Sunday, August 27, 2006

5 5 7....Remember that number......

With the recent change in ownership at the Ilikai Hotel, the '70s Nightclub Reunion III was looking like its time had come and gone and that just perhaps maybe Reunion II was it. Well, Candy Au officially starts at the Ala Moana Hotel tomorrow, Monday, August 28, 2006 as Director of Catering so it looks like III is on and alive and well. The Ala Moana Hotel, where countless numbers have attended weddings and other gatherings, where parking will not be a concern. So you may ask why 557 in this lead in? Put this on your calender, May 5, 2007 at the Ala Moana Hotel is the date for the '70s Nightclub Reunion III. Details still need to be worked out, but, the date is all but confirmed. So remember, 5 5 7. And while on the subject of numbers and dates, don't forget that Greenwood will be performing at the upcoming car show on Saturday, September 30, 2006 at the Neal Blaisdell Center. If you're a University of Hawaii Warrior fan and if you have to miss just one home game, September 30 is that one date as the Warriors entertain Division 1AA opponent Eastern Illinoi. Some cool stuff for some cool tropical nights in paradise!!!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It's in a musicians DNA.....

Came across this article flipping thru the Sunday Star Bulletin. It's true. It's true. It's in the blood and the blood still and will continue to flow thru a musicians' veins until it's time to meet our maker. What can you do? Good article by Mr. Ethan Smith on some big names and very, very successful people. Jim Allchin, head of Microsoft's Platforms & Services Division.
Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft is known to join in jam sessions at industry conventions. James Dolan, the Cablevision CEO plays Led Zeppelin covers at a local bar.

CEOs who chase rock-star fantasies
Friday, July 28, 2006

By Ethan Smith, The Wall Street Journal

The scene at J.D. & the Straight Shot's New York gig was typical for an up-and-coming blues band. The group played a mix of original material and covers by the likes of Little Feat and the Allman Brothers Band and took good-natured digs at each other between songs.

Like many other struggling musicians, the 51-year-old J.D. has a day job. Only James Dolan is president and chief executive of Cablevision Systems Corp., a $5.2 billion publicly traded media conglomerate.

Meet the new boss: He's playing Led Zeppelin covers until closing time at the neighborhood bar and recording CDs in the basement. From the president of buyout firm Wasserstein & Co. to the White House chief of staff, baby boomers at the top of their professions are refusing to give up their youthful rock-star fantasies. The garage bands of the mid-1970s have moved into boardrooms, some of which are now filled with people who as kids dreamed of being the next Hendrix, Page or Townshend -- and who today still have the same dreams.

These executives have attained enough success that they have the flexibility for band rehearsals and regular shows, and the money for professional-quality instruments and studio equipment. The music industry has taken note and stepped up its marketing pitch to middle-aged, part-time players, helping contribute to a recent jump in guitar sales. A few services have sprung up that offer practice rooms for amateurs and promise to connect prospective bandmates. One is aimed specifically at businesspeople.

"No matter how much money you make or what you do, everybody wants to be Keith Richards," says Charlie Mangano, the 52-year-old rhythm guitarist in the Rolling Bones, a Rolling Stones cover band. By day, he is a consultant to financial-information Web site and the former director of marketing and communications at Deutsche Bank Asset Management.

The moonlighting rockers include high-ranking lawyers, department heads of major corporations and the presidents of international real-estate and leveraged-buyout companies. Paul Allen, founder of Vulcan Inc. and co-founder of Microsoft Corp., has been known to join in jam sessions during cable-industry conventions.

"It's like my secret double life," says Bruce Meyer, 45, a litigator who plays lead guitar in two cover bands. "I go from being a corporate lawyer to standing ankle-deep in beer and playing Kiss songs."

It's impossible to say how many corporate stars are doubling as would-be rock stars, but they aren't hard to find. Joshua Bolten, chief of staff to President Bush, winks at his boss's political agenda with the name of the band he plays bass for: the Compassionates. A used copy of the self-titled debut album by Paul Allen's band, the Grown Men, fetches nearly $70 on The cover shows a headband-wearing baby lighting a guitar on fire, a la Jimi Hendrix.

Gregg Raybin, a former corporate lawyer in New York, helped form a "dating service for musicians," which is aimed at professional workers who are amateur players. The service has resulted in 20 to 30 bands in the New York area, about half of which play public gigs. Formed with a $100,000 initial investment pooled from about 25 member-partners, the organization offers match-making services and rehearsal time in midtown Manhattan for $349 a year per bandmate. Of the 250 members, about 80 percent are male.

