|Ray and Kevin
|Ray was born in 1963 and Kevin in 1969
Kevin and I both have played our instruments, and been in bands and other musical activities for a long time. We love
it and that's why we do it. We struggle just like many other musicians, and we still dream about getting our music heard by a
great number of people. We just want to share what we have been working on for so long. To use our God-given talents to communicate
to people with our music. We both have that in common and that is good, but the bad thing we have in common is the same
vision problem. We have a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa and it affects mainly our side vision. We cannot drive
because of it and getting around is no easy task to say the least. Just looking at us you can't tell there is a problem with
the eyes, but just spend a short time with us and you might think we are either clumbsy, or being rude if you extend your
hand to shake. Sorry, but most of the time we don't see it unless we are looking right at your hands with our central vision.
So most of the time our eyes are working so hard to catch what our periphial vision does not. At night, forget it, it
is almost a black out. To be in strange territory is dangerous for us and we are bound to run into things in day time too.
Our condition will gradually get worse over the years but we will not go totally blind, currently there is no cure. We could
use your prayers and good thoughts.
RAY TUTAJ JR.
BIO: I was born in LaSalle Illinois in1963. My father was a drummer, and I would get to see his band play and enjoyed the
sounds created by his group who made a record. My interest in guitar came at the age of ten or eleven. I had a choice between
a mini-bike, like my neighbor friend had, or a guitar. I wanted to be different, so I chose the guitar. I took lessons and
learned how to read music and graduated to more advanced lessons with other teachers. At sixteen I was part of a rock band
and giving guitar lessons. That same year of 1980, I also entered into the Illinois Guitar League State Contest and won first
place with our combo, performing the song; Hard Luck Woman by Kiss. I also won a second place trophy for a guitar solo performance
of Alley Cat. In my senior year, my dream of playing my high school became a reality, when we performed in the gym for a charitable
event called the Jerry Lewis MD telethon. (We actually had two drummers at that gig) lol.
Another band I became a member of was the Western Wranglers in 1981 the same year our family moved to Las Vegas Nevada.
Go West! Living in Vegas was quite a culture shock coming from small town America, to the neon-city that never sleeps.
I was only sixteen and it didn’t take too long to find the music stores and hook up with other musicians. The city was
definitely buzzing with musical activities and such. Concert going was part of the scene, I got to see Van Halen, Rush, Paul
Simon, and Elton John to name a few.
While in Vegas I was part of three bands that were the most memorable for me and those were; A-Century, The World, and
Déjà vu. During the early eighties my brother Kevin was in and out of his own rock groups. He is six years younger than I
and started playing drums at the early age of 9, taught by our father. It was probably around 1990 after my brother’s
music study at Hollywood’s PIT (percussion institute of technology), that we formed the band; The World. His experience
from tech school and Hollywood rock bands, coupled with my college study of music worked well. We were a tight original Rock
Band which included Danny Matthews (vocals and keyboard) and Kevin Kobett (bass). We played the Rock clubs in Vegas and looking
back I think we all knew it was one of the best bands we had been in and with the most potential. We received the Best New
Band Award in 1992 and received some radio play and a spot on Fox 5 television. We built our own 16-track studio and recorded
some unique rock tunes. I had been practicing my acoustic and classical guitar techniques and built up a nice repertoire of
songs and compositions during this time while attending the University of Nevada Las Vegas for music studies.
The end of "The World". When this band dissolved in about 1995, the Déjà vu band was formed. It was covers band only and
was geared toward playing the casinos/restaurants/clubs, and that we did for a couple years until 1997. I was teaching guitar
both privately and at a school of music called "Today’s Music". With my classical guitar I played weddings, art shows,
etc. By 1997 I had wanted out of Vegas after being there since 1981. Sixteen years was enough, the city was getting too big
for me and my eye condition (RP) was getting worse. My dreams of being a "Rock Star" didn’t mean so much anymore. Therefore
I headed back to Illinois.
Why Illinois again? Well, I have always had this addiction you know…to…uh…trains! Yes, that’s right
my interest in model railroading. You see, during the last three years while in Vegas I was building a model railroad display
for a museum for Mendota IL. which was to have it’s grand opening in August 1997. That is a whole different story but
if you search the links connected to these pages you can find out about that. The funny thing was, I had gotten more recognition
for my model building than my music. My work had embraced the covers of four different issues of Model Railroading Magazine!
Many newspapers ran articles about the museum display. That led to the building of the model of the Cherry IL. Coal mine that
had a disaster in 1909, which killed 259 miners. I also have a website for that too. (http://guitarjourney.tripod.com/cheryycoalminedisaster/). Besides all of that I was an avid Railfan photographer and have sold numerous photo CD’s of my work, which yes you
can see at http://icrr.tripod.com/ So back in the first half of the 1990’s I was out photographing trains as a hobby. It was a getaway for me, rest and
relaxation, and maybe some insanity. Anyway it has paid off. So therefore Trains had pulled me back to Illinois. I am sorry
for the digression but that’s really how it all happened.
Music Life in Illinois. When I moved back in 1997 to Mendota IL. I began teaching guitar both privately and at the Susuki
Music School and found myself very busy. No bands were formed but a lot of writing songs and compositions I was doing. I mainly
performed at special events, weddings, restaurants, charities, etc. I was really into a lot of finger picking and discovered
the styles of Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed to name a few. My biggest project of the Mendota years was writing my guitar teaching
book called, Guitar Journey. It has been very successful, to the point I cannot keep up with the orders. I also forgot to
mention that I had invented a chord teaching device called a Chord Constructor. The patent was issued in 1990 and was listed
in the; Who’s Who of American Inventors".
A Time to Focus . I finally built my own little recording studio to record all my projects and to work on writing songs
that would be played on radio and TV someday. In 2002, I had finished the music soundtrack, Cherry Sunset, for a movie that
has not happened yet about the Cherry Mine Disaster. The "Spirit of Guitar" and "Music from the Masters" CD’s are two
other recording projects available. My latest project brings me to the present and that is "Take a Bite Out of Life" If there
was ever an effort to get my music out there and to play my guitar more than ever it is this time. My dreams of being a "Rock
Star" is still not as important as getting to share our music with a wide audience. It is just something we got to do. I am
very happy to say I am working on this project with my brother Kevin who has grown into being one of the most precision drummers
around. He has his own story to tell that can be read in his own bio below. Here we are, 1800 miles apart and thanks to computer
technology we have been able to send wav files back and forth, and he has put drum tracks and some sound effects to the songs.
I have played the Bass and Keyboards and performed vocals on the whole project. Kevin has also done the unique and eye-catching
artwork you see involved with the project. I know we have something uniquely different both in the art and music. We
have great hope this new CD will be successful beginning with it’s release in spring of 2006. We will, push, push, push
in the years to come. I will keep you updated on this website for performances and other news-worthy information.
Ray Tutaj Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org)