Originally Posted Online: Dec. 09, 2012, 5:11 pm
Last Updated: Dec. 10, 2012, 12:05 am

Big-name Q-C bands reunite to help friend

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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com

Recording engineer and producer Rob Cimmarusti.

Two of the Quad-Cities' most popular and successful bands — Tripmaster Monkey and Einstein's Sister — will reunite in a blockbuster benefit concert next month at Rock Island Brewing Company to help a friend in need.

The power-pop bands, with The Dawn and Three Years Hollow, will play a 9 p.m. show Jan. 11, to 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 recently. "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.

"It's like a lesson when you work with him," Mr. Tucker said. "The thing I learned with Rob, I've grown up in recording studios, and the goal when you record is to get the best take you can get. Rob's been more about the feel. It may not be perfect, but more believable. I find myself getting a better result, and not nearly as cold."

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.

"With most people, you go, get your record done, and that would be that. Him and I have become such great friends," Mr. Ryan, of Silvis, said. "He's just been around for a long time, worked with so many different types of bands. He's helped me big time, with the recording techniques, things he's learned over the years."

Jose Urquiza, lead singer of Three Years Hollow, has been the Real Trax studio manager, producer, engineer and session musician.

Both Tripmaster Monkey and Einstein's Sister played 30th anniversary RIBCO shows July 31 and Aug. 1, 2009, which at the time was Tripmaster's first time onstage as a group in more than a decade but without its original bassist, Wes Haas. Mr. Haas, of Portland, Ore., is coming back to play this benefit show, Mr. Tucker said.

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, Chris Bernat went on to found Chrash, drummer Marty Reyhons joined Einstein's Sister, and Jamie Toal headed to Chicago. Mr. Toal also lives out West and is coming home next month. The former Einstein's Sister members all still live in the Quad-Cities.

"When the band broke up, it wasn't over egos or tempers," Mr. Tucker said of Einstein's. "We just basically all had kids and mortgages. We had a great run and a blast doing it. We knew we would be open to doing this."

He, 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."

Leader of the Kerry Tucker Band and a member of The Premium Sellouts, Mr. Tucker has had a good deal of his (and Einstein's Sister) music licensed for MTV shows over the years.

Mr. Tucker, Mr. Reyhons, Mr. Douglas, Mr. Bernat and Mr. Cimmarusti all also appeared on Mr. Ryan's most recent (and third) record, "All Time Low," which came out over the 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 Aug. 22, at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre. As winner of the festival's online Battle of the Bands for that date, the Q-C group was featured in a festival lineup including Shinedown, Godsmack, Staind, and Papa Roach.

The January RIBCO benefit has a $7 cover, and will include a silent auction and raffles. "We're expecting a ton of people," Mr. Tucker said.

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