By C.J. Webber-Neal
Photojournalists for The Oklahoma Eagle Newspaper
Famed musician Tori Ruffin of the legendary group Morris Day & the Time , and his brother Greg Ruffin, an accomplished businessman and entrepreneur, sit down with The Oklahoma Eagle Newspaper to tell us about the concept of their new club The Juice Maker Lounge. Both brothers met with us to tell us where the idea of this rising Tulsa attraction first began. Tori Ruffin begins by telling us a friend of his told him “You need to come here because it’s an awesome live music scene”.
So taking his advise he came here to play gigs and fell in love with Tulsa because of the of the chance it offers to be able to play your own music. “In Tulsa you can play, get paid, and have people appreciate it you know” Mr. Rufin tells us. The full concept of the Juice Maker Lounge came about when a friend contacted him about the building where their current located. “We were just over at his (Max, his longtime friend) new spot, and he just was like, man Tori, I cant figure out how to sell this club”. Mr. Ruffin continued by saying he was just curious, and wanted to know how much Max would sell it for him for. Max turned to him and said “Tori for you I’d pretty much give it to you”. After the comment was made Tori replied “let’s give it to me then”, and the Juice Maker Lounge began with a deal that in his own words “pretty much we purchased this building for less than my car”.
Tori Ruffin then contacted his brother, whom he refers to as a financial genius, Greg Ruffin, and their venture soon began taking shape. I asked him (Greg Ruffin) what he thought, and to really give it a once over.” After looking at everything carefully Greg told Tori “Okay, whatever you want to do big brother I got your back”. The brothers soon began to remodel what once was a old Tiki lounge club, into the premier musical spot it is today. Open since New Years 2019, Juice Maker has become the future of Tulsa entertainment. Groups to perform at this venue members of Shelia E’s band, The Time, Starr Jones, and Full Flavor Kings, which is currently their residency group.
The brothers personal background also helps to bring their partnership to it full potential. Greg Ruffin is a entrepreneur in mortgage or real estate. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara and quickly got into education about 10 years ago. He has started developed charter schools, some with an arts theme some of the S.T.E.M. theme in Florida. He is highly successful, ranked nationally with some of the best schools charter schools K thru 12. Like his brother Tori, he also had a background outside love music grew up, going on tour with his brother Tori and being backstage at a young age, seeing that wonderful world of music art and basically falling in love with live music. “So I had that background and I think basically the business background with my love for music played well into the concept of this club” Greg tell us “Especially the kind of a theme we work with. Being a live music haven, live music by live music lovers, that’s our concept.
Tori Ruffin brings his 30 years of musical genius to the table to make this venture complete. Growing up in California and going to high school, he met a couple of guys and started bands. “We had a business in LA doing like the Arsenio Hall show in the late 80s and 90s. We either put together the bands, or were the MC and musical director, so anybody that was somebody in the 90s I pretty much played for” Tori tells us. The list goes on and on those he has collaborated with such as Bobby Brown with Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Eminem. Tori brings 30 years record/songwriting and publishing in the industry. He is currently a member of The Time, and performs with Morris Day and the Time around the world, and has done so for almost 25 years now.
Even the name itself speaks of music legend. Juice Maker comes from Tori’s previous band Freak Juice, and the “Juice Makers” were their loyal fans. So the premier musical destination for the future of Tulsa lays in the vision of brothers coming together to make a dream a reality.