2011 - 2022  Rick Grumbecker • All rights reserved

Misspent Youth

Rick grew up in Chicago and developed an interest in music at age seven after taking up the clarinet. As a teenager he thrilled his parents by trading his clarinet for a guitar and learning to play and sing without riding around in cold and lonely boxcars.

Later, after apparently misunderstanding the term “higher education,” several failed attempts at collegiate life lead to him accept an invitation to join the U.S. Army. During his short-lived army career he appeared in numerous concerts and folk festivals and toured with a military entertainment troop. Before long, army barracks and mess halls turned into an endless stream of cheap motels and truck stop diners, for soon Rick found himself on the road entertaining in clubs, coffeehouses and just about anywhere people would listen — and some places where people would not listen.

Having Fun and Making Money

Playing 12-string guitar and banjo, either as a solo or with Jan Stiver in the duo Stiver & Grumbecker, he performed what was then referred to as folk music, developing an extensive repertoire of old songs and new songs, funny songs and serious songs, but all guaranteed to entertain. Then and now, his music can best be described as a tasteful selection of material ranging from sensitive love ballads to songs of moral turpitude and questionable taste.

Midlife Crisis

Although excellent handwriting had long since kept him from becoming a doctor, Rick eventually found a comfortable niche by combining music with graphic art. He first created illustrations and hand-lettered pieces, moved to manual paste-up, and finally graduated to computer design. His pre-press graphics include everything from brochures, logo development and retail ads to magazine layouts and CD packaging. Clients often call on him to create written content as well as graphics.

What, Me Retire?

Today Rick can be found mostly in the Pacific Northwest. He continues working as a graphic artist and after more than 40 years still sings his songs and plays his guitar and banjo. Most recently he has performed with Meridian Green and John Heller as a member of The Fare-Thee-Wells, a Bob Gibson Legacy Show. Some think he is too old to get a job, but his landlord disagrees. Besides, he loves to work and whether playing for audiences or designing graphics, he still approaches it with much enthusiasm and good humor.

He welcomes the opportunity to talk with you about your entertainment needs or your art project — or maybe even your golf game. He’s a lot of fun and has a good time.

Updated June  21, 2022


Photo by Marilyn Wilson

Photo by Marilyn Wilson

Photo by Mary Rigg

Photo by Duane Edgar