Music and basketball. That’s it. The extent of Arts DEVO’s passions. Longtime readers of this column already know this, even if the music has gotten far more play in this space. That’s mostly because my team, the Sacramento Kings, hasn’t done much to write about during all of the years that I’ve had this column.
The truth is, I love basketball nearly as much as music, and as I’ve written before, I’ve followed the sport since I was in the eighth grade when my parents gave me an old TV for my bedroom:
It was a little black-and-white set with rabbit ears and all I could tune in to was PBS and CBS. That first night—May 31, 1983—I sat with my face 1 foot away from the screen, mesmerized by what turned out to be the final game of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and 76ers. My jaw was on the floor as I watched players with superhero-sounding names—Magic, Dr. J, Moses, Kareem—do superhuman things. I was hooked.
I could not resist the mastery-plus-passion of Magic Johnson, so the Lakers were my first team. The Kings wouldn’t move to Sacramento (from Kansas City) for another couple of years. About a decade after the team settled in the North State, Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Jason “White Chocolate” Williams, Peja Stojakovic and coach Rick Adelman all joined the Kings at the same time, and their combined showmanship and charm—and the appeal of a “home” team just 90 minutes away—converted me. I’ve been a loyal fan ever since.
It was a great choice for the first 8 years. No championships, but a lot of fun basketball—what Sports Illustrated called “The Greatest Show on Court.”
The Kings last playoff appearance was in 2006. Three months before this column debuted. That’s a 16 year playoff drought—the current longest streak in all professional team sports and the longest in NBA history. Had I conjured a curse?
Perhaps to make up for that possibility, the past couple of months I’ve been mashing together my two passions in the creation of a song to celebrate the team and its loyal fans. The exciting truth is that the Kings are good again! They have another great coach (Mike Brown) and a couple of young all-stars (point guard De’Aaron Fox and center Domantas Sabonis), and a spot in the playoffs this season has been clinched.
The city of Sacramento has been rejuvenated, and a giant symbol of the community coming together has been the giant purple laser that the team projects into the sky from the roof of Golden 1 Center after each win.
Inspired by the beam and the excitement surrounding it, I got together with a bunch of band pals—Viking Skate Country, The October Coalition, Dan Greenfield and Todd Steinberg—and recorded and released a sing-along rock anthem called “Light the Beam.” It just came out, so I can’t take credit for reversing any curse … unless they make it all the way to the championship. That would totally be some Chico-music-magic at work.
Kings win! Roooooar!
Stop having so much fun!
Before the April print issue hits the streets, local fun-loving four-piece the Tite Nauts will have debuted the video for the band’s killer punk-meets-1980s-metal anthem, “Hard Heavy Habits” (from the 2022 Denim & Smoke album). The song’s dual meanings—a nun’s garment and a nun having fun—are also in play in this amazingly well-produced video (conceived by the band’s Josh Indar, directed/edited by Moshiriously) featuring an inspired cast of locals playing goth nuns, skateboarders and one valiant, and frisky, werewolf.