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Artist of the Week

Tom Ripberger not only runs two family barbecue restaurants, he also plays music.

By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

You might see Tom Ripberger slinging some barbecue ribs on the grill at Rip’s Family BBQ or you might see him picking some acoustic music on his guitar on a Friday night at a local watering hole.

Ripberger was born in Dayton, Ohio, but lived all over, as his father was in the Air Force.

“At one point, I was living in Okinawa, Japan,” Ripberger said.

His father influenced Ripberger into playing music.

“I used to sit and watch my dad play. From as far back as I can remember, Dad always had his accoustic guitar. We loved to sit and listen to him play. I started playing drums when I was in 8th grade, then I switched to guitar when I was 15.”

After listening to bands such as Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, Ripberger realized that playing music was for him.

“When I started listening to these groups, I realized this was for me. I love and play all kinds of music from grunge, alternative rock, hard rock and punk. Those are my favorites.”

Ripberger has played several places but he really loves playing in Memphis, Tenn.

“I have played many big shows and festivals in Memphis. I have opened up for bands like Staind, Breaking Benjamin and many more. I played in Memphis in May at a music festival. We were on regular rotation on the radio in Memphis and Knoxville,” Ripberger said. “Back when MySpace was the thing, we averaged 5,000 plays a day.”

When he isn’t picking his guitar and singing to rowdy crowds, he runs not one, but two barbecue restaurants. He runs Rip’s Family BBQ in Connersville and another in Liberty. In his down time, he spends time with his wife and two children.

Ripberger enjoys being a part of his community.

“I just played the afterparty for Jack Russel’s Great White Show. I love playing music, and love being an active part of the community,” he said.

Ripberger will be playing at E Street Pub, 815 N. E St., Richmond, on Friday; Capones, 1 Public Square, Shelbyville, on Sept. 21; and the Maplewood Inn, 2046 N. Grand Ave., Connersville on Sept. 28.