An Interview with Shilpa Ray

Shilparay In Brooklyn Vegan:

It was approximately a year ago that Shilpa Ray left her band Beat The Devil to focus on her own project with her own band that she calls Shipa Ray and The Happy Hookers. That would make 2009 not only their year, but their first year.

My own excitement for the band came right around January/February when I first heard their 8-song unreleased CD-R. Soon after that they accepted my invitation to play the official BrooklynVegan SXSW showcase, and they've managed to keep busy all year. Shilpa ended up self-releasing their album, and she and her hookers have played numerous shows in NYC – too many to count, but they've included a Woodstock tribute at Castle Clinton, a residency at Pianos, and this year's CitySol festival. And they're ending the year strong. They just opened two NYC gigs for the Fiery Furnaces, are opening for Grant Hart of Husker Du this Saturday at 92YTribeca (12/19), and now have a glowing recommendation from Nick Cave.

Shilpa answered some questions about her year. Read them below…

You released a record in 2009. How'd that go?

Arduous and fun. I loathe tedious, mundane tasks, which works against me in this Golden Age of DIY. I guess I missed out on the “Golden Age” where all a musician had do was play music and snort big record company advances. Part of me wishes I was Rod Stewart. Hell, I don't even get to have a hopelessly devoted girlfriend to takes care of me or at least tolerate my “genius”, my tortured soul, and my many many mistresses.

Have you met Nick Cave? Did you know he was a fan at all before that interview came out?

Actually the story has more to do with my friend Ratso (aka Larry Sloman) than Nick Cave. Ratso's a badass writer who's written for Rolling Stone, High Times, and has authored/co-authored several biographies, namely Howard Stern, Bob Dylan and Harry Houdini. I met him after the Sly Stone Tribute Concert at Castle Clinton, and agreed to do his variety radio show at KGB bar on the Lower East Side. It was mind blowing. I felt like we were transported to 60s, 70s era New York. The kind of stuff I'd skip homework for and read about when I was a teenager. There was even a singer with a platinum white bee-hive hairdo, the spitting image of Dusty Springfield, who opened the show. The whole look and feel of this radio show against the commie red lit backdrop of the KGB bar was so complete.