"We just love to get out there and rock," said Ripley Street vocalist/frontman Ken Williams of the music group he helped co-found a decade ago.
In that time, the band has released two albums -- "Ripley Street" (2002) and "Traffic Jam" (2007) -- has performed at most region night clubs and strutted its stuff on stage three times at Merrillville's prestigious Star Plaza Theatre, where they currently hold the record for selling more tickets than any other regional, unsigned band.
"There's really a LOT of emotion in our music," Williams said. "I think that's why people tend to like this band and why they come out to see us.
"There's a real chemistry between all of us that brings out the best in everyone when we're together."
Williams and rhythm guitarist Mark Rossi have been in and out of bands together for 30 years. Lead guitarist Charlie Jones ran in the same circles with his own bands and is likewise a long-time friend of both men.
"We've all been playing a long, long time and we all come from the same musical place, which is why this band works so well," said Williams, who spent the late '80s and early '90s rocking the Western states as a member of the touring group, Ground Zero.
Rounding out the line-up since Ripley Street's inception have been keyboardist Theron Schmeckpeper and drummer Tim Majkowski.
Bassist Bill Turvo is the only member to come on board since the band's formation. Turvo stepped in just about two years ago, filling a void left after the cancer death of Ripley's original low-end man Guy-Joseph Guercio.
"About 35 percent of our set is covers, but we totally Ripleyize each song we cover enough to make them our own," Williams said.
The band's "Abbey Road" Beatles medley is a highlight of its live show. Other classic artists who get Ripleyized during a typical show are Grand Funk, The Guess Who, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Joe Walsh, Bill Withers, Led Zeppelin and even Kenny Rogers.
The band brings such a unique and original flair to most of the songs it covers that three of those covers have been recorded and have gotten some radio air play: Franklin's "Chain Of Fools," Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine," and the aforementioned Beatles medley.
A handful of their own songs have landed on radio play lists too -- "No Way" (from their debut CD), "The Best I Never Had" and "Back Again" (both from the "Traffic Jam" CD). New songs are being written for their next album, though there is no target date for recording yet set.
E-mail Tom Lounges at: firstname.lastname@example.org