San Jose metal crossover act Sinister Sam was originated in 1987 by Silver Creek High School Alumni John Sanders and Scot Miller. The name Sinister Sam was born the day John passed a note to Scot in class, with a charicature of Scot boasting that his band “Sinister Sam” would one day headline Chuck E Cheese. At this time John & Scot were actually in seperate bands. Scot thought the name was so funny that he ended up calling his band Sinister Sam. John & Scot eventually ended up merging their two bands together, keeping the musicians they liked between the two groups.
Sam’s 1st gig was a Silver Creek Ice Cream social. During High School, Sam went on to play many backyard parties, playing many songs by Van Halen, Metallica, Ratt, Dio, Dokken and Ozzy. Their original material at this time was average at best.
Being inspired by Bay Area Thrash Metal bands as well as Fishbone, Frank Zappa, Mr Bungle, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sam got its shit together. Their music started combining elements of funk and jazz always surrounded by a metal core. Guitar solos were crazy, but not prominent in every song. Their first Demo was called Catfish Gumbo, recorded at Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati, California (studio of many a Shrapnel recording artist). Songs included were Work, Fresno, Lecter, Dr McCoy, and Nice to Meet You.
With the strength of Catfish Gumbo and their aspirations of a bad ass live show where the whole band moved around like Angus Young, Sam started playing the San Jose Club circuit, most notably San Jose’s Cactus Club, then The Stone, The Omni, One Step Beyond, Slims, The Catalyst, Berkeley Square, FX, Marsugi’s, The I-Beam, The Caberet, and many others.
Sam’s second Demo, Picklehead Willy (also recorded at Prairie Sun), featured a more mature and whacked out version of the band, with the songs Passion, Tan Man, Hebru, and Staring, plus many small splices of audio randomness.
Sam has supported the following National and International acts: Vio-Lence, Forbidden, Fungo Mungo, MIRV, Agent Orange, X, Nuclear Assault, Deftones, Psychefunkapus, among others.
“This was the High School line up and I wasn’t in the band yet. Members here are Dave Shuster (drums), Scott Henry (bass), Scot Miller (guitars), and Shawn Washabaugh (Vocals). So the band started in a classroom at Silver Creek High School, Eastside San Jose, California.”
“This was the original gigging band; new players are Bruce Graves on Bass, John Perrine on drums, myself on guitar. I miss my hair. Lol. We also had sign guys like Steve Esquivel, who’d hold up signs during the show, get the crowd pumping. We were big on beach balls.”
“One of the last incarnations of Sam; drummer Donnie Green, bassist Aaron Liebelt, and Vocalist Gary Metrovich.”