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5606 at BackBar SoFA

In Music
COMEBACK KIDS: San Jose's 5606 return to live shows with new music, and a new approach.

COMEBACK KIDS: San Jose's 5606 return to live shows with new music, and a new approach.

For a certain generation of San Jose denizens, the name 5606 brings back a lot of memories. Starting at the end of the 20th century, the downtown pop-punk band was a staple at just about every venue around the South Bay: the Campbell Gaslighter, the Chemical Free Zone, San Jose Skate, the Church and every spot in between.

But then, in 2016, after 17 years as a band, the seemingly unstoppable group ground suddenly to a halt.

“What happened was I hurt my back pretty badly,” says Eric Ventimiglia.

The band’s singer, guitarist and primary songwriter, Ventimiglia tried to carry on with what he knew was a serious injury. But there’s a reason that lower back pain is the No. 1 cause of disability worldwide. Soon the musician found the pain insurmountable.

“It just progressively got worse and worse. It got to the point where I couldn’t even hold a guitar.”

While Ventimiglia recovered, the band’s members took some time for personal growth. There were marriages (two). Jobs. Moments of self-reflection. And, of course, physical therapy.

Now, after the band’s longest-ever hiatus, 5606 is ready to start performing again. With an upcoming show at BackBar (the first for the band in more than a year and a half), the band’s return to live performance comes with a renewed approach to releasing music.

“Rather than releasing a 10-song or 12-song record, we’re going to do a new single and a new video every six to eight weeks,” Ventimiglia says, citing the relative attention span of Spotify listeners as the idea’s genesis. “That way we always have something fresh coming out for our fans, so they can digest each song one at a time.”

This new release campaign began in November with “Ride Along,” a humble pop-punk jam about cruising “down the 405” with a carload of friends. It’s got all the hallmarks of a 5606 song: a little bit Dookie, a little bit Enema of the State, plus some soaring breakdowns reminiscent of New Found Glory.

Now back to full health, Ventimiglia says his main goal is to set an example for others.

“If we can inspire a couple more people to follow their passions and their dreams, in whatever medium it is, then I’m happy.”

Mar 2, 8pm $5
BackBar SoFA, San Jose

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