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Jonny Manak’s Guide to San Jose

In Culture, Music
Jonny Manak

Jonny Manak of Jonny Manak and the Depressives (full disclosure: Metro’s former in-house rock star) loves garage and punk rock with equal passion, at least that’s what his music suggests. He strings together bits of garage and surf from the 50s and 60s, early pissed-off punk rock from the late 70s and bits of well-crafted, catchy pop-punk from the 80s and 90s, blending it all together in a sort of punk-through-the-ages mixture.

Aside from the Depressive, Manak has played in the Forgotten, the Cliftons, Clay Wheels and the Odds Numbers. We asked him to give us a tour around San Jose from his distinctly punk rock perspective. There were his answers:

What part of San Jose are you from?

I grew up on the east side. There were a lot of spots to skate, the bike jumps at perk ponds to get rad on your BMX, cheap tacos and Mexican candy, the Berryessa flea market to get pocket knives, swords, ninja stars and other illegal items eight year old kids shouldn’t be able to purchase.

What’s your favorite place outside of San Jose?


The Pacific northwest! The best skateboarding in the world is up there. People are chill and the music that comes out of there is great. Whenever I’ve toured through Portland or Seattle, I’ve always wanted to stay. You could buy a huge house for what you’d get a townhouse for here. My wife and I joke that if we ever moved out of San Jose, we’d go to Seattle. But you’d have to say it with an English accent, “Sea-at-ow!”

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


That’s a tough one. So many come to mind. The Buzzcocks at The Blank Club definitely is a standout. I was playing drums in one of the opening bands that night and I got to setup and sound check their guitars because the band was eating. I shit my pants dude! I was playing Orgasm Addict through their guitars and amps at sound check! They were on fire that night and it sounded like they sounded on their records from the 70s.

What’s your favorite local band/musician?


Damn, that’s really hard! Favorite local bands would be The Odd Numbers and Los Olvidados. Both bands rarely play these days, but when they do, look out. The dude dressed as a clown that plays trumpet in San Pedro Square has some chops. He’s got a creepy van and a cool bunny rabbit, too.

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

PT Liquors near my house. They have their own language. If you’ve been to my house, you know what I’m talking about, “my fren.” But the answer you’re looking for is a bar, so I’ll say The Caravan. Rachel is very talented.

Where’s a cool spot to shop?

Stevens Creek Surplus for Levi’s, Circle A for shoes, 23 Skidoo, Savers, Goodwill and Target for $10 button ups. Fun fact: you can trash dive behind Goodwill for some free fancy duds.

What’s your favorite spot for a cheap meal in SJ?

Crashing conferences at the Hilton. So good! Or go to a time-share seminar. Sometimes they feed you at those things. Also, wine mixers. Basically anywhere I’m not invited that serves food and drinks and any of the many east side $1 taco trucks are rad, too.

What’s the best thing about living in SJ?

The proximity to everything—beach, snow, SF, skate parks, it’s all so close. Herpes is running rampant in San Jose. That’s pretty cool!

Where’s the best place in San Jose to go relax for a bit?

On The Corner Music. There’s something very relaxing about digging through the $1 vinyl record bins.

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

The Blank Club. My studio Cup O’ Pizza. That’s where the “Story Tellers” performances go down. Stoops.

What’s San Jose’s best kept secret?

I’m not telling, it wouldn’t be a secret… I guess I got one for you. Some of the hookers on First Street may be “packing heat” down below, if you know what I mean. It’s THEIR little secret. It’s like playing Russian roulette; you may be staring down the barrel of a “gun.” Extra equipment.



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