Sammies 2007



Members: Roxana Damas (vocals, percussion), Jamie Zuniga (vocals, congas, timbales), Frank Lizarraga (bass, vocals), Rudy Morones (drums, congas, vocals), Robert Gonzales (guitar), John Kenyon (keys). Favorite music at age 16: The Rolling Stones, James Brown, “a lot of R&B,” Earth Wind & Fire, Latin dance. Best onstage memory: “First time we did the Rainbow Festival. I got a lap dance. The audience was really diverse and the atmosphere was excellent. We didn’t know we would be well-received, but everyone got into it. Everyone loves Latin music.” Sounds like … : “Our crowd loves it. A little bit of salsa. Cumbia. Worldbeat. Ragaetton.”

Nada Brahma Music Ensemble

Members: Matthew Grasso (guitar, composition, and direction), Alex Jenkins (tabla), Bill Petaishiski, Eric Rasmussen (drone guitar).

The ten-year-old Nada Brahma Music Ensemble has to be the best Indian classical fusion outfit in Sacramento, and not just because it’s the only one. The group makes bewitching use of tradition, disciplined improvisation and musicians who really listen to each other. At San Rafael’s Ali Akbar College of Music, NBME founder Grasso studied with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, the man who first popularized Indian music for Western audiences in the mid-1950s. “The best Western musicians are barely kindergarteners next to Indian musicians,” Grasso told SN&R last August. “For me, coming from the conservatory, learning the Indian tala was a humbling experience.”


Members: I Drew (vocals), Che Guitarra (bass), Daddy Sweet (drum kit), Mannyman (guitar, vocals). Favorite music at age 16: The Grateful Dead, the Eagles, obviously reggae. Best onstage memory: “New Year’s Eve when everybody flooded the stage at Marilyn’s on K,” and “the Red Stripe girls at Swabbie’s. We’ve had a lot of good times there. It’s always elbow-to-elbow at Swabbie’s.”

Sol Peligro

Members: Sam Miranda (vocals, percussion), Jason Tescher (trombone, melodica), Ken Rego (percussion), Will Scharff (keys), Matt Beelman (guitar), Curtis Blankenship (drum kit), Cesar Mena (bass), Parrish Sellers (trumpet), Brian Plummer (tenor sax). What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? Rego thinks he would think of it as Mexican reggae: “In Mexico we would be the equivalent of UB40.” Beelman says he’d think he was suffering from some kind of illness that makes you completely lose your identity. Miranda thinks he would say to himself, “Damn … that’s what my parents listen to.” Which other local bands do you admire or have a crush on? The Bennys, Kai Kln, Nagual, Steady Ups, Mama’s Pride, Storytellers, Bucho! How’d you spend your Sweet 16? Scharff was in a tutu. Rego spent it drunk in the hills of Nevada.


Members: Scott Anderson (sax), Victor Contreras (guitar), Brian Latour (bass), Harold Muñiz (congas), Ron Ochoa (drums).

Nagual’s self-described “boundary-busting” Latin jazz obviously has shamanic ambitions. “The name Nagual comes from a series of books written by Carlos Castaneda,” the band informs us, “in which Don Juan Matus provides guidance on a pre-Columbian path of knowledge: ‘Turn off your internal dialogue and let something in you flow out and expand. That something is your perception, but don’t try to figure out what I mean. Just let the whispering of the Nagual guide you.’”


Stacie Eakes and the Superfreakes

Members: Stacie Eakes (vocals), Jimmy Pailer (guitar), Leigh Lunetta (drums). Admired local bands: Jimmy Pailer Band, Radio Orangevale, David Houston. First song learned to play: “Rhinestone Cowboy.” How’d you spend your Sweet 16? “Surprise party,” Eakes says. “Bartles & Jaymes.” Groupie magnet: Pailer: “Stacie. Guys, girls.” Eakes: “Yeah, they come in all shapes and sizes.”

Jimmy Pailer Band

Members: Jimmy Pailer (guitar, vocals), Mark Harmon (bass, vocals), Leigh Lunetta (drums). First song learned to play: Lunetta: “Secret Agent Man.”Harmon: “Something by Weather Report.” Pailer: “I have no clue, actually. Probably some Beatles.” Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: Harmon: “I snuck into a club when I was 16—when, supposedly, I was camping out. Well, this guy came in with a gun and started shooting. I couldn’t tell anyone I was there.”

