Shimmy and shindig
Bobby Jordan looks back on 20 years of rock
Sacramento, CA 95814
The Knockoffs, Mr. T Experience, Red Star Memorial, the Decibels—Bobby Jordan has been in more Sacramento bands than dreams you’ve had about being in rock bands. And this week, to celebrate his 40th birthday, many of those groups of lore and current projects will unite at Old Ironsides for an evening of power rock and badass front kicks. Here’s what Jordan has to say about two decades of slaying the ax in Sacto.
You’re a big Oakland A’s fan. Would you trade in your music skills for pro-baseball skills?
I would love to be a big-league shortstop or pitcher, but I wouldn’t give up music for anything.
Zelda’s or Pieces?
Once you learn the system, there’s no better place than Zelda’s [Gourmet Pizza]. The pizza is amazingly good, and the service is, too, contrary to folklore. It can be a bit intimidating the first time, but nothing beats it once you have it. It’s a very special place for me, my wife and our friends. Plus, they have tiny glasses for your beer.
What do you miss the most about Sacramento that’s no longer around?
The Cattle Club and the old Capitol Garage. Some of the most amazing shows I’ve seen or been a part of were at those places.
What’s your best onstage “move”?
The best-looking move, without a doubt, is the front kick. Pure badass. Yes, I use it, and I know I’m not the only one, but I still think it’s my move. Lory from the Riff Randals got into an argument with me over who was doing it first; it was me. I execute it better, but I’ll admit that she looks way better doing it.
The absolute best move, however, is the Bobby Jordan Full Body Shake. Some people call it the Bobby Jordan Shimmy. It’s kind of a cross between convulsions and a seizure, but it only happens when I’m moved by the music. The look on Tom Amberson’s face, the drummer of the Knockoffs, after it happens is pretty great, too.
You just toured Europe as bassist for 7Seconds.
It absolutely ruled. It was all last minute, so I had about three weeks to learn 30 songs, then flew to Europe and played nine shows in nine days, all without a band rehearsal. Played a bunch of festivals with a lot of terrible metal bands, plus a few headlining gigs along the way. Got to play and hang with Agnostic Front and the Cro-Mags, at least.
How has the Sacto live-music scene ebbed and flowed over the years?
I went to my first gig in ’85 or ’86, and played my first show at the Cattle Club in ’89. How’s this for full circle: I played a show Jerry Perry promoted for a $5 cover and, 21 years later, I play Jerry Perry-promoted shows for a $5 cover. Jeez, people, loosen up your wallets.
Everything was more punk and metal back then, and ’95 to ’02 is when all of my favorite bands came up in the scene. I was a member of the Decibels, Go National and the Knockoffs, three of my favorite bands, and then started Red Star Memorial. We all got to play with a ton of bands like the Groovie Ghoulies, Forever Goldrush, Magnolia Thunderfinger, Sex 66, Helper Monkeys, Grub Dog, Anton, Deathray, Popgun—the list is endless. …
The big crowds have left for the most part, but Sacramento bands and artists just keep on doing what they do, and new bands don’t cease to keep cropping up.
How many bands have you been in?
There was some survey going around a few years ago asking you to list 30 bands you’ve seen live. I responded that I had been in 30 bands. That was a few years ago, so I can safely say I’ve been in around 35 bands. Not all of them played live, but they all practiced and had band names. I’ve probably been in six great bands, seven very good bands, eight decent bands and a slew of bands ranging from terrible to I’m-glad-we-never-played-live.
Did you ever try to go hip-hop and consider quitting punk rock?
Well, no, although Chris Amaral and I wrote and recorded a rap song called “You Sank My Battleship” in ’88 or ’89. It’s as terrible as you think it would be. No, I won’t give you a copy.