Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Here's the latest.........

Just got this email from Robin our bandleader. Can you believe that the 70's Nightclub Reunion III is now less than two weeks away? Where did all the time go? Van is already scheduled to come in to town on Monday, April 30, members of Asian Blend are all booked to fly in from the neighbor islands, Phase VII and Power Point are all set for their practice sessions leading up to May 5th. Looking forward to seeing everybody once again. It's gonna be a real cool evening in paradise!!!

Hi All!

As of yesterday, we have sold approximately 500 seats in the main ballroom. That leaves only 80 reserved seats left for sale. There will be an additional 200 seats available in the open seating area. We typically have anywhere from 75 – 100 “walk ups” during the event night. All comp tickets with the exception of the “press table” will not be in the main ballroom. We’re on our way to another successful event! Thanks again for all your hard work and commitment to prepare for Reunion III!

Mahalo and Aloha,


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Don Ho, Hawaii's Ambassador to the world.....

When you think Hawaii, one of the first names to come to mind is Don Ho. There is no question that Don Ho was Hawaii's ambassador to the world. Bring up Hawaii and there is a great chance that the name Don Ho will surface. You will be missed Don. You were one cool guy and we'll all remember you.
Posted on: Saturday, April 14, 2007 2:19 PM HST
Waikiki legend Don Ho dies
Publicist says Ho died this morning of heart failure
John Berger

Don Ho, the biggest and best-known Hawaiian entertainer of the last 50 years, died this morning of heart failure, his publicist Donna Jung confirmed.
He was 76.

Known world-wide for his recordings of songs such as “Tiny Bubbles” and “I’ll Remember You,” Ho was a Waikiki showroom headliner for more than 43 years -- from 1964, when he opened with the Aliis at Duke Kahanamoku’s in the International Market Place, until his death.

Jung said in an e-mail that funeral arrangements are pending. The family has asked for privacy. But fans can post comments at donho.com.

The popular entertainer underwent an experimental stem-cell procedure in Thailand in December 2005 for an ailing heart and returned to the stage in January 2006 for twice-a-week-shows at the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber.

Last September, he checked into the hospital to have his pacemaker tuned up. He said he was considering additional stem-cell treatment if necessary, but it would mean leaving here because the procedure isn’t appoved in the United States.

Ho was one of the very few Hawaii recording artists of any genre whose recordings appeared on any of the six major Billboard record charts in the 20th century.

In 2001, he became the first Hawaii recording artist to receive a Record Industry Association of America-certified “gold” record when “Don Ho’s Greatest Hits” was certified “gold” for sales of more than 500,000 copies.

At the peak of his popularity with the Aliis at Duke’s in the mid-1960s, Ho entertained visitors and residents alike with a unique blend of Hawaiian and hapa haole standards, the mainstream pop hits of the day, and the newly written songs of Kui Lee.

However, few of the visitors who enjoyed Ho at Duke’s were aware that the guy playing the role of a laid-back hard-drinking beach boy had a degree in sociology and six years’ experience as an Air Force pilot.

Born in 1930, Ho grew up a people-watcher in Honey’s, his parents’ neighborhood bar in Kaneohe. Although he listened to everything in the juke box -- American big band swing to traditional Hawaiian music -- he showed no particular interest in music. He was a high school football star at Kamehameha, graduated from the University of Hawaii-Manoa, and then joined the Air Force. It wasn’t until after he returned home in 1959 and began helping out at the bar that he got into music.

At first all he did was pick out tunes on an electric organ when business was slow. From there he became the host of informal jam sessions, and eventually a group was formed that outgrew Honey’s and became good enough to sub for Arthur Lyman and Sterling Mossman in Waikiki. The group was playing in a Waikiki bar when Kimo Wilder McVay offered them a late-night gig at Duke’s playing on a small stage near the bathrooms.

The group was such a hit that Ho asked for a raise. McVay’s counter-offer wasn’t enough to keep him -- Ho left, and the rest of the group found a new singer. Ho found a new group to work with -- the Aliis.

The Aliis -- Albert Akana, Rudolph “Rudi” Aquino, Benjamin W.C. Chong, Manuel “Manny” Lagodlagod and Jose “Joe” Mundo -- had served together in the U.S. Air Force Band in Washington D.C., and performed on a level rarely reached by local musicians their age. McVay took Sonny Burke, a veteran mainland record producer, to see Don Ho & The Aliis are the Kalia Gardens.

Burke liked what he heard, and McVay made himself the middle man in the negotiations that followed. Burke signed Don Ho & The Aliis to Reprise Records, and McVay brought them to Duke’s as the new headliners on the club’s mainstage.

The show was a smash. The Aliis could play almost anything in almost any key, Mundo was an excellent arranger, and Ho was a superb front-man. The word soon spread that Don Ho & The Aliis was the hip new show to see. Burke introduced the group to the mainstream American public with a pair of “live” albums -- “The Don Ho Show!” and “Don Ho - Again!” -- that he assembled from two nights of recordings made early in 1965. The albums captured the energy and ambiance of the show, and also showed off Ho’s eclectic repertoire. The initial boom was fueled by mainland tours, national television specials, a solo album by the Aliis, and Ho’s first solo studio album, “Tiny Bubbles.”

