Cal's three music men, Cameron Saffle, Semisi Uluave and Ray Davison are coming out with an album

BERKELEY -- Three musical minds have found one another in Berkeley, as offensive lineman Semisi Uluave teams with Cameron Saffle and gospel maven Ray Davison to form an ersatz boy band in Strawberry Canyon.

Every Sunday, California linebacker Ray Davison heads to church. It's not that unusual, save for the fact that, as violent as Davison is on the field every Saturday, he sings with the angels.

After knocking heads on the gridiron, Davison retreats to a church choir. Initially introduced to McDonald Avenue Church of Christ, a church in Richmond, Calif., by former Bear defensive lineman Jacobi Hunter, Davison used Sunday services as an outlet for his musical talent. It is actually the same church that Davison's grandfather attended. Davison's father -- Raymond -- was born in Berkeley, and his grandfather, in Richmond -- so the church was like returning home for the Encino, Calif., native.

Hunter may have moved on, but Davison is a fixture. He sings tenor in the church choir. The singing centers him. The Bears, at least under former head coach Sonny Dykes, had walk-throughs on Sunday afternoon, closing out the book on a Saturday game, and then had Mondays off, before diving back in to the week of practice.

"It's kind of like re-focusing your week," Davison said last year. "It's getting ready for it, spiritually, mentally, and for football, too. This is me getting back into the groove."

There have been musical Bears in the past -- William "No Formal Training" Hung of American Idol fame; Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones could certainly hum a few bars with their own R&B compositions; and Alex "Loggy" Lagemann and "DJ Big Red" Mike Costanzo could spin vinyl and spit rhyme -- but recently, one of Davison's newly-minted fellow linebackers, Cameron Saffle, who Davison says has "spent his whole life savings" on audio equipment, has joined the fray. The two first collaborated almost a year ago, on the Bears' Running Man video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPIewYe2Src

Recently, the pair added offensive lineman Semisi Uluave -- who's taken snaps at guard, tackle and center this spring -- to the mix. Like Davison -- who took Performance Practice in high school, doing his own riff on Stevie Wonder's Superstition -- Uluave has some under-the-radar musical skill, having starred in a production of Oklahoma! in high school. His island heritage also lends to his recitative resumé.

"Everybody on my mom and dad's sides of the family, when we get together, it's always what they call in Hawaii a kani ka pila -- just a party," Uluave said. "Everybody busts out the ukulele, guitars, whatever instruments they have, bongo drums, and we just jam the night away. From there, I just picked it up, and fell in love with singing."

Along with Oklahoma!, Uluave performed in Anything Goes as a junior at Honolulu (HI) Punahou, and The Pajama Game, as a senior. He also participated in Chorale, traveling to Boston and New York, seeing Harvard and Yale.

While Saffle -- who's become the performative face of the group -- uses his vocal powers for evil (ripping off spot-on imitations of The Joker and Bane from the Dark Knight trilogy), Davison is decidedly the Pastor of the group -- Reverend Ray.

"The biggest thing is bringing that contagious energy," said Davison in the middle of last season, referring to his exploits both on the field and in the locker room.

When Davison chatted with BearTerritory about his musical machinations last year, he said he preferred to just write the songs that others performed.

"We have guys on the team -- like Patrick LairdBug [Rivera] -- those guys are musically talented," he said. "Patrick Laird is probably one of the better producers, in terms of making beats, so we get together in our spare time and make songs. He's the real deal. Bug is really good at rapping."

During the bye week last season, Davison and his crew were at Laird's house for four hours, sweating over hot microphones and sound boards. The songs recorded have been played in the locker room -- theme songs, Davison called them.

Davison has paid a few visits to the music rooms on campus. In high school, he delved deep into not just the how, but the why of various musical pieces, with a concert being his final in that Performance Practice course.

"You would get some of your teammates, family members to come and watch you in the auditorium -- it was pretty big," Davison said. His senior year concert? Drive by Incubus, Superstition by Stevie Wonder and Heartless by Kanye West.

With Rivera having graduated, but Saffle and Uluave now in the mix, Davison has been pushed to the fore. The remaining trio have bandied about the idea of doing something a bit grander than just a few YouTube riffs. There's been talk of enlisting Marcus Manley -- who has plenty of graphic design experience -- as a cover artist for their first release.

"Stay tuned," Davison said.

"Probably in the next week, in the next week," Saffle assured.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqmE3Fap4Ec

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6y5C7LkSSs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2ev7fKSmZE


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