Archive for September, 2011

82Fifty celebrates new CD single

September 23rd, 2011

82Fifty will share their two new tracks with fans during a show at Tropics Cafe Bar & Grill this weekend. (Courtesy Sheena Marie Photography)

If you're a fan of local surf rockers 82Fifty and were expecting a new album in 2011 — keep waiting.

Rest assured, however, that lead singer/manager Jessie Campania and the rest of the guys are working on it. It's just that real life (i.e. money, and the lack of it) keeps getting in the way.

82Fifty Single Release Party

» Where: Tropics Cafe Bar & Grill, 1020 Auahi St.

» When: 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24

» Cost: $10

» Info:

"Everybody's been asking for it," Campania acknowledged earlier this week. "But we're doing everything independent, so we have to come up with all the money ourselves. It's expensive, and we're mainly getting money (for recording) from gigs and saving it, so it's a process.

"It's taking a bit longer than it should, but it is what it is. It's a struggle."

In the meantime, the band was able to get into the studio this year and record two tracks ("Once Again" and "Bad Dream") that have been pressed up and are ready to distribute to fans. 82Fifty will celebrate with a CD single release party tomorrow, Sept. 24, at Tropics Cafe Bar & Grill.

"We really wanted to get the second album going, but it's taking too long, so we decided to release the single," said Campania. "This is an in-between release so we can get everyone's attention again."

Campania added that while there is a definite lack of rock radio support (the biggest push they've gotten was from Phat Joe of reggae station Island 98.5, he said), the local scene is actually enjoying a bit of a resurgence, thanks to increased gig opportunities at venues like Anna O'Brien's, Kemoo Farms Pub and Lakeside Lanai, Rock Bottom Bar & Grill and Hawaiian Brian's Billiards. Fans still have options when it comes to enjoying live music, and 82Fifty keeps pressing forward despite the difficulty in raising enough funds to record more songs.

"When we first came out, it was difficult to play at different shows," Campania said. "But it seems right now that the scene is opening up. … Venues are a little more open-minded, and to see that change is exciting."

It's going to take a while for 82Fifty to make enough money from gigs to get back into the studio — Campania said he expects the new album to be done "after summertime" of next year — but fans should enjoy the tease the band will serve up live for the first time this weekend. The two new songs represent the sound fans know them for, but will also push the envelope a bit.

"We do a lot of different styles. We have that reggae feel, but we also have some hard-hitting heavy rock sounds," said Campania. "On 'Once Again,' it's that surf rock kind of vibe, but there's a distortion part that hits really hard. 'Bad Dream' has an oldies feel to it. The way we made it, it's got a Weezer-slash-Beatles vibe. Kinda weird, right?

"That's us, though. It's cool."

Want to take a listen? Campania was generous enough to share both tracks with Pulse readers (see below), and added that everyone who pays the $10 cover at Tropics will receive a complimentary copy of the CD single.


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

Related Audio:

82Fifty - "Once Again"


82Fifty - "Bad Dream"


Graham scores SELF cover

September 20th, 2011

Lauren Graham was born in Hawaii. She currently stars in the NBC sitcom 'Parenthood.' (Photo courtesy SELF)

One of my favorite shows on television right now is "Parenthood," which airs Tuesdays on NBC. Call me an old man, but the writing on the show along with the dynamic between cast members really resonates with me.

(I also watch "Sons of Anarchy" religiously on Tuesdays, if that helps me to retain my Man Card.)

The cover of SELF's October issue. (Courtesy SELF)

Being a fan of the show, I was surprised to learn last week that one of its stars was born in Hawaii. You may recognize Lauren Graham from her previous role on "Gillmore Girls," but I've grown to admire her work on "Parenthood." And yes, she was born on Oahu. After spending her first five years here, her parents divorced and she ended up moving with her father to Washington, D.C.

Still, she's keiki o ka aina — and as such, I'm an even bigger fan of her work. Want to learn more about her? Pick up a copy of the latest issue of SELF Magazine; Graham is on the cover and even contributed her own writing for the feature. She was partnered with trainer Michelle Lovitt in advance of a photo shoot for the cover in Los Angeles, Calif.

"When SELF invited me to be on the cover, I told the editors I wanted to try training like an athlete," she said in the cover story for the October issue. "Good news: They loved the idea and said they had the perfect trainer for me. Bad news: I had only five weeks until the cover shoot, during which I'd be traveling a lot. I panicked."

