Support pours in for Fri. RIBCO benefit concert

Posted Online: Jan. 09, 2013, 10:46 am
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By Jonathan Turner,

If you plan to come to what's shaping up to be an unforgettable night at RIBCO Friday, get there early.

Two of the Quad-Cities most popular bands --Tripmaster Monkey and Einstein's Sister — are reuniting in a blockbuster, four-band benefit concert. With music starting at 9 p.m. (at 1815 2nd Ave., Rock Island), the lineup includesThe Dawn and Three Years Hollow, cover is $7, and the night's proceeds will help local record producer and engineer Rob Cimmarusti with medical expenses. He is battling pancreatic cancer.

"All four bands have a massive history with Rob," Kerry Tucker of Moline (guitarist for Einstein's Sister) said. "He's basically the Quad-Cities musician's best friend. He's a great engineer, a great live sound guy, a phenomenal sound guy, and one of my favorite singers in the Quad-Cities."

The benefit will include a raffle and silent auction of many donated musical items, such as electric guitars, microphones, concert tickets, T-shirts, recording equipment and production software.

Mr. Tucker said on the Facebook page for the event (
"Collecting from all of these folks yesterday, reminded me, once again, of what great friends Rob has and what a great friend he has been to all of us!"

"Griggs came through like you would not believe," he said this week of the local music store. "Rob, being a musician everybody knows who he is, all the music stores came through."

What sets Mr. Cimmarusti (who's in his 50s and has worked years with Davenport-based Real Trax Recording) apart are his invaluable personal and professional connections with artists, said Sean Ryan of The Dawn and Jim the Mule, who's recorded with him for six years.

In its storied career, Tripmaster Monkey put out three releases in the mid-1990s on Sire/Warner Bros. Records and toured the US, all while getting MTV airplay and critical acclaim. When they broke up in 1997, lead singer Chris Bernat went on to found Chrash, drummer Marty Reyhons joined Einstein's Sister, and guitarist Jamie Toal headed to Chicago. Mr. Toal now lives in Los Angeles, and bassist Wes Haas lives in Portland, Ore.

When Tripmaster reunited in 2009 for RIBCO's 30th anniversary, Mr. Haas missed it then, with Pat Stolley filling in. (Mr. Haas will be here Friday.) The former Einstein's Sister members all still live in the Quad-Cities.

Mr. Tucker,Mr. Reyhons (who plays with Jim the Mule now) and Bill Douglas have all performed with members of Tripmaster over the years. "We're really close bands; there's never been an ounce of competitiveness," Mr. Tucker said. "It's total support."

Those three, plusMr. Bernat and Mr. Cimmarusti also all appeared on Mr. Ryan's most recent record, "All Time Low," which came out last summer, produced by Real Trax. Sean Ryan & The Dawn is an Americana band.The hard-rock/metal band Three Years Hollow played the Chicago area stop on the third annual Rock Star Energy Drink Uproar Festival tour in August, and will tour nationally this winter with Eye Empire and Sevendust.

An Assumption High School grad who left the Q-Cwhen he was 26, forming the Chicago band Tenki, Mr. Toal has kept in touch with his old bandmates and really is looking forward to seeing them again.

"It's going to be phenomenal," he said Monday from L.A. "Rob is a huge part of the local music scene. He's worked with just about everybody; he has a character that's unique to no one but himself. They don't make many like Rob. We want to come together and give him a great night."

"He was definitely a friend of the band," Mr. Toal (who now writes for an advertising agency) said of their old sound engineer. "We wanted to do something; it's also just get everybody together and see them.".

"Rob was such a big part of our musical upbringing," Mr. Haas said, noting this is the first time all four Tripmaster guys have played together in 12 years. "He recorded our first demos when we were teenagers and later became our full-time touring sound person, as well as engineer and producer.

"He's just such a generous person in general and he really cares deeply about doing the best job possible with music and he's helped out so many bands throughout the years," Mr. Haas said.

Now working as a project manager and designer for a design/build firm in Portland, Mr. Haas said he most enjoyed the "collaborative creative process" that came with putting songs together as a group.

"Whether it was starting a song from scratch, recording new material in the studio, or just preparing for a show, we are all contributing to a common goal that would culminate in a live show or an album being completed," he said.

In early December, Mr. Toal came back here to hang out with Mr. Cimmarusti.

"Hewas doing great. Rob still has the spirit he's always had," he said. "He's fighting the good fight. He'sfighting it hard. It's the same old Rob; he's just a little thinner."

To donate

If you can't make it to Friday's show, you can still help Mr. Cimmarusti by donating to the Rob Cimmarusti Benefit Fund at any Valley Bank in the area, or by mailing a check to the fund, Valley Bank, 2020 E. Kimberly Road, Davenport, IA 52807.


Local events heading

  Today is Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.

(More History)