RaYzor Castaldo

1) What are you currently up to?
Well, 99¢ Special is back together and trying to set up some shows. Once its together its going to rock pretty hard I think. Aside that, its typical adult-life (grrr...) .. work, sleep, repeat.

2) Where did you get your stage name from?
I am not sure if "RaYzor" is a stage name. I was always just "Ray". But "RaYzor" came about when I was a kid, I guess Ray was easy to mix into Rayzor. A long time later, I needed an internet nickname, and RaYzor seemed to fit (My BBS nickname, Dizzy, was already taken by a GNR member hehehe). After a while, people just started calling me Rayzor in band situations.

3) Name your 3 high points and your 3 low points during your tenure with the band.
Oh man ... I would have to say the high points are:
1> Some impromptu show that I did with Zadoc, Jeff and myself at some guys house party. That was a riot. I was already in 99 at the time, and Zadoc called me and said "wanna do a jam session show" or something to that effect. I was sooo glad I shopwed up for that!
2> The first time I ever played out in public, at a club, was with Zadoc. Kind of a lesson, the whole "treated like shit" rock n roll club deal. But I loved doing it.
3> the sorta 'reunion' show at Watertown in Nov 2002 ... we had a really tight groove going, and great lineup.

And the low points? Lets see, Low Points:
1> Ryans Cafe in Fulton. A complete mess in any way you look at it. I had to use a foriegn drum kit with no action on the kick pedal, Zadoc broke like 2 or 3 strings on his guitars, etc. His guitars were, at the time, tremelo equipped, so to change a string took a while (a lock and two sets of screws to adjust) ... no backup was around. First time I saw "IF IT CAN GO WRONG IT WIL LGO WRONG" happen at a show.
2> When I was "let go" in 1994. I had joined up with 99 at that time, and apeprently I just couldn't cut both at once. I remember coming to practice and there was Richie with his drum kit. Bummed me out.
3> "The Breakup of Winter 2003" ... As I said before, we had a great lineup, but certain members were not being easy to work with, for several reasons. It sucked it did not stay together.

4) If the opportunity did arise, would you ever rejoin the band for performance or recording? If no, why not, and would any 'certain conditions' change your mind?
In a minute. I have always enjoyed Zadoc's style and I love to play straight ahead drums .. or even guitar or bass when allowed I feel that the very short sessions I had on drums w/ Zadoc in late 2002 were really good. I mean it was a 3 or 4 take session, done in a very minimalistic way, yet it grooved well.

5) What do you think of the current state of Zadoc...and the Nightmare?
I like any incarnation of Zadoc .. and the nIghtmare. It sounds good to me, and its fun to go see.

6) Of all of the members of the band (including our roadies/makeup artists/photographers/etc.), who were the easiest to get along with/work with and who were the most difficult to get along with/work with?
Easiest: Zadoc, Kirk, Jeff, Joe. These guys are just regular genuine guys, fun to hang with, to perform with. I really miss all of them and the sort of brothership we shared.
Hardest: Richie, Dan. Richie cause he seemed abrasive to me, as we were both drummers and there was a sort of competition. As far as Dan, he is a good firend of mine, and I hope will always be. He just interjected himself WAY too much into stuff he had no business being into (at least when he was around at the same time as me). Dan has always been confrontational, and sometimes we fight just as much as we get along. Being in a band with him just did not work.

7) Which songs were your favorite, which were your favorite to play, and which songs didn't you care for if any?
Favorite? I don';t know ... I always liked the slow ones. Its easier to sync on those with rotating musicians - myself included (laugh) For right now, I will pick "Between" as my favorite.
As far as ones I did not care for ... well, I can't really say. To be honest, I just like to PLAY. As long as I could play it, be it Zadoc or 99 or f*ckin country western, I am having fun.

8) What memories (good or bad) stand out the most from your tenure with the band?
Its sad, but the short period of time that was 1996. 99 broke up, so I rejoined Zadoc to do keyboards. Then Jeffery died (Zadoc NOTE: Jeffery Yeshiva was a close friend of RaYzor, the rest of 99¢ Special, and later on became a good friend of mine as well. Tragically, he was killed by an oncoming car while walking home late one night back in September of 1996. His death affected alot of us in our circle of friends and we here in the band dedicated our 1997 effort '...As the Curtain Falls...' in his memory)... I tried to have fun but it was just terrible for me. It still sticks out to me. I wish I could change it.

9) Who were your favorite bands to share billings with, and what was your favorite show(s) that you performed with the band? Are there any bands that you wish you could've shared a billing with, but didn't?
I am gonna shoot as straight as possible as I can here: I don't remember band names. Hate to sound like an ass, but there were too f*ckin many of them. As long as it wasn't those f*cktards from Nine Ball, it was all fine with me.