Graham had jokes, too. Some of her better one-liners:

"A few sessions with my trainer and I started using words like glycogen. Don't get me started on fast-twitch muscles. I'm saving that for Letterman!"

"I'm in New York City to visit my sister. Unfortunately, my dear friends Bagel and Cream Cheese live here, too."

"I only like water when it tastes like a margarita."

On the topic of getting fit and working out, Graham said it was difficult at times to stay focused — but also taught her a valuable lesson about setting goals.

"I could have just given up coffee, but no, I gave myself this fitness challenge while on vacation on my family, my boyfriend's family, while in New York City, and I really found out a lot about what it's like to try and achieve a goal," she said. "One thing I really learned about was the power of other people and when you start looking for inspiration, just saying that can bring it into your life. You can't do it alone."

The October issue of SELF should be in stores soon; click here to read more highlights from her feature story.


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

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Sully Erna visits HPR

September 9th, 2011

Godsmack lead singer Sully Erna, left, talks with Hawaii Public Radio's Dave Lawrence on Friday, Sept. 9. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Godsmack lead singer Sully Erna made a stop at Hawaii Public Radio's Atherton Studio for an appearance with local "All Things Considered" host Dave Lawrence on Friday, Sept. 9.

Erna took about an hour to answer questions and played three songs for an intimate group of HPR employees and VIP guests. The entire band was scheduled to perform at the Blaisdell Concert Hall later in the day.

Click here to listen to Lawrence's interview with Erna and watch more video.


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

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Talking story with hip-hop royalty

September 8th, 2011

Hip-hop fans are in for a real treat this weekend, as former Hawaii resident and Aiea High School graduate Slick comes home to celebrate the eighth anniversary of his clothing line, Dissizit.

Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels. (Courtesy photo)

Some would be happy enough to learn that the Dilated Peoples' DJ Babu and Rakaa Iriescience were making the trip from Los Angeles with Slick. Others would get excited to learn that Digital Underground founding member Money B would be in town with his partner, Scott Knoxx, from his new group, M*A*S*K. But add the name Darryl "DMC" McDaniels to the list, and Friday's anniversary party now doubles as one of the can't-miss hip-hop events in Honolulu this year.

The Pulse spoke with McDaniels last week via telephone from his home in New Jersey, where he was counting his blessings after avoiding the brunt of Tropical Storm Irene. During a conversation that lasted nearly an hour, he spoke about the current status of hip-hop, why younger generations aren't turning to MTV for new music and what the future holds for his music career.

QUESTION: Everything okay in the aftermath of Irene?

ANSWER: We're not flooded, but everyone around us is flooded. Put it like this — my block is lucky. We didn't have to evacuate. The worst of it was just rain. It rained forever. Just this morning, all the rivers are just illin.

Q: Did you watch the MTV Video Music Awards this year?

A: Nope. I don't even care about MTV. It's irrelevant right now. I mean, who cares, really? It's not special no more.

'Dissizit 8th Anniversary'

With special guests DMC, Rakaa Iriescience, DJ Babu, Money B, Scott Knoxx, Phoreyz and local openers Monarx

» Where: SoHo Mixed Media Bar, 80 S. Pauahi St.

» When: 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9

» Cost: $40 ($28 advance tickets available)

» Info: Click here for info and to purchase tickets online

» Note: DMC will participate in a meet-and-greet session at Prototype in Pearlridge at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9

When I speak to young people, they go, "Man, why can't you turn on MTV no more and discover new groups and new music?" People can't say you're hating if you telling the truth. … This YouTube generation is taking viewers from MTV and Fuse. You can't have a video network now. Kids go to YouTube. That whole platform of having one specific place to go, it don't exist no more.

Creatively speaking, though, the technique is really no different. These kids got YouTube and iPods. We had video cassettes and boom boxes. The only difference is, with the Internet you can do it on a bigger level. But now you've got to be really really good. Everybody can rap. But what's going to separate you from everybody else?

Q: One of the big winners was a young artist by the name of Tyler the Creator. Heard of him?

A: Yeah. What Tyler the Creator did doesn't surprise me, though, because Grandmaster Flash and Cold Crush used to be outside my high school passing out fliers. It all goes full circle. … What these kids are doing now are what Kurtis Blow, (Afrika) Bambaataa, that's what all those rappers before us were doing back then.

The thing is, once you get into that position of notoriety, can you produce quality … world-altering music? That's the problem right now. On every album we made, we didn't go back. We made one record, the topic was over with.

