photo by michael moore
Lisa Gay and Thrill comprise of:
Lisa Gay b. 21st March 1957, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. (vocals)
Tony Drake b. 16th April 1946, Compton, California, U.S.A. (guitar)
Greg Cook b. 13th October 1959, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. (keyboards)
The current 'live' line-up also includes:
Mark Cargill (violin and once part of the groups original line-up)
Jevonny (J.V.) Collier (bass)
Larry Washington (drums)
Andrew Carney (Trumpet and Flugelhorn)
Louis Taylor (saxophone)
photo by alan mercer
Lisa Gay was born in Los Angeles, California on 21st March, 1957 to a musical family.
Lisa's musical interests began at Coliseum Street Elementary School where she played cello, the ukulele, and sang in the school chorus.
At Audubon Junior HIgh School she sang first soprano in the choir and continued her singing at Hamilton High School in Madrigals.
While attending Pitzer College, Lisa majored in Education and had the opportunity to sing in the Claremont College Choir.
During her brief stay at Pitzer in 1975 she decided to pursue a singing career.
Her amateur experiences (1975-1978) include working in the black circuit clubs of Los Angeles, performing as a soloist and in groups.
From this experience she was hired as a studio background singer, her first session being with bassist Chuck Rainey and the late keyboardist Richard Tee.
Within a few months she became a background singer for Letta Mbula ( A & M Records).
After touring with Letta, Lisa returned to the L.A. circuit clubs and continued as a soloist and backup vocalist.
In May of 1978, Lisa went on tour with Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. and remained with them until June 1981.
Lisa's interest in music never waned; however, Lisa developed in the retail industry.
Lisa was in management at Robinsons, Nordstrom and Macy's, where she also co-ordinated and performed in various special events.
After being in retail management for fifteen years Lisa decided it was time to reenter the musical field, full time, once again.
In June 1996 Lisa executive produced her own demo with Tony Drake and Mark Cargill as producers.
Given the costs of recording and marketing Lisa continued in the retail world through October of 1996 and while at Macy's (downtown Los Angeles store) Lisa Gay & Thrill performed at the popular 'Downtown Mid-Day at Macy's' in June 1998, and returned for an encore performance in November l998, sponsored by Macy's and K-BIG 104 Radio, Los Angeles.
As the recording project was close to completion, Lisa left Macy's to join Tommy Hilfiger (Beverly Hills) which allowed her to explore even more opportunities with the group doing 'live' performances.
In November of 2000, with the release of 'Watch What Happens', the 'Lisa Gay and Thrill' showcase was held at Santa Monica's DC3 for invited guests.
It became their farewell performance in Los Angeles, as the group left to tour on the Carnival Cruise Lines Ship, 'Ecstasy' (Miami / Key West / Bahamas / Cozumel).
The group successfully able to promote 'Watch What Happens', returned this past winter to continue their quest to share the gift of music.
photo by james gay
Tony Drake's professional career began at age fourteen with a list of party / club dates and a permission slip from his mother.
Accepted to the Dawkins Conservatory of Music at age sixteen, Tony studied classical guitar for two years.
For three years hence, Tony was under the private tutelage of the acclaimed guitarist, John Blaylock.
The early 70's opened another genre as a staff musician for 20th Century Fox recording tracks for television shows (including, 'Julia'-Diahann Carroll, 'The Lucille Ball Show', 'The Nielsson Show').
Sought after in the late 70's, Tony was signed to A & M records as a staff musician and recorded for most of the artists on the label including Herb Albert, Merry Clayton, Cheech and Chong and many others.
1981 was the beginning of four years of extensive travel as lead guitarist for the Checkmates.
When they disbanded, Tony freelanced in and around Los Angeles, playing as well as traveling with groups such as The Fifth Dimension and later Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., when they left the group, Gloria Lynn, Aretha Franklin, The Crusaders, Cher, Tina Turner, Mavin Gaye, Esther Phillips, Count Basie's Big Band, H. B. Barnum Big Band, Jimmy Witherspoon, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, The Supremes, Leon Haywood, and En Vogue.
With credits of movies, television, recordings,('Mr. Big Stuff', 'Bad Mamma Jamma', 'Want Ads', 'Half-Breed', Marvin Gaye's 'Here My Dear', Tina Turner, 'River Deep, Mountain High', Leon Haywood, 'Don't Push It, Don't Force It', the former KJLH newsbreak song, 'Choo Choo', 'Black Pearl', Checkmates, Little Johnny Taylor, 'Part Time Love', Papa John Creach, 'The Fiddler Man', and many other tracks) touring, shows, (American Music Awards, Black Achievement Awards, Ace Awards, Lou Rawls Parade of Stars) and record producer, Tony has carved a niche in the entertainment industry that many hope to yet attain.
photo by james gay
Greg Cook was born in Los Angeles, California on 13th October 1959.
At the age of eight Greg began playing piano and performed for many school and social functions.
During high school Greg became a member of the acclaimed Dorsey High School Jazz Workshop and soon mastered the art of playing the guitar, drums and fender bass.
After high school Greg mastered programming, sequencing and orchestration while working with various bands in the black circuit clubs around Los Angeles.
From that experience Greg performed with the group 'Side Effect' and Stanley Turrentine, as well as Phillip Bailey of 'Earth, Wind and Fire', Miki Howard, Vernel Brown, Jr., Deniece Williams and as arranger, writer, and Musical Director with Lisa Gay.
As a staff musician his credits include 'Wind on the Water' for NBC's movie of the week and film scoring for the feature film 'Gridlock'.
Greg is one of the 'first call' musicians in Los Angeles places him in an elite group of players.
Greg is a multi talented musician, arranger and songwriter, whose knowledge covers a wide range of styles and techniques from Beethoven to the Beatles.
His engineering skills has him 'on call' for various recording and mastering projects in and around Los Angeles.
I would like to thank Lisa Gay and Barry Tate for their kind permission in allowing me to utilise these texts
Watch What Happens (Clemenza Records 2000)