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Star-Bulletin Features


Friday, July 20, 2001


art
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Joel Tokunaga on bass, left, Matt Bennett on guitar
and singer Mike Muus of "Extra Stout" at rehearsal
in Junk Studios in Waialae.



Extra Stout hits
punk with oi!

The band is set for
its first mainland tour


By Shawn 'Speedy' Lopes
slopes@starbulletin.com

Rife with buzzing, no-nonsense guitar riffs, rollicking rhythms, and pitcher-hoisting choruses, Extra Stout's approximation of oi! -- a decidedly British punk rock by-product -- is so good it conjures images of pub riots and rocking English football terraces.

When compared with the whiny, sing-songy, made-for-MTV drivel that passes for punk rock nowadays, Extra Stout's sound seems outrageously raw and crude. But if you hadn't already figured it out, that was always the point. That is, until the major record labels came calling. Punk rockers who came of age in the 1990s saw their music reduced to a commodity just as rock 'n' roll and hip hop before it, but for Extra Stout, true punk never really died; it just retreated further underground.

"It sucked for all of us when bands like Green Day and Nirvana were starting to get really huge," says Extra Stout's lead growler Mike Muus, who at 27 is considered something of an elder statesman in the local punk circuit. "We used to get beat up for having green hair, and almost overnight it was like everybody wanted to have colored hair."

Part of the solution was to delve deeper into the history of punk to uncover oi!, its oft-forgotten musical stepchild. Oi! (a term coined by Sounds magazine writer Gary Bushell is the equivalent of shouting "Yo!" on this side of the pond) is, in essence, a stripped down, street-level version of punk exemplified by such forthright Brit bands as Sham 69, Cockney Rejects, The Business and Angelic Upstarts.

For Muus, as with most oi! enthusiasts, it begins with one punk or punk-derived band -- the Misfits in his case -- and leads to the greats of the genre like The Clash, The Ramones and Sex Pistols, then to those of the more obscure variety such as The Templars, Cock Sparrer, Blitz and Anti-Nowhere League. "A lot of people are drawn into (oi!) first by its sound because it's aggressive and it's catchy," Muus says. "The topics are about life in general: your job, your friends, your frustrations. It's easy to relate to."

Along the way, Muus met up with like-minded musicians Keith Hanson (bass), Giovanni Gemeroso (drums), Matt Bennett and Nate Verdugo (guitars), who all found common ground in oi! Now, three years, two guitarists and two bassists since its inception, Extra Stout is set to embark on its first tour of the mainland, albeit with modest expectations.

"You have to realize you're not going anywhere with this music," Muus states. "I just want to do it to say I did it. Hopefully we'll sell some CDs and meet up with other bands and people like us."

Upon their return, Extra Stout plans to establish an independent recording label to help perpetuate Honolulu's growing underground scene, which the band feels an allegiance to.

"Right now there's some bickering, which turns to factions and picking sides," he said. "That's something we're trying to fight against. We just want to bring back the scene to where it used to be. There are a lot of good bands here and I'm hoping -- I'm feeling -- it's coming back on an upswing."


Extra Stout

What: Tour fund-raiser, featuring Extra Stout, The Reviled, 2face4, Prom King
When: 6:30 to 10 p.m. today
Where: Club 478, 478 Ena Road
Admission: $5 for all ages
Call: 946-6499



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