by Tina Hall
Brian Ray is best known as the guitarist for Paul McCartney. His musical career was heavily influenced by his elder sister Jean of the duo Jim and Jean. Brian has worked alongside many great artists including, Etta James, Keith Richards, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, Bo Didley, and John Lee Hooker. He was asked to join Paul McCartney who was looking for someone that could easily switch between bass and guitar in 2002. He released his first solo album, “Mondo Magneto” on his label Whooray Records in 2006. His latest solo album, “This Way Up” is out now.
Maximum Ink: You list your sister Jean as one of the most influential and important person early on in your life. What was it like to have her offering support at such an early age?
Brian Ray: As a kid at age 3-4 my sister Jean was 18, a senior in high school and she was a huge fan of Elvis, Everly Bros, Little Richard and Rick Nelson. I remember her looking at their pictures while listening to this emerging music… this new Rock and Roll music. As I grew up she would take me to concerts in town, further sparking my interest. When I showed interest in playing guitar Jean invited me to play with her onstage.At age 15 I was sitting in with famous players and getting support from them. A year later I was doing gigs with her at LA’s best known venues, so I felt as if I belonged onstage. I felt like I belonged in the middle of the music. If not for Jean, I might be a fireman.. I owe my success with Paul to her and to Etta James.