When I think about great music and where it originates, I think of big cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, or Detroit. Being from the Sacramento Area, the music culture in my town isn’t quite as rich as those places, but it has still created a musical identity for itself and stolen the sound from other NorCal markets. Rock music has stood out in particular as the sound that the city embodies. Sacramento was the site of the first official Tower Records, which at one point operated more than 150 stores. Tower’s iconic yellow and red sign became the face of music in Sacramento, but was seen far beyond the original store. The Guild Theater and Ace of Spades are the best-known venues for great live music, and the Aftershock Festival brings in thousands of rock and metal fans every fall.
With that, I wanted to take a greater look at the groups from my hometown whose songs are the epitome of what Sac-Town is about.
Deftones – “Bloody Cape”
By far the best band to ever come out of Sacramento, Deftones introduced a heavy act with songs performed with such vigor. But it is the music video for this song that is truly what makes it unique to the city. It begins with shots of the Tower Bridge and the Sacramento Kings logo on the backwards hat of a man driving through the city. The entire video is essentially people driving and walking around, which if you grew up there is all you did because there was never anything to do. That’s why music has become such a prominent thing in the area. It’s just real people looking for a real outlet and something to inspire them. Deftones always seems to incorporate a level of truth in their music, and after eight albums, have stayed true to their city and given people something to listen to when they’re simply walking around.
Cake – “Arco Arena”
Perhaps the second most well-known rock group to come out of Sacramento, Cake’s bonus track off their album Comfort Eagle is all about a Sacramento staple. Everyone in the area has countless memories of Arco Arena and the emotional and personal connection it holds to our city. The song begins with the line, “Welcome to the Kings’ palace, Arco Arena.” The song commemorates the basketball team whose fan base is one of the most loyal in all of sports regardless of their 10-year playoff drought. Even after a few name changes and the construction of a new arena, it will always be Arco. The song asks, “Why walk in circles when you can win?” Thanks to the local rockers, we’ll call this one a win for Sacramento.
Team Sleep – “Ever (Foreign Flag)”
A hybrid band formed by Deftones lead singer Chino Moreno, Team Sleep incorporates so many different elements that are rarely performed so well by one group. The lyrics are what stand out the most to me in this song. Moreno sings, “Light the stage/ So we can all take off/ Anywhere/ We’ll never come back/ Ever.” People who live in Sacramento always seem to want to be part of something bigger than their city. Everyone wants to get out and I know a lot of people would never want to come back, ever! I realize this isn’t the actual message behind the song; however, the song introduces sounds by Moreno that I now hear in connection with my city, and lyrics that are relatable no matter where you’re from. Everyone wants to get out of their hometown and do something great. Music allows us to get lost and go places you can’t normally go. That place is different for all music fans, but when “You picture all of us everywhere/ We’ll never come back/ Ever.”