Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back to the future.....Spencecliff 2008

Over thirty years ago there was a band who was looking to break into the nightclub circuit in Waikiki, a common story for many young bands including our band "Greenwood". Many of us began playing at the Magic Mushroom, a little hole in the wall nightclub located on Ala Moana Boulevard, and a few of us eventually did make it into the Waikiki nightclub scene. Bands such as "Natural High", "White Light", "Ashberry" and our band "Greenwood" paid our dues at the Ala Moana "all you can drink" nightclub for dirt pay if even that. The Magic Mushroom really packed 'em in on Friday and Saturday evenings and helped to groom bands for bigger and better things that awaited them in the future. "Natural High" eventually became the six night band at Spencecliff's Hula Hut, "White Light" became the six night band at Spencecliff's Tiki, and "Greenwood", given a one year contract by Spencecliff Corporation became the official off-night band at three of their Waikiki restaurants which turned into nightclubs after dinner.

Funny story, and I may have already shared this, ten months into our one year contract we were given the old pink slip by Spencecliff. No reason was actually given and it was a big shock for us a bunch of young starry eyed musicians. But hey, that's showbiz and looking back on it it's something that we still laugh about till today. Thirty some years later Chantal Weaver came up with the idea to have a reunion of all former Spencecliff Restaurant workers. Hey, we were employed by Spencecliff as well for ten months so we qualify!! Come August 23rd "Greenwood" will close out the 2008 Spencecliff Reunion at the Hawaiian Hut. Funny story, but cool none the less. Below is an article from the Star Bulletin about the Spencecliff Reunion. Cool idea Chantal!!!! By the way, did I mention the off-night at the Hula Hut when the band made a whopping $ 2.50 for an entire night? Hehehe!!! Now that's another story in itself down memory lane!!

Spencecliff brings back many fond memories
Former employees of the restaurant chain will hold a reunion
By Betty Shimabukuro

Chantal Weaver remembers running around her father's restaurants as a child - she had many to choose from, as her father was Spencer Weaver, co-founder of the Spencecliff restaurant chain. But her favorite was Queen's Surf, on the beach in Waikiki.

Spencecliff Reunion
» When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 23
» Place: Hawaiian Hut, Ala Moana Hotel

» Tickets: $35

» RSVP: 263-2843 or e-mail

"I remember Hilo Hattie dancing on the stage and the imu with the whole pig. I remember the man climbing the coconut tree and throwing plumeria leis down to the guests."

Gordon Yoshida, Spencecliff's former vice president of operations, has a similar spot in his memory banks for the Hawaiian Hut. "My son had his first birthday party here and then he had his graduation party here."

The two have teamed up to produce a reunion for former Spencecliff employees on Aug. 23 at the Hawaiian Hut, which Yoshida now runs. They say they hope to give some closure to their old employees, as well as a sense of purpose about the future.

"So many people have come through Spencecliff," Yoshida says. About 1,500 remained when the company was sold, but "thousands passed through over the years."

Spencer Weaver and his brother Clifford started Spencecliff in 1939 with a $30,000 investment in six Swanky Franky hot dog carts. The company expanded to a family of restaurants that were signposts of a generation - the Tahitian Lanai, Senor Popo's, Kelly's, Coco's, M's Ranch House, Trader Vic's ...

The company was sold in 1986 to Nittaku Enterprises, which closed the restaurants one by one. Only the Hawaiian Hut is still in business.

"To me, every restaurant closure was like a death, because I grew up in the restaurants," Chantal Weaver says. "They were like my home."

The reunion will feature food, a no-host bar, entertainment, a slide show and memorabilia display. Weaver is hoping the event will be a springboard for her long-range effort to provide a permanent venue for Hawaiian song and dance under the Spencecliff name.

"Waikiki is being turned into any large city. They're bringing in all these Las Vegas-type shows and visitors are coming and saying, 'Where's Hawaii?'"

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

DJ Muro - Japan's vinyl king

Eiichiro-san in his email to our bandleader Robin mentioned that Greenwood's 45 is now a part of DJ Muro's enormous vinyl collection. Below is a snippet of DJ Muro. Man, now that is really cool!!!!

