Whether bursting out of the Bay Area California scene in the mid-80s with LeMans, playing lead guitar for the international super groups The Storm, Hardline, and Two Fires, or assuming road positions with Enrique Iglesias or Menudo’s “El Reencuentro” acclaimed reunion trek throughout Central and South America, Spain, and the United States (including three dates at the prestigious Radio City Music Hall), Ramos is a jack of all trades.
Most known for his work in the Interscope recording group The Storm (also featuring Santana/Journey Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Gregg Rolie, Journey’s Steve Smith and Ross Valory, and 707’s Kevin Chalfant) Ramos put his signature riffs and explosive playing style on the group’s top ten Billboard hits like the #3 charter “I’ve Got A Lot To Learn About Love” plus the subsequent “Show Me the Way,” and “To Have and To Hold” (which was rated #4 “Most Added To U.S. Play List,” earning Ramos and Chalfant two music awards in London). Throughout the early to mid-90s the band toured the world in support of a self-titled disc and its follow-up Eye of the Storm with the likes of Peter Frampton, Bryan Adams, Richard Marx, and Tom Cochrane, playing its timeless blend of album oriented rock and staples of members’ vast catalogues.
“It was such a dream come true to work with my heroes that I saw in concert when I was a kid,” recalls the Puerto Rican born, Chicago bred Ramos, reveling in The Storm’s memory. “Here I was on stage playing with them, because I had prepared myself and visualized it to the point of becoming a reality. It’s amazing when you practice enough to be in that same league what can come out of it.”
Following The Storm’s lightening bolt rise on the charts, he transitioned into the spin off band Two Fires, once again featuring Chalfant on vocals, plus bassist Willie Weeks (Wyonna Judd) and drummer Kenny Arnoff (Melissa Etheridge, Smashing Pumpkins, John Mellencamp, Ricky Martin). Next, Ramos took up where Journey’s Neal Schon left off in Hardline (recording Hardline II and performing at the Gods Festival in Bradford, England), proceeded by numerous tours with the aforementioned Latin artists. As amazing as that string of experiences were for the veteran guitar player, the toil of the road and time engulfed in other people’s projects hindered work on his own material (an endeavor Ramos envisioned ever since earning writing credits on the debut Storm disc).
“You have ebbs and flows with great things happening and periods when you don’t know what’s going to come up next,” Ramos shares. “When you’re on the road constantly, it can wear you out a lot, but you’ve got to have faith and stay balanced. As an artist, a big part of that balance is creating material of your own and staying on top of your game.”
After making a serious effort to take time off the touring trails in early 2002, Ramos finally put his pen to paper and hand to guitar, creating a very personal batch of material and enlisting some of the best session backers in the business. With the help of vocalist Mark Weitz (Malice, Eyes, Odin), keyboardist Michael T. Ross (Hardline, Accomplice), drummer Atma Anur (Journey, Two Fires, Richie Kotzen), bassist Scott Snyder (Accomplice), and supporting keyboardist Russ Greene, Living in the Light sears with melodic rock intensity and soars with power ballad beauty.“The project mixes what I’ve always loved about rock music, right down to the sound of different guitars to having the platform to say what’s on my mind,” relates Ramos. “Musically, there’s been a lot of influence from the past people I’ve played with and those I’ve grew up listening to. Lyrically, I’m trying to blend in themes that go deeper than just rock and roll, girls, and drinking. There’s personal feelings that I’ve dealt with, a heavy handed dose of reality, and even some bits of spirituality.”
From the messages of carpe diem on “Seize the Day” and “The Dream Is Alive” to the religious undertones of “Love Is the Magic” and the title cut, to the party starting yet tasteful revelry of “Night Has Fallen,” the discs’ dozen tracks burst at their seams with passion, power, and pleasantry. Guest bassist Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai) further enhances “Tell Me Why” and “Winds of Change,” while tunes cuts like “Come Back To Me” and “So Far Away” are amongst the many sporting immediate radio ready appeal.
“My goal with this CD is to satisfy my fans and hopefully they like what I’ve done enough to warrant taking this band on tour,” Ramos concludes. “So far the reception has been wonderful, so that should lead to at least a second Ramos recording. As long as I can keep touching people and saying or playing something that they can connect with, than I feel like I’ve done my job as a musician.”