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Whoo-o-hoo yeah man, anybody remembah life da '60s owah wat? Eh yeah...well den, eef you do, den you buggah probably sta' moah oldah den dirt I figgah...(heh heh)...eh, mebbe jus' like me an'den! But eh, I not heah fo' wala'au us guy's "geriatrical" problems, but like take wun trip back and share wit you wat I wen survive through (and ahem...mebbe sum of you oddah old futs) and reminisce about dose memorable, carefree, and rebellious years of long ago.

First of all, I like now escort you back to around da time wen da formah Territory of Hawaii became da new 50th state of da Union...around 1959 and...ai-yah, das wen tings really wen start to change. Some critics say mebbe wuz all fo' da bettah, den again some say wuz all fo' da worst. Fo' us guys anyway, wuz nutting but da bestest of times wit sum real good lasting memories. Wun ting good about it wuz, nevah wen had dem expensive house payments and also dem small liddo keeds fo' feed, owah haff to go work fo' make ends meet...yeah, mainly no wen have da kine real-life adult responsibilities fo' tie you down, yuh? Sheesh, life wuz good!

Yup, dem old crazy "fad days" of ducktails and syncopated doo wop wuz fading fast az I can reca'membah. Music wuz even sounding different...all hammajang evolving from da so-called popular 50s hit parade tunes performed by da current pop artists like Pat Boone, Patti page, Gail Storm, and da Maguire Sisters. In contrast dere wuz dis new driving beat from da surfing guitar sounds of da Chantays, Surfaris, Jan & Dean, Dick Dale, and da Beachboys. Yeah, I still reca'membah all dem weekend house parties in Palolo Valley and Kalihi weah da Twist, Mash Potato, Hully Gully, and da Surfers Stomp wuz da beegest dance crazes during dat time. Newer popular dances like da Stroll, Popeye, and da Continental wuz being made famous by da Philadelphia sounds of Chubby Checker, Dee Dee Sharp, and groups like da Dovells and Four Seasons. Motown wuz even making it's legendary mark too with da Temptations, Shirelles, Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, and the Supremes.

But den da main cultural changes began to take center stage by dis strange new phenomenon called da "British Invasion" which all came about by dis unknown group consisting of four long-haired English keeds called da Beatles. Das wen to me, wuz da main reason why it seemed every young teenage boy wanted fo' own his own electric guitar and wanted fo' join wun rock and roll group. I sta' know first hand since das wat I ended up doing.

But before dat even, wuz dis oddah majah influence which wen really make da Fender guitar wun household name and dat wuz da instrumental group called da Ventures. Keeds all ovah in da islands wanted fo' learn dem guy's style and began starting fo' play in open garages and at school auditoriums. I knew a lot of my close friends started fo' learn fo' play by ear and form dere own amateur groups. Dey even had fancy names like da Uniques, Renegades, Harmonics, Telstars, and of course, us guys...da Outlaws.

Some of dem even wen land spots on Filipino Fiesta TV and oddahs (like us) as regulars at Skateland on Saturday nights and even getting paid fo' playing. But as a basic rule, getting paid wuzn't da real main objective fo' playing but wuz nevah evah turned down eef wuz offered. Anyway, seems oni da bestest bands got paid most of da time but eh, main ting wuz good fun fo' see all da local keeds happy and having good time dancing. Yeah, couple of high school bands wuz even dat good dey wen take first owah second place in da local talent contests put on by dis certain radio station. I heard some even went on to be full time professional performahs aftah high school. So bottom line, wusn't all wun beeg wasted time fo' dem at sumting dey liked doing.

Az fo' my case, wen all start out fo' me in early high school. Heah I wen practically nag my poowah faddah until he wen finally wen geev in and buy me wun brand new cherry, candy-apple red Epiphone guitar from downtown Metronome Music and dis beeg amplifier from Harry's Music Store in Kaimuki.

Ho, mebbe we nevah wen sta' play all dat good yet but we shuah sta' look good on stage anyway! So den, az we got mo' bettah and bettah wit moah and moah practice, us guys wen graduate to mo' advanced kine equipment even saving up fo'da Fender Jazz Master and Jazz Bass I had in college. Owah newly formed college group called da Riot IV became da first official Chaminade College house rock band which played for most of da dances held at da men's dormitory during da mid 60s. I had to admit, we sounded pretty good and really not all dat bad fo' amateurs. We even had uku pila private kine requests fo' play at fraternity parties and college functions on weekends while owah so-called grade point averages wen take a dive. Az why hahd but das why you oni young once, yuh? Das wat we thot anyway...ha!

Speaking about da bestest kine bands, da most memorable contest during dose years wuz organized by da leading local Hawaii radio station K-POI calling it da "Battle of the Bands" held at Kapiolani Park near Diamond Head. Da initial event wuz called da Surf Festival which included all da bestest amateur bands dis new state had to offah. Dese contestants all played reasonably good but showmanship wuz da biggest ting da judges wuz looking for. I can still remembah da first place winnahs called da Speidels who choreographed dere version of "Apache" standing on top dere guitar amplifiers, in da dark, dressed in black suits, wit flaming torches attached to dere Fender guitar necks. Ho, had so much wahines screaming no could hear yo'self tink! Talk about getting majah kine cheecken skeen!

Dis event became so popular wit da local teens dat da radio station started hosting dis same event several years aftah dat. Dey wen need fo' find wun noddah place fo' accommodate da huge crowd attendance and probably das why dey wen pick da new HIC Arena on Ward Avenue fo' da next coupla years. Wuz so popular, da station wen even record da whole ting and sold LPs aftahwards...(Sigh...) I wish I still had my old copy but den I wish I had bought IBM stock years ago too...Oh well, enuf of dis silly hanabuddah daydreaming...Time fo' get back to reality and go tend to da grandkids! Oh-sho...getting old nowdays,,,hui, weahz my tube of Ben-gay?

About Author

Clinton was born and raised in Kaimuki, Oahu. He graduated from St. Louis High School in 1965 and attended Chaminade College until moving to Gardena, California in 1967. He now resides in Torrance, California with his wife, two "outgrown" children, and Chow Chow dog, Sammy.

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