Aaron King Trio

Members: Aaron King (guitar), Joe Leu (bass), Steve Boutte (drums). (All answers provided by Aaron King). Favorite music at age 16: U2, Public Enemy, De La Soul, Bob Marley. What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? “He would vaguely get it,” King says. “A lot of my influences were coming from ‘soul’ music.” First song learned to play: King again: “‘El Condor Pasa,’ for my 6th grade talent show.”

The Linda Bracamonte Band

Members: Ema Roberts (lead guitar, vocals and cameras), Lance Davis (bass, vocals and legal advice), John Swanson (drums and research), Matt Kaiser (keys, sax and tech advice), Linda Bracamonte (vocals, keys and busy person). What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? “Never dreamed that I would be on a stage performing with such great musicians,” Bracamonte says. “If I’d known back then what fun it would be, I’d have started waaay sooner!” First album ever bought: “OMG, it was a Barry Manilow album. Even Now.” How’d you spend your Sweet 16? “Wishing I was all grown up.”

Kentucky Slim

Here’s a guy who knows where he comes from. Yeah, that would be Kentucky, where Southern-fried blues-rock is a birthright. Slim wears it well, without wearing it out. He came out to Cali from Lexington in ’91 and paid his guitar-slinger dues in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where he hosted a weekly blues jam for years. Slim counts a few easily recognizable icons among his varied influences—Muddy, Hendrix, Skynyrd, Cash—and works their sounds all up into a big, fat, rootsy stew. Then he puts it on a slow burner and lets it simmer.



Members: Jim Heidinger (guitar), George Covert (drums, percussion), Clint Ransom (bass), Alex Dedal (keyboards). Favorite music at age 16: Heidinger: Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane. Covert: Return to Forever. Ransom and Dedal: Earth, Wind & Fire. Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: Ransom: “‘Borrowing’ Dad’s car.” Dedal: “Yeah, rolling the car out of the garage and taking it.” Is there one person in the band who’s always late? “Not anymore.”

Capital Jazz Project

Members: Joe Gilman (piano), Rick Lotter (drums), Mike McMullen (saxophone), Kerry Kashiwagi (bass), Henry Robinett (guitar). Admired local bands: Mumbo Gumbo, D Baba Project, Jeff Alkire, Kairos Quartet. First song ever learned: “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck. How’d you spend your Sweet 16? “Studying for a chemistry exam.” How hokey is this whole teenager theme? Gilman: “The teenager theme is, well, let’s say VERY CUTE!”

Kairos Quartet

Members: Steve Lishman (tenor saxophone), Dyne Eifertsen (trombone), Matt Robinson (bass), Alex Jenkins (percussion), sometime special guest Derek Keller (guitar). Favorite music at age 16: “All of us were listening to jazz and the popular music of the time,” says Eifertsen, on the group’s behalf. “There is a wide age span in our group, so I would say groups from the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Prince, Sting, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, etc.” First album ever bought: “For me, it was Van Halen’s 1984, I think. An amazing piece of work.”

Vivian Lee,

Members: Vivan Lee (vocals), Glenn Hair (guitar), Matt McFarland (piano), Paul Klempau (bass), Butch Minor (drums), David Witkowski (sax). Favorite music at age 16: “At 16, I was into showtunes and movie soundtracks,” Lee says, “so some of my favorite vocalists were Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey.” Which other local bands do you admire or have a crush on? Capital Jazz Project. How’d you spend your Sweet 16? “It was not a big deal, just another year older,” says Lee.


Members: Ross Hammond (guitar), Tom Monson (drums), Tony Passarell (alto sax, keys), Scott Anderson (tenor sax). Favorite music at age 16: Hammond: B.B. King, Sly and the Family Stone, Primus, Kai Kln. Monson: Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, Tool, the Roots, Ravi Shankar, Led Zeppelin, Nine Inch Nails. What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? “Probably that it was pretty out there,” Hammond says: “16-year-olds don’t really get it. But 35-year-olds don’t really get it, either.” Best onstage memory: Monson: “That would have to be when Ross and I accidentally opened for Robin Trower at the Fillmore.” Hammond: “Any time I ever played with Erik Kleven.”