NAMM, a trade group for instrument makers and retailers, has created a program called Weekend Warriors, billed as a way to get "non-active musicians back on stage to relive their fantasies of superstardom." The program's 21 locations, in cities such as St. Louis, Boulder, Colo., and Louisville, Ky., provide space and instruments -- partly as a way to entice participants to buy new equipment.

Joe Lamond, president and chief executive of NAMM, calls playing music "kind of the fountain of youth." The association doesn't track the average age of buyers, but Mr. Lamond says middle-aged, part-time musicians are an increasingly important target of the industry's marketing efforts. Last year, retail guitar sales in the U.S. rose 13 percent, to $1.1 billion.

Taylor Guitars considers baby boomers "the core of the business," says Jonathan Forstot, director of marketing. Buyers over 35 account for 75 percent of the company's customers, while buyers over 50 account for a third of all sales -- a fact that isn't lost in its advertising. One recent print ad reads, "It's a lot less stressful when your wife and your groupie are the same person."

The proliferation of corporate rockers is partly a function of the additional time and money that results from a successful career. Mr. Meyer, the guitarist and a litigator at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP who has represented Walt Disney Co., GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Westinghouse Electric Co., has built a collection of electric guitars to compensate for what he couldn't afford as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. "I played the same crappy guitar through the same crappy amp," he says. "Now that I can afford decent equipment I'm making up for that." Today, he owns a half-dozen guitars, including a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Telecaster.

"It's tough earlier in your career to find time to play," says George Majoros, the 44-year-old president and chief operating officer of leveraged-buyout firm Wasserstein & Co., who also has played drums in the Rolling Bones for nine years. Still, he says that in terms of satisfaction and adrenaline, a music gig "is never going to compare to a big LBO." He has recently been involved in acquisitions of Mastercraft Boat Co. and Harry & David Operations Corp.

Mr. Dolan, the Cablevision CEO, says he's easily able to juggle his gigs and his day job. At work, his recent duties included picking a coach for the New York Knicks and directing upgrades on his company's Internet-telephone service. For the band's faraway gigs, Mr. Dolan hops aboard the private jet he leases from his employer, letting band mates tag along. "It's not unusual for me to go from a hotel room and on the computer dealing with what's going on at the office, directly to the stage," he says.

For the Rolling Bones, getting paid in something besides beer makes the fantasy all the more real -- they make about $2,000 a night for friends' parties and up to $4,500 for a corporate gig. "We're better negotiators in our business deals than in our band deals," concedes Mr. Majoros. "We're always cutting the price just to get a chance to play more."

Others are emphatic that being able to rock and roll all night remains a priority -- even if their high-powered careers no longer allow them to party every day. Jimmy Kuhn, 58, says his job as president of the international real-estate firm Newmark Knight Frank can take a back seat to playing keyboards in the Square Feeet, a classic-rock cover band whose five members are all real-estate executives. "Everybody knows you don't schedule a meeting Tuesday nights after 6 o'clock," he says. "Because band rehearsal comes before business."

Hank Goldsmith, a 43-year-old partner in the litigation department at Proskauer Rose LLP, actually tried to make it as a musician in the mid-1980s. Today, he's content to play bass in Newspaper Taxis, a Beatles tribute band. (His previous venture: Abbey Roadkill.) He sees parallels between lawyering and rocking. "Every litigator is a performer, anyway," he says. "You want to capture the room and you want to close big."

Some executives find that they can't mesh their busy schedules with other similarly harried colleagues -- a problem that has helped give rise to the well-funded home studio. Allen Merrill, the head of global business development for MasterCard Advisors, the consulting arm of MasterCard Worldwide, has tried to form bands in the past. "There's never really enough time to develop," he says.

Instead, he's nearly finished recording his second album of songs he's written and performed himself, using professional-grade equipment at his home in East Hampton, N.Y. He has a climate-controlled room to house his collection of high-end classical, flamenco and vintage electric guitars. Mr. Merrill's first disc, "Close to You," sold about 1,500 copies, most of them through a local record store.

Whether corporate rockdom is admired or mocked at the office is a matter of interpretation. At home, it can cut into time spent on children and other family commitments, as well as raising a unique X-factor: While playing music is meant to be cool, your own children sometimes shield their eyes.

"I did offer to have my band play at one of my daughter's dorm parties," says the Rolling Bones' Mr. Mangano. "She politely turned me down."

