Teacher Adds ‘Rock Musician’ to Resume

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el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">RYAN PILE
El Vaquero Staff Writer

A new fast-paced, high-octane rock band is making a splash on the L.A. club scene. So, what’s new? This one happens to have lead guitarist who teaches disabled students at this college.

Scott Ramsey’s six-member band, Rayzing Sons, has graced the stages of the Warped Tour 2003 and has been featured in two national commercials.
Like most L.A. bands, Rayzing Sons have been playing shows non-stop since their inception two years ago.

The band boasts two front men, lyricists who effortlessly transfer from rapid-fire rapping to passionate, aggressive melodies.

“Lyrically our motto is life, love, pain, fear and freedom because that is what we experience daily,” said Terrence Washington, half of the singing voice of the band. “Lyrically we just want to express what is here,” he said pointing to his heart.

Most of the ferocious rhyming comes from the rap vocalist of the group, Los Angeles native Arvie Lowe Jr. Bolstering the versatile vocalists is the combination of Ramsey’s grinding lead guitar and Chris Keeshan on rhythm guitar. Joe “Truck” Pippin pounds on the bass guitar and drummer Armonn Livingston adds a bit of funk.

Most would compare the band to Rage Against the Machine with influences ranging from Marvin Gaye and Dr. Dre to Deftones and Sugar, but the band has a sound all its own.

Rayzing Son’s live show is a testament to the energy of rock. They are constantly on the move, banging their heads and jumping up and down, stopping only to belt lyrics into the microphone at the top of their lungs. The in-your-face stage presence leaves most audiences “like a deer in the headlights,” said Ramsey. “They don’t know what to think.”

The band’s hybrid sound attracts many a fan but their uncharacteristically positive lyrics draws the ear of those burnt out on a genre dominated by hate and negativity. “We know that music influences a lot of people,” said Lowe. “It is just a fact.”

The band hopes to offer “a solution” and act as “rock ‘n’ roll’s conscience,” Lowe said.

The band encourages fans to go for their dreams in the song “Fight”: “All it takes is what’s inside/make all your dreams reality/fight the fight for what you want.”

Fans listening to the band’s music take the message of the band and use it positively.

The band received an email from a fan in northern California describing how she was picked on by fellow students at school and had a desire to “exterminate them.” Soon after this she stumbled onto the music of Rayzing Sons. “You guys made me appreciate life a little bit more,” she wrote. “You’re music turned my life around.”

The band members express humility at this kind of recognition. “It reaffirms what we are doing,” said Lowe.

Ramsey is a special education teacher and says this positive attitude is what he hopes to express to the students he works with.

The lifelong Glendale resident works with students with disabilities ages 18 to 22. He trains students for a successful transfer from high school to society at large.

The diverse training involves things such as how to count change, cross the street and interact with strangers. Ramsey’s program, Foothill Area Community Transition Services (FACTS), works with students from GCC three days a week.

The other band members have day jobs as well. Terrence and Washington are both heavily involved with acting. They actually met and formed the beginnings of Rayzing Sons on the set of the “Steve Harvey Show.”

Lowe has been an actor for 13 years and has been on Disney Channel shows “Smart Guy,” “Lizzy Maguire” and “Sister, Sister.” He also appeared in the movie “Newsies.”

Washington can be seen in the movie “Friday After Next” and has been on the television show “NYPD Blue.” Livingston has been his numerous other bands and has appeared in Janet Jackson’s music videos, among others.
The experience that each band member offers only makes the Rayzing Son’s stronger.

The band is growing in popularity and has won three battle of the bands in a row. Their biggest win was here in Glendale at local radio station KROQ’s Battle of the Bands. They have appeared in Titleist golf ball and Florida Orange Juice commercials, both national ads.

They are currently heading into the studio to record their first full album, a venture entirely funded by them.

“From decision making, to song writing, to set development, it is six guys,” says Ramsey. “There is no ego in this band.”

As far as a record label is concerned, the band is not waiting around. The volatile music industry “is in the toilet” according to Washington. Lowe added, “we’ll do the grassroots thing right now but if a record label steps in we will definitely take it into consideration. We are not opposed to a record label.”

The band has high hopes for the future but looks forward to playing as many shows as possible. “We like to be an influence,” says Washington, “especially to young minds.”

Rayzing Sons will be playing at the Troubadour in Hollywood on Oct. 24, for more information go to www.rayzingsons.com.