Regional – 2013 RAMI Recap


rami-miles-nielsenSome of you stumbling onto this article are thinking, “What the f*ck are the RAMIs?”  We’ve covered them a bit on our podcast show in the last 4 years, click here for an entire lesson.  Start there, and return for a little more regional venom.

Sock Monkey Sound is located in Rockford, IL; a poor, corrupt, culturally tasteless city located between Chicago and the Pacific Ocean.  The RAMIs stand for: The Rockford Area Music Industry.  For 22 years the RAMI committee has been handing out awards.  It started off as a great, music community-minded thing, opening up this region’s bright, rising talent to the rest of the country; but like many organizations around Rockford and other American cities suffering from the same social diseases that cause cultural tastelessness, it’s turned into a joke of itself.  A joke on our community, and in many cases, an offense to many making music that deserve your attention.

Note, this is of no slight to the winners listed.  This is based on mentioning what the RAMIs ignored, choose to ignore, will claim that no one nominated who I’m about to mention, or were unaware of existing.

Here are a few community peers of interest who are connected by one goal, making music.  Some have been creating nationally recognized work from within our ignored music community for quite awhile. Especially in 2012, and to be ignored regionally by our region’s media outlets and music industry organization is pathetic and downright offensive.

Mark Gustafson:  Producer, engineer, working and touring musician, as well as being a full time dad in-between working for Cheap Trick as a live sound engineer.  When time permits, he also runs his own recording studio, MIA Studios, where much of the 100+ Sock Monkey Sound episodes were recorded.

(Full disclosure; Mark works for Sock Monkey Sound and helped establish it.  He has no idea I’m irritated and entertained about the RAMI’s ignorance for him.  It’s my duty to express as much bias as the RAMIs–and all of the ignorant Rockford area media outlets–has done over the years. How many times can y’all shove something that’s Cheap Trick related in our faces with pithy commercials, radio, and news paper articles? Get with the times for Christ’s sake.)

Mark produced and engineered “We’re All Better Than This,” the 2012 full length release by Joie De Vivre–a Rockford area band with a decent fanbase that’s growing outside of the region. They made their European touring debut last summer.  Their record–along with any mention of the band–and Gustafson were slighted  by the RAMI’s.  (Let’s assume it’s the record’s title.  There’s a pro-feel-good-think-positive-Rockford campaign going on to cover up the city’s hard economic facts and the community’s frustration and apathy towards it’s internal decay.  Eat dick, Rockford.)

Gustafson has also worked on a few records from this region that I have enjoyed immensely in the last two years; particularly, The Pimps‘ swan song, “Fuck This Shit, We’re Outta Here“.    A band that knows more about the modern day decay of the music industry than any band to come out of Rockford since Cheap Trick.  (They don’t count.  They called Chicago home on their PR releases for the first 25-30 years of their career. For good marketing reasons of course.)  Joie De Vivre and The Pimps are used to being ignored by it’s own region, like many.  (We get used to it. Eat another dick, Rockford.)

Both records mentioned express the drive and regional emotions to get the hell out of dodge or to acknowledge the wanting of a life better than this Rockford area sh!t.  I hope Gustafson, Joie, and The Pimps pause for one second to observe the respect they get elsewhere before whatever work comes next.

rami-zach-staasSecondly. Jesus Correa’s 2012 release under the name, Los osos voladores, produced by Micky Rosenquist at Underground Squirrel Studio, deserved more than this sh!tty mention.  One of the best releases I heard all year in 2012, and to think that the rest of the city, state, and country have heard barely a murmur of it is bullsh!t.  I blame Rockford.  The voice of the people have no voice here.  Everyone is used to being lied to, “things are on the up!”  The local media rags, radio stations–all of you with the power to reach and pollute the community’s minds–are f#cking garbage.  Biased, one side of the story, garbage. You have no idea what kind of talent is in your own back yards because you’re all looking to keep a job you’re going to lose no matter what–that’s the Rockford way.

If I were mayor or the director of some bullsh!t, city driven, tax-payer paid for, penny pinching, arts organization (PICK ONE, WE HAVE MANY SH!ITTY ARTS ORGANIZATIONS DIRECTED BY NON-ARTISTS), I’d do what the western world did for the great artists of history’s decrepid past:  Patronize an artist like Jesus Correa. Employ him full time with the city’s arts organization pennies to create, create, create–versus handing those pennies to a non-artist to direct another fundraiser (for what again, artist loft spaces in a building our mayor or one of his friends owns that we can’t afford to live in to begin with?).