DJ Muro’s Hip Hop Groove

Tokyo’s DJ Muro is one of Japan’s most popular and famous vinyl kings. He has been at the forefront of Hip Hop and Rap for the past 13 years as an artist, mixer and producer.With a collection in excess of 100,000 records, he rents a separate apartment in Tokyo just to house his collection! His (Japanese only) Blue Note & Stones Throw and King of Diggin compilations have made him world famous. He is also a label owner, producer and owner of the hip-hop store Savage in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. His distribution company is called 11154. For more information about MURO, SAVAGE!, K.O.D.P. & Incredible Records check out the nicely designed website

DJ Muro featuring BOO

HipHopBand from the album Toys Factory

Greenwood getting air time in Japan

Our bandleader Robin just got an email from Eiichiro in Japan. So cool to hear that Greenwood's 45 rpm is selling well in Japan.Is that cool or what? Thirty years in Robin's closet and the band is now getting airplay in Japan of all places. Do mo arigato Eiichiro-san!!! Below is Eiichiro's email to Robin, and if you can read Japanese click on the link below that Eiichiro-san refers to. Looks like Greenwood may have to add "Sparkle" and "Cheerleader Strut" to its songlist. Cool!!!!

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 8:12 PM
To: Robin Kimura
Subject: Re: Your order was mailed today!

Aloha, how are you? This is Eiichiro from East Record, Japan.

The 7 inches are selling well, and all those purchased are amazed of your performance.
Even the world-widely acclaimed Japanese club DJ 'MURO' highly praised your performance,
and he's been playing this 7 inch in clubs in Tokyo.

Let me introduce you one of the music lover's web-site which mentions your 7 inch.

More & more music lover must be willing to introduce your performance on web-sites.
I'm delighted and honored to be involved in introducing your music to as many music lovers as possible.

By the way, any more stock of this 7 inches left?
I'd like to continue to introduce your music exclusively, and would like to avoid greedy record shops and dealers to be involved.

Also, would appreciate if you could introduce me any other Hawaiian musicians you know well,
who have released 7 inches of similar to the sound of 'Sparkles' ?
It'll be nice to be acquainted to Hawaiian music of high quality.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.




Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Now this is just sooooo cool!!!!

Remakes are common in the music business these days, but check this one out.Kirk Franklin, a huge Christian artist put out this remake of Earth, Wind & Fire's monster hit "September" as only he can with the help of Mr. Maurice White himself.Maurice White's health prevents him from actively touring with Earth, Wind & Fire, so it was just so sweet to see him in this collaboration with Kirk Franklin. Click on the link below and enjoy a cool remake of a song that has stood the test of time, a real cool Christian artist, and a really cool cat who has touched so many lives for so many years.


Noone did it like Janis

Hard to believe that over thirty years have gone by since Janis Joplin left us, but thanks to YouTube we can experience her one of a kind gut-wrenching voice that was just so cool and so amazing..When Janis sang she sang with her whole body. Every part of her was in the words and notes that she sang. Her whole heart, her soul, her total being. I call it "singing with all your blood and guts". Few can do it, Janis was one of them. Click on the link below and hear Janis at her best doing the song Move Over. As a bonus listen to the backup band, a cranking guitar, a classic Hammond organ and a butt kicking bass guitar and drummer. Janis Joplin in concert must have been something else.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tom Jones & Janis Joplin....Now this is sooo cool !!!

When our band Greenwood played Monday evenings at the Point After in the late 70's we would often be visited by some pretty well known people in the entertainment business. I remember a time or two when Tom Jones was in the house.Tom Jones was Mr. What's New Pussycat, Mr. It's Not Unusual and he had his own weekly television show. Click on the link below and check out Tom Jones and legendary singer Janis Joplin spilling their guts out.Sooooo cool!!! Now that's what I call some growling kick butt singing. And while you're at it check out the band as well. Nice horn section, they kick butt as well. Real Cool!!!


The Tower of Power 1973

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and that being said songs recorded by the Tower of Power have been often duplicated but never replicated.It seemed like only yesterday at the Blaisdell Arena when the Tower of Power from Oakland, California opened up for the Doobie Brothers. I was fortunate enough to see the Tower of Power in action with a power line-up that included Lenny Williams on lead vocals, Bruce Conte on guitar, Greg Adams on trumpet/flugelhorn, Mick Gillette on trumpet/trombone, Lenny Pickett on lead tenor saxophone, Chester Thompson on organ, David Garibaldi on drums and Brent Beyers on percussion, along with TOP holdovers Emilio Castillo on sax/vocals, Rocco Prestia on bass and Doc Kupka on bari sax. These cats really blew those in attendance away. To this day TOP is still a top act, but this particular line-up was special and the sounds and recordings only go to prove that point. TOP, the Tower of Power indeed. Click on the link below for footage of TOP as they appeared in 1973 on Soul Train. Cool!!!

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