Now, you got dudes in this business seven years and they're still taking about the same thing they did on their first album. It's always about an evolution of creativity.

Q: Can you talk about the legacy of Run DMC and how it continues to affect the hip-hop scene?

A: Me, Run and Jay, our whole goal, truth be told, the whole reason we worked … our only main goal was to be better than the Cold Crush. We heard the legendary battle tape of the Cold Crush Four versus the Fantastic Five … in 1981.

Don't get me wrong, there was "Rapper's Delight" and "The Message," but what me, Run and Jay heard, the way Cold Crush dropped records … that demonstration, that essence. When we heard the Cold Crush tape, that pushed us to practice 365 days a year.

Our legacy is this — we took hip-hop for what it was, and took it to the world. If you were in Beverly Hills or the dirt ghetto, you knew what Run DMC was talking about.

We also addressed important issues that were relevant to everyone. The reason Run DMC worked was because we took what we saw at 12 years old and put it on TV. We took what Mel and Bambaataa gave to us and said, "This is what's changing the world."

Now, can you write a record that's going to make the world say,'can you see what these young people are doing?' There's a bunch out there right now. Andre 3000? He never spits a wack verse. He's a total package.

Jay Electronica is another one. I discovered Jay Electronica and it gave me life again. These dudes can write, and they love the music. They have the total package. They keep me writing.

Q: You were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. What kind of emotions did that stir up when it happened?

A: A lot of rock people was mad at us. And now, that's a great thing to say. We were excited just to be considered worthy enough to be nominated. They wanted to nominate us over all these people we used to steal music from!

(But) I think our presentation of it was sincere. So they started to look at us and thought that even though it was a combination of stolen ideas and melodies … listen to the songs that they're making. … We grew up with it, so we were just complimenting it.

Q: About five years ago, you were on television talking publicly about your health problems. Is everything okay now?

A: When I did that, it was like, "okay guys, here's what I'm doing now because you may not see me in a week." Real talk. Fortunately, there was a bigger purpose than I could comprehend.

I'm good now. I don't have no blood clots, my voice is good and I'm happy. I think what happened with me was, I needed to stop being DMC and be D the MC.

It kind of got me when people came up to me. The best advice was from the people on the street. With that encouragement, plus the looks on the faces when I do go out and speak. It helps give a deeper connection. I'm not a politician and I'm not religious, but music is able to succeed where politics and religion fail.

Q: You've worked with Slick on clothing projects, and now that collaboration has transitioned into music videos. Can you talk about your creative relationship?

A: Slick has his clothing line, and his fashion company is on some real hip-hop stuff. I went to his showroom one day … and while I was in there, he had all this RUN DMC stuff (and) wanted to do a shirt.

When he came back to me with the design, it was so off the hook it sparked a creative thing in me. I was trying to be creatively sneaky. I was looking as this opportunity to work with Slick as an opportunity to make a record.

So what just started off as a jingle for the clothing company turned into a song, and into a video, and now it's turned into a movement. Diszzit, when you hear it, it's one of those records with the best music and real DJs scratching on it. Most of these cats are just pushing a button. This is an official hip-hop song. It's vintage, but when people hear it they'll know it's new.

Even Chuck D said, we ain't making records just to make records anymore. He said we should just make music with as many people as possible. We're artists now. It's different. We don't need Def Jam records and MTV to survive anymore. Like B.B. King said, "All I need is my Lucille, my porch and the sunset."

Q: Tell me about your new single, "Rock Solid," and the upcoming album, "From the King of Rock."

A: I ran into some of the best producers ever. All I gotta do is show up and rhyme. This new album … is the closest thing (to that). I'm souped. And I've never been souped up in my life. I'm having fun again.

I think it's the headspace. I'm also independent, which is even better now. You can make the best music of your life, but when you sign with a label? It seems now, you gotta follow the blueprint. And what made every hip-hop icon successful is what they brought to the game.

"Rock Solid" is "King of Rock" on steroids. The music is so good that I can brag and not be egotistical. I think a lot of veterans went wrong … coming out now saying, "remember this?" Rock Solid is about how I'll bust your ass now. You gotta kick these young punks' asses now. So when you get in the room, they all step away from the mic.


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

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Slick comes home to celebrate

September 7th, 2011

It's been a while since the artist and clothing designer known as Slick has actually lived in Hawaii.