Be Brave Bold Robot

Members: Dean Haakenson (guitar, vocals), Heather Phillips (vocals, smiles), Matthew Gerken (bass, vocals), Brian Jackson (keyboards), Eric Talley (cello), Dustin Scharlach (drums, posturing). Favorite bands at age 16: Haakenson: Ice Cube. Phillips: Pearl Jam. Gerken: Jane’s Addiction. Jackson: Radiohead. What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? Haakenson: “That kinda sounds like Ice Cube.” How hokey is this whole teenager theme? Haakenson: “Embarrassed to be a part of it, he said sacrastically.” Suggestions for next year’s Sammies theme: Phillips: “Roe v. Wade.”

Christopher Fairman

Favorite music at age 16: Dave Matthews Band. Admired local bands: Agent Ribbons, Adrian Bourgeois, David Houston and Kevin Seconds. Best onstage memory: Playing the Mondavi Center. “The view from the stage is amazing. It’s the first time I played for more than 500 people.” First album ever bought: The Flintstones: Music from Bedrock. Were you a troublemaker? “No. I was a good kid. The things I did, I didn’t get caught.”

Justin Farren

(All answers provided by the Justin Farren “scarecrow,” translated by Dean Haakenson.) Favorite music at age 16: “I liked classical music. Doesn’t everyone? Then Cake.” Best onstage memory: “Once, playing an outdoor gig, I looked up at the stars and saw Abe Vigoda’s face.” First album ever bought: “Don’t remember, but I do remember that I used the CD case to prop up the telescope that I used to look in people’s windows … and at stars.” First song learned to play: “What’s it called? The song using the black keys of the piano, the ‘knuckle song’?”

Chelsea Wolfe

Best onstage memory: “Playing in Paris last September. The audience was super attentive; it was really cool.” First album ever bought: “The first Ace of Base CD.” First song learned to play: “My own songs. I never really learned to play anything.” How’d you spend your Sweet 16? “I don’t know. I have no idea. Probably making ice cream sundaes and giggling with the girls.” Suggestions for next year’s Sammies theme: “Death metal. Or just, like, evil.”


Members: Bryce Cooley (guitar, vocals, piano), Stephanie Lauren (piano, guitar, vocals). What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? “Ha,” Cooley says. “I would laugh at myself and call me a pansy.” Best onstage memory? The first show Cooley and Lauren played together, featuring a song they wrote together. Suggestions for next year’s Sammies theme: “I do believe next year it should be something sweet like superheroes or something,” says Cooley. “Make us wear tights. Or make every genre wear the outfit of another genre—that could be fun, seeing metal bands rockin’ Sean Jean and Fubu.”


Stars & Garters,

Members: Joe Carlson (pedal steel, vocals), Tom Proulx (vocals, guitar), Michael Minnick (drums, vocals), Danny Morris (acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals), Doug Vincent (upright bass, vocals). First albums ever bought: Carlson: Billy Joel, An Innocent Man. Proulx: Kiss, Destroyer. Minnick: Kenny Rogers, Greatest Hits. Morris: Weird Al Yankovic, Dare To Be Stupid. Vincent: Thriller and Hell’s Bells. How hokey is this whole teenager theme? “Super hokey, that’s why we loved it. Have you looked at us?”

The Alkali Flats

Members: Tim White and Chris Harvey (trade duties on guitars, vocals and string bass), Mark Miller (snare drum), Erik van Kok (electric guitar), Andy Lentz (fiddle), Keith Cary (steel guitar, Dobro, mandolin and harmonica—“Oh, and accordion sometimes.”) Favorite music at age 16: Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Paul Butterfield, Eric Dolphy, Sonnyboy Williamson. Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: “Oh, I’d sneak out and play harmonica in a blues band,” Cary recalls. “They were a bad influence on me. They actually were.” Groupie magnet: “I’ve seen Chris get openly propositioned several times,” Cary says. “That’s Nevada for you. As I recall, he said something like, ‘Ah, gee, that’s awfully nice of you, ma’am, but I’ve got to go camping with the fellers tonight.’”

Bottom Dwellers

Members: Adam Hancock (guitar, vocals), Ivan Sohrakoff (vocals, guitar), Chris Eynon (drums), Mark Eagleton (double bass). What would the 16-year-old you think of your band? “I would have been pretty anti,” Eagleton says. “My dad gives me a lot of shit because I hated country.” “Alabama is a pretty good reason to hate country,” Enyon adds. “Yeah,” Eagleton says. “He never told me about Hank Williams.” Best onstage memory: Enyon “fell asleep” on the drum set. “There was alcohol involved,” Hancock admits.

