Rock Singer With Spitting Problem Becomes Self-Aware (And Sustainable)
Richard Ray had his life turned upside down the day he arrived in Phoenix. After years of performing in and around Seattle, the lead singer for Mudder’s Grudge finally realized he had a spitting problem. It was a typically blistering summer’s day when the band performed on the arid outdoor stage at the Dry Heave Grunge Fest. “All my life I’ve been a singer,” Ray says, “but I never noticed how bad my spitting was because I had always performed in a drizzle. I was shocked.”
Photo: Joey Foley (Getty Images)
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Spitting In The Face of Canada
"I tried controlling it. I tried limiting the amount of liquid I was drinking. Nothing helped. When I won a contest to sing a duet with Celine Dion at opening day of the [Seattle] Sounders season, that was the last straw."
They Called Him 'The Camel'
That was in 2016. The next day Ray began seeing a specialist. But seven months and six specialists later, Ray’s problem had only gotten worse. It was the straw that broke the camel's back.
From Bad To Worse
Then one night, while performing for a sold-out, 10-person crowd at the Amber Bar in Bellingham, Washington, Ray began sweating profusely. Doctors were puzzled.
“He just started dripping sweat. He was flinging his head around and I remember some drops hitting me right in my mouth. I’ve never puked before, but that night I came pretty close,” says Mudder bandmate, Lee Bandini. “I almost quit the band.”
Hope In The Deluge
Ray was on the verge of tears when one day, late in 2017, he made a startling discovery. “I was reading about this drought in Brazil and I thought, 'Yeah, I could help these people.'”
A week later he was on a plane to São Paulo. “It was so hot down there, humid. I had never experienced anything like it. I started producing 50-60 gallons a day. It was amazing. My problem finally made sense. It was a gift."
Lightning In A Bottle?
Now, Ray is getting into the bottled water game. Both sweat and saliva options are available for sale directly to consumer through his website SustainableSweat.org. “I’m raising awareness about my condition, shining a beacon into the world to call others like me to the table...other sweaters. Together, I think we can change the world.”
As for Mudder's Grudge, "We're recording an album right now. It's the best thing we've ever done. Milk The Glands will be out on SoundCloud later this year."
H2 Oh Shit
Richard Ray's case may not be unique, and some folks in Silicon Valley are banking on it. This year, a research group from Goggle has been assembled to scour venues around the country to look for other musicians who might have Ray's gift. If Goggle succeeds, their gamble is one that will pay off for everyone. Whether we like it or not, the world is betting on it.