Of Bird and Cage—Who is Rocky Gray?

16 Jul 2021

Of Bird and Cage is a unique project: a metal album blended with a story-driven game. Symphonic metal will lead you through a story of trauma, madness, and violence based on ‘Beauty and the Beast’. One of the famous artists who helped to bring this game to life is the drummer and guitarist Rocky Gray.

William “Rocky” Gray was born in 1974 in Arkansas. He had been “into music basically since birth”, starting with listening to metal and then death metal, but his debut on the music scene was in 1991 in the grindcore band Shredded Corpse. They released two albums and broke up eight years later. After that, Rocky Gray went on to play in other bands—Soul Embraced and the renowned Christian rock band Living Sacrifice.

Gray hit the Arkansas music scene at a good time. “There was a big music scene here in the late ’90s and the early 2000s. It’s slowed down now, but when it was big, it was good for everybody. I was playing in five or six bands. But as soon as it got big, it started trailing off pretty quickly.” he said in an interview with Modern Drummer.

2005 was a turning point in Rocky Gray’s career—he joined Evanescence as their drummer, the band that arguably brought him the most popular recognition. “Evanescence is from Arkansas as well and I played drums on their very first song that they released on a compilation. We were all friends so it was very easy to step in and be their full time drummer.” Rocky told Tough Riffs magazine. One of the band’s hits was a cover of “My Tourniquet”, originally a Soul Embraced song.

Four years later, Rocky Gray left Evanescence in circumstances that to this day remain unclear. But that didn’t put his musical career on hold. Never one to be in just one band at a time, Gray was still recording with Living Sacrifice and Soul Embraced and also joined the band Machina as well as the horror-themed band Fatal Thirteen.

To most this might sound like a lot of bands to be in, but not for Rocky. “I will always do those bands, all my friends are in those bands so really it’s like hanging out with your buddies and new music happens to pop out of that.” he told Indie Vision Music.

Later, Gray worked with even more bands, for longer and shorter periods, including larger names like We Are The Fallen to small, local bands such as Every Knee Shall Bow, and in 2015, Gray finally came out with his own solo album Accursed.

Accursed is unique since it sheds more light on this versatile musician: Rocky Gray doesn’t limit his musical creativity to just the stage. He’s also known for work he’s done in horror film scores, most notably The Barn and Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories. “The Barn was the first horror film I scored and it was such an amazing experience. It gave me the confidence that I took to all the other films I’ve done. Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories was fun and different because it was a few segments of the anthology and a few themes throughout the film, so it let me stretch my legs and do a lot of different things on one movie.” he told PopHorror.com. Horror flicks turned out to be so attractive to Rocky, that he actually added film directing to his creative portfolio.

What may come as a surprise to many rock fans is that scoring had been an interest of Gray’s for quite a while. “I would have been scoring horror films for 10 years by now if I had started when I wanted to. Time was my enemy at that point, though. I guess just knowing that I could do it given the chance is what made me really dig in and make it happen.”

Accursed also shows the interest Gray has in video game scores since many of the tracks on this album also ended up on the soundtrack to the FPS game Killing Floor 2. He also scored the soundtrack to the video game based on The Barn. His latest contribution to video game soundtracks was the work he did on the metal music-driven game Of Bird and Cage.

Of Bird and Cage is already out on PC on Steam, don’t miss it!

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