Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine “Profile” June 2010.
By Joann Busenbark
Sometimes noises and visual stimulation trigger old memories. Those of you who lived in the Rutherford area, out in the “wilds” during the 1990’s, may think of a young man and his band playing their metal music “just a little too loud.” Yep, that would be James Raymond and his band, Vengince. Maybe you were one who called the sheriff to complain or, maybe you were one who liked the sound and pounded your foot to the music.
At a very early age, James was “turned on” to music and took piano lessons, which taught him to read music and develop a sense of music and beat. In addition to music, James and his sister Bridget were theatrical ; James, directing with the family video camera and Bridget, the actress on set! Mrs. Raymond, first generation immigrant from Italy, and Mr. Raymond, Irish from County Claire, did not discourage James from his interest in music and directing.
When James was 14, he and a group of buddies decided it was time to start a band. He admits they sounded terrible, but they wrote and played their own music. Today, after over 15 years, Vengince still writes and performs its music worldwide. James and one other band member have remained “original” performers in the band, and they have toured across 42 States, played over 20 Countries and have successfully released their newest album in stores throughout several countries in Europe. They are one of the few Metal bands sponsored by Jägermeister, doing whirlwind tours, four weeks at a time, in many European countries throughout the year. James has his personal sponsors as well, such as Axis Percussion, who provides his bass drum pedals, and Supernatural cymbals, who provides the cymbals on his kit. All tools of the trade that one never thinks about unless you use them extensively and/or professionally.
Now, you ask, does James have a day job? As a “type A” personality and someone who thrives on action, yes, James has a day job. He is the new Director for our local access television station – Napa Valley TV. James started with Napa Valley TV in 1998 at the age of 17. Now , twelve years later, he is “in charge”. After high school, James attended Napa Valley College, majoring in a transfer program that would allow him to transfer to the CSU or UC system to finish a bachelor’s degree. His focus was on business administration to enhance his managerial skills. His knowledge of electronics started with a two year program offered at Napa High School and he did it all, including an internship at a local satellite company. From there he has taken the hands-on approach to learning.
James is very clear about his passions; music and free speech. He has had many opportunities to move on to more lucrative employment where his skills and knowledge are sought after. Having grown up in the Napa Valley and having travelled with his band to many places in the world, he knows that this is one of the most desirable places on earth to live. He is staying with his roots. James loves teaching volunteers to operate the cameras and learning to produce and edit their very own program. Napa Valley TV operates out of a small space in the old DT Davis School on Pueblo St. The plan is to someday move the studio to the Napa Valley College campus when a new building can be built to house state-of-the-art technology programs.
In addition to his band, James has a Video Production business, contracting with entities interested in special events, including weddings and conferences with high profile presenters.
Is this young man busy? I say “young” because he is not yet 30 years of age. Those of you who knew James as he was growing up may have wondered what he is doing ; now you know! As CEO of the Public Access TV channels 27 and 28 for our community, he is on the first line of defense in protecting 1st amendment rights of the Constitution – free speech on our television airways. Want to do a program on the air or volunteer to help someone with his or her effort? Call James at Napa Valley TV at 257-0574 or e-mail him: firstname.lastname@example.org.