The Secretions are explicit in their support of the local punk scene, and front-and-center to that support has been an openness to the bands that have come up in their wake—many of which feature members who weren’t even born when The Secretions formed in the early ‘90s.
They are a firmly lodged staple in the Sacramento music scene, and their impact can be felt at venues all across the city on any given night. As you’ll see, those bands cherish The Secretions, not only as musicians, but as humans.
The Secretions will be celebrating their 25th anniversary on July 9 starting at 6 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre on Stockton Boulevard. There is a $10–$20 sliding-scale donation and all proceeds will go to the Pit Bull Socialization and Obedience Crew in Sacramento.
I reached out to some locals who have been close to The Secretions over the years to get a feel for the band’s influence. I’ve stitched together those stories (which run the gamut from hilarious to heartwarming) below, with some thoughts and memories from the band’s drummer, Danny Secretion, weaved in.
David Lindsay, guitarist for The O’Mulligans
I first saw them perform at their 10-year anniversary show at Capitol Garage when I was 15. I knew that playing music with my friends was all I wanted to do. It’s still all I want to do.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to have my own band share the stage with Danny, Mickie [Rat, bass/vocals] and Paul [Filthy, guitar] numerous times and am lucky to have them as my peers, even though I still consider them my personal rock ‘n’ roll heroes. I’m almost 30 now, and I’m pretty sure I play it off quite cool in front of them, but I’m still a huge fan and I still aspire to be like them. The Secretions are one of the greatest bands to come out of Sacramento, and I can’t wait to see them continue for hopefully another 25 years. To this day, I know that they secrete and I suck.
Danny Secretion on how things have changed:
Twenty-five years ago, we knew all the other punk bands that were playing in Sacramento. Now, so many more young people are playing. Some bands have people that aren’t even in high school. That’s so cool. They’re out there playing and booking shows. Juniors in high school are asking us for advice on touring.
Jordan Stephen, vocalist/guitarist for Shot Trip (formerly Pilgrim)
Last summer, our good friends Simpl3Jack booked their “final” show at Cafe Colonial and asked my band and The Secretions to be a part of it. When they got on stage, The Secretions ripped through the entirety of the Ramones’ second album, Leave Home, as a tribute to Simpl3Jack heading off to college (even going so far as to replace the “Gabba Gabba Hey!” with a chant of “Simple Simple Jack!).
To see a band that had been around since before I was born humbly, and sometimes hilariously, trudge through an album of songs they had just learned to pay tribute to a couple of kids was amazing and completely inspiring. Without Danny and The Secretions, I might not have a place in any of the Sac music scene, but luckily, I do. And I’m eternally grateful that I do.
Danny Secretion on booking bands from tours past:
The 25th Anniversary show is going to be a show that you’re never going to see again. The Community and The Secretions are the only bands that play regularly. I don’t know if Final Summation or Social Concern are ever going to play again. Last time Ashtray played was two years ago.
Trying to get [some bands] back together can be like opening old wounds among the band members. Maybe there’s a reason they broke up.
All these feelings are going to come to the forefront. Me being a big crybaby, I’m probably going to be bawling the whole night, but in a good way. We want to celebrate this great trip that music has taken us on.
Liz Salmi, drummer for Luckie Strike (1997–2001)
One of my favorite things about hanging out with and being on tour with The Secretions is that no one in the band had a bad attitude. All of the people in my band self-identified as being a bunch of nerds, and The Secretions were always nice to us and fun to be with.
To save space on tour, Luckie Strike and The Secretions shared gear. As drummers, Danny Secretion and I shared a drum set. He sang in his band, and I didn’t. However, if The Secretions performed before us, Danny’s microphone would sometimes be left next to the drum set. Having a microphone is a rare treat for a drummer, and I always felt empowered to say things into the microphone during a show … If Danny could do it, I could too, and no one could stop me.
Charles Albright, guitarist for RAD
I was at Rio Americano High School when The Secretions played there in spring of ‘98. They set up and began to play. A crowd of jocks in the distance started lobbing insults and rocks. Danny said, “Shouldn’t you guys be at football practice?”
More insults, more rocks. They went into a song and Mickie yells, “Sorry we don’t sound like NOFX, motherfuckers!” Pretty soon an administrator appeared, pulled the plug and they were escorted off campus by police. One of the punkest things I have ever seen.
Danny Secretion on the story you just read:
That’s all true. We took the afternoon off work to go do that, and got kicked off of a high school. Bands that played the next two years had to sign a contract saying they didn’t know us.
Brian Faucett (aka Brian Hanover), owner of Revolution Ink and vocalist/guitarist for Hanover Saints
You’d think after 25 years there would be nothing left to Secrete with these guys, but you’d be wrong.
Rachel Hanna, singer for The Bar Fly Effect
I got to get up on stage with The Secretions at Danny’s birthday bash in like 2013. It was a Ramones themed show, and he personally asked me if I’d sing a song with them. The guys are so much fun and so accepting and loving of everyone in the scene, I can’t imagine life without knowing them.
