The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Rocking the scene

Sacramento punk band City of Vain (left to right): Mario Maynor ( former City College student), Steve Ross, Drew Boyce and Minh Quan (also a former City College student.) Evan E. Duran | [email protected]

The punk rock group City of Vain is relatively new on the Sacramento music scene, but after just a year of playing together, they are about to launch a tour of the west coast in March.

The band members say they are looking forward to the tour as a way to promote their “American Nightmare” EP. The band will be joined on the road by England’s Crashed Out.

The band members hail from many different locations: lead guitarist Drew Boyce is from Davis, keyboardist Minh Quan hails from from Washington, D.C., vocalist Steve Ross is from Sacramento, along with bassist Mario Maynor and rhythm guitarist Newell Dunn. Drummer A.J. Wilhelm, meanwhile, splits his time between San Francisco and Sacramento.

City of Vain formed approximately a year ago, but this was not the first time any of the members played in a band.
Boyce and Ross previously played in a punk band called Massacre Time. Quan, a former City College student, played in two ska bands, Street Vendors and The Sidecars, while Maynor, a former photography major at City College, played in The Hoods, which still plays the Sacramento scene.

They all come from different backgrounds, but Maynor says that he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“Now looking back on it, I couldn’t have picked a better group of guys,” says Maynor. “Everyone works hard on their own to make things happen. It seemed random when we got together at first, but then we all just clicked.”

Things haven’t always been great for the group, however. For example, last year when the band was gaining ground musically, Boyce broke his hand skateboarding, he says. Quan filled in as a replacement. When Boyce’s hand healed, he moved over to keyboards, which adds an amazing element to their music, he says.

“It’s definitely a game-changer, an eye opener and an ear-popper,” Quan says. “There are not a lot of punk rock bands utilizing keyboards.”
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Maynor calls his band’s sound “punk rock with an emphasis on the rock.”

That sound is a mesh of older groups, as well as hardcore and a newer melodic punk sound, says Ross. The band’s influences, according to its members, vary from Stiff Little Fingers, The Clash, Stooges, Blitz, Cocksbar and Bad Brains.

Within the year that they’ve been a band, Ross says they’ve learned a lot about playing together.

“It has been a year now, and you become comfortable with the other five people, and you understand where they are at throughout a song,” says Ross. “You know their techniques and nuances, [and] you can see how much fun they are having.”

Having fun is what is most important to Minh, too, he says.

“[I am] super stoked about the tour,” says Minh. “My dream was always to play in a band and go on the road—money [is] not important, just playing music and having a good time.”

The fun that they have reflects the energy in the album, says Ross, and that they are all ready for the upcoming tour.

“We are all just really excited about it. None of us have got to do this for a while. I think we all eager to see what shakes,” Ross says. “Just go out there and have fun above all. Overall, we feel lucky and are really excited to bring [the music] to people that we never thought we would reach.”

The band’s debut album “American Nightmare” is

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