Still, Chip Fournier, the 52-year-old senior vice president for employment law at NBC Universal, says joining his cover band, Cropduster, has been good for maintaining a happy home. "As ways of dealing with a midlife crisis go, it's cheaper than a Ferrari," he says, "and less disruptive to family life than a mistress."

For CEOs About to Rock ...

We Salute You Some executive rock stars might want to hold on to their day jobs. Below, a sampling of opinions about their musical careers.

EXECUTIVE/COMPANY/TITLE: Paul Allen Vulcan Inc./Founder
BAND/POSITION: Grown Men/Guitar
COMMENT: "It's like a bad Eagles cover band who's now doing originals," complains one reviewer. "Rock + Money
Shlock." Other feedback on the site is more favorable.

EXECUTIVE/COMPANY/TITLE: Jimmy Kuhn Newmark Knight Frank/President
BAND/POSITION: Square Feeet/Keyboards
COMMENT: Singing "Who Let the Dogs Out" at band's first gig, "my dad put on a fake Jamaican accent," recalls son Joey, 21. "It was so not age-appropriate." Band now sticks to classic rock.

EXECUTIVE/COMPANY/TITLE: Bruce Meyer Weil, Gotshal & Manges/Partner
BAND/POSITION: Newspaper Taxis, Tastes Like Chicken/Guitar
COMMENT: Wife Jackie says, "He leaves at night and comes back early in the morning. Some people don't understand how I can let him stay out so late."

BAND/POSITION: J.D. & the Straight Shot/Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
COMMENT: Gabelli & Co. analyst Christopher Marangi, whose firm holds a significant stake in Cablevision, isn't worried about the band being a distraction: "They have very strong business managers."

EXECUTIVE/COMPANY/TITLE: George Majoros Wasserstein & Co./President and COO
BAND/POSITION: Rolling Bones/Drums
COMMENT: Band recently played a party for financial-services company Dreyfus Service Corp. "Paying them is about the price of scalping one Rolling Stones ticket," says Dreyfus President Tom Eggers.


(Hannah Karp contributed to this article.)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Check out this website.....

All around talented bass player & drummer Owen Matsui has put together a pretty, pretty cool website. Click on the link and then put it on your website favorites and check to see what's happening around this beautiful island paradise. Smooth Jazz Hawaii. Real cool!!


Friday, August 04, 2006

The 13th Annual Hawaii International Jazz Festival....

Is it tonight? Yes, yes it all kicks off tonight at the Hawaii Theatre in historical downtown Honolulu. Read more below from the offical "Hawaii International Jazz Festival" website and check out the festival website at for some real cool pics and information. Looks like there'll be some cool tropical jazz in the islands for the next couple of nights. Now that's cool!

The 13th Annual Hawaii International Jazz Festival kicks-off on August 4 with a free 10 a.m. clinic. The clinic, held on both days, will feature demonstrations of various jazz styles. The sessions will close with an open-forum discussion with attendees asking questions of the celebrated musicians including the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra Directed by Shelly Berg, on Friday. The orchestra will be in residence throughout the HIJF! Saturday’s clinic will feature the incredible 6-member Groove Society a cappella ensemble.

The HIJF~ Swingtime Hana Hou! Part I officially opens the evening of Friday, August 4 at 7 p.m., and will feature three acts. Act I – Honors the early history of jazz in Hawaii. You will hear the great synergy of our Hawaiian “Mele no ka oi” show & the indigenous sounds of Hawaii’s greats set to a Swing feel in a kanikapila extravaganza. Performers include Jeff Peterson on slack key guitar, Abe Lagrimas on ukulele & vibes, Brittni Paiva on ukulele & slack key, Bruddah Smitty on slack key & vocals, and Nathan Aweau on bass & vocals. Act II - Our Denver-based vocal jazz sextet, “Groove Society,” will fill the air with luscious a cappella vocal harmonies to your favorite jazz standards. Act III – Tonight’s Tribute to Nat King Cole, features the “Freddy Cole Quartet.” Nat's brother Freddy Cole is world renown for his own great jazz stylings and comes to Hawaii to perform for the first time at this exclusive engagement.

On Saturday, August 5, The Hawaii International Jazz Festival presents ~ Swingtime Hana Hou! Part II. Act I - welcomes back the exciting Latin sounds of sax man "Scott Martin," formerly with Poncho Sanchez for 12 years. This great musician will open the evening with a scintillating presentation backed by the incomparable USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra Directed by Shelton Berg. Act II - The “Freddy Cole Quartet” returns tonight with the 2nd part of our Tribute to the wonderful music of Nat King Cole ~ Guest artists include Gabe Baltazar on sax, David Choy on sax, & DeShannon Higa on trumpet. Nat's timeless tunes, on over 350 albums, embrace America's beloved jazz & pop standards. Act III - “The Four Freshmen” return by popular demand to thrill our audiences once again with their classic repertoire. Hailed as the best vocal group of all time, the Four Freshmen are in their 58th year of performance!

