San Jose Rocks, Celebrating Silicon Valley’s Role ‘n Rock

When people around the world think of California, they think first of San Francisco and Los Angeles, the state’s anointed cultural bullseyes.

Likewise, when people think about the California rock music scene, they focus on those same cities.  But that’s a short-sighted focus.

“In the Bay Area, it took a nine-county region to build a catalogue of fantastic music – and many of the influential rock and roll acts of all time gestated in San Jose and Silicon Valley.”

So did much of music’s foundational technological advances.

From garage bands of the 1960’s to current groundbreakers, both musically and technologically, Silicon Valley is rich in modern melodic history. San Jose Rocks seeks to weave together stories of the past and present about a place where creative people have converged to shape the soundtrack of not just California, but the United States and the world.

From the Grateful Dead to the Doobie Brothers, from Smash Mouth to Trapt, from Ampex cassette decks to Apple iTunes and GarageBand workstations, Silicon Valley and San Jose have enriched America’s most raucously unique musical invention: Rock and Roll.

A few examples:

  • In 1965, the Grateful Dead performed the group’s first show in a downtown house located near San Jose State University, on the site of San Jose’s current City Hall. The house has since been moved to nearby St. John Street a few blocks away.
  • The Doobie Brothers and Smash Mouth originated in San Jose and woodshedded in clubs throughout the city and the Santa Clara Valley.
  • San Jose resident Paul Catalana promoted the Beatles’ first two concerts in the Bay Area following their 1964 American debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
  • Other bands with strong connections to San Jose and the Valley include Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Fleetwood Mac, Trapt and Los Tigres del Norte.
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Did You Know

Doobie Brothers

2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: The Doobie Brothers

By Dan Orloff | February 28, 2021

Since forming in 1969, The Doobie Brothers have sold more than 48 million albums, including three multi-Platinum albums, seven Platinum albums, and 14 Gold albums.

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Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Go Spartans!

By Dan Orloff | February 28, 2021

1967 – 1972: Formed by John Fogerty, Doug Clifford (born in Palo Alto), and Stu Cook in the late 1950s. Doug and Stu attended San Jose State, playing now under…

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Charles David "Doc" Herrold

World’s First Radio Station

By Dan Orloff | February 27, 2021

Doc Herrold launched worlds first radio station in downtown San Jose in 1909. And, coined the term “broadcasting”. His radio station is now KCBS 740 AM.

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Santa Clara: Home to Peter Frampton’s Voice

By Dan Orloff | February 27, 2021

Santa Clara music store owner Dean Markley’s creation of the Voice Box effects pedal, a vocal effects processor, was featured in famous rock artist Peter Frampton’s hit, “Show Me the…

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Our Rockers

Paul Catalana

Savvy enough to book red-hot young pop juggernauts like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits and the Dave Clark 5…

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Greg Kihn San Jose Rocks

Greg Kihn

Greg Kihn began his career in his hometown of Baltimore, MD, working in the singer/songwriter mold, but switching to straightforward…

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Mikel Hunter Herrington

As Captain Mikey, from 1966 -1969 he held crazy contests and snuck guests into the nighttime studio, making Top 40…

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