Gray was a very atypical band on the New York scene in the late 70s and early 80s. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Michael Holman, Wayne Clifford, Vincent Gallo (for a short time), and I created an automatic kind of musical art flux that was a combination of avant-garde meets the poetic sounds of what was termed "ignorant musicians." I would begin a song with one chord, and then Jean-Michel, playing guitar on the floor with a metal file, would join in on a Wasp synthesizer. Wayne would enter with a riff on his keyboard, and Vince, in his statuesque pose, would experiment with sounds on his electronic equipment. Michael would join in with experimental percussion. Then we would take turns playing sounds and electronic effects in what became a carefully orchestrated chaos.
Glenn OBrien, a musical critic for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine, wrote that Gray was "perhaps the best band on the planet." Jean-Michel would title the songs for the sets. Names like Origin of Cotton, Braille Teeth, Red Ants, The Rent, and Mona Lisa were titles that later appeared in his artwork. Every piece had its own charm, and, wherever the band played, it sounded and looked like a controlled kind of spontaneous madness.
Gray played at Leo Castelli's birthday bash in the early 80s, at the ROCK LOUNGE, located at 285 West Broadway in Tribecca. At that performance, Jean-Michel had brought along a robot-machine that had come from what was to become the Robots Wars television show. The machine had an electric lawnmower engine with metal rods that extended dangerously close to the band members. During the performance he would plug in the engine and it would chaotically jump around the stage. Looking out in the audience at one point, I saw the opened mouths of Leo and his entourage wondering if the machine was going to jump into the audience and hurt someone.