry, Bob and Terry Hall, the JoJa band…etc. Savannah has really always had a very strong music scene.

Talk a bit about your band, High Velocity …

High Velocity, started as a weekend band ,, and then we just started playing a lot and did some openings for some very high-level bands such as Marshall Tucker, Molly Hatchet, Ambrosia, Fire Fall, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Mothers Finest, just to say a few.

Name a Savannah artist you’d love to collaborate with, and why?

Now that is a real tough one oh, there are so many very very talented musicians here that I’d love to just hang out with for a while,, Thomas Claxton comes to mind, Steve Prescott with toxic Oscar, Anders Thomsen. Wow, that’s a real loaded question!

The local scene is in good hands though, there’s a lot of very, very talented young musicians who have very good ideas and the talent to be very productive

What are some of your favorite local places to play?

I will say all ,because like friends, each Club presents a different personality of challenges. I do miss the Bayou and Gilleys though.

Your thoughts on the Savannah music scene …

I’ve always thought that the Savannah Music Scene was strong , but there is a lot of people moving down to this area now that are bringing some ideas and styles not really suited for this area. They expect to make it here thinking it’s a simple, and slow. They find out it’s more way more challenging than they thought it would be, and get frustrated and move on. The local scene is in good hands though, there’s a lot of very very talented young musicians who have very good ideas and the talent to be very productive.

High Velocity at Flashback

What’s next for you?

I guess what’s next for me, is to take it day by day, enjoy what I have and what I’ve been blessed with musically in and out of the club. Also to be the best husband, father, friend, and person I can be till God calls to be in His Band.

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