Raven began studying classical and flamenco-style guitar at the age of 9, initially inspired by often seeing Charo performing on TV during the 70’s. The guitar, however, was not his original passion. Like many kids in the ’70’s, Raven was obsessed with KISS… and in particular, Peter Criss. He often arranged whatever noise-making items he could find into a makeshift drumset and drove his parents insane with it while playing along with his KISS records. After some pleading, along with the sonic torture they were enduring, they finally got him an entry-level drum set which lasted all of a couple weeks before it was replaced with a cheap, nylon-string guitar… and enrollment in a middle-school guitar class to go with it.
KISS’ influence did not extend to the guitar because unlike the drums, Raven didn’t really know who was playing what. KISS was rarely on TV in those days, so his guitar influences ended up being people he could actually watch such as Charo, Roy Clark, Chet Atkins, and others who were featured prominently on prime-time TV.
That changed after some friends took the young Raven along to see the Led Zeppelin concert film The Song Remains the Same at around 13 years old. Seeing the stunning image of Jimmy Page on the big screen was unlike anything he saw on TV, and it completely changed his musical aspirations overnight. He was also captivated by the image and playing of Ritchie Blackmore after being given a VHS tape of Rainbow; The Final Cut, which featured many of their popular songs and some live performances.
Raven began playing with friends and joined his first band, called Crystal Tears, in the late 80’s. He achieved a bit of national fame while performing on the UNLV band during the school’s basketball glory years of 1989 through 1991, and became a featured performer every year at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) booth in Anaheim, California for Carvin Guitars throughout the 90’s.
In 2001, Raven finally completed his second album after years of production with legendary Dio and Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice, with the help of long-time Dio engineer and producer Angelo Arcuri at the mixing board. “The Storm Project” was recorded in numerous studios in several cities in three different countries, with most of the recording taking place in Stockholm and Upsalla, Sweden. An alternate version called The London Sessions was printed with the late Randy Williams on vocals, which was mixed down in London by former Led Zeppelin/Robert Plant engineer Benji Lefevre, after a spontaneous studio session was arranged for some needed fixes and overdubs.
The next couple decades saw Raven performing with many bands, including tributes to Janis Joplin, Brooks & Dunn, Ozzy Osbourne, and appropriately… Deep Purple and Rainbow. While performing with another popular Las Vegas cover band during most of 2016 and ’17, Raven developed a friendship with then co-guitarist, Kelly Clove. At the time, Raven had no idea the extent of Kelly’s talents and was blown away when seeing him perform with Burn Unit on the drums. After sitting in a few times with Burn Unit, the need for a new guitarist arose and Raven was fortunate enough to be chosen. He’s very happy with Burn Unit, playing a wide variety of styles and performing with great musicians who take the task seriously while having a lot of fun at the same time.