Who Ya Gonna Call? Ray Parker Jr!

Recently we had the undisputed honour of performing the hit tune Ghostbusters live on stage with its original writer and performer Ray Parker Jr.

Let me say that again… we played Ghostbusters with Ray Parker Jr.

It’s still not quite sunk in, let me try one more time.


Okay… yep. It happened.

Back in August 2018 we were approached by Monopoly Events’ Andy Kleek with what he described as ‘an exciting proposition’. He wasn’t kidding. A quick phone call established that Ray was coming to town, and wanted to perform Ghostbusters with a band at the ‘For the Love of Sci Fi’ event at Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester.

We’ve been regularly performing Ghostbusters as part of our set for over three years now, and as we played the same event last year Kleek knew that we had the goods. He asked us for a video of us performing the track so that Ray could make sure that we’re up to speed, so I pulled a clip of our Disneyland Paris gig from earlier this year and sent it through.  We soon got confirmation that Ray was happy to perform with us and we were booked for the Opening Concert, alongside another huge celebrity guest, Stranger Things’ Gaten Matarazzo who was to appear with his band ‘Work in Progress’, and opening act ‘The Synth Lords’.

Fast forward to the day of the event itself and we arrived to find the BEC a hive of activity by lunchtime with huge props being built and national press interviewing celebrity guests during the day, whilst the sound and light crew set up the stage for the evening’s performance.  We met Ray who was very relaxed and looking forward to the show, and arranged to have a run through with him at ‘some point during the day’. However, due to press conferences and transport delays this was more difficult to arrange than we at first thought; after a few hours we eventually sound-checked and sent someone to find Ray. He appeared and finally, we managed to run through the song with him.

Ray runs through the riff with Adam and Nick

As he opened his mouth and sang those first few words, “If there’s something strange…”, I got goosebumps as the enormity of the gig we were about to play truly sank in. Ghostbusters is a movie I’ve been watching for over 30 years, and I remember dancing to its theme song at the school disco without imagining that one day I might be drumming with the legendary artist who performed it.

As we performed the song at soundcheck we noticed a group of people had come to see us at work, including several of the guests at the event. Mike Quinn (Star Wars / Muppets) was even live-streaming us to his facebook profile and we spotted Lou Ferrigno (TV’s The Incredible Hulk) and Spencer Wilding (Rogue One’s Darth Vader) watching us as we played.  

After our one and only practice with Ray we were finally ready.

Doors opened to a huge queue of Sci-Fi fans and the show kicked off with The Synth Lords, who performed a superbly crafted set of movie themes on Korg synths which we all felt complimented our set perfectly.  We chatted with the guys after their set and vowed to keep in touch – hopefully, we’ll be sharing a stage again in the near future.

Then it was time for our set; we kicked in with the usual (our rocking rendition of the Star Wars theme, based loosely on Meco’s 1977 version) and proceeded through our own collection of movie music and Star Wars parodies.  The audience were well warmed up after The Synth Lord’s set and we had an excellent response, particularly the ‘OOGA-CHAKA’s during ‘Hooked on a Feeling’.

Then it was time for Ray to join us, which he did along with 8 Ghostbusters cosplayers who danced and sang along with us on stage.

What an experience – we played the song, then carried on, not wanting it to end.  Twice it came to a conclusion, before I brought us back in with a “TWO-THREE-FOUR” bellowed into my mic.  Ray was superb, and gave us a guitar solo during an impromptu breakdown whilst also allowing the rest of the band room to perform (he seemed particularly taken with Adam’s guitar playing).

You can watch a video of our Ghostbusters performance with Ray Parker Jr here:


After the set we caught up with Ray for a quick photo before he was whisked away ahead of a busy weekend meeting fans and signing autographs. I thanked him for an experience we’d never forget, and he told me “you guys were wonderful”.  High praise indeed.

Blues Harvest with Ray Parker Jr.
Photo: Victoria Brokenshire

We stayed to watch ‘Work In Progress’ who are an excellent young band fronted by Gaten (aka ‘Dustin’ from Stranger Things).  Drummer Carmen particularly impressed me, especially when performing his drum solo (which I instantly recognized as being based on Jon Bonham’s ‘Moby Dick’ solo).

Blues Harvest with Work in Progress

After the show both bands hung out together in the dressing room, and we had a great time sharing pizza and stories with each other before heading back home.

I may have watched Ghostbusters when we got back…