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Guide to Silicon Valley: Curtis Meacham of Monkey

In Culture, Music
Curt Activate

Monkey may very well be San Jose’s longest running, consistently-active band. The band emerged in 1995, but unlike a lot of Monkey’s contemporaries, it never mixed punk rock and ska. Monkey always stuck strictly to the traditional more R&B-based sounds of ska’s first wave.

We caught up with Curtis Meacham (vocals/guitar) to ask him about the side of San Jose he knows best.

What part of Silicon Valley are you from?

Originally, I grew up in Sunnyvale, but I’ve lived in Downtown San Jose a couple of times and it’s always been a blast. There is actually a lot of community feel that can be experienced in San Jose on different levels. In a way, it’s always entertaining.

What’s your favorite place outside of San Jose?

Well, I like Telluride, Colo., for the beauty, Victoria, BC, for the people, and Belgium for the amazing food! Right now, I live in Campbell and it’s pretty cool… only, not as cool as Belgium.

What’s the best show you’ve seen in San Jose?

Easily, Prince at the Shark Tank a couple of years back. He came twice in the summer and I caught both shows—absolutely amazing. Aside from that, there’s the crazy Cactus Club shows, like the Twinkie fight during Big Sissy Brigade’s show, or the on-stage beer enema during the Diesel Queens.

Who’s your favorite local musician or band?

There’s a lot of really cool talent in San Jose. For fun factor, there’s always FTB. For good songwriting, there’s David Brookings. For ass-kickin’ guitars, there’s the Gillbillies.

Where’s your favorite place to get a drink in San Jose?

The Cinebar is always the cheapest, but aside from that, I always visit Rachel and her band of merry men, down at the Caravan.

Where’s a cool spot to get clothes?

Working Man’s Emporium. You can get some cool Dickies, Carhartt and Ben Davis there.

What’s your favorite spot for a cheap meal?

Any Vietnamese restaurant—and I do mean amy! Seriously, how can you make such a rockin’ sandwich for $3? it boggles the mind.

What’s the best thing about living in Silicon Valley?

It’s close to everything: 30 minutes from the beach, 40 minutes from SF and three hours from serious mountains.

Where’s the best place in SJ to go relax?

The back room at Trials pub. It’s low key and there’s a fireplace. How much more relaxing can you get?

Where’s the best place to see a show in San Jose?

Believe it or not, it’s the X Bar at the Homestead Lanes in Cupertino! Hands down. But then you say: “Hey, that’s not in San Jose, proper” …and to that, I say “Suck it Trebek!”

What’s San Jose’s best kept secret?

That damn orange sauce.

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