Ruben traded up from a Farfisa to a Hammond B3 in the mid-70s as a member of the then up and coming One Way band from Chicago. One Way enjoyed a measure of success touring the US and Canada riding the wave of horn bands like Chicago, Tower of Power and Earth Wind and Fire to name a few – bands that are still relevant almost 50 years later.
One way officially disbanded in 1979 and Ruben stayed local performing and recording with several bands but the B3 was too impractical for jobbing and one-night events. Throughout those years, getting a “good” Hammond sound was always Ruben’s prime criteria in choosing a keyboard. It was always a compromise until the Sk series came along.
When Hammond introduced the Sk series, Ruben’s longtime friend and fellow keyboardist, Scott May, demoed it for him. By then there were other contenders on the “tone wheel organ” market but Ruben says, “Hmmond got it right; the sound, the drawbards, Lesie, chorus, vibrato, percussion and overdrive – all the ingredients to stir up any recipe in the Hammond cookbook”. Ruben’s primary keyboard has been an Sk ever since and is a proud member of the Hammond Family.
Ruben currently leads his own band, PowerPlay FYI, holds the keyboard chair in other local Chicago bands, Fuze and Skiline Orchestra. He’s also in demand with several other bands, particularly in Santana and Tower of Power cover bands. His rig consists of a Hammond Sk1-73 with a small synth on a second tier (Sk-Pro is next). He also has a small recording studio that he runs with his recording engineer, collaborator, and son Dan. In addition to their original music, they record other local groups with a goal of building a legacy of recordings that showcase the richness of music and musicians from Chicago.