Ramon Torres has been banging the drums for more than 50 years, playing with touring bands in Southern California before moving to Kingman in 1991 where he’s shared his talent with a number of local bands, most recently The Riptides.
He’ll take the stage at Metcalfe Park at 5 p.m. Sunday with guitarists Tom Aamot and Dave Van Cleve and bass guitarist Steve Bentley in the fourth Concert in the Park presented by Sounds of Kingman.
The concert is free, sponsored by JM Eagle, so bring your lawn chairs, blankets, picnic baskets and coolers for a relaxing couple hours in the park.
Known for their classic rock tunes, The Riptides play fun music for dancing like “Hang On Sloopy,” “Mustang Sally” and “Mony Mony.”
The band members have decades of musical experience between them, though Torres and Bentley formed the group in 2015 following the breakup of their former band, The Remnants.
“We all bring our specialties to the table,” Torres said Tuesday during a telephone interview. “I do rhythm and blues, Steve is country. He plays Waylon and Willie and David Allen Coe.
“We like to play songs by bands that don’t get enough respect day to day. Credence Clearwater Revival is one of the best bands this country has ever produced. We want people not to forget those bands and they don’t.”
The Riptides will pay tribute to musical legends such as Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley.
“A lot of guys my age, we’re reverential about these guys. They paved the way for other bands,” Torres added.
It’s the songs of the 1960s that prompt people to get up and dance.
“We like those songs and the audience for those tunes ain’t dead yet,” he said.
There’s a ton of musical talent in Kingman and Mohave County, Torres said. You just have to reach out and find it.
He also drums for Lonesome Dick, a Lake Havasu City-based rockabilly and surf band that played the Sounds of Kingman concert at Metcalfe Park in June.
Bentley, a commercial insurance agent with NFP in Lake Havasu City, said he relishes playing outdoors at Metcalfe Park, which has a nice stage and cool environment.
“And people seem to enjoy it,” he said. “I love to play music. I’ve been doing it since third grade and did my first professional gig at 16. I have to be in a band with good friends. I have to go to work and make money, but I go out a few weekends a month to cut loose.”
The Riptides have played several venues around Mohave County, including the R-Bar, Hangar 24 and Office Lounge in Lake Havasu City. They came to Metcalfe Park in September for the Great Music Offerings presented by Ramon Torres Productions.
“They have a wonderful stage presence and demonstrate an informal, relaxed interaction with the audience,” said Martha Pumers, publicist for the nonprofit Sounds of Kingman. “Their sound is superb, too. They’re having a good time up there and it shows.”
Torres, who worked 20 years as an X-ray technician at Kingman Regional Medical Center and five years at the prison before suffering a stroke in 2016, feels “very blessed and lucky” to have played drums for so many bands over so many years.
“But also, I’m good at what I do and I have a big palate,” he added. “I can play everything, old country, jazz.”
Dave Van Cleve, originally from Seattle, also has a good palate and is the best guitarist around, Torres attested.
“He plays rhythm and blues. He’s quite a dazzling guy. You wouldn’t know it to look at him. I’ve played with everybody in the county and Dave can just play,” Torres said. “He does the best version of ‘Polk Salad Annie.’”
Bentley was a member of the Phantom Herd, one of more prominent country-rock bands in Los Angeles. They were packing the beach clubs with boot-scootin’ tunes long before country music turned urban.
He said the music scene in Kingman is pretty good, but obviously not comparable to L.A. with its 10 million population.
“There are hundreds of musicians here and there are lots of venues, smaller venues, so we can find enough work to keep us happy,” he said.