By Todd Houston
Exclusive to TRRT
Dan Eisman is the Chairman of The Rockford Area Music Industry, Inc. and the Chairman and co-founder of the RAMI Spring Benefit. Dan sings with the RAMI Hall of Fame winning band Missing Links and has been performing and working in the music industry for over 45 years.
Rockford Rocked Interview: The Rockford Area Music Industry, Inc. (RAMI) is celebrating 25 years. That’s quite an accomplishment! It looks like there are big plans for celebrating in 2016. Before we get into specifics, it seems there is a lot more to RAMI than people realize. What is the mission of the RAMI organization?
Dan Eisman: Our focus is to support local music through scholarships, music education programs and events.
RRI: How many scholarships does the RAMI organization give?
Dan: RAMI currently supports two college bound students through the Gary S. Wilmer Trust and the Kim and Ruth MacCloskey RAMI Music Scholarship. We also support three promising children at The Music Academy with the RAMI Young Artist Music Scholarships.
RRI: What do you guys have planned for 2016?
Dan: The 18th Annual Spring Benefit on March 19, the 25th Annual RAMI Awards on April 22, and the Rockford Guitar Show & Music Expo on May 22, all at The Tebala Event Center. Finally, the RAMI Golf Play Day is scheduled for September 9.
RRI: I understand there is going to be a very cool “old school” type Battle of the Bands planned for the Spring Benefit March 19? Can you tell us about that?
Dan: Yes, We are featuring Bun E. Carlos and The New Paegans vs. The Missing Links in a retro style band battle. You can vote for your favorite band for a buck! All monies raised will go to RAMI. The dance party continues with the ’70s retro band, Can’t Touch This.
RRI: That’s really cool that you have Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick on board! Rumor has it that Cheap Trick is being inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of fame in April!
Dan: Yes, We’re very excited to have him. Station 96.7 The Eagle is hosting a VIP Meet and Greet with Bun E. Carlos before the show. There are a very limited number of VIP tickets available for that so get them now.
RRI: Tell us more about the Spring Benefit. The Spring Benefit is RAMI’s biggest fundraiser correct?
Dan: Yep, for the last 18 years. This year special emcee Chip Messiner will keep things rolling. We are encouraging ’60s and ’70s style dress. We have a costume contest, raffles, and a silent auction that includes an autographed Cheap Trick guitar. Food and beverages are also available.
RRI: Where can we buy tickets, how much are they?
Dan: Tickets are available online at ramiawards.com, at Alpine Bank locations, and the Tebala Event Center. There’s also a link on the RAMI Facebook page. Advance general admission is only $15 and $20 at the door. General admission reserved tables can also be purchased, a table for 4 is $100 and a table for 10 is $250. The 96.7 Eagle VIP Meet and Greet package includes admission at $50 per ticket.
RRI: The 25th RAMI Awards Show sounds like it’s going to be a special one.
Dan: Yes it is. All the music that night will be performed by RAMI Hall of Fame winners. The centerpiece of our 25th year is a handcrafted quilt with the names of every RAMI Hall of Fame winner embroidered on it. It was crafted with love by Tina Messiner. We will start selling $10 raffle tickets at the Spring Benefit. There are a limited number of tickets that will be sold for only 30 days. How many tickets do you want Todd? (laughs)
RRI: I bet there are a lot of people who will be interested in purchasing tickets for that quilt! But the RAMI Awards is more than a show right?
Dan: RAMI recognizes local working musicians and technicians with awards. Winning a RAMI Award is meaningful since it’s voted on by their peers. We also award Community Service, Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Achievement and In Memoriam.
RRI: How do you become a RAMI member?
Dan: In order to be a member you have to be a working musician, technician, or affiliated with the music industry.
RRI: Who else would be considered affiliated?
Dan: Venue operators, booking agents, producers, photographers, and other support services.
RRI: What is the cost and how do I join?
Dan: It’s very inexpensive at $10 per year or $15 for 2 years. This entitles the members to nominate, place on the ballot and then select those who deserve to be in each category.
RRI: Can the public vote for any RAMI Awards?
Dan: Yes, at ramiawards.com the public voting is now open. They can vote for Artist of the Year, Favorite Radio Station, Favorite Venue and Favorite Special Event.
RRI: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Dan. Remember, you can get your tickets for the RAMI Spring Benefit online at ramiawards.com, Alpine Bank locations and the Tebala Event Center.