Sacramento’s rock and roll history is closely associated with Skip’s Music, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in business at the Sacramento Music Festival on Saturday, May 25. The Old Sac festival, although formerly called the Jazz Jubilee, also is celebrating its 40th year. Skip Maggiora opened his first music store in 1973 and has since added a few stores. SacTV.com covered the opening of the event as Skip gave a speech about why he got into music and the history of the store. He then introduced the event’s hosts, Charlie Thomas from 96.9 The Eagle, Tom Romano from Classic 93.1 and Kitty O’Neal from KFBK. The radio hosts kept the show flowing with announcements and introductions between acts.
There really wasn’t much down time between acts over the two and a half hour show. It was a fast-paced show that brought several well known musical acts to the stage such as members of Tesla, Pablo Cruise, Night Ranger and Steel Breeze. The lengthy and impressive roster of performers was put together by Skip in a short time. Brad Lang from Y&T and Alan Gratzer from REO Speedwagon contributed to the supergroup that culminated in a jam session with Frank Hannon, Jeff Watson and some of Sacramento’s top musicians. Other acts who performed included Steve Wall and Bawb Pearce from the Beer Dawgs, Joe Getty and the Dead Flowers, Gene Smith from Kai Kln and Mercy Me. A young band who won last year’s Stairway to Stardom competition called Four Days Out also played for the crowd of about 500 people in the Firehouse Lot.
The event brought back many memories of the 1980s when local rock bands were starting to get national attention. NIght Ranger, featuring Sacramento guitarist Jeff Watson, began having national hits in the early 1980s after being signed to MCA. One of those hits was "Don’t Tell Me You Love Me," which the band performed on Saturday. It did not matter that some of the bands were only connected to Sacramento with one member. Pablo Cruise, for example, is usually thought of as a Bay Area band, but drummer Steve Price lives in Loomis. Pablo Cruise played their familiar hits "Love Will Find a Way" and "What’cha Gonna Do." Steel Breeze, who rose to popularity around the same time as Night Ranger, performed their national hit "You Don’t Want Me Anymore." Each of the bands in some way was connected to Skip’s Music over the years and thanked the store for serving the region.
Skip’s anniversary concert was the most memorable local aspect of the Sacramento Music Festival. Much of the rest of the festival is dominated by national acts from other regions. This year’s four day festival in Old Sac includes Los Lobos, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, The Blasters, The James Hunter Six, Wanda Jackson, John Lee Hooker, Jr. and Ben Tayor. Skip mentioned in his introduction that the festival organizers asked Skip to share their 40th anniversary celebration with him since he has already been involved with the event and was also celebrating his 40th anniversary as a store owner. The show brought together an audience made up of fans, local musicians and local media figures such as Tony Cox, a voice on Sacramento airwaves for decades.
One of the reasons Skip has stayed in business all these decades is that he has reached out and done meaningful things with the local music community. The whole key to running a successful small business can be learned by studying Skip’s Music. The store has stayed close to the ethic of hiring talented people who know music and can help musicians build their careers. Many local artists bought their first instruments from Skip’s Music. Frank Hannon gave a lot of credit to Skip’s for Tesla’s success before launching into "Little Suzi" with singer Jeff Keith. The show was a nice tribute to the Sacramento music scene as well as Skip’s Music and it was presented in a classy way that gave local fans plenty of excitement and memorable moments.
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