Ray Zell guest blog

The name’s Zell, Ray Zell… actually it’s not, but more on that later.

Aerosmith and Pandora Peroxide

Aerosmith meet Pandora Peroxide in Kerrang

HI. The name’s Zell. Ray Zell. Actually it’s not, but more on that later…

Kerrang! readers of the past, will know me as a writer and lover of most things trashed-out punky rock ’n’ roll and of course, Writer/illustrator of the Amazonian bombshell, Pandora Peroxide. Today, Kerrang! readers know me as writer and illustrator of Pandora; the little red-headed-terror niece of Pandora Peroxide. Or, ‘Auntie P’, as modern day Pandora calls her. Now, of course, you can also add to my legend (or infamy…) – Bathroom Wall’s Bathsheba Wall strip and, hey, the very blog yer readin’ right now!

Blog In Black

1984 I created Pandora. That’s a long time ago. Although, I gotta admit, when people are introduced to me and rave about their favourite strip, or, how they had Pandoras plastered all over their walls, etc, I often explain that I can’t take all the credit… as there’s not just one Ray Zell but FIVE Ray Zells. I inform, that, when one ‘Ray Zell’ dies, K! advertise for ‘an artist’, then fill the chosen candidate in on the secret and ask them to draw Pandora as near as poss to the ‘Ray Zell style’.

The reaction to this ‘revelation’, is usually wide-eyed an’ slack-jawed. Then, my victim will stutter, “Well…yeah, I mean, I did wonder how anyone had been doing it for that long. And, the artwork has really changed over the years. So. Yeah. Now it all makes sense…”

Why do I feed these well meaning individuals this total bollocks? Not sure. After all these years, it’s probably easier to deflect the incredible adulation I often receive, than to know how to react to it. Upon meeting me, I’ve had band member fall to their knees an’ do the whole ‘We are not worthy’ bit. How would YOU react to that? You would, of course, create four fake predecessors to break the praise down into more digestible portions. Keeps the ego slim.

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SOOOOOOO HOW DID an old man get stuck with a stoopid play-on-words name? Good question.

To Zell and Bach

In the early ’80s I was in Marionette – atrashed-out punky rocknroll band. Back then I was going by my real name, Ray Mathew. But that didn’t sound very frontman-y. I toyed with ‘Ray Jett’ (Seriously). But, it was Cheap Trick who unwittingly christened me. Every time I heard ‘Gonna Raise Hell’ from the Dream Police album, it sounded to me like Robin Zander was growling, ‘Gonna Ray Zell’. Joke is, I’m not even a big fan of the track; yet, one day, I thought, what the hell – I’ll be ‘Ray Zell’. My new moniker made it’s debut in a Marionette gossip story in Sounds music rag. And, the next time I ventured out into rock ’n’ roll clubland, I was hit with “What’s with this ‘Ray Zell’ shit in Sounds!?”. But, it stuck. I became Ray Zell…

Years later, I was in a recording studio hangin’ out with Brit rockers The Almighty, when the subject of my name came up. I explained that it was a play-on-words of ‘raise hell’. Frontman Ricky Warwick (now of Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders), was surprised, as, he assumed it was supposed to sound like ‘Razzle’ from Hanoi Rocks. Curiously, nobody’d ever said that before – and Razzle was a close friend of mine! I’m amazed the ’scene’ at the time didn’t nail me on that…!

Ultimately, despite ‘Ray Zell’ being a seemingly blatant wordplay, it was rare anyone ever ‘got it’. Although, there WAS that day I was waitin’ on a call to do a K! phoner with Sebastian Bach. I pick up to hear Seb scream, “GONNA RAAAAYYYYZEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLL!”. “Was playing the Dream Police album” roars Seb,” and I went – SO THAT’S WHERE THAT FUCKER GOT HIS NAME FROM!!!!!”


Anyway, you’re not getting any more from me today as those BathroomWall characters don’t draw ’emselves.

Bathsheba Wall by Ray Zell

Tune In Next Week

Each week* Ray will post his gonzo tales from his time at Kerrang and his quest for rock n’ roll superstardom as front man from Marionette. There will be death threats over Pandora and name dropping about his rock n’ roll pals. No doubt he’ll force us to publish his ramblings about UFOs and aliens. *A week on Planet Zell isn’t like a regular week, so think of it as a far more fluid concept. So to avoid upset and disappointment don’t count on 7 days


  1. Wayne McCrory says:

    SO can’t wait for Ray to recount the story of Phil Lewis and his ‘photographic memory’!! A tale of Kerrang! Legend that rockers of a certain vintage (like myself) may remember!!!

    And probably the third funniest feature I ever read in the mag – right after the Matthew Trippe / Nikki Sixx expose and the Tom Jones / Sabbath ‘Miner Tour’ Preview!!! lol

    • Alex Olliver says:

      We do have an email from Ray about the Phil Lewis saga – asked him as our buddy Billy at Rock N’ Roll Relics has been doing some guitars for Tracii and offered to pass some T-shirts on to both him and Phil. I too remembered the “feud” so thought I’d check with Ray and he explained it. Wasn’t meant to be a blog post, but will see if he can expand it into one

    • BathroomWall says:

      WAYNE!!! The Phil Lewis saga is up… and not nearly as juicy as you’d hope… still quite funny though.

  2. Hi Ray

    Love the blog!

    Will you ever be adding more Kontinuum strips to your own website? I used to love the tales of Billy in Kerrang every and am eager to read the whole saga!

  3. Hi Ray . Good to catch up with you here. Have a look around the Fenzyx website especially the photos page. Great memories bud.
    Hope all is well with you.

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