A ROCKIN’ HOLIDAY

What: The Sorentinos annual Christmas show

When: 8:30-11 p.m. Saturday

Where: Redwood Cafe, 8240 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati

Admission: $15

Information: 707-795-7868, redwoodcafe.com

We won’t say that every place goes dark except for the Christmas tree lights, but the local club scene tends to get quieter during Christmas week.

So before that happens, you should mark one more event on your calendar for this weekend, and spend a cozy evening Saturday at Cotati’s Redwood Cafe.

For the past 20 years or so, the popular local rock band The Sorentinos has put on its annual live Christmas show at venues all over Sonoma County. They’ll be performing — as always — original songs by the band’s leader and namesake, Danny Sorentino.

Where else are you going to hear offbeat original tunes like “Beatnik Christmas,” “Christmas Starts” and Sorentino’s newest tune, “Country Western Christmas”? (Aside from airplay on local radio stations KRSH and KRCB, that is.)

Sorentino has been writing songs, making his own recordings and performing with The Sorentinos (originally called The Chills) for more than 30 years. Along the way, he’s also worked with a couple of other Sonoma County bands — The Popular Beat Combo and Lucky Buck and the Winners.

“I’ve probably written a thousand songs,” Sorentino said. “If you go on iTunes, you’ll find about 350 of my songs listed.”
Some of those songs found a place on soundtracks for television series, including “Melrose Place.”

“I kind of gave up on the fame and stardom idea a long time ago, when I found out I could make my own records, but I’ve done everything I wanted to do,” Sorentino said. “I’ve opened for Bob Dylan and Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, who was my original inspiration for getting into music.”

Meanwhile, Sorentino and Margaret, his wife of 43 year, have raised a son and two daughters, and Sorentino has worked to support his family for the past 14 years as a longshoreman on the docks of San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond and Benicia.
He has played with many local musicians, but most often with The Sorentinos, whose name comes up whenever Sonoma County music fans list their favorite local acts.

The band name dates back to the days when groups with a single name, like the Ramones, were dominant, Sorentino said. The current lineup includes bassist Rob Ruiz, drummer Rory Judge and lead guitarist Steve Barbieri.

On Christmas Eve, the day after this weekend’s show in Cotati, Sorentino will celebrate his 62nd birthday, and he makes his plans for the future sound pretty simple: “I just want to keep making music.”

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @danarts.

A ROCKIN’ HOLIDAY

What: The Sorentinos annual Christmas show

When: 8:30-11 p.m. Saturday

Where: Redwood Cafe, 8240 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati

Admission: $15

Information: 707-795-7868, redwoodcafe.com