Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, April 6, 2001

The Sticklers are Alex "Alexist" Wakata (drums),
Dave "Noodle" Hewlett (lead singer, guitar)
and "Otto" Cake (bass).

The Sticklers

The band celebrates 5 years
of capturing young audiences
with its rebellious sound

By Shawn 'Speedy' Lopes

IF YOU SUBSCRIBE TO THE notion that a punk band's existence should be counted in dog years, then the past half-decade together has undoubtedly made the Sticklers a doddering, over-the-hill pack in Honolulu's volatile underground scene -- the Aerosmith of Hawaiian punk rock, perhaps.

Strangely enough, though, through a string of in-and-out members and numerous incarnations, the Sticklers have managed to gain an overwhelmingly youthful following. Many of their fans are almost half the band's median age and love nothing more than an abominable racket.


In concert: 6 p.m. tomorrow
Place: 2928 Ualena St.
Call: 834-6886
Cost: $5

The Sticklers, it seems, capture the sound of teenage rebellion quite well. They're loud, irreverent and unpolished, as Pearlridge mall officials discovered several years ago when the band took center stage during a local rock showcase. Sandwiched between a Christian grunge band and a ska combo who would alter the lyrics to the Specials' 1979 classic, "A Message to You, Rudy" to sing "A Message from You, Jesus," the admittedly impious Sticklers were certain to cause a mini-hullaballoo.

"We were playing too loud and banging our heads," recalls bespectacled singer/guitarist Dave Noodle (his "stage name," naturally) during a backstage chat in the hours preceding their World Cafe show with the Vandals last weekend.

"They shut us down literally in, like, seconds."

Noodle, left, and Cake on stage.

Never mind that the 30-year-old Hickam aircraft inspector is married with a child on the way; such strait-laced credentials do little to allay the fears of the uninitiated when blasted with an earful of sonic mayhem.

Noodle seems to take it all in stride, however, dealing with such matters with an unfailing sense of humor and by deferring all managerial details to the band's most valuable asset: its bass player.

It is Otto, the Sticklers' tireless senior member (who is as elusive about his age as he is about his actual surname) who keeps the band chugging. The lanky, lemon-haired baker-turned-bassist secures most of the group's gigs and keeps track of all its contacts.

Like his former and present bandmates, Otto considers himself a marginal musician and wears the distinction like a badge of honor.

Of course, as the saying goes, any band is only as good as its drummer. Luckily for the Sticklers, their current beat-minder, Alex Ductape -- slumped in his seat with arms folded across his chest -- doesn't appear to be going anywhere soon. He is the trio's youngest member by nearly a decade but could really not care less about his junior status.

"I feel like a little kid watching his parents sometimes," he offers dryly. "I just sit there and listen to them talk and pretty much go along with what they say."

Quips Noodle, "He has to -- he's the drummer."

You'll get no argument from Ductape tomorrow night, either, as the Sticklers celebrate their commendable five-year run with a multi-band blowout at Otto's airport-area bakery. Over the years a number of small gatherings have been held at the bakery's private back-street lot, and because most attendees are made aware of these functions either through limited-run fliers or word of mouth, the turnout has always been at a comfortable, manageable number. "You get a hundred people there and it looks good," Otto says.

In addition to the Sticklers, expect to see live performances by RSP, the Knumbskulls, the 86 List (an Otto side project), Das Muchachos (Noodle's splinter group) and Buckshot Shorty. "We basically picked a lot of our friends," Noodle explains.

"I didn't pick any of 'em," Ductape points out with a conceding shrug. "But I'm the drummer -- I don't count."

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