There are new faces on stage at the Esprit Lounge, and a new band makes its debut there tomorrow, as the fall-out continues from the recent launching of the Society of Seven-Las Vegas.
New faces appear
on Esprit stage
Honolulu the BandBy John Berger
survives after losses
Honolulu the Band lost founding members Glenn Miyashiro and Jonathan Kaina to Tony Ruivivar's SOS organization but has survived without missing a beat. That the band's newest members, Bobby Gonzales and Amado Cacho have handled the difficult assignment of replacing Miyashiro and Kaina shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with their resumes.
Gonzales was one of the founding members of the original Fabulous Krush in 1977 and the lead vocalist on many of the original group's biggest hits when they started recording, most notably "Regrets," which remains the group's biggest hit. (Gonzales is heard but not acknowledged on the current Krush's anthology, "Their 20 Greatest Hits.")
Cacho performed with Tiatro, a local vocal group, before going on the road for six years in "Miss Saigon."
Set aside all the sentimental memories of Miyashiro and Kaina, and the new version of Honolulu the Band is as strong and appealing as the old one. They're as tight musically as they ever were, and Gonzales and Cacho work out well as comic performers when they join musical director Jeannette Trevias for some "boys will be girls" silliness in a salute to the Pointer Sisters.
"When I was in the other groups I was never a girl but they asked me to do it and I don't care. They're great to work with and I'm having fun," Gonzales says of the Pointer Sisters bit.
"It's all totally different from being on the road with 'Miss Saigon' but I love it. I'm growing as a musician learning all this instruments," Cacho adds.
Trevias has assumed leadership responsibilities with guitarist John Ornellas. The two say that it was tough to find two qualified replacements when they all knew they might be out of work when Kaina and Miyashiro departed.
"We had two months to do it and for the first month we couldn't get anybody," Trevias says.
"We'd had horn players before but we decided that we didn't need horn players as long as they could sing and put on a show. By the time we found Bobby and Amado we had time for only about five rehearsals but they're good and we're still intact. I'm doing more costume changes now but we're having a great time."
The effervescent Trevias also is doing more singing. She and Ornellas share the lead on "Love Shack" with a break at mid-song for a solo by bassist Richard Trugillo (Trevias' husband, Tony, and drummer Benjamin Juan, the only member of the original Honolulu line-up still with the band, completes the roster). The septet plans to record a follow-up to last year's Irresistible album later this summer.
Things did not work out as well for the Krush. As the band was losing guitarist Richard Natto to the SOS-LV, several other members also decided it was time to pursue new opportunities. Lead vocalist Tino Ibach and drummer Lucky Salvador are now the core of a new band, Tino & The Rhythm Klub, that also includes Krush members Elmo Custodia and Les Fernandez (Natto's replacement). That leaves the other three -- Krush founder Edwin Ramones plus William Daquioag and Jesse Gamiao -- on the sidelines for now.
The Krush closed at the Esprit Bar on Tuesday. Tino & The Rhythm Klub open tomorrow night with Waikiki veterans Adney Atabay and Hemingway Jasmine, and newcomer Ricky Ricardo, rounding out the Klub.
"Lucky and I were always gung-ho about music being a full-time job," said Ibach. "It was frustrating because the Krush was a part-time entity with a full-time demand."
Ramones, Daquioag and Gamiao all had attachments to full-time "day jobs" that precluded touring and limited the band's potential beyond playing at the Esprit Lounge.
"When they put the group back together in '96 it was as supplementary income," he adds. Ibach was the youngest member of the third version of the Krush. (The original Krush lasted almost a decade. Ramones revived the group for the first time in the early '90s and it lasted for a couple of years.)
Ibach gave the 1996-2001 Krush a younger look and more contemporary stage presence that reflected his experience as nightclub DJ. Ibach helped the Krush connect with an audience too young to remember the original group's glory days in the late '70s and early '80s but he knew he wanted to do more.
"The process of the SOS forming their new entity and members of Honolulu and the Krush going to different places put Lucky and myself --and the other members of the Krush as a whole -- in a position to reevaluate what our goals were.
When Richard left we had to decide if we were going to go full-time as our next step and several of the guys knew that they couldn't. Once that was made clear we knew where we were going."
The concept of the Rhythm Klub was assembling musicians with the talent and commitment necessary to work with Ibach and Salvador in creating a band capable of transcending the boundaries of local pop.
"We wanted to build a power band that can play national concert venues and also be supported by a CD. The whole Tino & The Rhythm Klub thing came about when Lucky and I started practicing about maybe five months ago. We were looking for guys who could make a commitment, and as we started to finalize things with the Krush we knew it was time."
A press release issued on behalf of Krush manager Yemun Chung says that Ramones, Gamiao and Daquioag will have a new Krush ready in time to play Schofield Barracks on the 4th of July. Chung, who masterminded the development of the original Fabulous Krush, is also managing Tino & The Rhythm Klub.
"Yemun is one of the reasons this has developed," Ibach says. "He's confident in me and I'm confident in his direction and in Lucky's drumming ability. A good vocalist and a good drummer are the key elements. Lucky's a killer drummer, and I just go bananas on stage and sing whatever and dance, and that was my proposal to Yemun."
Ibach says that the new group will be into everything from pop to Tupak and Dre, but that he also intends to develop a distinctive sound as well. Tino & The Rhythm Klub isn't going to be a cover band or another local show group. They're aiming at the national charts.
Who: Honolulu The Band Wednesdays to Fridays; Tino & The Rhythm Klub Saturdays to Tuesdays
Where: Sheraton Waikiki, 2255 Kalakaua.
Hours: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 8:30 to 12:30 p.m. other nights.
Cover: $3 from 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; $3 from 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Minimum age 21. Validated parking.
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