10) If you had the chance to do things over again, what would you do differently if anything?
I would take that Mall Trip Challenge© that Zadoc and I discussed several times in a car, and see who could get the most women. We were both cowards, and faitful to our girlfriends tho. Yes, at one point, I WAS good looking according to some women.

11) If you had the chance to assemble 'the perfect lineup' for the band, who would you choose to comprise the band?
Well... lets see. It goes without saying Zadoc on guitar / vocals. However, I would have MONSTER on lead guitar. Jeff on bass. Maybe Dark Cloud on keyboards. Me on the drums (with a microphone to sing into to annoy everyone). Kirk could be a guitar #3 .. 3 guitars helps music especially if they do it a-la GNR, each guitarist plays the same thing in a different way, and Kirk was a great rhythm player.

12) What memories do you have about playing or attending the following shows & venues:

Lost Horizon - Syracuse, NY = We played there so many times. It was to learn and grow, and I had fun. I remember a bat on the ceileing our first show. A BAT. Wow.
Ryan's Cafe/Oswego Falls Cafe Fulton, NY =
Vertex - Rochester, NY =
I was with 99 then. f*ckin awesome show, everyone played great that night.
12rms4 - Syracuse, NY =
Another one where i was with 99. ANd another great show. Intimate.
Jamies Coffee House - Watertown, NY =
Halloween .. grr... Jeffery was dead. I hated it.
Shooties - Watertown, NY =
We walked in (this was 1998) and f*ckin FASTER PUSSYCAT was on the CD player. I thought that was cool. It was some private party I seem to remember. We played well. I was on bass that day, and I wanted to destroy Steve Moore's bitchy little girlfriend.
The Continental - Buffalo, NY =
A weird lineup, I was somehow back on drums. Did the lineup changes ever end? I do recall it being a good show and it was fun. That club is massive and is always good to be booked at.
Bleachers - Liverpool, NY =
When I saw Zadoc there (2003) the sound was all sorts of fucked up. I wanted to level the bastard running the board.
Private Parties/other gigs =
These were my favorite shows. The Pool Party as described above was just awesome. A private party ... some kids high school graduation where Bill Shurtliff was hanging out and got ripped on butane, pot and wapatoola. Some really cute chick offered me sex action and I took her up on at least the oral part. Just great fun.

13) Who are your favorite bands right now, and who are you currently listening to?
Guns N' Roses. Still. Otherwise, I listen to whatever happens to be on at the moment that doesn't make me want to puke.

14) The Last of RaYzor:
The last time you've listened to a Zadoc song =
The last time you've picked up drums/bass/keyboards =
two days ago
The last current/former band member you've spoken to =
The last time you've discussed or talked about being part of the band =
last spring
The last local/unsigned band you've seen =
A big event at the landmark ... Small Girl Boils Water and Born Again Savages. Good bands, but bad films downstairs. I hate f*ckin furries.
The last CD you've purchased =
It was a DVD.. GNR Welcome to the Videos, Illusion I, Illusion II. IT counts tho, cause it was music.
The last concert you attended =
Guns n Roses, Nov 27, 2002
The last movie you saw =

15) What was/is your favorite era of the band, past or present, during your tenure or otherwise?
It was the original group I played with. We just had fun. No to say that anything after is bad, but I am partial to the Zadoc / Ray / Jeff / Kirk setup. Maybe its cause we were young and nothing mattered?

Bill, RaYzor, and Dan
16) Did you ever get to see or hear the band, or hear any strange rumors about them outside of your tenures with the band? What were your reactions and/or how did you feel about what you'd seen/heard?
There was the Dan vs Monster thing .. the Monster vs. Zadoc thing .. the Dan vs. Zadoc thing... the Zadoc vs. Curtis thing ... I tried to keep out of it cause if I am not there it was none of my business.

17) Are there songs that you didn't get to play that were either written after your tenure, or were cut from the setlists before your several returns, that you would've liked to have played?
Skipping No More Goodbyes or Another Way always sucks.

18) Are there songs that got cut from the setlist during your tenure that you were unhappy about? What about songs that were added to the set during your tenure that you disagreed with?
Skipping No More Goodbyes or Another Way always sucks.

19) Hypothetically, had you stayed with the band (as opposed to have been dismissed, or leaving on your own accord) do you think you would still be with the band today?
Had we been able to bring together a true band format, meaning people that got along and had fun, then yes.

20) Overall, do you view your tenure being with the band as being a positive, negative, or neutral experience and why so?
Overwhelmingly positive. It helped me grow as a person and a musician and I would never take it back.

21) Anything further you'd like to add?
It was a privledge to be with Zadoc .. and the Nightmare, whether as friends or in the band. I'd do it again anytime.

Thanks again to "RaYzor" Castaldo for being a great sport and answering these questions for us. For more on RaYzor, check out the Official 99¢ Special Website as well as Ray's more humorous websites and his anti-LUNIX site

For more information on RaYzor and his various roles in Zadoc...and the Nightmare check out his entry in the graveyard.