The Aliis left in 1969 and Ho continued as a showroom headliner with multi-year engagements at the Polynesian Palace, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome, the Hula Hut, and the Waikiki Beachcomber.

Ho and several members of the Aliis returned to the International Market Place in 1981 and recaptured the spirit of the ‘60s with a 1 a.m. “Suck ‘em Up” weekend late show. The reunion ended when Ho moved to the Dome, but reunion concerts with the original five Aliis drew overflow crowds.

Ho had long since achieved iconic status when he appeared as the slum lord villain in the cult film, “Joe’s Apartment,” in 1996. He displayed his sense of humor when he agreed to record “Shock The Monkey” for a nationally released compilation album, “When Pigs Fly,” in 2002. Years before that, however, he recorded a local comedy song, “Who Is The Lolo (Who Stole The Pakalolo).”

Ho received the Sidney Grayson Award (the predecessor to the Hawai ‘i Academy of Recording Arts’ Lifetime Achievement Award) in 1979. His recording of “With All My Love” won the Hoku Award form “Single of the Year in 1989.

Throughout his career, Ho shared his stage with other entertainers and made room in his show for many talented young hopefuls. He shared his knowledge with many others, and provided several with recording opportunities. It became axiomatic that any Hawaii resident who made deprecating comments about Ho didn’t know what they were talking about and was not to be taken seriously.

He returned to the national headlines in 2005 when he announced that he was going to Thailand for a stem-cell treatment. He continued to entertain his fans but cut back his performance schedule.

Ho is survived by his wife Haumea and numerous family members, Jung said.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tiny TV on OC16

The 70's Nightclub Reunion III emcee Tiny Tidani let our bandleader know that Greenwood will be on Tiny TV on OC16.
It's a small plug of us practicing at our secret warehouse in the heart of Kakaako, courtesy of Mike Irish. The segment has an interview of Robin by Tiny and captures parts of three songs. KC and the Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight", the rearranged Doobie Brothers classic "Long Train Running" and Tiny's own favorite song "Suavecito" originally recorded by Malo. Tiny TV on OC16 is cool....real cool!!

Back to the future......

When Greenwood officially broke up in the early 80's who would have thunk? Is "thunk" a word?All these reunion stuff is quite amazing, and what's even more amazing is for a band of our size to be able to bring back so many original members. With the exception of trumpet player extraordinaire Steve Matsumoto, every member on stage for the 70's Nightclub Reunion was a playing member of Greenwood. Perhaps one day maybe, Steven Lee our other lead singer when the band broke up may just show up. We'll leave that one to the higher power above. For now though it's Greenwood at the Ala Moana Hotel!!! Again.Just so happened to be going thru some stuff at home and found these pictures of my wife's and my wedding reception. Yup, that's our band Greenwood alright twenty four years ago in the very room where this year's 70's Nightclub Reunion III will be held. Has it been that long? The pictures are small but you get the gist. By the way, the pictures were of the band one year after we officially disbanded, but we got together to play informally for about thirty minutes or so. I don't think we even practiced, or did we? Cool pictures. More hair and a few pounds lighter!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

He's Back!!!!

We've known John Berger since our high school days. A friend of mine was a classmate of his at Roosevelt High School back in the days. Thanks John Berger for sticking to your guns and being who you are. Who'd a thought back then that John would be making a living at what he just loves to do. As they said in one of the most recent daily Korean drama's, "Bravo, Bravo!!! Bingo!!!"


Danny Couch, right, welcomed Danny Kaleikini and Linda Wong to the opening of his new show at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani April 2. It's a welcome return to Waikiki for the personable entertainer. He shares an assortment of his hits, some Hawaiian and hapa-haole favorites, and his favorite pop standards in a 90-minute show. He's there Monday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Call 931-4660.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Point After.....

Now that's a name if there ever was one. If memory serves me right there were a bunch of Point After Night Clubs in the 70s. Honolulu for sure and at least one in Dallas I believe.
Lee Afuvai (center next to Kamasami Kong on the left and Frank B. Shaner on the right)ran the Point After in Honolulu. Lee was the man and gave many a band a start in Waikiki. When we started playing the off-night circuits Aura was the house band at the Point. When Aura left Power Point took over the full-time band duties. Transition then took Power Point's place as the six night band. All along our band played the Monday night off-night. We felt so honored by Mr. Afuvai as he asked our band a few times to become the Point After's six night house band. Lots of cool people there. Management, staff, customers. All in all a real cool good experience. Thanks Mr. Afuvai, you're one cool dude!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Danny Couch presents....

