An Interview With Ghostbusters Theme Song Writer and Renowned Musician RAY PARKER JR. On His Upcoming Documentary ‘Who You Gonna Call’ and Much More!
“Who You Gonna Call” is Power Chord Films newest documentary all about that iconic Ghostbusters theme song and the musician responsible for it, Ray Parker Jr. The film chronicles Parker’s rise from the racially charged streets of Detroit, to writing and recording the global smash hit song. The single went platinum in eight countries and won Parker Jr a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
“Who You Gonna Call”? is the first film under the new Power Chord venture. They are a production company dedicated to telling the unknown stories of iconic music artists. It is helmed by global financier Ola Strøm; 2020 Kodak Documentary Award winner Fran Strine.
Along with writing the career-defining “Who You Gonna Call,” Ray Parker Jr. also released 6 full-length studio albums and 8 compilation albums from 1982 to 2011.
Connect With Ray Parker Jr. Online Here: WEBSITE
Learn more Ray Parker Jr. in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How are you and your family keeping busy during this crazy Covid-19 pandemic?
Our home has my four sons with wives and girlfriends and my wife. We play a lot of board games, tennis, pool, basketball, swimming, walking and recording! I’ve also just finished a documentary, “Who You Gonna Call” on my life as well as a new album of new songs
How are you staying connected to your fans?
I’m still working that one out. I’m on social media but I don’t seem to work it as well as my son’s. And no they won’t do it all for me! lol
What kind of music do you think is going to come out of these crazy times?
There will be some who include reference to the times. Others might be more romantic. Not knowing what’s musically ahead is part of the fun.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? If you weren’t a musician today, could you see yourself doing anything else?
Music was everything growing up for me as it kept me on a creative path that eliminated the bad habits youth has. No, I’m from Detroit so I probably would have spent some time building cars
Let’s talk about your new documentary, “Who You Gonna Call?” Have you been wanting to document your life like this for awhile?
This is a story of a kid from Detroit and what evolves to make him the person I am.
It was the director, Fran Strine. I’ve always been too busy living it to document. I’m glad we did though as it’s good to tell the story yourself before someone else does it.
How did you feel about it being made by Power Chord Films, a production company dedicated to telling the unknown stories behind legendary music artists?
Well I’m a musician so I love and appreciate the vision the company enjoys and has.
What were some things about your life and music career that you really wanted to make sure were highlighted in “Who You Gonna Call”? Were there stories that you have been dying to tell?
That I’m a guitar player first and that’s what launched everything. Yes, there were stories I wanted to tell but all the guilty parties including myself are still alive! Then there’s the time Marvin Gaye let me drive his Caddy!
What was it like recording the documentary and revisiting so many of these stories from your past?
Wonderful as this is a new experience and the most rewarding part is words from all my friends that I’ve worked with. Some brought me to tears! I only wish Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, The Spinners and Bill Withers were here and could be a part of it all!
When it comes to the legendary Ghostbusters hit, “Who You Gonna Call,” was there ever a part of you back then that could have predicted how successful it was going to be for you and the movie as well? What did you think of the movie itself? 😊
Absolutely not! The original song was only to be a 20 second part of the opening library scene. Ivan Reitman liked the song and wanted to make it a record so I had to return to the studio and make it longer. I thought it was good but had no idea of the social and long lasting impact!
I loved the movie from day one as I saw it before I wrote the song.
Moving beyond the documentary and reading about your musicianship, I understand that you play 4 instruments and I am curious what your favorite guitars are to play?
Over the years I have played a lot of different guitars and I love them all. A few, fender Strat and telecaster, Gibson 335 and les Paul, PRS, Rickenbacher. Acoustics Breedlove, Martin and Taylor. On my records and others I’ve also played drums, piano and bass. I learned music in grade school on the clarinet and saxophone but quit playing these as I didn’t like blowing!
In general, how do you feel about social media? What do you think social media has done for your career lately?
I’m cool with social media. I don’t know how to get everyone to see things but I really enjoy seeing what my friends are doing and keeping in touch.
As far as what social media has done for my career, that’ a good question as I don’t really know if its made a difference. We’ll see soon as I’m getting more involved and this virus shutdown is making it more relevant even for my group.
What has been your favorite way to connect with fans over the years?
Face to face and shaking hands and hugs. Sounds crazy right about now but I really enjoyed performing and meeting all that liked my music.
You have worked with so many incredible musicians throughout your career like Barry White, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Tina Turner and so many others so I wonder if anyone stands out to you as a favorite? Who did you learn the most from?
I have some favorites but I dare not say as I’d get in trouble! lol For the most part I enjoyed each experience in a different favorite way! Stevie Wonder, working with him was a game changer on all levels even personal.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope all have a smile and have a good time. I’ve never sung about politics or problems per say as I just like clever stories and messages.
What does this next chapter, post documentary life, of yours look like? What are your plans for the rest of the year after this pandemic is over?
Looks like a lot of fun as the new Ghostbusters film is coming out with my documentary and my new album. Hopefully I’ll be able to play live and all would be complete!
I’m staying home as there are a lot of things I can get done in my home. This may be over soon or the government may ease up on things but I’m going to wait extra long on everything!