Go Jimmy Go
The island band marks its 10th anniversary with 39 gigs in as many days across Europe
THE BAND with the "Island Sound Known the World Around" is finally making good on its promise of global domination.
10-year anniversary and European tour send-off party with special guest Ooklah the Moc
In concert: 10 p.m. Saturday
Place: Hawaiian Hut, 410 Atkinson Drive
Cover: $12, 18 and older
When the Star-Bulletin last spoke with Go Jimmy Go in 2004, they were getting ready to make the jump into touring full time following the release of a new album, "Fishbowl Eyes." Since then, they've visited more than 30 states and traveled to Japan while performing alongside the likes of the Toasters, John Brown's Body, Damian Marley and Jack Johnson.
Next week, following Saturday's 10-year anniversary show at the Hawaiian Hut, the guys will board a plane bound for Germany, where they'll play the first of 39 gigs in as many days as the opening act for the Toasters on the Ska Brawl Europe '07 Tour.
"WHY JUST go to the mainland and stop at the East Coast?" asked saxophone player Eric White last week over a cold pitcher at Eastside Grill. "When we tour, I think we always look for some sort of adventure."
Go Jimmy Go's first big trip was in 2002, when the band was invited to play 17 dates on the Vans Warped Tour. Although they had toured on the mainland previously, this was the first time they were surrounded by other bands struggling to get their foot in the door and build an audience.
"We're kind of coddled a little bit here (in Hawaii), so touring by ourselves on the mainland was an eye-opening experience," White said. "The amount of driving we did was just unbelievable. ... Our first gig was in Idaho, and it took us about 20 hours to get there."
The Warped Tour did validate the band's belief that they would be better off touring on a regular basis, but they struggled with the idea of leaving their Hawaii roots behind. So instead of following the direction of countless other bands that relocated in hopes of mainstream success, Go Jimmy Go made the decision to remain based in the islands while still increasing the amount of touring they did.
"We all love Hawaii so much and love to live here," explained lead vocalist Jason "Bison" Friedmann. "It might be better for us to live in Los Angeles, but then we'd have to live in Los Angeles.
"There's too many benefits to being in Hawaii, even if the band isn't gonna take off as quick."
AS GO JIMMY GO celebrates its 10th birthday, its members are also hard at work on a new album and adjusting to some changes that have taken place over the past few years.
The first happened when Andrew McClellan left following the first stretch of touring in 2004. It wasn't the first time someone had departed the group, but the loss of one of their guitarists (who was also a founding member) meant everyone else had to readjust themselves in a hurry.
"Shon, our drummer, took over the backup vocals," White said. "The kind of touring we were doing was pretty hectic, so it was challenging."
In 2005, while Friedmann was engaged to be married, he was informed he had a heart ailment that could possibly end his music career. Luckily, doctors have since cleared him to keep performing, and his wife Angelica went on to give birth to their first child, daughter Kiva, now 1 year old.
The experiences have definitely affected Friedmann, who said fans can expect to hear all about it when Go Jimmy Go releases its next album later this year.
"I've had a lot of inspiration," he said. "I've been writing a lot of songs. ... A lot of them are looking back to before I was married and before I had a child, not as a way to relive the past, but to kind of bring back those memories."
And as has been previously reported, trombone player Fernando Pacheco has announced his departure from the band, effective in March after the tour wraps up with a performance in Hollywood alongside the Skatalites. Saturday's gig will be the last he plays with Go Jimmy Go at home in Hawaii.
"This is gonna be it for me," Pacheco said. "The timing is right, making 10 years and finally getting to do the big tour. ... We've always wanted to do Europe."
With three other projects in the works for 2007 and his radio job with KUCD-FM, local fans will still see and hear Pacheco pretty often. But for now, he's set for one last hurrah with the guys he's played with since 1999.
"It's the longest I've ever been in a band, that's for sure," Pacheco said. "Going into this tour, I've never seen the band just so prepped and ready to pounce before."