Here's a snippet that was recently released in one of the local papers. Still looking to see if anyone locally did a review on Danny Couch's production. Reading the lineup of musicians and dancers is impressive indeed. I'm sure it's a real cool show. Will make it a point to catch Danny's show and will give a first hand report. Cool stuff!!! This is definitely something that is needed in this cool tropical island.

Posted at 9:21 a.m., Monday, April 2, 2007

Danny Couch's new Waikiki show debuts tonight

News Release

Vocalist Danny Couch opens his first self-produced show at 7:30 tonight at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel. "Danny Couch: The Voice of These Islands" is a musical journey of Hawaiian, contemporary and classic songs.
"I just felt the time was right to go on my own after a career of working for others," said Couch. "I am truly grateful to everyone I've worked with over the years. I have learned so much and feel very blessed for all they've shared with me, and so thankful to all of my fans who have followed me wherever I've been. I look forward to seeing them at the Ainahau Showroom!"

The Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning Couch has come a long way since singing in the choir at Nanakuli High School, and even as a standout with the Alii's where he sang lead for hits like "Lady You're My Rainbow" and "Here I Am." He has performed around the world and in long-running shows in Waikiki to rave reviews, and is the man behind one of Hawai'i's "anthems" — "These Islands." Couch also has his own record label and production company.

Show details:

7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays (seating at 7 p.m.)

Ainahau Showroom, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel, Mezzanine (take the escalator from the Lobby)

Dinner Show ($69.50) – 5:30 p.m. Dinner at the hotel's Pikake Terrace Buffet or Momoyama Restaurant, followed by seating at the showroom at 7 p.m.

Cocktail Show ($38.00) – Seating in the showroom at 7 p.m.

For reservations, please call 931-4660, visit any activity desk, see the Ainahau Showroom ticket desk in the lobby of the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel, or go to www.dannycouch.com.


John E.K. "Kahoa" Akaka II – drums

Hemingway Jasmin – keyboard

Bobby King – bass

Leonard Loo – keyboard


Kehaulani Christian – former Miss Hawaii

Leila Fernandez – former Miss Oahu-Hawaiian Islands

Brook Hasegawa – former Cherry Blossom Queen

Sherri Thomas – former Miss Hawaii International

Spencecliff Corporation......

As we quickly approach the 70's Nightclub Reunion III justice would not have been served if there was no mention of a company that gave many a musician a chance to show their wares. When we played the nightclub circuit in the 70s the Spencecliff Restaurants and Nightclubs were the establishment.The Hawaiian Hut in the Ala Moana Hotel which featured bands like Phase VII, the Manilla Machine, the Sound Barrier and Chito's Express, the Beef n' Grogg on the Kalakaua strip which featured bands such as the New Experience, Golden Throat, A Sure Thing and Destiny, the Tiki in the International Marketplace which featured the Dimensions and White Light and the Hula Hut off Kalakaua on Lewers which featured Natural High, were just a few of establishments owned and run by the Spencecliff Corporation. Here's a tidbit shared by someone from the website Hawaii Threadmill on the Company formed by Spence & Cliff Weaver. A big mahalo to both Spence & Cliff Weaver for giving the many, many musicians in Hawaii a place to play and do what musicians just love to do. In my book these guys were cool!

Few people know that Spencer and Clifton Weaver were the sons of one of the nation’s leading architects. Fullerton Weaver designed the Waldorf-Astoria, the Hotel Pierre in New York City, and the Breakers in Palm Beach.

The boys’ mother was Emily Stokes, a great beauty who won the U.S. Open in mixed doubles tennis one year. The family owned an estate in East Hampton, Long Island that was called "Spencecliff."

The father took the boys on an around the world trip and they fell in love with Hawaii. They later moved here and found a job as cafeteria workers at Pearl Harbor in the late 1930s.

In 1939, they opened Swanky Franky’s Hot Dog Stand on Ena Road. Swanky Franky’s Drive-inn opened a few months later where Singha Thai Cuisine is now.

After service in World War II, they formed the Spencecliff Corporation. The Sky Room, which opened in 1948, was atop the airport terminal at John Rogers Field, a great location with constant traffic. It was a fancy place with great steaks.

Next, they purchased M’s Ranch House (and dropped M’s) and then Fisherman’s Wharf in Kewalo Basin.

One of their most famous acquisitions, in 1949, was the Waikiki beach home of millionaire Christian Holmes, heir to the Fleischmann's Yeast fortune. They turned it into Queen’s Surf.

The Barefoot Bar, upstairs at the Queen’s Surf, was one of the most popular places in town. You couldn’t get in unless you knew someone. There was always a big line.

They also purchased the lease on the site of the Kau Kau Korner in 1960, much to the dismay of owner Sunny Sundstrom, who had run the place since 1935. They turned it into Coco’s.

Spencecliff was renowned for taking care of its employees, many of whom served over 20 years. For instance, each employee received a birthday cake on the day before his or her birthday. Then they got their birthday off with pay. This was no small feat, given that they had 1,400 employees!

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