In the Mix

Pimpbot celebrates 10 years

July 13th, 2011

Pimpbot is back with a new CD — and an affinity for zombie sushi? (Courtesy photo)

I've got a soft spot for Pimpbot, the local ska band fronted by talented vocalist/trombonist and recently re-hired radio personality Fernando "The Love Machine" Pacheco.

Fernando Pacheco. (Courtesy photo)

When I started covering nightlife in Honolulu a decade ago, Pacheco and his buddies Rylan Yee and Tom Coleman were faces I recognized from elsewhere in the Honolulu music scene. Pimpbot was a side project at the time — a way for Pacheco to deal with his need to be a frontman and direct the sound of the music he was making.

I'll be honest. I wasn't the biggest fan of 2004's "Vertical Lobster," the band's first effort. It was always fun to watch the guys play live, but that magic didn't seem to translate once they got into the studio. I was more impressed by 2008's "Admit One," which solidified the band's sound and showed Pacheco's growth as a songwriter.

Now, 10 years after Pacheco first got the band together, it boasts its largest lineup to date (five members) and a sound that all the guys agree is the most "authentic-sounding" they've ever heard on CD. And despite his role as husband and father, in addition to a new gig at 105.9 KPOI-FM, he couldn't be happier with the stage he's at in his musical career.

Pimpbot poses for a photo while on tour in Japan in 2009. (Courtesy photo)

"In the past, I just had to make a lot of compromises," Pacheco explained. "Now, having more musicians at my disposal, it's awesome. I can achieve the sound I have in my head. It's all matching up.

"I hit this nirvana, where it's like, I love this lineup. If I can keep this thing going, I'll keep it up forever. We make our own schedule … and our families are very supportive. So we're going to keep on doing this while we're living life.

"Getting married and having kids doesn't mean you gotta stop."

According to Coleman, the new album is "the culmination of everything we've done so far." The addition of Nic Ramos to the band "really tightened up our sound," he said.

"We've learned a lot about ska … and we're still having a great time. That's why we're still doing it. It's still so much fun."

Pimpbot's new, self-titled album features more of the entertaining song titles fans have grown to love. Starting with "Meet You at the Bar" and moving into "Hobo Chili" and "Zombie Fasi," they keep things interesting throughout the 10 tracks on the CD, finishing strong with songs like "Please be a Ninja" and "Beer and Homies."

"We always want to keep doing things that make us different," said drummer Eric Lagrimas. "Granted, we're not the downtown darlings or the current hipster favorites, but we do our thing. And we do it with pride and passion. We eat, breathe and live this s--t. It matters."

AND WHEN I say I have a soft spot for these guys, I'm not the only one. While it's Matt "Haz-Matt" Wells' job to keep tabs on the local rock scene as an on-air personality at Star 101.9 FM, he's stuck with Pimpbot the last decade for more personal reasons.

Pimpbot in Washington, D.C. while touring the east coast earlier this year.' (Courtesy photo)

"I went to their shows based on other people telling me that I needed to check them out, and then I was lucky enough to end up spending some time with Fern and the guys," said Wells. "And they're cool. You like them. How can you go wrong with that? I like the music, and I like the guys themselves.

"What they bring (is) the consistency. Like Fern was saying, they've grown into their own skin. They've stuck around for a decade, and that's nothing to short shrift.

"When I grew up, I was a one of those fans of punk and ska in a place where if it wasn't grunge or country, you were laughed at. If this stuff was around when I was in high school, I would have been all about it.

Now, I look at it from more of an industry eye, but they take me back to when I was just a fan."


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

Pimpbot CD Release Party

» Where: Waikiki Sandbox, 2260 Kuhio Ave.

» When: 10 p.m. Saturday, July 16

» Cost: $10

» Info:

"Pimpbot" by Pimpbot by PulseHNL

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