Reverend Stephan Sams
A&E

Love Your Local Band: Reverend Stephan Sams

Reverend Stephan Sams plays Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Blue Lagoon

Stephan Sams is the lead singer for local garage-rock band the Redlight District. He’s also a Reverend. You could call him Reverend Stephan Sams, if you were so inclined—in fact, that’s what he calls himself when he plays solo.

But he really is a Reverend. He got his license online when Prop. 8 was getting repealed so that he could be ready to marry LGBTQ couples pro bono.

“That was one of the great wonders I’m sure the internet was created for,” says Sams.

Sams has been playing solo a lot more lately, a product of quitting his day job at a factory, and wanting to find more ways to make money.

“I said to my bandmates, ‘I don’t get much respect there. If I’m going to be disrespected, I’m going to at least be disrespected doing something I love,’” says Sams. “Like a good ex-Catholic.”

Even before Sams started the Redlight District, he was writing solo songs on his guitar, so this is no new thing for him. His solo tunes are a bit more blues influenced, and you can really see his fondness for expressing himself in symbols and folk stories, something he attributes to his Mexican and Native American heritage.

The decision to quit his job, he says will give him a chance to explore his creativity. In a few months, he’ll be moving to L.A. to take the next step in pursuing his dream of being a professional musician. He’s hoping people will dig his Reverend self down there.

“I feel reverential when playing,” he says. “You know, I think that there’s some credence to that title, so that’s why I went to it.”


INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.

Contributor at Good Times |

Aaron is a hard-working freelance writer with a focus on music, art, food, culture and travel. In addition to Good Times, he's a regular contributor to Sacramento News & Review, VIA Magazine and Playboy. When he's not working, he's either backpacking, arguing about music or working on his book about ska. One thing's for sure—he knows more about ska than you.

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