THE FAMILY TREE
Richard Walker / email@example.com
Wigged out at Kimmies Cantina in Moiliili, 82Fifty consists of Jessie Campania, front; his brothers Jeri, left, and Ritchie, behind; and drummer Max Paguio.
Band of brothers
For the Campanias, blood -- and guitars -- are thicker than water
It's Saturday night, outside Kimmies Cantina, a Moiliili bar, and local band 82Fifty is set to play.
Guitarist Jeri Campania wanders out of the shadows of the parking lot, amp in hand, looking for the rest of his band. They soon appear, rolling in aboard a large SUV. Bassist Ritchie Campania hangs out the window, yelling.
Vocalist Jessie Campania joins the fray on the sidewalk fronting the bar along with drummer Max Paguio. They greet a seemingly endless stream of friends and fans while hauling in their gear to set up for the show.
It's a good night. It's Jessie's birthday, and the band dons wigs in celebration. All are encouraged to wear wigs, and soon the sidewalk is awash in everything from a slicked Elvis to purple '80s throwbacks.
For the band, it's another night. Another reason to play. Another time to entertain. Another time to come together.
Not that they need the instigation.
A large part of 82Fifty is the three brothers Campania. A close-knit trio of Jessie, 25, Jeri, 27, and Ritchie, 30, they have been playing since childhood, and came together with drummer Max, 30, to form 82Fifty.
They started off as the band Speedlimit eight or nine years ago (exact dates seem to be a blur for them), but after the release last year of their record "Take a Chance and Let the Music Play," changed the band's name to 82Fifty (the "82" coming from the Pearl City zip code, and the "Fifty" coming from Hawaii, the 50th state).
The three huddle on the sidewalk, dimly lit by various neon beer signs in the bar window. Between handshakes and "howzits" with friends, they reflect on what it's like to play in a band made up almost wholly by family.
For the brothers, it was natural.
"We've been playing together ever since we were little kids," said Jessie. "There was a lot of jamming together at home. Singing and harmonizing just for fun. We even used to write when we were young."
Growing up, there was music all around. "Whenever we were chilling at our family's houses, we'd all jam. The guitar runs through our family," said Jeri.
Their bond is deep, and it's apparent on stage and in their music.
"We're normally really hard on each other, we can tell each other how we feel," said Jessie. "We're real honest with each other, and it helps playing together as a band, being tight (musically)."
Jeri agrees. "We're brothers already, so everything clicks. We might want it one way, and everyone kind of feels it, 'Oh yeah, that's the way!'"
The bond carries over to the creation of songs, as well.
"We grew up together, listened to the same type of music together. We sang together, so we harmonize together. We know what our voices can do," said Jessie.
Drummer Max see this as well. "The creativeness flows much more easily because they know each other and what they like," he said.
But perhaps what's most important is being together. "If we weren't in a band together, we wouldn't be as close as we are now," Jessie said.
Ritchie sums it all up simply: "I think if it wasn't for them I would have quit long time ago."