Portamento Profiles : Honza Ponocný

Portamento Profiles: 

This month we debut our new series of interviews with notable personalities. Over the years we have had the privilege to sew for many fascinating people.  From business leaders, successful lawyers and innovative physicians to successful artists and popular musicians, we have had the opportunity to get to know individuals from a diverse range of professions.  In our Portamento Profiles column we hope to share some of the insights, style and passion of our clientele with you.

To kick it off, we spoke with the multi-talented guitarist/singer-songwriter Jan Ponocny.  Known for his eclectic style and exuberant live performances in his solo project Cirkus Ponorka, he has served as lead guitarist and sideman to legends like Ivan Kral and Miro Zbirka. In addition to that, he has composed soundtracks for films like Perfect Days and Revival and television series such as Dabing Street and Zločiny Velké Prahy, just to name a few.

PP: First of all, why are you called “Ponorka”? Did you travel abroad and join the Navy at some point?

HP: “Submarine” is a nickname from my youth, when I had a punk band. I don’t remember much about how it came to be, but someone probably got so drunk that he couldn’t say my name and “ponorka” was the closest thing to “Ponocny” he could think of.  Somehow it just sort of stuck and it’s been with me ever since.

PP: If you could go back in time, where would you go?

HP: A minute back, when I knew how to answer this question.

PP: What is your favorite word?

HP: Stratocaster, definitely Stratocaster, and if I had the opportunity to say my favorite sentence, it would have to be, “No Ponorka, your guitar is definitely not too loud on stage,” or “Your suit looks incredible, is it Portamento?”

PP: What was your most embarrassing moment?

HP: It’s probably on the way, so luckily there won’t be many people here to witness it.

PP: What is the worst job you’ve done?

HP: Even my worst job was fine, so I don’t know… what about compulsory military service, doesn’t that count? The truth is, I didn’t enjoy it much.

PP: Which living person do you most admire, and why?

HP: Ooh, so that’s my beloved wife, of course, and why? Don’t be so curious, sir.

PP: Which book changed your life?

HP: Of course, there were a lot of them, but I feel that I was most influenced by the books I read when I was about sixteen, such as Kerouac’s On The Road or Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.

PP: What is at the top of your bucket list?

HP: Not to kick it (i.e. the bucket) too soon.

PP: With which historical figure would you most like to be stuck on a desert island?

HP: For questions like this, one is supposed to say a big, significant name, right? Maybe I would take my grandfather there.

PP: You were sideman to two legendary songwriters: Ivan Kral and Miro Zbirka. What is one of your favorite memories of each?

HP: Well, any concert with either of them because in concert you experienced things that will never happen again. It was always amazing with Ivan and Meky; I’m glad I was there.