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About San Jose Rocks

When people across the nation and around the world think of California, they think of San Francisco and Los Angeles. When they think about the California rock music scene, they identify the same areas. The surprise to many is that some of the most influential rock 'n' roll acts of all time got their start – and made some incredible technological advances – right here in San Jose and the Silicon Valley. From Count Five, The Grateful Dead, The Doobie Brothers and Fleetwood Mac to Smash Mouth and Trapt, from Ampex and Dolby to Apple's iPod, Silicon Valley has enriched America's largest cultural export - rock 'n' roll.

Our Legacy

For example … in 1965, the first performance of the band that had just selected the name The Grateful Dead occurred (during one of author/LSD advocate Ken Kesey’s infamous “acid tests”) in a home in downtown San Jose, which is now the site of San Jose's new City Hall. The Doobie Brothers and Trapt originated from San Jose and Los Gatos; San Jose resident Paul Catalana was the promoter of The Beatles' 1964 and 1965 Bay Area concerts. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Fleetwood Mac, Chocolate Watchband, People, Syndicate of Sound, Los Tigres del Norte … they all have roots in Silicon Valley. And now, a whole new generation of world-class musicians and technologists is growing right before our eyes.

Perhaps most noteworthy is the medium that was to bring 1954’s birth of rock 'n' roll to ears all over the world: In April of 1909, radio broadcasting was born in San Jose when Charles (a.k.a. "Doc") Herrold, an electronics instructor, constructed the world's first broadcasting station in downtown San Jose. The station, known as "San Jose Calling" (there were no call letters back then), continues to this day as KCBS in San Francisco. Herrold, who was the son of a Santa Clara farmer, also coined the terms "narrowcasting" and "broadcasting," and was the first play music across the airwaves on a regular basis. In 1919, his wife Sybil Herrold became the world's first disc jockey.

Since that first radio broadcast, Silicon Valley has lead innovation in signal-processing integrated circuits for electronic synthesizers and audio equipment, noise reduction, personal computers, and recording software … and even guitar strings and voice box via Dean Markley Strings, headquartered in Santa Clara. Soon, Gibson Guitar Corp will be introducing the world's first all-digital electric guitar with components developed by Silicon Valley giants’ 3Com, AMD, Intel and Xilinx.

Our Story

San Jose Rocks, celebrating Silicon Valley's role 'n rock, is the brain child of an eclectic mix of Santa Clara county residents in  collaboration with History San José - the premier history organization in Silicon Valley. The San Jose Rocks Music Hall of Fame, now in its second year, is an annual dinner/benefit concert commemorating the rich and diverse contributions to rock ‘n’ roll made by this region’s bands, musicians, writers, rock promoters, teachers, radio personalities, business leaders, inventors, music venues and technologists. 

Thousands of volunteer hours and generous donations of cash and in-kind contributions enable San Jose Rocks a singular opportunity to recognize and celebrate a region that is home to a unique, prolific brand of artistic, technological and entrepreneurial mojo.

Stay tuned for more and if you have something you'd like to contribute, let us know.

San Jose Rocks Committee Members


Tom Muller (keyboardist and songwriter The New Arrivals and Modern Space Music)
Dan Orloff (Orloff/Williams advertising & public relations and drummer in Black Pearl)

Committee Members

Jill Arnone, The Arnone Group
Robert Berry, Soundtek Studios
Mike Bohrer, Mike Bohrer Creative
Alida Bray, History San Jose
Jud Cost, Sundazed Records
Mary Curtis, Pacifico
Jim Gordon, ShowPro Inc., The Groove Kings
Barbara Johnson, History San Jose
Brad Kava,
Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News
Pam Watson, History San Jose
Read Zaro, The Entertainment Connection

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