Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, May 25, 2001

Members of Zoey's Trip, from left, are Deblyn,
Dana, Connie and Dan.

Tripping along

Zoey's Trip makes
its Hawaii debut

By Gary C. W. Chun

Congratulations are due to the women of Zoey's Trip. They collectively gave birth to their latest CD, "Crowning," and figured what better way to celebrate its healthy arrival than right here in the islands.

The band hopes to make Hawaii a jumping-off point for a tour that they hope will continue in Japan -- but, if not, these self-managed women will fill out their itinerary with dates in the States over the next three months.

Connie Misen, Deblyn Pallela and Dana Martin (along with new guy bassist Danny Levelle) make their debut tomorrow night at the Hard Rock Cafe, with the help of local opening band Missing Dave, which is loaning them their sound equipment.


Where: Hard Rock Cafe, 1837 Kapiolani Blvd.
When: 9 p.m. tomorrow
Admission: $5 cover
Call: 955-7383

Seasoned pros of the Southern California coffeehouse and club circuit, Zoey's Trip tries to win over audiences with the close harmonies of Pallela and Misen and their ability to stretch out instrumentally when the occasion calls for it.

"We're all like a jammy kind of band," Martin said in a conference call with the group Tuesday from Long Beach, Calif. "We all like the groove."

"From our standpoint," Misen said, "to be compared to a '60s band like the Grateful Dead is appreciated. We also take our inspiration from Janis Joplin, Santana, the Doors ..."

"And Aerosmith!" chimed in Martin.

Yes, there have been comments made in print reviews about the band along the cliched lines of "These chicks rock!" That they do, but with a chemistry of their own.

The CD, especially starting with the emotional "Not Impressed," shows off the strength of Zoey's Trip: a smart approach to personal lyric writing in "Addicted" and "Naked & Strong," reflective and mature on "Escape," successfully joining an Ani DiFranco vibe to a "Sweet Jane"-ish chorus on "Doesn't Mean a Thing" and, with "Cherry Pie" (an original, not the Warrant metal hair band version), a sweetly lascivious make-out number.

It'll be available at the band's tour stops, as well as on the Internet at "Everything's starting to unfold for us," Pallela said. "It looks promising."

Martin said: "We have so much original music still that we could do a fresh CD. We're ready to go back into the studio."

With the recent addition of Levelle on bass, the three hope to further bulk up their sound, one that began in the coffeehouse scene back in the early '90s, where Pallela first picked up the harmonica.

"When I came along," Martin said, "I said I can play the drums with brushes, so we could keep playing at a low volume. Then I started sneaking in my nylon drumsticks, and soon I was evicted from my apartment because our rehearsals got louder!"

Pallela added, "There's a lot of inner passion in our music that we're now expressing in a more aggressive way."

And they've been connecting with their audiences, even attracting a core of fans affectionately called the "Trippers." "We're fortunate that we have a good group of people that help out," Martin said. "They help us get bookings, the promotion and even moving our gear."

But in the meantime, Zoey's Trip arrived yesterday to both surf and play music. "We're taking a vacation," Misen said. "We've worked hard over the past two years, and to go to Hawaii -- what a blast!"

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