Spillit Quikkers,

Members: Jimbo Gilbert (5-string banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, upright bass, caterwaul), Steven Zdybel (fiddle, rambling), Jack Kemp (upright bass, mandolin, hooting & hollering), Jenny Turner (guitar, singing). What would the 16-year-old you think of your band? “Our music goes back many generations, so what people make of it depends on their own tastes,” says Gilbert. Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: Jack got caught with a bottle of Jim Beam before a middle school band concert. Jimbo got chased out of places for riding his skateboard. Steven was falsely accused by the railroad police for throwing rocks at trains. Jenny got pregnant. Most responsible: Jack.

Richard March

Favorite music at age 16: “Bauhaus, and … uh … it was, what? 1985? Egyptian Lover. The Fat Boys. Queensryche.” Best onstage memory: “Playing Joseph in … the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I did do that.” First album ever bought:Hot City Nights, or something like that. K-Tel presents all the choice hits of 1977.” How’d you spend your Sweet 16? “Got shitfaced.”


Mr. P Chill & Trunk of Funk

Members: Mr. P Chill (vocals), Hiphoprisy 5, a.k.a. H5 (bass), Supanova (trumpet), DJ Double Ace (turntables), Tyson (drums), Byron (guitar), Big Rich (bass). What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? P. Chill: “I’d be like, ‘Holy crap! I’m rapping in a band.’” Byron: “I’d say I suck. I sold out.” Admired local bands: Crazy Ballhead, Mike Farrell, Kyoto Beat Orchestra. Suggestions for next year’s Sammies theme: P. Chill: “NC-17. I’ll do a straight-up penis shot.”

The Bennys

Members: Bobby Martinez (vocals, rhythm guitar), Scott Reams (keys, sax), Dave Garrity (trombone), Brian Burke (bass), Chuck Bond (trumpet), Aaron Creechley (drums). Best onstage memory: “We played a country-western themed party,” one of the fellows explains, “and Aaron spent 80 bucks on a new outfit—boots, 10-gallon hat, the whole thing.” Admired local bands: Jackpot, Rowdy Kate, San Similar. Suggestions for next year’s Sammies theme: “Just skip to 21.”


Members: Bryan Nichols (vocals, guitars, keys), Justin Vance (bass), Matt Klee (drums), Logan Phillips (MC). First song learned to play: “‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’” says Vance. Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: “I spent a couple of nights locked up for receiving stolen property,” Phillips recalls. “Car keys.” Groupie magnet: “We all get groupies,” Nichols says. “No way,” counters Klee. “I work it.”

Mercy Me!

Members: Chris Dailey (drums, vocals), Terry Jones (guitar, vocals), Jon Skinner (sax and sound engineer), Leighton White (keys, vocals), L.C. Williams Jr. (guitar, vocals), Jimi Morris (bass, vocals), Julie “Juju” Morris (lead vocals). Favorite music at age 16: Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, Ohio Players, Journey, the Eagles, the Rolling Stones, Frankie Beverly & Maze, the Isley Brothers, the Doobie Brothers, Rufus & Chaka Khan, George Benson, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock. What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? That it’s enjoyable “old-school” stuff their mamas and daddies listen to. How’d you spend your Sweet 16? Performing.


Members: Jeff Dyer (bass), Slade Anderson (drums), Eric Schley (vocals), Vince Mellone, a.k.a. “The Italian Stallion” (guitar). Favorite music at age 16: Exodus, Slayer, Rush, Jane’s Addiction, Guns N’ Roses. What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? Dyer: “He’d laugh.” Mellone: “Just happy to be here.” Anderson: “This shit’s for pussies.” Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: Slade: “Driving my Pinto in the rain and got a flat. Stole a tire from another Pinto and got caught. I looked so pathetic in the cell that the owner didn’t press charges.”



