On Monday, we will be flying off to Hawaii for some sun, fun, beer, booze, and music â€“ lots of music. This marks the second reunion of the band I played with in the sixties. We got together two years ago, with instruments, in Estes Park, Colorado (not too far from where two of the guys live now), and after having not even seen one another for 30+ years, let alone not having played together, it was like we had shown up for a rehearsal after a two-week layoff. The friendships were just as strong and the melodies and harmonies were just as sweet. At the conclusion of the Colorado get-together, we wanted to plan another one, and Hawaii seemed a natural, since one of the guys has lived on Maui since about 1969.
We were a bit of an oddity way back then, as the band was comprised of three Japanese-American brothers and two pale-faced Irish-Americans, one of whom was Yours Truly. Although all of us were born and bred in New Jersey, we capitalized on the unique â€œlookâ€ of the band by performing in happi coats. In keeping with the â€œtheme,â€ I was always introduced on stage as â€œKato,â€ which matched up quite well with the brothersâ€™ genuine Japanese names.
We played all over the metropolitan area, including the infamous Union City, New Jersey, which was known locally for: (a) its gangsters, and (b) its 3:00 a.m. closing time. I recall being a callow youth humping a drum set over passed-out drunks on the sidewalk at 4:00 a.m. It was a great way to cut oneâ€™s musicianâ€™s teeth.
The band pretty much cratered when, just about at the same time, I was drafted and one of the guys moved to Hawaii. After returning from the Army, I continued to play in bands (and occasionally still do), but I have a special fondness for this band and the guys who were part of it. Hell, it was the sixties, and we were great friends playing rock and roll. What could be better?
While we are in Hawaii we also plan to do some sightseeing, including a trip to the Big Island and to Oahu long enough to visit the U.S.S. Arizona. I am also looking forward to spending some time hanging around on the beach and doing a good deal of nothing.
See ya in a couple of weeks.
Note: As was the case two years ago, we decided for lots of reasons (including the hassle and cost of transportation) to use a drum machine rather than drums. So, instead of bringing sticks, I will be bringing and playing this (only mine is black with a maple neck).