VACAVILLE — Wearing Beatles boots in the sixth grade was not cool in the hood. Nor was listening to Beatles music, said Sargent Tucker, whose given first name is Johnnie.
He did both.
Tucker, a Vacaville resident, recently released a 10-song CD, “Simply Sargent Tucker.” The title was chosen as Tucker calls himself a “baby of the (19)60s,” a time when music wasn’t categorized, he said.
“It’s all about the music and how you do it,” Tucker said.
His older sister gave him the name Sargent. She said he bossed her around. When calls came to the home, she chided him by calling him Sargent. The name stuck.
He got his first guitar when he was 5. It was too big. Tucker traded it for a smaller one, owned by his uncle. He wasn’t happy. Plucking his small guitar, and singing the blues about the situation, Tucker’s grandfather put the kibosh on the song after he heard one not-so-nice word.
The small guitar that started it all got left behind in Louisiana when Tucker and his family moved to California. There wasn’t room in the car for it.
Tucker wanted to stay involved in music until he got another guitar. He wanted to play the saxophone in elementary school but ended up with the French horn.
He got another guitar when he was about 11. It had two broken strings. Tucker played the remaining four, which comprised the bass sound. Eventually he got an electric bass.
Tucker grew to admire the late James Jamerson, who played on many of the Motown hits in the 1960s and 1970s. Paul McCartney is another favorite.
Some Beatles tunes are worked into Tucker’s performances, with a little funk.
In his early teens, Tucker was a member of Two Things in One, which had two top 10 singles, “Silly Song” and “Together Forever.” The group moved to Los Angeles, changed its name to SKYE before breaking up.
As the band’s lead singer, Tucker had attracted the attention of producer Kevin Beamish, who signed Tucker as an artist, writer and producer with Macola Records. He released the tune “Come See Me,” which charted in Europe.
In 2005, Tucker fulfilled a promise he made to his mother, who had died in 1999. He got his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Davis.
“I even made the honor roll,” he said proudly.
Tucker spent about two years recording the new CD. Joining him and his bandmates Timmy Baker, Danny Thomas and Cedric D. Wilmott, was percussionist Juan Escovedo and Grammy-nominated producer Levi Seacer.
“I focused on the product,” he said. “I’ve never been a top 40 guy. I knew I had to have my own music out there.”
The band’s next gig is Jan. 31 at the Live Musicians Co-Op in Santa Rosa.
For more information, visit www.sargenttucker.com.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.