September 19th, 2014
Live fast, die young. Just do it. Party like a rock star. Turn up.
The rock ’n’ roll lifestyle can be very unforgiving. Save for a few legendary bands, most musicians hit that bump in the road that leads them off the path of success and into the realm of starring in their own episode of “E! True Hollywood Story” or VH1’s “Behind the Music.”
With openers Beaman and TV Microwave
» Where: Downbeat Lounge, 42 N. Hotel St.
» When: 9 p.m. Friday
» Cost: $5 suggested donation; proceeds go to the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry
» Info: (808) 533-2328, downbeatdiner.com
So when word came of a reunion show by local punk rockers The Sticklers, this reporter started to wonder what happened to the band that once opened for The Vandals, The Strokes and Dancehall Crashers. It had been at least a decade since I heard anything about what they were up to.
Thankfully, the band’s three remaining members — Dave “Dave Noodle” Hewlett, Scott “Otto” McDonough and Alex Wakata — are all doing just fine in 2014. Otto and Alex continue to play music, although Otto is more commonly recognized these days for the wickedly delicious cheesecake sold at his Kaimuki bakery.
Hewlett, on the other hand, is now a family man with a 9-to-5 job like so many others here in Hawaii. That hasn’t stopped him from wanting to get back on stage, however. Nearly 10 years after their last reunion show, the time has finally come to get the band back together once again.
“People have been asking us for years” about another reunion show, he said. After officially splitting up in 2002, The Sticklers played a handful of gigs over the next few years before a final show in 2005.
“I would run into people from the scene and they’d ask about it. That’s the thing, Hawaii bands never break up. They just kind of go into hiding.”
About a year ago, Hewlett starting talking with Downbeat Diner co-owner Josh Hancock about getting him, Alex and Otto back on stage together. Nothing happened at the time, but the two crossed paths again in February when another band, Buckshot Shorty, hosted a reunion show of their own.
“It looked like a lot of fun,” Hewlett said. “I wanted to be able to play again and see if people still remember (our music). But I wanted it to be that we’re doing something for someone else. … We never did music to make money.”
In true DIY fashion, the band has taken it upon themselves to help raise funds for the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry. All proceeds from the door will be donated to the organization; a $5 minimum donation is suggested.
Looking back at the band’s heyday in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Hewlett said he thinks the local rock scene remains vibrant — with one key difference.
“The scene has always had it’s highs and lows,” he said. “From what i understand right now, it seems to be pretty healthy. But we need all-ages options. That was the thing we really liked; we always tried to play all-ages shows.
“The kids are the heart and soul of punk rock. You’re learning about yourself at that age. I just think we need more all-ages venues.”
Another change? Concert promoting. Hewlett took the lead in promoting Friday’s show, just as he did back in the day.
“Otto said it was cool, he kind of let me just run with it,” he said. “It’s been fun. I used to set up shows all the time when i was in the band.
“But now there’s social media. We didn’t have instagram and Facebook back then. The only reason the band is on Instagram was because my daughter got me on it.”
Come Friday night, however, The Sticklers hope to reconnect with familiar faces and share the music that dominated their lives nearly 20 years ago. The pressure to perform has even motivated them to sit down together and actually practice — something that didn’t happen very often the first time around.
“We’ve practiced a couple times, but it’ll be sloppy and fun, which won’t be any different than what we did before,” said Hewlett.
“We’ll play maybe 45 minutes,” he added with a laugh. “I don’t know if I can handle any longer than that!”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Google+.