Sophia Flores, singer for Crude Studs
Around 2000–2003, most punk bands in Sacramento were fairly aggressive and politicized, or at least the bands I tended to follow. I wouldn’t go on to see them much until around 2006–2007, when I ran shows at the Javalounge on 16th Street.
These interactions, as well as the cooperative booking endeavors I would work on with them at The Hub, and later at Cafe Colonial, are really what showed me what these folks were made of. They strove to create opportunities for younger bands to gain experience, network and most importantly, play in a safe space. They were, and continue to be, the gateway drug to punk in Sacramento.
Danny Secretion on the annual Fuck Cancer shows:
Prior to my father’s death I was raising money for The American Cancer Society. When I lost my father to cancer, I pursued it more aggressively. I’m exhausted after those shows, but I go to bed with a smile on my soul. They’re therapeutic. I don’t want to just say, “Oh, cancer is bad.” I want to say “Fuck Cancer.” I’ve got anger in that.
Dal Basi, owner of Phono Select Records
The Secretions were one of the earliest bands I became friends with after moving to Sacramento in the early ‘90s. They blew me away with their limitless energy and buzz-saw rock ‘n’ roll, Ramones-inspired punk-roll blitzkrieg. To this day they continue to rock like a punk rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut. Every time I see them live I leave with a smile on my face. How many bands have stayed continuously good after 20-plus years?
What they do for local music deserves our respect. So, members past and present, thanks for the years of great memories, friendship and most of all, the rock ‘n’ roll!
Danny Secretion on the band’s “mentorship role”:
We can’t take any credit. If bands come to me for advice, I’m always willing to give it. The thing about being in this scene for so long is you see the people when they’re 14. A lot these kids’ first shows were Secretions shows because they felt safe and went on and developed their own bands. If we meant a lot to them, we succeeded.
Jordan Wolfe, bassist for Final Summation
The Secretions took us under their wing very early on and really became like big brothers. We could go to them for advice on how to play out-of-town shows and how to get merch made, but even how to handle life-changing events of the good and bad variety. They were also there for advice on life changing in general and how to handle it in a positive way. When our guitarist at the time, John Powell, sadly decided to take his life at 19, Danny and Mickie were the first two people at my house to make sure Bear [Williams, guitar] and I were OK.
I’ve come to find that a lot of kids who gravitate to punk rock (the ones who don’t have a close friend or relative to hold their hand) are kids who think they are weird, or nerds, or get bullied … whatever. Outcasts of various degrees.
Once in the scene and going to shows, sometimes the same level of bullying from the “normal” world looms its ugly head and can make an already rejected person feel even more rejected. A band like The Secretions mean what they say and make it OK to be who you are, no matter how weird. Oh, you like wrestling and punk rock and horror movies but you also have a secret fascination with eating at every In-n-Out Burger in America? Cool, come out to a show and make some new friends so you have someone to go with you next time. THAT is what a Secretions show is like.
Anger and attitude and violence all have their place in punk rock, but the lovable geeky punks like Joey Ramone or a young Billie Joe Armstrong carve out an area for the not-so-angry, but still displaced. You’ll find songs to circle-pit to, songs to mosh to, songs to pogo to, songs to sing along with, songs to simply stand there and bob your head to, ALL at a Secretions show. There is literally something for everyone looking to have a good time.
They were inspired by bands like The Ramones and The Misfits, both of whom have spawned generations of bands, and I think that helps build a bridge in seeing how they did the same thing.
I know people as young as 12 and as old as 70 that know who The Secretions are. I know people in countries all over the world who know who The Secretions are. That’s insane! But it’s extremely easy to understand. They take what they do seriously, but they don’t take themselves seriously. They are confident in who they are or have come to be, but they keep any amount of shitty ego in check. They have always been humble and happy to help any up-and-coming punk band, so long as a mutual respect was upheld, which isn’t too much to ask.
They write funny songs, but involve themselves with serious causes. They always seem to find a perfect balance in making something ugly beautiful, or something sad funny in a needed way. I owe them a great deal of thanks and still, after almost 20 years, I feel incapable of finding the right way to say thank you.
I hope they know it [has] all meant something, and it [has] never been taken for granted. There are stories, rumors, legacies, lore and so on, which is why they whave such a staying power, and we as a scene and a city are lucky to have them.
Celebrate 25 years of local punk rock at The Secretions 25th Anniversary Extravaganza July 9, 2016 at the Colonial Theater, located at 3522 Stockton Blvd. in Sacramento. The all-ages show is a benefit for Pit Bull Socialization and Obedience Crew, with a $10–$20 sliding-scale donation at the door. The 6 p.m. show also features a stellar line-up of bands past and present, including Final Summation, Ashtray, The Community, Social Concern and Speeding In The Rain as well as DJ sets between bands by Rob Fatal. Find out more at Facebook.com/secretions