Members: The Emaculit 1, Dr. Maistro, JasonShoelace, M.O.D., Erratic. Favorite music at age 16: Tupac, Tek 9, RZA, Busta Rhymes, Brother Lynch. JasonShoelace: Metallica, Megadeth, Misfits. Dr. Maistro: classical, death metal. First song learned to play: “Slap Somebody.” Best onstage memory: “Slapped the shit out of JasonShoelace, making his lip bleed!” Who plays the most instruments? Dr. Maistro. “He makes beats that don’t sound like any beat he’s heard yet.” Who’s the responsible one: Dr. Maistro. Tell me how you feel about the 916 scene: “The problem is, Sac doesn’t support hip-hop music. It’s impossible to get a gig in our own town.”

Deep Fried Funk Brothers

Members: N8 the Gr8 (MC/Producer), Pete B. (MC), Mad G (DJ/engineer) Favorite music at age 16: Rakim, KRS-One, Too Short, Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane. What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? “Ask your kids!” N8 says. “They will tell you.” Which other local bands do you admire or have a crush on? The Beerlords.

Addict Merchants,

Members: Freez (vocals), Dot (vocals), Qborough (drums, percussion), Equest (keys), ChrisWind (guitar, bass), Djfooders (turntables).

Should you be needing to have your soul provoked, here’s the crew for you. More than 10 years of fusing rich and juicy jazz changes with hip-hop hustle, MC mastery and groove-lickin’ goodness has taught the Addict Merchants a thing or two. Having shared stages with Talib Kweli, Kanye West, Blackalicious, Mos Def, and, well, each other, these kids know how to take a room. Just ask the many fans who routinely pack the house for them at Capitol Garage. Or the people who keep posting raves about them online, like “ADDICT MERCHANTS ARE THE HOTTNESS SON!!!”

Righteous Movement

Members: Skurge (MC), Theek (MC), S.O.L. (MC), Tais (MC), Tofu (DJ). Favorite music at age 16: “Wu Tang and every subsidiary of Wu Tang,” Skurge says. “I just bought Sunz of Man the other day.” What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? “He would say it was dope,” Skurge says. “I would respect it as a listener,” Theek says, “but when I was 16, I was into Cadillac music, anything I could ride to. But I would respect it lyrically.” Best onstage memory: “It was the first time we ever got flashed by a lady on stage,” Tais says. “She was feeling it so much she took her shirt off.” “That wasn’t exactly what happened,” Skurge counters. “She was drunk.”

Crazy Ballhead

Favorite music at age 16: Eric B. & Rakim, Bob Marley & the Wailers. What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? “The 16-year-old me would probably be repeating my lyrics and analyzing my flow patterns. He would also be breaking down the importance of the lyrical content in my songs to his friends. That’s how deep that dude was.” First album ever bought: 2 Live Crew, Move Somethin’. First song learned to play: “Paid in Full” by Eric B. & Rakim.


Ghetto Moments

Members: Allyson Seconds (vocals & keys), Kevin Seconds (rhythm guitar & vocals), David Houston (baritone guitar), Mark Harrod (drums).

Guess what? Ghetto Moments is not a hip-hop group. Nobody’s exactly sure what it is, or why they are named that, but Kevin Seconds (7 Seconds/ex-Go National) says the band encompasses bits of folk, pop, punk, indie and even a touch of country. For now, “pop band” is good enough. They have two full-length releases coming out in 2007, including one on the internationally-acclaimed Asian Man record label. They can be seen and heard at many local venues throughout Sacramento. Kevin, along with the rest of the band, believes—well, insists—that you watch them perform on a regular basis.

Agent Ribbons

Members: Lauren Hess, Natalie Gordon. Favorite music at age 16: Hess: Bikini Kill, Seven Year Bitch. Gordon: Built to Spill, Ani DiFranco. Best onstage memory: Gordon: “We had a really bad show when we thought we were over the time when we played bad shows. And we got off key and the microphone fell and hit me.” How’d you spend your Sweet 16? “I think I got my heart broken on my 16th birthday. It sucked,” says Gordon. Hess: “I was probably brooding or trying to be cool.”

Baby Grand

Members: Gerri White (guitar, vocals), Tim White (drums), Cory Vick (more guitar), Leon Levy (bass), Christina Maradik (viola), Erik de Kok (keys, guitar), Chris Olsen (trumpet, melodica, “etc.”). First song learned to play: Gerri: “I can’t remember the exact song, but I soon discovered I could play all of the Galaxie 500 songs with the new three chords I learned.” Who plays the most instruments? Who’s most responsible? Always late? Who gets all the groupies? “I play the most instruments,” Olsen says. “Everybody is pretty responsible except me. I’m always late, and I get all the groupies, but I have to send them packing, because 19 times out of 20, they’re either the wrong gender or UGLY.” How hokey is this whole teenager theme? Suggestions for next year? Olsen: “It’s pretty terrible and cruel because it just reminds me of what a boring loser I was when I was 16. Thanks, Sammie. You so rock. Next year’s theme should be ‘Famous Despots.’”