Hawaii-born artist and clothing designer Slick returns home this weekend to celebrate at SoHo Mixed Media Bar. (Courtesy Dissizit)

Still, the 1985 Aiea High School graduate feels a close connection to his home state through regular visits, and hopes the rock that raised him will support the eighth anniversary of his successful label, Dissizit.

"The thing with Hawaii right now (is) there's that push for supporting Hawaii artists and music," Slick said last week via telephone from his current residence in Los Angeles. "So I think it's important to get it out that I was born and raised in Hawaii. I'm always a local boy at heart, so hopefully people will see that and want to support me, too."

Even if you've never heard of Dissizit (or any of Slick's previous brand efforts, like Third Rail, Shaolin Worldwide or Fuct), the lineup assembled for the anniversary at SoHo Mixed Media Bar this Friday, Sept. 9, is a must-see for any self-respecting hip-hop fan. Digital Underground founding member Money B will perform, with the Dilated Peoples' Rakaa Iriescience and DJ Babu also making the trip to Honolulu. Local hip-hop will be represented on the bill by Monarx.

But the biggest name to bless this birthday party is undoubtedly Darryl "DMC" McDaniels of the legendary hip-hop trio Run DMC. Slick collaborated with him on a line of T-shirts, and the partnership quickly turned into something much bigger.

'Dissizit 8th Anniversary'

With special guests DMC, Rakaa Iriescience, DJ Babu, Money B, Scott Knoxx, Phoreyz and local openers Monarx

» Where: SoHo Mixed Media Bar, 80 S. Pauahi St.

» When: 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9

» Cost: $40 ($28 advance tickets available)

» Info: Click here for info and to purchase tickets online

» Note: DMC will participate in a meet-and-greet session at Prototype in Pearlridge at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9

"It was a trip when the whole thing went down," said Slick. "I always wanted to do a collaboration. … The Run DMC logo is so iconic. Everyone rips off that logo … but I wanted to do it legit, so I went straight to the source.

"And so, I threw a hail mary — and he was into it. We did a T-shirt, and then, when we were making our mixtape, we went and asked him … to say a shout out. But he liked the track we sent him so much, he said he'd do the whole song. And then he was like, why don't we do a video for it?"

Slick was gracious enough to answer a few more questions before our conversation ended last week. Check the Pulse tomorrow for an interview with Darryl "DMC" McDaniels.

QUESTION: Can you talk a little more about your partnership with DMC. What does it mean to be working with a living legend in the hip-hop community?

ANSWER: When I get around him, it's like little kid time. When I started b-boying, we started to breakdance on cardboard with Run DMC. This was our music, so it was a trip. We were stoked to get him to say a shout out on our mixtape.

How many times do you have to work with the king himself? So I kicked my staff into gear and we made this sick video on a shoestring budget. It looks like a million bucks. I just looked at the finished product today, and it's amazing. I still trip on the fact that it's DMC.

Q: Why is it important to you to have this anniversary party in Honolulu?

A: Hawaii is where I'm from, and I grew up with hip-hop and b-boying. I always want to come back to Hawaii, eventually. That's my goal, to move back. So anytime I can include the islands in something, I feel like it's my hometown and if I'm gonna celebrate, I want to celebrate at home. Especially when we found out DMC was on board, I thought it was important to put on a good show in Hawaii.

My family still lives there. In Aiea.

This special edition T-shirt commemorating Dissizit's 8th anniversary is available for purchase at Prototype. (Courtesy Dissizit)

Q: Would your life and career have turned out the way it did if you had made the choice to stay in Hawaii?

A: No. I had to grow as an artist. Not to say you can't grow in Hawaii, but not the way I wanted to.

The path I chose, Hawaii really wasn't the place to grow. I was moving more towards the city with my street art. But like I said, I want to eventually move back. I want to raise my family in Hawaii. Right now we're doing our thing in L.A.

Q: How long do you plan to ride things out with Dissizit? Would you attempt to launch a new brand or product if the opportunity presented itself?

A: Dissizit was the last brand I was going to do. That's how the name came about. I've been in the game for a minute. And the whole thing was, this is it. This was the last time I was going to do it. I was giving it my last crack. And it's a double meaning too, after that line in "Style Wars."

It wasn't until maybe the last four and half years or so that it began to take off. The first four years were tough. And then things started to turn around. Even with the economy and everything, we're still going. I'm really happy we're able to make it this far. But I'm pretty firm that this is it. I'm not trying to start any other brands or projects, clothing-wise. We have some possible plans to expand the Dissizit brand. We have some other channels we can expand into.

