Born May 12 in New York and raised in Cliffside Park, NJ Ray made his name on the Jersey club scene playing in numerous bands such as Quest, F-66, Savage, Vendetta, and Harlette before joining Bobby Rondinelli's band, Rondinelli in 1985. Just a year later, Ray got called up to the big leagues when Black Sabbath asked him to fill in for Glen Hughes (who lost his voice from throat and sinus injuries sustained in a fist fight) on the Seventh Star tour. After the tour, Gillen was offered the vocalist job and went into the studio with Sabbath to record The Eternal Idol. Unfortunately, due to numerous problems plaguing Sabbath at the time both Gillen and drummer Eric Singer (KISS) left the band before the album was released. Gillen was replaced by Tony Martin and all the vocals were re-recorded and the album finally released in 1987 but bootleg demos of the album with the original vocals still exist.
After Sabbath, Gillen would lend his talented voice to projects such as Mel Galley's band Phenomena's album Dream Runner in 1987. In 1988, Ray reached out to Jake E. Lee who had been fired from Ozzy's solo band after The Ultimate Sin tour. The two got together and recruited Eric Singer whom Ray had played with in Sabbath and bassist Greg Chaisson. The band called themselves Badlands and released their debut self-titled album in June 1989 with great reviews. The album reached #57 on the Billboard charts due mainly to the huge MTV hits "Dreams in the Dark" and "Winter's Call". Ray recorded two more albums with Badlands, Voodoo Highway and Dusk before calling it quits in 1992.
After his split from Badlands, Ray was involved in a couple of bands in L.A. one with Randy Castillo called Cockfight and another with Ozzy guitarist Joe Holmes called Terriff. Both never panned out and Ray decided to move back to his home in New York. There he was reunited with old friend and bandmate Bobby Rondinelli in a band made up of old friends called Sun Red Sun when Ray became ill. He passed away on December 1, 1993 from an AIDS related illness. Ray Gillen was only 34 yrs old. \m/ RIP \m/