Buildings Breeding

Members: Chris Larsen (vocals, guitar), Melanie Glover (drums, vocals), Evan Hart (guitar), Paul Bae (bass), Jesse Miller (keys). What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? “Nobody’s moshing,” Glover says. “This is not punk rock,” says Miller. First albums ever bought: “Devo,” Larsen recalls. “Dude, I grew up in the ’80s.” How’d you spend your Sweet 16? “I got my first cell phone,” Glover says. “Smokin’ weed,” says Larsen. “Other than that, I can’t remember.”

Didley Squat

Members: Casey James (drums), Jacob Barcena (guitar), David Mohr (vocals), Stuart Nishiyama (keyboards). What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? “I’d like it,” Barcena says, “but I wouldn’t have gotten ‘Break Dance Party Massacre’ at age 16—which is weird, because we wrote it when we were 16.” Admired local bands: “We’ve always had a crush on Pets,” Barcena says. “That would be a hot three-way.” Groupie magnet: “Stuart takes care of the online stuff, so he gets all the online chicks,” James explained. “David gets all the drunk chicks.”


The Evening Episode,

Members: Terra Lopez (vocals, samplers), Josh Heinze (vocals, samplers, programming), Ira Skinner (drums, programming), Chris Loental (bass, programming), Genaro Ulloa (keys). First album ever bought: “I think it was a tape of Dokken’s Tooth and Nail,” says Loental. “My original method for judging a record was based solely on how wicked the cover looked.” Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: No comment, on the grounds of protecting political futures. Who plays the most instruments? “We all play multiple instruments, but Ira probably plays the most instruments out of all of us,” Loental continues. “Which makes him really frustrated to be stuck on drums all the time. But hey, no one else can play the drums. Sorry, dude.”

Chemical Angel,

Members: ShadoW (vocals, synths, programming, manipulations), Tori (synths, programming, manipulations). Favorite music at age 16: ShadoW: The Cure, OMD, New Order, Severed Heads, Ministry. Tori: Skinny Puppy, Joy Division/New Order, OMD. Best onstage memory: Blowing out the power grid three times in one gig at Trauma. First song learned to play: ShadoW: “The demo song on this little Casiotone I used to have.” Tori: “‘Working Man,’ by Rush.” Groupie magnet: “The shiniest machines on stage usually get the most groupies.”

Two Playa Game

Members: Game Bwoy, Xtra Man. Also known as: Evan Schneider and Takeshi Lewis. As a teenager, what video-game song inspired you the most? Game Bwoy: Space Harrier: “Boss Battle.” Xtra Man: “Final Fantasy: ‘Chocobo Song.’ Prob one of the lamest songs ever.” Best onstage memory: Xtra Man: “San Diego. We got mad love there.” Game Bwoy: “Hey, isn’t that where you got hit on by like five chicks and were dancin’ with all of them?” Xtra man: “Haha, that’s why it’s the best!”


Members: Kevin Dockter (guitar, vocals), Ruebi Freyja (voice, percussion), Ruben Reveles (keyboards, sounds), Amber Padgett (vocals). Best onstage memory: Dedicating a song to the bad smell at the G Street Pub. First song learned to play: Freyja: “You Are My Sunshine.” Reveles: “All the way through? I’m not sure I’ve actually done that yet.” How’d you spend your Sweet 16? Dockter: “At the Jelly Belly factory.” Reveles: “Eating tacos, beating the shit out of a piñata.”

Tha Fruitbat

Also known as: Evan Schneider. Best onstage memory: “I played the Guild Theater with my old industrial band and a riot broke out.” Admired local bands: “Dusty Brown, the Steady Ups… or, they used to be.” First album ever bought: “Van Halen’s Diver Down and Madonna’s Like A Virgin.” Suggestion for next year’s Sammies theme: Battlestar Galactica.


