Student Profile: Joe Ritzdorf


Dale Krause, EIC

Joe Ritzdorf is the real-life version of Morton DaCosta’s 1962 film “The Music Man”, but without the iniquitous characteristics of Robert Preston’s character.

Joe Ritzdorf is currently a freshman Broadcasting student at Northeast Community College. After a short stint in majoring in Music Business, Ritzdorf realized that he was on the wrong side of the fence and decided to switch his focus back to his initial interest. Being the front man in a band and having his entire life wrapped up in music, it’s easy to see how the choice to switch roles was effortless.

“It was something I could do with my voice that I knew I would still enjoy because with radio you can still listen to music while giving that enjoyment to the listeners,” said Ritzdorf.

School is just the fall back plan for Ritzdorf though, his band, Suppress the Affliction, takes up a majority of his time and he hopes that they’ll gain that golden ticket to stardom. Omaha’s Battle of the Bands may just be that golden ticket. Currently, Suppress the Affliction stands high in the running for finals in the event and Ritzdorf hope this will be a solid first step.
Ritzdorf and the band are currently working on their demo which they plan to spread around the Midwest like wildfire. With a little time and a bit of cash they’re planning on a road trip to pass out the demo one person at a time.

Ritzdorf holds himself accountable for the quality of his work and the tone of his singing voice and takes pride being a front man. He has expressed great intensity for the music he produces, including dressing the part.

“Music is life. Music shows you the good and the bad side of people. It’s about experiences from your past and present. Music is the best joy I get out of life. If I didn’t have it, I don’t know what I’d do.”

In person Ritzdorf is slightly socially awkward but on stage he personifies the attitude of all great rock singers and pushes the crowd to interact. He reveres the voice and works of front men like H.I.M.’s Ville Valo and The Used’s Bert McCracken. All in all, Ritzdorf states that he views himself as a slightly awkward person but it doesn’t stop him from being who he is.

Apart from music, Ritzdorf is a family man. His choice for coming to NECC was to not stray too far from his breadth of family and friends. Howells is Ritzdorf’s old stomping grounds and he religiously congregates back whenever given the opportunity but with time stretched between school and band the opportunity for a home visit usually falls short.

But this doesn’t get Ritzdorf down. He holds a certain optimistic personality which embodies everybody around him.

Ritzdorf says, “I take whatever situation, even if it’s bad, I make it into a good one and make the best out of it.”