On Tuesday afternoon, rumors turned into certainty when Rick Tvedt confirmed his newspaper, Rick's Cafe, has ceased publication. The independent monthly covered the music scene of south-central Wisconsin and was gradually building its coverage in other areas of the state. Tvedt, the publisher, began printing his paper in 2002, and it rapidly became a popular read among members of the local music scene. Tvedt upped the ante as a player when he conceived the Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs) in 2004.
Tvedt graciously spoke with me over the phone about the end of Rick's on Tuesday.
The Daily Page: What happened with the paper?
Tvedt: It's been a long, slow decline over the last six months. We just don't have any ad revenue left, and I just don't have any more money to lose.
What will happen with the MAMAs?
The MAMAs will go on. They have very little connection to Rick's CafÃ except for me. I don't think it's going to have a huge impact on the MAMAs, but I know people associate the MAMAs with the paper. There actually isn't a connection, and I've gone out of my way to make that so.
The MAMAs are going to continue. This is going to be a great year for the MAMAs, and I'm going to have a lot more time to devote to it. I want the MAMAs to continue, and I'm sad that Rick's can't.
What led to your decision?
In November, I had a very serious car crash, one I should have died in. To me, that was a very strong signal, sort of like the universe making up my mind for me. Since then, I've had to go back to work. For us here, being so close to the edge already, that was just like the kiss of death. Replacing that car put me in a position, and I've been working for a non-profit as a CPA. It's been tough, man. 2006 was a tough year for everybody.
I had grand designs for Rick's Cafe, taking it statewide, unifying areas of the state that have traditionally not cooperated with each other. I was covering a giant part of the state, driving a couple thousand miles every month. When I had my car crash, I was like, "Jesus Christ, I'm going to die doing this." This was a pretty strong indication that I needed to make a change.
What's your message for your readers?
I would just say, it's been four great years. I absolutely love doing Rick's Cafe, and the best part of it is I got to talk intimately with people I respect and admire. I'm going to miss it.
Many others will also miss Rick's Cafe. Independent publications produced by passionate people can be valuable assets to a community and Rick's certainly was one. Reactions from musicians and fans over the closing can be found here.