Radio Orangevale

Members: Noah Nelson (rhythm guitar, vocals), Kevin Coughlin (drums), Glenn Newport (bass), Jason Cox (lead guitar), Damian Sol (violin). Favorite music at age 16: “Metallica,” says Sol. “Metallica wasn’t around when I was 16,” says Coughlin. “Does that count?” “Put it anyway,” says Cox. Debate ensues. Admired local bands: “Oh, Kai Kln!” says Sol. “I’ve never heard so many riffs! Gene was rockin’ his Kearns nectar. It was so sick.” First song learned to play: “‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,’ says Sol. “I was, like, 3, dude.”

Cuesta Drive

Members: Mike Camilleri (rhythm guitar, vocals, percussion), Dane Drewis (lead vocals, guitar), Nathan Calabrese (drums), Tim Diedesch (bass). What would the 16-year-old you think of your band? “Two years ago, I couldn’t spell guitarist,” says Diedesch. Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: Drewis: “I got caught lighting a bag of shit on fire on someone’s doorstep.” Camilleri: “I had a sleepover, and someone ordered porn on the TV. My parents still don’t believe that it wasn’t me.”


Members: Derek Fieth (bass, keyboards, vocals, drum programming), Allison Jones (guitar, vocals). First albums ever bought: Jones: Radiohead, The Bends. Fieth: Def Leppard, Hysteria. Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: “I got caught shoplifting Band-Aids to cover a piercing, because I had to cover it at my job,” Fieth recalls. “Then, I got fired from that job when they found out I got caught shoplifting.” Says Jones, “My mom accused me of having an ‘affair’ at 19.” Suggestions for next year’s Sammies theme: “World Tour: Sacramento.”

Th’ Losin Streaks,

Members: Tim Foster (vocals, guitar), Stan Tindall (bass, backing vocals), Matt K. Shrugg (drums, backing vocals), Mike Farrell (vocals, guitar). Best onstage memory: Being on stage. First albums ever bought:Meet The Beatles at Tower Records,” Shrugg recalls, “minutes after getting a birthday gift certificate. I still remember it. Andrew Dice Clay was just starting up then.” Groupie magnet: Shrugg: “What are groupies?”

Two Sheds,

Members: Full-time Sheds: Caitlin Gutenberger (guitar, vocals), Johnny Gutenberger (bass, etc.), Sam Coe (drums, hammer dulcimer); part-time Sheds: James Finch, Jr. (surly guitar), Dave “Brocky” Brockman (keys, reverse engineer of the unknown), Amber Padgett (backing vocals, improv percussion, Yeti charmer); Sheds emeriti: Robert Cheek (guitar wizardry), Rusty Miller (drums, keys, Carlo Rossi), Norman Wolfe (guitar, keys, making babies). Favorite music at age 16: Caitlin: Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Beck, Pavement. Johnny: Jane’s Addiction, Mookie Blaylock, Bad Brains, the Beastie Boys, the Grateful Dead. Sam: White Lion, Iron Maiden. Best onstage memory: That time that Caitlin sang about the meaning of life, and Sam’s drums burst into flames. How’d you spend your Sweet 16? “We rode dinosaurs to a caveman party.”


The Secretions

Members: Mickie Rat (bass, vocals), Danny Secretion (drums, vocals), Paul Filthy (guitar, vocals). What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? “I would think it was the same. I make the same kind of music.” Best onstage memory: “Playing at the Crest [Theatre] for the Sammies and seeing an image of myself on fire.” “The flying penis we threw at the audience—a 6-foot inflatable penis!” Don’t forget to tell them Happy Birthday! You may not have known, but this year also is the Secretions Sweet 16! Yes, that’s correct, this is their 16th year of making music together. Congrats!

The Bananas

Members: Marie Banana (electric banana), Scott Banana (banana skins), Banana Banana (acoustic banana, vocals). (Answers provided by Top Banana.) First song learned to play: “Still trying to figure out chords to ‘Louie, Louie.’” Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: “Once got into some pretty big trouble in Little China.” How’d you spend your Sweet 16? “Waist deep in ranch dressing.”

The Queensbury Rules

Members: Tom Hutchison (guitar), Megan Cauley (bass), Jessi Rose (vocals), Matt Leonardo (drums). Favorite music at age 16: “Pretty much the same as they are now,” Hutchison says. “Sex Pistols, Ramones, Clash.” First song learned to play: “‘Rock ’n’ Roll High School,’” Rose said. “My mom loved the Ramones. I used to sing it when I was 2 or 3.” Groupie magnet: “There’s just one groupie that we all share,” Rose jokes.

