Monday, September 1, 2008

They're From Hawaii!!

I answered the phone. Michael Kosaka, our bass player, sounded jazzed. "What's up?" I asked.

"I just finished talking to someone who's in a band and wants us to help them out."

"Help them out? What do you mean?"

"She's in a band called Summer Sun and they're coming over here from Hawaii and were asking if we could get them oriented and also let them use our equipment."

She? Hawaii? No wonder Michael sounded so excited. What he said next made it sound even better.

"They're an all-girl band. They live in Hawaii and got invited to play at the same dance we're playing at next month at the Elk's Club, but they can't bring all their instruments and amps with them on the plane so they were wondering if they could borrow ours."

This was intriguing. "How many people are in their band?" I asked.

"Four. There's Linda, the one I talked to. She plays the guitar, then they have a drummer, bass and a keyboard player."

Four girls from Hawaii. Hmm... Four guys in Easy Livin' too. Oh and there's Teri. Oh well, too bad for her. Maybe they have a manager who's a guy. "How'd she get your name, anyway?"

One of the people sponsoring the dance knew Michael and gave Linda his phone number. Now Michael was calling to ask me what I thought about it.

"Sure," I said. "Why not? Four girls from Hawaii in a band?"

Michael and I thought on the same wavelength. "Yes, four girls from Hawaii. In a band. Terrific!"

"What does this one sound like on the phone?"

"I hope she looks like she sounds."

We had no trouble convincing Duane or Dennis to be of assistance. Teri was amused by our enthusiasm. For the next couple of weeks, "Summer Sun" was a frequent topic of conversation.

"What if they turn out to be big Samoan women looking for a football scholarship to USC?" I asked.

"No way can the voice be that far off from the face," Michael assured me. "We'll find out one way or another. We're committed." He had also implied that our visitors from Hawaii would be strangers in a strange Los Angeles and would be needing some assistance becoming familiar with the area.

As the evening of the dance drew closer, our curiosity increased. Four girls from Hawaii. Stereotypical visions of smiling, crispy-tanned hula girls with long, silky black hair - four of them, no less - implanted themselves in my mind to the point where I was convinced I already knew what they looked like.

The big night arrived. They were headlining the event so obviously they must be pretty popular in Hawaii. Hawaii. Up to that point Michael had been the only point of contact between our two groups. The plan was for us to play our set, then leave the instruments and amplifiers up for them to use, after which we'd take everything down and bring it home. And of course I wondered what the plan was for introducing them to our territory after the dance was over.

We carried in our equipment and left it behind the stage while the first band of the night went through their set. Michael went off to find Linda while the rest of us watched the entertainment.

Michael soon returned with a girl I assumed was Linda. He confirmed it when he introduced her to all of us. Her fellow band members hadn't arrived yet. Was she what I expected? Well, not quite. She was a bit, uh, short. Not like midget short, but she was diminutive. And she had no crispy skin or long black hair, either. There was nothing wrong with the way she looked; it's just that she didn't look like the travel brochure girl I was expecting.

Maybe the other three would look like Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays.

The time came for us to begin our set and the other three Summer Sun members still hadn't arrived. We played our songs and I sat there behind my drums scanning the crowd looking for them based on my preconceived notions, which I refused to modify despite the incongruity that arose from meeting Linda.

Then they appeared. Three more incongruities. Well, had I expected them to look like Linda then I would've been on the mark. All of them were, uh, diminutive and none of them fit my tropical hula mama model. But then my expectations had been raised so high, no one could have met them. They were very nice, though. And heck, maybe they had been thinking the same thing I was and then suffered the incongruity when they met me. They probably were and did.

Our set ended and Summer Sun took over. All the instruments looked too big for them but their small size was no handicap. We stood and watched them play.

"Not what I expected," I told Michael while the music blared from the stage.

"Yeah, I know," he shrugged.

"So what's the deal afterwards? Are we supposed to show them around, or what?"

"I asked Linda," Michael said, "and she told me that they already had some friends who were going to take them for a snack afterwards and then show them around tomorrow."


We both turned our heads back to watch the show.


Here's a couple of versions of Summer Sun to bring back some memories for you who were around way back then. The first is the original by Jamestown Massacre, and the second is a Paul's Kitchen performance I ran across by accident, featuring The Music Company. Dennis Yokotake, our Easy Livin' keyboardist, is also playing keyboards in that video.

You know, I really regret not having a single picture or recording of Easy Livin' - nada. Or pictures of any groups or the dances in general. Sigh..

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