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"Freakin' Peek Alert: Mannix!"

Iowa CIty’s favorite musical family, Mannix! has produced an offspring: Just Havin’ A Night. The quartet has compiled 10 original compositions, and all of ‘em will be available Friday night at the Mill. But you can get a little taste this evening on KRUI when I debut album standout “Possibilities� at the end of my KRUI show.

The album title’s casual attitude belies the intensity and energy of the songs contained therein. The new record is everything we’ve come to expect from the band, if you’ve caught one of their live explosions. So much so that lead singer Karlee Mannix almost jumps out of the speakers into your living room with her Go-Go’s meets Sleater-Kinney exuberance. Jeff Mannix’s guitar work crackles with his characteristic post-punk-shuffle meets arena-rock-riffage while Sarah Mannix rumbles and undulates underneath on bass, and Alfred “Mannix� Edgar keeps the whole thing tight and fierce on drums.

The real surprise on Just Havin’ A Nightis when the band flexes other muscles. We know that Karlee can growl and yelp her way through the bounciest of numbers, but when things quiet down a bit on album closer “So Fragile,� she can break your heart as well as anybody. Mannix! spreads themselves out in other ways on the album, like a splash of piano on the opening cut “I’ve Got Something To Say.� The album isn’t re-inventing the wheel or even a major change in direction, but why mess with something so good? Mannix! is one of the best rave-up, post-punk acts in the Midwest, there’s no reason to be mediocre at something else. - - John C. Schlotfelt

"Just havin' a (in the family) night"

Punk rock has never been devoid of families, but band bonds don't always run blood deep. Sure, every member of the Ramones adopted the Ramones surname - though Joey's real name was Jeffry Ross Hyman, and Dee Dee was Douglas Colvin. Iowa City is home to a legit first family of punk in Mannix - local veterans who just finished their new record, Just Havin' A Night - which will perform at 9 p.m. today at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., for the album's release party. Admission is $6.

Mannix is composed of guitarist Jeff Mannix, his bass-toting younger sister, Sarah Mannix, and his unprecedented-amount-of-sass-emitting wife, Karlee Mannix, on vocals.

The Mannix clan tooled around on musical projects together but finally clicked when the members adopted drummer Alfred "Mannix" Edgar in 2007. He was a big fan of the previous Mannix incarnation before he joined, and he was even grounded by his parents for attending a show.

"He was about 16 or 17 then, so he was a young'un," Karlee Mannix said. "I guess his parents found out he went to our show and grounded him as a result. He used to dance in the front row when we were on stage. I was like, 'Who is this guy?' "

With the lanky drummer on board, the group was able to hone its teetering balance between Stooges-style looseness and taut Sleater-Kinney execution. The true Mannix experience has always been the live show; Karlee Mannix patrolling the stage like a platinum-blonde Karen O while the Mannix siblings hold down the churning power-chord foundation.

Jeff Mannix said he sees Just Havin' A Night, recorded at the Institute of Production and Recording in Minneapolis, as a kind of validation for all the hard work put in on stage.

"When you're growing up listening to music, you want to someday be able to write songs you really like and record them," he said. "If other people like them, too, that's even better."

But bands made up of friends aren't always filled with camaraderie - sometimes besties get downright catty when it comes to songwriting. And the members say that though they're a band with spouses involved, an aspect that could up the ante of irritability, Mannix is built on mutual respect.

"It may sound like I am just being nice, but being in the band with my husband is pretty cool," Karlee Mannix said. "He always makes sure to take any of my opinions seriously.

"He is so talented with the guitar, and I love to share the stage with him. It's really neat how it all works out so smoothly." - The Daily Iowan - Jarrett Hothan

"Karlee Mannix: A jack-of-all-trades artist"

For Clinton, Iowa, native Karlee Mannix, doodles turned into an art degree and being in the high school choir turned into a family-affair band.

When the 25-year-old University of Iowa alumnus is not working at a local photo studio as a photographer’s assistant, she is singing her heart out in Iowa City bars with her husband and guitarist Jeff Mannix, sister-in-law and bassist Sarah Mannix and drummer Alfred “Mannix� Edgar in their appropriately named band, Mannix. Between work and stage, though, she concentrates on art, her first love.

Mannix has devoted herself to creating art since she was a child, and now her work, a piece titled “Dream a Little Dream,� can be seen by the public in an upcoming small works show at the Chait Galleries in Iowa City, running through early January.

“I did the painting specifically for the show,� she said. “I haven’t done a painting for a while, and it was a good way to motivate me into that because I used to paint a lot, but it was usually for class, so it was a good kick to do a new painting.�

When she’s not focusing a camera or putting oils on canvas, Mannix carries around a notebook that she and some of her friends use for drawing.

“I doodle a lot,� she said, flipping through her little black notebook. Creative, silly characters crafted by her and her friends make the happy-go-lucky artist and singer laugh out loud.

Her friends are used to her artsy personality, but her mother was not prepared for the youthful talent she found on her hands.

“I was 2 or 3 and my brother was 4 or 5, and my mom gave us paper and pencils to keep us occupied and said, ‘Draw something.’ Scott’s was a bunch of scribbles and I had drawn a house, a window. But it wasn’t just a house, it was looking out the window the way our cat would with the trees, yard and cars in the street. She was shocked. It was really good, I guess, and she said, ‘I have a little artist.’ �

Mannix has charisma both onstage and off, and no one respects and loves her energy more than her husband Jeff.

“As a visual artist, she’s always had an eye for detail, and her work was almost exclusively realist. But I think she has really found her own style,� he said. “As a musician, there isn’t another singer I would rather have in my band. She has a great stage presence and a very natural feel for what works and what doesn’t as a vocalist.�

Although her singing style is rock ‘n’ roll, Mannix said her a capella choir experience from high school has helped with her voice training and breathing.

“You can’t sit and sing. It’ll sound like crap,� she said. “My mom said when I was a little girl that I would brush my hair in the mirror and sing, ‘Lucky Star’ by Madonna into my brush as a microphone.�

Mannix’s gallery exhibit is not her only artistic release this year. The band’s album, “Just Havin’ a Night,� was completed this month. It’s full-length, with 10 original songs, and will be sold at the band’s live shows as well as in Iowa City music stores.

The recording sessions, requiring travel between Iowa City and Minneapolis, have been a great experience, and Mannix said the band is proud of what has been produced. According to Mannix’s MySpace page (, their influences range from The Strokes to The Beatles to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

As far as any thoughts of relocation, Mannix and the band are happy where they are.

“I’ve been here (Iowa City) for, like, eight years. I love this town,� she said. “I have friends in Minneapolis, and they don’t always know a lot of people in a big city, and I would hate that feeling because I love all the people out here.�


-- The band’s next scheduled performance is 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Iowa City Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St.

-- Karlee Mannix’s art is part of a small works show at the Chait Galleries Downtown, 218 E. Washington St., Iowa City. The free show continues through Jan. 7.
- Quad Cities Times - Erin Tiesman


We just self-released our new LP, "Just Havin' a Night." We have been played on 89.7 KRUI (University of Iowa). Also online streaming on, and Sisters of Revolution.



Jeff and Karlee are married. Jeff and Sarah are siblings. Alfred is Alfred. We are a rock and roll band, but people like to call us a punk band. We don't care what type of band we are, we're just concerned with taking the best parts about rock and roll (the unpredictability, the excitement, the fun), and create that everytime we play. Our influences include: Blondie, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, New York Dolls, Sleater-Kinney, and The Stooges, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles.