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For Frank Forray, coming of age in the early '80s set the foundation of what was to become a life-long infatuation and love affair with heavy metal music. It was 1982, the year of "Number of the Beast", "Screaming for Vengeance", "Diver Down" and "Speak of the Devil" albums which all left a lasting impression of the type of music that would capture the imagination of a curious 10-year-old for years to come.
Frank was always musically curious, he played violin between the ages of 8 and 12 until the program he was involved with went away. According to Frank, "I think playing the violin was my parent's way of hoping that my Hungarian heritage would find me musically and that somehow I could channel the spirit of Franz Liszt. No luck, I had more Maiden than Liszt in my blood".
As he got older and more infatuated with heavy metal, and as its popularity grew in the early '80s, he knew he had to be involved in it someway. "I had converted my Pancho Gonzales tennis racquet into a guitar, complete with strings made by tying rubber bands together, so that I could jam along with Def Leppard's "High 'n Dry" cassette which was my ritual before my Saturday morning soccer games. Of course, the 'racquet' coming out of my 'guitar' was nonexistent", notes Frank.
1986 was the year that it all changed. It was Frank's freshman year of high school and this is where he met Dennis; as Frank puts it, "two good Catholic kids in Catholic school listening to the "Devil's music". He was the first person I ever knew who had an electric guitar, so an idea ran through my head...we should start a band! Instantly our curious friends jumped in; one said he would sing, another said he would play drums, and another said he would play rhythm guitar. So it was set, the band was my idea and I was out of it before it started. So I turned to Dennis and he said, "Why don't you play bass?" With a puzzled response of, 'huh?' that was my introduction to bass guitar."
So, to be in the band Frank had to buy a bass guitar. He cut his neighbor's lawn twice a month for $12 and saved every dollar so that he could buy a Sear's Roebuck bass guitar. He still has it hanging on the wall of his studio. And from there started his bass playing quest and he never looked back.
Frank predominantly plays Fender precision bass guitars. He figured if they were good enough for Steve Harris, they were good enough for him to play as he was learning… and they were. Over the years he has tried other styles and makes of bass guitars, but he always comes back to Fender p-basses. "They just fit my physical attack-like style of playing", says Frank.
Writing music came naturally to Frank, "I write the type of music I hear in my head and what I think Dennis would enjoy playing. I don't have any formal training in playing bass or writing, so I'm pretty much self-taught. I predominantly write by myself, the music first, bass second and then lyrics. I write everything on my classical guitar and then translate it to electric guitar and bass. Dennis and I have a pretty good system; if I struggle with lyrics for a song, I tell him to write something. This was the case with 'Our Last Days' and 'Prisoner of the World'. Sometimes he writes a song around a really killer riff and that will inspire me to write lyrics such was the case with 'Hour 21' and 'If It Bleeds'".
Frank's main influences are Steve Harris, Phil Lynott, Billy Sheehan, Cliff Burton, and Yngwie J. Malmsteen. His style of playing is derived from Steve Harris and Phil Lynott. His stage presence comes from Steve Harris, Cliff Burton, and Billy Sheehan. Billy inspires him to adlib and takes chances musically. And his composing and recording influences come from Steve Harris and Yngwie.
For someone who had no clue what bass guitar was, Frank absolutely loves playing bass and has so much fun that he couldn't see himself playing another instrument in a band. And as for the type of music he plays, "heavy metal is it! No matter how unpopular or uncool it may have been over my 20 years of playing in a heavy metal band, it's in my blood", Frank proudly states.
"It can never be too much metal!"
4A Music Lessons
Frank Forray is an international recording artist with over 25 years of experience in songwriting, recording, performing, producing and 1:1 and classroom music education.
Frank is also member of ASCAP and has over 30 songwriting credits to his name and has shared the stage with many greats of hard rock music including, UFO, Dokken, Michael Schenker, Y&T, Uli Jon Roth, Mr. Big and many others.
Frank is available for 1:1 and classroom instruction in the Los Angeles, CA area or anywhere in the world via Skype. Interested beginning and intermediate students can contact Frank for rates, times and locations