TICKET & SHOW INFO for Hawaii International Jazz Festival ~ Swingtime Hana Hou! To be held Friday and Saturday, August 4 & 5 at the historic Hawaii Theatre:

Tickets for the Jazz Festival are $25, $40 & $50 with a $5 discount for Hawaii Theatre members, seniors 62 and over, military, and students with ID. Also, the purchase of a 2-day pass is $5 off any ticket price. No double discounts. Tickets may be purchased at the Hawaii Theater Center Box Office at (808-528-0506), or online at Festival parking for Hawaii Theatre is available at Marks Garage, off of Nuuanu Avenue.


Hawaii International Jazz Festival is PRESENTING, “An Exclusive Evening With The Freddy Cole Quartet,” and the award winning Denver based a cappella vocal ensemble, “Groove Society” on Thursday, August 3rd, 7:30 p.m at the new Red Elephant Live showroom. This intimate evening is a special added value available only to those who are already ticket holders for the Festival on August 4 or 5. Tickets are $47.50 and are available at the Hawaii Theater Center Box Office at (808)-528-0506, or online at


Interviews, imaging and detailed musician bios are available upon request.

For more information on the Hawaii International Jazz Festival, please contact Dana Fujikake at the Festival office. Call (808) 941-9974 or email:, or visit the Festival website at

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What could be cooler than "Cool Classic Nights"

Mark your calender for some "Cool Classic Nights" at the NBC Exhibition Hall. Three cool classic nights: Friday, September 29, 2006 from 4pm - 11pm, Saturday, September 30, 2006 from 11am - 11 pm, and Sunday, October 1, 2006 from 10am - 5pm. Greenwood's former lightman Edward Doo is the man behind this production. In addition to cool cars and other cool stuff there'll be some really cool entertainment. Our band Greenwood will be performing on Saturday, September 30, 2006. More details to come. It's gonna be cool & tropical, three "Cool Classic Nights".

September 29th - October 1st 2006

Rain or Shine; Cool Classic Nights will be held on September 29, 30, Oct 1st 2006 at the Neal Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall. There will be a lot of A/C at our Pa'ina, to relax and enjoy the friendships and making of NEW friends. Entertainment will be plentiful, oldies, Hawaiian, disco, reggae. Vendors are car related, health & beauty, AYSO soccer (for the kids) games & Meadow Gold, and much more!

Daily Silent Auctions will also be held and fun to participate in. To all car enthusiasts that might want to Buy, Sell or Trade their Cruisers, NOW's the time, you'll be at the right place. Most importantly, every participant will receive a gift(s) as well as a chance to take home an award. The main objective is to make sure everyone has a lasting experience! For more information about COOL CLASSIC NIGHTS CAR SHOW, contact: Ed Doo at (808) 479-8987 or email:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Benny Chong.....Ukulele Virtuoso....

Ben E. King, Benny and the Jets, Jack Benny. Lots of Benny's out there but none as well respected as guitarist/ukulele master Benny Chong. Currently a fixture with the Don Ho show, Benny Chong was once a member of the legendary Hawaii group "The Aliis". My friend Aaron Aranita has nothing but good things to say about Hawaii music legend Benny Chong.

Robert Shinoda, left, Benny Chong and Byron Yasui
Vol. 11, Issue 214 - Wednesday, August 2, 2006

On The Scene

Benny Chong, Byron Yasui join Robert Shinoda on 'Jazz Wednesday'
By John Berger

Jazz fans got something special when Benny Chong and Byron Yasui joined Robert Shinoda for "Jazz Wednesday" at the Honolulu Club last week. Chong has been known for more than 40 years as a guitarist, but since the release of his first solo album, "Ukulele Jazz," last fall, he's been recognized as an ukulele virtuoso as well.

Chong's ukulele was the featured instrument on an impressive set of pop classics and jazz standards that included "Stella By Starlight," "The Very Thought of You" and "Have You Seen Miss Jones." Chong displayed his command of the instrument throughout the set. Yasui was excellent on acoustic bass and guitarist Shinoda, host of the weekly event, stepped forward for a few solos as well.

John Berger has covered the local entertainment scene since 1972. Contact him at

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