Sacramento Music Scene in the Sixties:
Interview with Bruce Bolin
SacTV.com "Video of the Day" review by
Alex Cosper on April 8, 2012
The Sacramento music scene in the 1960s was a reflection of what was going on nationally more than what
was organically grew from regional roots. In the early sixties when the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, The Ventures
and The Surfaris were the stars of the surf craze, Sacramento was home to many surf bands. The Beach Boys concert
at Memorial Auditorium in 1962 has a major impact on the local scene, as it marked the beginning of
Tower Records sponsoring shows. The concert was recorded August 1, 1964 and became a live album called
The Beach Boys Concert released on Capitol Records a few months later. Tower Records founder Russ Solomon said in
an interview that it was the Beach Boys and Beatles albums that influenced teens to start buying albums more than singles,
which is how the Tower Records empire became to spread beyond Sacramento, first to San Francisco then Los Angeles.
Although not too many Sacramento artists became famous in the sixties, just ninety miles away was the epicenter
of the enlightened peace and love movement in San Francisco, that harvested so much of what the decade became remembered for.
Bill Graham built the Bay Area concert scene as a promoter who understood that music was a driving force behind
the movement. Sacramento was part of the touring circuit that Graham constructed from the Bay. The Sound Factory
was one of the venues promoted by freeform rock station KZAP and State State station KERS. Davis band Kak was
signed to Columbia Records and released a psychedelic gem, although it did not attract airplay.
Sacramento's top hit of the sixties, although produced in Los Angeles, was "More Today Than Yesterday" by Spiral Staircase led by Pat Upton.
The single was the title track of an album that penetrated the top 100 on the album charts in 1969 while the single hit #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles
chart. Creedence Clearwater Revival became huge in 1969 after getting airplay on freeform stations like KSAN. Although they originated from
the East Bay, they played frequently in Sacramento a few years earlier when they were unknown, according to Skip Maggiora, owner of
Skip's Music. KSAN Program Director Tom Donahue owned Autumn Records before selling it to Warner Brothers. One of the acts was the
Beau Brummels. Singer Sal Valentino evenutally moved to Sacramento. A few other names out of Sacramento that went national in the
sixties were country artists Lynn Anderson, Rose Maddox and Barbie Benton.
Bruce Bolin has been playing in local bands since the sixties. He is the owner of Puddingstone Recording Studio.
In this video Bruce talks about what the local music scene was like in the 1960s. He says there were plenty of places to
play any night of the week and that's how he make his living and was able to buy a house. He currently plays in the
rock and country cover band The Sly Fox Band.
Read more about the Sacramento music scene at Playlist Research.
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