Let Jesus document Rockford and America’s own decay through his eyes, ears, mouth, hands.  Start there; there are a few other regional artists I can count on three fingers who deserve the same treatment.  In a thousand years, aliens will sit around and laugh at the work most of you won’t figure out.   There is no need to think deeper, enjoy it while you can. Correa’s work can’t be fully described in one sentence, from music to multi-media, performance art, stand-up, illustration, painting, and beyond, his work goes where his muse must.  He would receive all of my mother f#cking tax dollars to create on a whim, versus wherever those pennies are going–the same scumbags, marketing firms, and friends of a friend of a friend.  (TIF district exemptions? You bet.) Claim Jesus as your city’s artist, Rockford, or another city will. (Watch, wait, listen, you’re welcome. His work is the mother f#cking sh!t.)  I can guarantee whoever is reading this on the inside counting out pennies is laughing at the mere suggestion of patronizing a local artist because you, Rockford, are sh!t. Again. Eat. My. Dick.

Third and egotistically (Rockford loves overtly proud, optimistic, delusional people), I am the mother f#cking shit too, Rockford. I have been raising musical spirits from the dead while documenting your decay from within for almost two decades. Your pathetic, culturally tasteless, and overtly proud ways–you’re going to miss me when I’m gone. How much do I loathe our city, it’s leaders from government to businesses?  If I were a ten story tall giraffe, I’d definitely take a sh!t on city hall and piss on the surrounding areas. I am bigger than you, Rockford. I created something out of nothing when I realized I wasn’t good enough for a job in my own town. I couldn’t compete with scumbags, that’s for sure.  I am a reflection of your shitty, pathetic town and most of it’s leaders.  There’s a different (wrong) way to do business in Rockford, and I found a reflective way to recreate that opposition.  These words, Andy Whorehall’s, are all yours; your voice, thoughts, unfiltered–look in the mirror.  Do you see a giraffe laughing back at you? I bet you do. Welcome to the rabbit’s hole, scumbags. I mean that with all of my heart–my fictional, empty, ten ton heavy heart.

Fourth and short:  Learn how to spell “NIELSEN” and “STAAS” correctly.




AW  |  Andy Whorehall

Andy Whorehall






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2013 – 22nd Annual RAMI Awards Winners

Acoustic Rock/Folk – Three Good Men

Album of the Year – Miles Nielsen

Blues – Lizzi Neal Band

Christian/Gospel – Epiphany

Classic Rock – AUDIODRIVE

Composer of the Year – Starlite Radio

Country/Bluegrass – Jamie Campbell & the Redneck Romeos

DJ – DJ Jordan Chance

Female Lead Vocalist – Amy Nickel

Funk/R&B – Can’t Touch This

Hard Rock/Metal – Pulse-18

Indie/Alternative – The Poets Dance

Jazz – After 5

Jazz – Dean Moriarity Jazz Band

Latino – Escape

Lighting Engineer – Erik Myles

Live Sound Engineer – Paul Macaluso

Live Sound Engineer – “Johnny B” MacDowell

Male Lead Vocalist – Dan Curington

New Act – Pablo & the Rhythmix

Oldies – Vintage Vinyl

People’s Choice – Artist of the Year – Beyond Threshold

People’s Choice – Radio Station – 96.7 The Eagle

People’s Choice – Special Event – Phantom Regiment Show of Shows

People’s Choice – Venue – Whiskey’s Roadhouse

Pop – Sweet Lucy

Rap/Hip Hop – Static

Recording Studio – Midwest Sound

Rockabilly – Dirty Fishnet Stockings

Song of the Year – Silver

Song of the Year – Kelly Steward

Stage Hand/Rigger – Ryan Tomkus

Stage Manager – Chuck Whitmore

Studio Sound Engineer – Jeramy Engler

Tribute Band – Rubik Steel

Regional – 2013 RAMI RecapAndy Whorehall

7 comments on "Regional – 2013 RAMI Recap"

  1. And then there’s the fact that cover bands won almost every genre award. Again. **cough cough bullshit cough**

  2. Playing at Bar 3 automatically gets an artist in to the semi-finals

  3. Why the fuck didn’t you run for mayor? We could’ve found a building for you to buy. Littering would be your truancy. Getting to the root cause, see. You dropped the ball, asshole.

    • To answer your question with a fair answer: I can’t afford to be mayor. I don’t qualify based on many local requirements:

      1) I don’t have a real estate portfolio to protect.
      2) I am not a lawyer.
      3) I am not a small city, real estate mogul with business partners to protect with TIF exemptions, etc. (see #1).
      4) I don’t believe in lying to the community aside from possessing a creative moniker to utilize with free will, for that should be the role of any artist. (Not around Rockford, a bunch of ball less cons lobbying for economic development dollars.)
      5) I believe in the power of the people (who are, for the most part, complacent and beaten), not the people in power that I’d have to work with and talk to, to compromise idealisms. (Look at how well compromises between leaders and the community works around here–it doesn’t.)
      6) I believe in science and math versus emotions and false hope to lead a community out of economic and mental despair; which–in Rockford–you need to know how to pretend that everything is ok and that the grass is always green elsewhere but that our grass is proud and full of itself to stand tall and lie to everyone else who will eat it.

      I don’t believe in Rockford, it’s community, leaders, nor my fellow artists 99% of the time because they have no balls–Rockford doesn’t believe in itself. It truly is an eat it’s own dick community. Thank you for reading, Jeff!


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