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90s Favorite Curbside Returns to San Jose

In Music
Photo by Jen Anderson.

Photo by Jen Anderson.

In the mid-90s, San Jose was bursting at the seams with good bands. One of the best punk acts of the day was Curbside, an outfit that exemplified the energy and quality of music being created at that time. After disbanding at the height of their career in 1999, Curbside returns to the stage for one night on November 30 at the Blank Club.

Curbside began in late 1994 when guitarist/vocalist Josh Santaga recruited drummer Jiri Ciernava. Santaga had just purchased a Ludwig Vistalited rum set and needed someone to sit behind it. Ciernava’s lightning-quick reflexes did not disappoint, and soon the outfit was joined by Mike Davis on bass, and Sean Bjordahl on vocals/harmonica.

In the very early days, Bjordahl would send lyrics to Santaga from the boiler room of the USS Ouellet, where he was stationed during a stint in the Navy. Upon discharge (honorable) from the Navy, Bjordahl joined Curbside as their front man.

From the mid to late 90s, Curbside dominated the South Bay music scene, went on several European tours, sold a mountain of tapes and CDs and enjoyed recognition by local and international audiences before vanishing in 1999.

By the summer of 1995, Curbside was going full steam, playing with acts like Fang, Goldfinger, Papa Roach, Incubus, Zeke, Supersuckers, Seven Year Bitch, Saxon, DOA and Motorhead.

“We just hit the ground running,” says Santaga. “We played a lot.”

Curbside’s unofficial homebase in Europe was Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic. From there, the band would launch its European tours.

Back home, Curbside were regulars at the Cactus Club, The Pizza Depot, and other venues of the day.

Their trajectory was cut short in 1999, when Curbside disappeared. Some would attest this to their lead singer not showing up during an A&R showcase with Papa Roach. The official statement from the band lists the “Internet” as their downfall.

Today, the band is more or less the same. The only change is Shawn Packer, a member of local act Shitkickers, filling in for Mike Davis. With a respect and reverence for Mike D’s style, Packer is a perfect stand in. Packer understands the work Curbside put in during their tenure.

Curbside will return to to stage for one night at the Blank Club on November 30th in celebration of their guitarist/vocalist Josh Santagas’s 40th birthday.

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