Johnny Ray of
3 Headed Snake
ON THE CLIMB!
3 Headed Snake is an old school classic power metal band based out of Los Angeles inspired by the sounds of Warrior, Malice, Dio and Iron Maiden.
The group features Floridian lead singer Johnny Ray, whose insanely powerful voice has been compared to Rob Halford of Judas Priest, and guitarist and two-time Grammy-nominated musician Sin Quirin, who has been in the industry for nearly 20 years, playing and songwriting for legendary names like Ministry. After dropping their EP “Wisdom Screams” in 2018 and their most recent release, “Tyrants” in 2021, 3 Headed Snake is set to release a new batch of songs that explore a whole new side to metal, while rooting themselves in their classic and addictive sound. The songs will be available on Bandcamp and Spotify beginning with the first single release of “Untouchable Undead.”
By Kreig Marks, April 2023
KM: Congratulations on the new single, “Untouchable Dead.” When can we expect a full album, the 3rd from the band.
JR: Untouchable Undead is part of a 4 song EP, the first released of the 4. We are actually releasing the next song on the 31st! We have a bunch of other music written, we will definitely keep pumping out music, definitely expect a 3rd album!
KM: How do you feel this song compares to some of the other songs from the first two albums?
JR: I think this one is a little more… Sinister. Creepy. It’s literally about undead mafia out to do grave bodily harm to those who would harm the weak and innocent. It couldn’t sound any other way…
KM: Undead Mafia.....interesting topic. You and Sin are the only 2 “official” members of the band. Who rounds out the rest of the band in the studio and on tour?
JR: Well unfortunately we lost our bass player DV Karloff, so we brought in the mighty Dan McNay, formerly of Tesla, currently of Jack Russell’s Great White! On Drums is Former Ministry drummer Derek S Abrahms.
KM: That's a pretty solid lineup there. Let's talk about your vocals. Your vocals have been compared to Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson, two very strong vocalists. Does that comparison make you feel good or do you feel like you’ve heard that before and are out to create your own impression in the music industry?
JR: Well sure, I think they’re both amazing vocalists - but I do like to think my vocals are an amalgamation of many different singers! I took a lot of inspiration from Geoff Tate, to Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, even Anthony Green, Claudio Sanchez and a bunch of other vocalists… I definitely like to think I have my own sound, but people are going to hear bits and pieces of singers that they are familiar with and draw comparison. I’m always going to take it as a big compliment either way!
KM: You are a formally trained vocalist and actually trained in opera. How do you feel that’s helped you with your career so far?
JR: I have taken my voice very very seriously, and worked very hard on being the best singer I can. I think that people recognize that, and it has taken me very far!
KM: Do you work with a vocal coach?
JR: I worked with some great vocal coaches. The Late Al Koehn was one and worked with some big time singers from the 80s, and especially the Late Mario Laurenti. He was a very integral part of my singing career, and like a grandfather to me. He just passed at 101 years old. But now, I do not work with a vocal coach… now I am the vocal coach! :) I have been teaching for over 10 years, my website is stellarvocals.com if you’d like to learn more!
KM: We'll make sure people see that link. How did you and Sin meet?
JR: So one day I got this bright idea to make a cover of a Symphony X song and post it all over the United States Craigslists. I happened to post at just the right time because Sin just happened to be looking for a singer. He emailed me a few demos and the rest is history!
KM: Take me through the writing process you both have created for the band. Is there a specific formula you finds works best for you?
JR: Sin writes basic frameworks, sends them over to me. I listen to it a few times and wait until some images are conjured up. I then work on building a story with the lyrics, then I come up with a vocal melody and record a demo. It goes back and forth a few times, kneading the dough so to speak, and thats pretty much how 3 Headed Snake does their writing!
KM: As a kid growing up in Florida, what got you interested in music? What were you listening to?
JR: I was a total Nu Metal kid. Korn, Deftones… and of course lots of Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, System of a Down. I was an awkward kid, being raised by my grandparents. Music was my friend. Me and music we’re good friends. I dreamed of being a singer of a cool band growing up… I got my wish!
KM: When did you really decide to pursue music as your profession? Was there ever any second guessing this decision?
JR: I made this decision as a kid. I put my all into it. I never second guessed it, even when my family told me I couldn’t do it, and I would go nowhere. I still did it.
KM: Sometimes it pays to be stubborn and pave your own way. Family life. Are you married? Any kids?
JR: I am! I have a beautiful wife of 21 years, and I have two sons age 17/19.
KM: You’re on tour, on stage, you look out front and see __________________ is in the audience and it just blows your mind. Who is that person watching the band?
JR: Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth. That would blow my mind for sure. LOL
KM: Let’s hear about one of the craziest fan interactions you’ve had.
JR: Well I’m actually very introverted, but I think the one that sticks out is a lady came and asked if she could hug me, then said “I’m not showering after that hug” or something to that effect lollll
KM: What would surprise some of your fans to know about you that’s not really mentioned?
JR: I run a jewelry store.
KM: That's pretty cool.
JR: That’s right, when I’m not singing metal, I’m slinging metal! Lol its called Gold Galore Diamond Center in Hudson Florida.
KM: If you had the opportunity to start your music career all over, is there anything that you would do differently?
JR: Yessss! I would not waste time with time wasters. I would see red flags a mile away and avoid them like the plague. Ideologues who place world views above friendships, people who think they are better than you, (You know, NARCISSISTS) I’d see a mile away and recognize my value. You see, back then I had no self esteem and would allow them to walk all over me because I didn’t think I could do better. I thought I was lucky to have them. I never thought I’d be where I am now and HAD I KNOWN that back then, well - I would have done things differently.
KM: What’s on the schedule for 3 Headed Snake for the rest of the year?
JR: 3 Headed Snake is currently working on a few things… Shhhh don’t tell anyone. ;)
KM: Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shout out to?
JR: Well I would really like to give a huge shout out to Sin! He’s a great friend of mine and has done a whole lot for me and my career. I’d like to give a shout out to my Wife and Kids, and of course my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Kreig Marks, Publisher / Founder TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.