Ric Levine, President and Chief Bottle Washer
If you count the clarinet lessons that started in 4th grade, Ric has been involved in music for just under 50 years. From his parents’ Danny Kaye and Glenn Miller 78s (that he happily defaced with crayons as a child...after listening to them, of course)…to classical music concerts and Broadway shows…his interest in music grew and blossomed.
In 8th grade, he attended – and loved - his first rock concert (Simon & Garfunkel) but, it was Emerson, Lake & Palmer (with The Mahavishnu Orchestra) in 1971 that really spun his head around and catapulted him into the world of Progressive Rock.
He became a huge fan of ELP, The Moody Blues, Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Rush, Jethro Tull – to name just a few - and his appetite for this genre became so voracious that he has attended hundreds of concerts and has amassed a collection that now numbers over 5000 records and CDs.
His enjoyment of Prog was so profound, that, while a record store clerk and manager (’76-’78) and stereo equipment salesman (’78-’80), he constantly turned customers on to this music…and then became a DJ (in Santa Barbara and San Diego), so he could cast a wider net.
Already a writer/interviewer for a number of magazines, 1986 saw Ric’s unflagging passion fuel the creation and publication of the first multi-media music magazine, Cymbiosis. Initially, this hybrid combined a magazine and a cassette…which then evolved to include a CD (which, at the time, was just starting to gain acceptance and popularity). By the time Cymbiosis met its unfortunate and premature demise in 1989, it had attracted subscribers in 22 countries, received positive world-wide press and garnered a 1986-87 Best New Magazine Award from the prestigious Library Journal (they advise libraries about what publications to carry).
Now, a mere 24 years later…and with the help of his life partner, Tamie Poppen…Ric conceived, created and launched RockTunz.com.
Dedicated to his love of Prog, Rock & Metal…RockTunz features a unique search engine called The Rockommender (patterned after his record store activities), 90-second audio samples of the thousands of tracks available…along with hundreds of videos and reviews.
Unquestionably, RockTunz displays the same, enthusiastic desire to expose fans to progressive music – and the Artists who create it. After listening to it, you're bound to agree that this music deserves far more attention than it’s received in the 40+ years it’s been around.
And…if he can make a modest living at the same time…then Ric will have, indeed, found his niche.
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Tamie Poppen, VP of Finance and Moral Support
Tamie is a 52-year-old professional who has worked for a Los Angeles - area credit union for over 23 years. She currently holds the position of Vice President overseeing the operations of 4 branches, call center and card services. She is the mother of two, stepmother of one, and grandmother of three.
Tamie has always loved music. Growing up, she was a member of her school and church choir, following her mother’s example. Her parents always had music playing in the house, so she developed an early appreciation for many types of music. Looking at her music collection now…you can see that to be true.
“I have always loved rock and roll especially, and consider it to be my ‘go to’ when I want to listen to something that will energize my spirit.”
Tamie met Ric in 2001. Their paths initially crossed as professionals, becoming friends a few years later. And, it was Ric who introduced Tamie to Progressive Rock.
“I never knew that there was this whole other world of amazing music out there!”
Tamie soon started a collection of this “new” music, and even started finding music on her own that even Ric didn't know existed. A mutual love of Progressive music – in all its forms - became one of the many foundations of their relationship, and the love they have for each other.
As their relationship blossomed, the dream of developing a prog-centric music website became a mutual goal. They moved in together in the summer of 2007, blending their families, furniture and music, and then began their search for web developers. After 2½ years of hard work, broken contracts and money stolen, RockTunz was finally born.
“I sincerely hope that everyone who visits RockTunz will understand the love that Ric and I share for this music. We developed this site for the artists who create this music purely out of the love that they have for it, never expecting to make it ‘in the big time.’
“In so many cases, their music never makes it to a CD…nor do they get a label to promote it. Now, there is a place for artists to promote and sell their music, and to make a little bit of money for the heart and soul they pour into their creations.
“And, of course…a place for fans to discover and enjoy it!”
Welcome to RockTunz!!