Whiskey Rebels

Members: Big Chuck (vocals), Jayson (guitar), Jimmy (bass), Nate A (guitar), Nate D (drums). What would the 16-year-old you think of your music? Probably stoked. Or afraid. Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: “I was convicted of accounting without a license,” Jimmy recalls, “a third-degree white-collar crime in my home state.” Suggestion for next year’s Sammies theme: “The theme song should be Winger’s ‘She’s Only 17,’ and the Secretions should be the guest hosts.”

The Helper Monkeys

Members: Craig Hancock (drums), Jaz Brown (vocals), Mac Ryan (guitar), Jeffrey Valentine (bass, vocals). Best onstage memory: “Jaz taking a header off the stage at last year’s Sammies show.” First albums ever bought: Hancock: Dead Kennedys, Bedtime for Democracy. Brown: Beach Boys, Surfin’ Safari. Ryan: Beatles, Revolver. Valentine: Run-D.M.C., Raising Hell. First song learned to play: As a band, they learned “Cocaine.”

Hard Rock/Metal

Absent Me

Members: Job (bass), Brian Rogers (vocals), Curtis Harvey (guitar), Don Segur (drums). Favorite music at age 16: Job: Primus, George Clinton, Pantera. Harvey: Rush. What would the 16-year-old you think of your band? “Shock and awe,” says Job. “He probably wouldn’t be allowed to listen to it,” says Rogers. Best onstage memory: Rogers: “I spit in a groupie’s mouth. It got her to let go. I don’t like to be groped when I’m playing. You can grope me afterwards.”

Giant Squid

Members: Aaron Gregory (vocals, guitar), Bryan Beeson (bass), Jackie Perez Gratz (vocals, cello), Scott Sutton (drums). What would the 16-year-old you think of your band? “Probably that it’s boring as hell, and way too slow, and needed more ska breakdowns,” says Gregory. How’d you spend your Sweet 16? Gregory: “Getting laid in the back of my Saab.” Suggestions for next year’s Sammies theme: Gregory, firmly: “How about a theme based around what is was like when we were teenagers and we actually got to go to real shows in Sacramento, to see ‘real’ bands at a ‘real’ club, since now this is a total impossibility downtown or anywhere near it? This theme doesn’t sound near as cute, though.”


Members: Emperor Kuntslaughter (drums, vocals), Corpse-Bukkake (bass, vocals), “Rapist” Rob Miller (vocals), Morguesplatter (guitar, vocals; not present for this interview). Favorite music at age 16: Miller: Stryper. Kuntslaughter: Journey. Corpse-Bukkake: Frank Sinatra. What would the 16-year-old you think of your band? M: “Pussy magnet.” K: “This shit is brutal, and would spell brutal with two zeros in place of the ‘u’.” CB: “This makes me want to punch someone in the chest.” Suggestions for next year’s Sammies theme: K: “Sammies 17: not yet legal, but will still have sex with you.”

Hot Pistol

Members: Johnny Elmasian (vocals), Jeff Elmasian (drums), Jansson Stout (guitar), Octavio Hernandez (bass). Band motto: The drunker you are, the better we sound. Best onstage memory: Opening for Tesla in Las Vegas, Johnny told all 3,000 people in the audience to shake their hair. “That same show,” Hernandez says, “I tried to do a power slide and I went, like, a foot.” Biggest trouble gotten into as teenagers: “I got the back of my car shot up,” Johnny recalls. “There was an assassination attempt on my life.” Groupie magnet: Hernandez. “Another question could be, ‘Who’s the horn dog?’” he quips.

Save and Continue

Members: Billy Schult (vocals), Brent Ginn (guitar), Garz (bass), Mike Scott (drums). Favorite music at age 16: Simon Says, Korn, “I probably actually was into hip-hop,” Pantera, Guttermouth, NOFX. Best onstage memory: At the Distillery, Brent broke his foot running from the liquor store getting batteries. And then there’s Club Fred, in Fresno, with its ubiquity of purple shag carpet. “You almost want to take your shoes off when you play there.” Fun fact: Their album, Misunderstandings in Drop B, came from a mix-up over what musical key they actually were playing in.