Ray’s 30th Anniversary Performing at Put-in-Bay!

30 years ago today, September 30, 1988, my friend John Salamon (we didn’t know each other then) was booked to play the Roundhouse Bar, but had laryngitis from his performance the night before. So, Roundhouse manager Teri Winchester, called Bob Bob  Gatewood, leader of Calabash (who had recently became the island’s most popular band), to see if they could cover the date. But, Calabash was booked elsewhere. She asked if Bob could recommend anyone else. Bob said, “you should call my buddy Ray Fogg who tours the college circuit. I know he’s in town this weekend.”


I got the last minute call, loaded my gear into my van and started driving westbound. I realized about halfway there that I was not going to make the ferry in time. So I pulled over at that rest stop near Vermillion on Route 2 to call Teri from a payphone and let her know that I was going to miss the boat. Terry said, keep driving to Catawba State Park I’ll have a boat there to pick you up.


Bob Glauser met me at Catawba. We loaded all of my gear from his van onto his boat. We got to the harbor where Teri had a van waiting. We loaded all my gear off the boat into the van. We got to the Round House and we loaded all my gear out of the van and onto the stage. I finally started playing my first Put-in-Bay Show around 10 PM.


Little did I know at that time that I was starting a brand new career, not just playing another show. When you’re a songwriter, you write about your passion. So like most other guys in their 20s, my songs we’re mostly about girls. But, Put-in-Bay changed my songwriting. I found I could write passionately about other things…the island, the people here, their traditions, the water, boats, drinking. And when I found my funny bone, I just observed what my friends did here when they were drinking, took those experiences and made them rhyme. And boom, I had funny songs too.


As I look back on 30 years of performing here, as much as I truly love performing, my memories of most of the shows run together into a big blur. But, it’s the off-stage enduring memories that are clearly in focus and help me realize what Teri and Bob gave me that night 30 years ago. They gave me Put-in-Bay and the life I now know.


This island gave me a place to fall in love again and marry my lovely bride Laura Fogg. It gave me a place to build lasting memories of summers with my wonderful daughter Marissa Fogg. And, it gave me all of you. Because as I look back I realize that I have very few friends that aren’t connected in some way to this island. In short, it gave me a place to call home.


Last night, a crowd packed into Reel Bar to thank me for 30 years of entertainment. But, I realize now that it is me who should be thanking YOU for this uniquely full life I am living because of this island and the people I have met here.


THANKS FOR 30 YEARS! I plan on continuing for many years to come. But, if I get run over by a golf cart today and Pat Dailey, I mean God, doesn’t send me back, I’ve already lived a much more amazing life than I deserve!


When I sober up, I’ll share some moments from last night’s celebration.