But as far as starting something totally different? Nah. If I'm gonna do anything, I'd want to get back into my art. I love just creating images and things. And when I see people wearing it, I get happy inside. The money makes it possible for us to continue to do it, so that's why I appreciate the fans' support.

My long term plan is that I want to just come back to Hawaii and focus on my art. To make that happen, though, we're going to have to take our brand to that point where it can run itself. And that's difficult because we've never sold out, and it's kept us kind of underground. I always resort back to whether or not I like something I produce. And it gets difficult at times because I'm not the demographic we sell to … but the graff thing and the music keeps me young. That graff mentality of trying to keep it hot and on the edge keeps me going.

And then the street wear (industry) is so competitive. A big problem we have is that we try and come up with the cool stuff, and then it's almost like the bigger companies watch what we do, and then if it hits, they jump on it and exploit it. Being the smaller guy, sometimes it's hard to capitalize on that hype. But we do what we do and keep plugging away.

Q: Any suggestions for Hawaii-based artists trying to make a name for themselves?

A: I don't want to give them bad advice and tell them to get off the rock, but you have to leave at some point to get out and explore and see what's out there.

I'm not saying that's the only way to succeed, but for what I did, I had to leave and find myself and figure out that I wanted to come back. Just follow your dreams as long as you can and try not to let reality slap you in the face. Everyday life and bills and things that bring you down eventually start to control your life. When we were young, we never had any of those worries or concerns. I was really into finding myself as an artist. And that's when my most interesting work happened, in the late 80s and early 90s. I didn't have the pressures of running a company.

So, I'd say chase it while you can, while you have your youth. And then align yourself into a position where you can keep doing it when you get older. I'm lucky, no matter how old I am, I can always keep creating. It's not like an athlete, where there's a window.

To the kids: stay true. It's okay to imitate different artists, but at a certain point you have to pull away and develop your own style. I'll be the first to admit, when I first started, I was jocking Futura and them hard. But you have to keep evolving. Don't get stuck.


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

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Construction looms at thirtyninehotel

September 5th, 2011

The outdoor dining/lounge space at thirtyninehotel was one of the areas first remodeled in 2007. (Star-Advertiser photo by Cindy Ellen Russell)

Note: This post has been updated to reflect changes to thirtyninehotel's hours of operation and the new scheduling of "Kaleidoscope" announced after it was originally published.

For the second time in less than five years, Chinatown nightspot thirtyninehotel has decided to shut its doors temporarily in an effort to upgrade and remodel its space — sort of.

Back in 2007, owner Gelareh Khoie shut down the art gallery/nightclub for more than a month. This time, she plans to launch construction in phases, enabling thirtyninehotel to remain open three nights a week.

"In early 2011, the Department of Planning and Permitting, along with the Honolulu Liquor Commission and Honolulu Fire Department descended upon Chinatown venues and cited each venue for their respective permitting and safety issues," said Khoie. "So we figured it was a great time to do all the other renovations, like new bars and a new kitchen and quite a bit of aesthetic upgrades, in order to better serve our customers.

"We are currently in the stage of submitting plans for approval and permitting, and we have been strongly encouraged and warned not to begin any construction until we have permits. … The bigger construction projects will likely begin in October."

During construction, thirtyninehotel will be open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays, with happy hour in effect from 5 to 8 p.m. Hours of operation on Saturdays will be from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The changes also mean the weekly indie night, "Kaleidoscope," will transition into a monthly event starting in October, when it will be held every first Saturday until renovations are complete.

According to a press release, the changes will include:

» Two new bars

» A new kitchen

» A new men's restroom

» New furniture

» A new, "sprung wooden" dance floor

» Upgraded audio/visual equipment

» Electrical and plumbing work

» New stairwells for added safety

Upgrades are also coming to the food and drink options offered. Khoie said chef Jamal Lahiani will use the next few months to develop a new menu to "reflect a more sophisticated, yet egalitarian, experience" and that there will be a "higher emphasis on food service." And as he's done all along, local superstar mixologist (and thirtyninehotel bar manager) Christian Self will step up to help Khoie revamp the cocktail menu.

How can you support the changes? Keep partying at thirtyninehotel on Fridays and Saturdays. Buy a few drinks, and you'll be helping to ensure Khoie and her talented crew's continued operation in the downtown Honolulu arts district.


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

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