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Q&A: Eddie Cruz

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Eddie Cruz is one of the two sons Ram Ayala had with Tina Cruz, and a man on a quest: to take over the annual event that has been honoring the memory of his dad for the last six years. Or more, if you ask him.

This is what he told the Current via phone and during a meeting at a British pub in Alamo Heights.

So … what’s up with the Ram Jam?
There’s a lot of things going, there’s people fighting against me, and [people] fighting with me. I’m taking over the Ram Jam thing. There’s no doubt about that. We actually started it, me and my brother [Mark]. The next day after my dad died, we opened the doors at Taco Land, and the bands were there. We actually opened the door and we created that Ram Jam for the fact that my Dad died and that’s how he wanted to be remembered. We did it for a couple of years.

You called it the Ram Jam?
And a lot of times all these people started doing stuff on their own because we’re going through litigation. What happened was, when my dad died, everybody came out of the woodwork. All these people, “Oh, I knew him! I partied here with him! I partied there with him!” I mean, everybody all of a sudden knew him really, really good. My dad knew a lot of people, a lot of people. But after a while, we started realizing that people were taking advantage of his name. For instance, this whole Ram Jam thing. You know, it might be a word or it might be a name, but when my Dad had a birthday party, it was just a party. You know what I’m saying? Everybody went over there, they gave him cake, and they had parties here, parties there, bands played, but it wasn’t technically considered a Ram Jam.

But what’s the problem with anybody trying to honor Ram? If it was my dad, I’d be thrilled.
The Ram Jam is what it is, but it doesn’t come without some kind of benefit as well. When we first opened those doors the day after my dad died, we said, “Everybody come over here and play, celebrate,” all that stuff. People want to donate or whatever? That’s fine. The next year, the same thing.

What did you call those meetings?
We called that the Ram Jam because he died. We didn’t celebrate on his birthday, we celebrated on his death day. Who celebrates someone on their birthday when they’re not alive? That’s what we started calling it. That was in 2005. Then, the next year we started holding the benefit for the people that passed away, which was at the Josephine Theater. We were a part of that, we were the ones that allowed that to happen. It was me, my mother, my brother, and we had Jerry Clayworth get involved. What happened was, all of a sudden, like I said, people came out of the woodwork. And my Dad had been involved in something else …

The Ayala family.
They claimed ownership of Taco Land. From there, I had to give the keys from my dad’s bar to the court. I had the keys to open the bar and everything. We go to court for this. Everything stops, everything stays still, nobody can do anything because we’re going to court. I can’t go and say “Taco Land this, Taco Land that.” They can’t go anywhere saying “Taco Land this, Taco Land that,” because we’re going through litigation. Nobody had the right to say anything because we had to prove who we are, so everything stops. The court finally says, “OK, [Agnes Ayala] got a marriage license, OK, fine, then you are the soul proprietors of Taco Land. They were never involved with the Ram Jam or anything. They were never involved with the bar at all itself.

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