Back in 2011, I attended my first 70s Nightclub Reunion concert and witnessed incredible bands like Phase 7, Aura, Nueva Vida (with Lil Albert and Pauline Wilson!!!) perform live right before me. For a twenty-something mildly obsessed with Hawaii’s funk and soul music, it was a dream come true. For the majority of attendees who grew up listening to these artists, it was a nostalgic trip into a time when nightclubs and the live entertainment scene was alive and thriving in Honolulu and the neighbor islands.
I remember looking at all the newspaper clippings, memorabilia, and posters on display that evening in the lobby, my jaw wide open, amazed. So much history (and talent!) here before us, prone to slipping through our fingers if we don’t preserve it in time.
Thankfully, Greenwood’s bassist and bandleader Robin Kimura has lead a local revival in seventies music, organizing these “NCR” gigs since the early 2000s and bringing back bands like Aura, Phase 7, White Light, Power Point, Beowulf — and for the first time, The Deltones.
August 5, 2017 marks the latest installment in the 70s Nightclub Reunion series, featuring Greenwood, The Deltones, Aura, Phase 7, and Odyssey. The event will take place at the Ala Moana Hotel. The flyer below tells you how to get tickets:
The Deltones was Mike Lundy’s first band, which he started with his brother, Ron.
I wrote in some depth about The Deltones in the liner notes for Mike Lundy’s full-length, The Rhythm Of Life. Mike and Ron started the band when they were, like, twelve. Here’s what the NCR website has to say:
“In the year 1966 the Deltones were formed. Ron & Mike Lundy met up with Danny Nakamoto in Kawananakoa Middle School and formed the band. Shortly after, Mike Fukunami joined by being the musical son of a co-worker that Ron & Mike’s mom worked with. Within this period, Herb Ono (owner & main engineer at the international recording studio “Sounds of Hawaii”) offered and sponsored them to put out a 45 RPM (7″vinyl record) of 2 of Mike Lundy’s originals. Also at that time Herb put another one of Mike’s originals on the B’ side of another popular band at that time “Linda Green & the Tempo’s”. Then as time passed while still in Kawananakoa they added a keyboard player Vincent Chang to the band.
Being in their early teens they were unable to legally play in Night Clubs. They then hooked up with an agent (Bob Mitchell) who booked venues on the military bases on Oahu (where the state liquor commission had no jurisdiction). During those years, whenever big name artists would come to Hawaii to do concerts, they also would perform on the military bases. The Deltones would be the opening act. Opening for such names as O.C. Smith (“God didn’t make little green apples”), the 5th Dimension (“Beautiful Balloon”), Sam the Sham & the Pharaoh’s (“Wolly Bully”), Della Reese-Jass singer & actress as well as the Byrds (“Tamborine Man”).
Having been very successful at the time, their parents registered the Deltones as a business partnership, with parents as the major partners & the 4 original band members as minor partners. They had medical coverage, a checking account, bought their own van and musical equipment.
As musical times changed, 2 horn players (Billy Hallum & Clark Silva) expanded the band to a 7 piece. Performing in many venues in Waikiki as well as touring Hotels, Resorts & Clubs throughout the neighbor islands. The Deltones lasted well into the late 70’s. eventually going their separate ways due to growing up, getting married and starting families…it was a good run…and a very creative time for all music!”
They recorded three songs that were released on two 7-inch singles: “How I Wish”, “Gray Skys”, and “Extacy”. (“How I Wish” was a split single with Linda Green & The Tempos.) Man, are those 7’s hard to come by now.
I had the good fortune of witnessing Phase 7 and Aura live at the 2011 concert, but never have I experienced The Deltones live! So when I found out that Robin was interested in booking Mike and the crew for this year’s reunion concert, I urged Mike to get the band to perform my favorite tune, “Gray Skys”. He agreed, adding that there’s gonna a new arrangement, too (he hinted at flutes).
Funny story — when the band rehearsed “Gray Skys” for the first time after all these years, they swore there were some background vocals doing additional harmonies throughout the song. Mike had to explain to them that no, it wasn’t so. They didn’t believe him, so Mike asked me to burn CDs of the song for each bandmember.
Apparently they recorded the backing vocals, but during final mixdown decided to omit them. If only the master tapes from Herb Ono’s Sounds of Hawaii studio still existed, we could hear what the guys were remembering. Damn.
No one’s sure if this will be the last 70s Nightclub Reunion concert. After 10+ years of organizing, I think it’s hard for Robin Kimura to say if next year will be any easier in rounding up another crop of “old school” bands to reunite after so many years. Life moves on, people follow their paths, and special events like this only happen once in a great while.
Buy your tickets by calling (808) 944-4330 or emailing Candace.Fujioka@alamoanahotel [dot] com
More details here.