Fooling around: Entertainer and musician Ray Pasnen was known to joke around with locals and tourists during his nightly performances at The Swizzle Inn. *Photos supplied
Fooling around: Entertainer and musician Ray Pasnen was known to joke around with locals and tourists during his nightly performances at The Swizzle Inn. *Photos supplied
<
1
2
>
Musician Ray Pasnen has said goodbye to his "drunkenly debauched" nightly performances at The Swizzle Inn.

The well-known entertainer has left Bermuda after 13 years of performing to locals and tourists at the Bailey's Bay pub.

With a repertoire of about 500 songs, he'd take requests and sing everything from The Beatles to Bob Marley.

Ray kept everyone laughing by combining his skills playing the piano, guitar and harmonica with a "a comedic package that is not soon forgotten."

But he is perhaps best known for continuing to keep up his musical routine regardless of how many shots or beers he'd consumed.

Ray said: "I've basically been drinking for a living and I've loved every minute!

'It's fair to say I'd drink quite a bit when performing but I'd still somehow maintain my sense of musical ability.

"Every night was a different show, depending on what people wanted to hear, but I would definitely call it drunken debauchery!" he said.

The 40-year-old, who once opened for Johnny Cash, added: "I got to know so many people, I'd see the same tourists returning year after year and locals just loved coming to hang out.

"Even in the dismal weather, there would be good turn-outs."

Up to 300 people turned up to Ray's leaving party at The Swizzle on January 15. He performed a few songs and Neil Burnie accompanied him on saxophone.

He said: "It was really nice, it felt like half the island had come out to say bye, people were spilling out into the parking lot.

"It was so hard to say goodbye and leave the island, it had been my home for so long."

Ray was disappointed to hear his temporary work permit would not be renewed. He had been in Bermuda for up to eight months a year (usually April to November) for a total of 15 years. He initially did two summers at the Wharf Tavern, now the Tavern by the Sea, in St. George's before moving to The Swizzle Inn.

"I've always been on a temporary work permit and they (government) determined I'd been here for too long and had to go.

"But I don't hold any grudges or have any ill feelings, not at all, they've got a job to do and my time was up," he said.

Ray, who grew up in Maine, in New England, has moved to New York for a well-deserved rest.

He then plans to head to Europe to "concentrate on his music" and hopefully record a studio album. He recorded his first album of 30 songs live at The Swizzle Inn in 2002.

But he's hoping that one day "after a significant amount of time" he will be able to return to Bermuda.

He said: "I just love Bermuda so much, you get year-round sunshine!

"I really enjoyed my time there and look forward to going back whenever deemed possible."

Jay Correia, owner of The Swizzle Inn, said they were seeking a replacement for Ray, but had a good line-up of local and foreign entertainment for the upcoming season.

He said: "Ray has been a most significant part of the success of this pub over the past 10 years.

"His broad based appeal with our regulars, locals and the thousands of visitors who watched and listened to him perform is testament to his great music skills and good humour.

"Not only is he an excellent musician but also a great entertainer," he said.

To find out what Ray is up to, visit his website at www.raypasnen.com.