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Maui Gets A Whiff of Skunkdog

March 9, 2010 - Trisha Smith



Kaua‘i’s “hybrid” rockers are ready to make some noise on the Valley Isle. 

When Kaua‘i comes to mind, I imagine a mellow island atmosphere, with killer surf, rainbows galore and lush green landscapes where Menehune scurry about amid unicorns. Well, maybe not the latter, but you get the drift…

This magical Garden Isle is also apparently home to a few pretty stellar bands and local music venues such as The Point, Club Vertigo and restaurant/lounge called Trees. 

The Kaua‘i band Skunkdog was recently brought to my attention and I’ve been digging their sound since the moment I sampled their debut release 1.0.

Skunkdog is starting to make some noise across the Hawaiian Isles, making appearances at a grooving Reel Big Fish opening band showcase last month on O‘ahu, playing anywhere they can on Kaua‘i and are ready to rock it on Maui.

Small kine history brief…

The force behind Skunkdog’s aroma began to form back in 2008 after standout lead and rhythm guitarist Kyle Duvall—from Kaua‘i’s then-popular band C.R.S.—crossed paths with multi-talented Shea Fabiana. The two were searching to travel down a new creative avenue and jammed together, eventually forming a short-lived band called Solid State with bassist Tobias Wilson.

After some creative differences, Shea stepped out from the drum set, and took over lead vocals and the bass, and Skunkdog was born. Shea and Kyle dealt with a few bumps in the road in the last year during their journey to perfect the formula for their new band. They struggled to find just the right drummer, who not only fit their groove but also planned to stay on Kaua‘i, as the band lost two bangers due to relocation causes.  

Well, at the end of last summer, Skunkdog finally found its man in power hitter Joey Wray. Originally from Texas, Joey brings over a decade of live and studio experience to Skunkdog, playing with several bands, as well as recording and touring with bands like Frill. And although Joey is also a part of several music projects slated for release this year, he’s vowed to focus full-time on Skunkdog as they attempt to break out.

Skunkdog is now ready to howl and spread its fresh sound across Hawai‘i and beyond, accelerating off the anticipation of their first full-length album and some gigs across the state. 

Skunkdog said they are known for their diverse mixing style, integrating the flavors of ska, funk, reggae, pop-punk, rock and whatever else they feel like—a sound that melts into the category of “hybrid rock.”

Shea, Kyle and Joey are working to get the word out, and are totally “stoked” about some positive feedback they’re receiving from their regular radio play across the Kaua‘i airwaves of such tracks as Shot Down, Time and Slip Away off their newly released debut 1.0.

The track Shot Down will most likely be a surefire hit—a catchy electric guitar-laden jam that will get audience bumping during lives shows and listeners moving to its driving force. I can’t get that dang chorus out of my head, and that’s, okay.

I’m a big fan of Time—the CD’s intro. Frontman Shea’s dynamic vocals and lyrics set the tone for 1.0, plus, Kyle gets to show off his mad guitar skills and Joey throws down.

Slip Away will most likely win over Maui’s scene, as its reggae/ska undertones will have folks bouncing about the dancefloor, yet hang on rockers, for the hard grit we love so much is delivered sporadically throughout the track. They really are hybrid rockers as they say. I had to change up my dance moves nearly three times during this track. Geesh. 

Other noteworthy tracks include You, where Shea reveals a few good jives and Kyle plays with funky tonality, yet I’ve been moving more and more to Heart Attack, an energetic, multi-faceted rock groove. Joey kills it on the set, keeping it pumping strong throughout the nearly five-minute track. Nice.

You experience the trio’s fun and freaky nature with tracks Alien Invasion and Creature. Creepy but cool. 

Listening to these tracks, I hear a recipe that serves up a flavor reminiscent of the Offspring, a dash of 311 and folding in components of Green Day’s extensive catalogue. They also remind me somewhat of a few young ska and punk rock outfits from Victoria, British Columbia. 

Skunkdog’s music is fun, catchy, rocking and their 1.0 is definitely an impressive freshman effort. Nice job guys. 

Don’t miss their Maui debut this Friday, March 12, at the Hard Rock Café in Lahaina. Skunkdog will be opening for old skool So-Cal punk brats, The Vandals.

The Vandals have played nearly everywhere, with nearly everyone over the last three decades, run a successful radio show in Cali and reaped the benefits of college angst film from the ‘90s called Glory Daze, which was “soundtracked” via their label Kung Fu Records.

In all honesty, I loved The Vandals growing up when I discovered them via my Bad Religion addiction, but after years of experiencing a revolving door of band members and now with a renewed lineup that doesn’t include any of the original members and no new albums since 2004’s Hollywood Potato Chip—which was mediocre at best—my energy will be allotted to the fresh sound of Kaua‘i’s hottest new band. I think this is a great opportunity for Skunkdog to shine and rattle the windows panes that line the illustrious Front Street.

Skunkdog is also on the bill for the upcoming 1st Annual F.A.M.E (fresh art/music entertainment) Festival in Lihue at Kaua‘i Beach Hotel on Saturday, March 20. Maui’s The Throwdowns will tear up the stage that evening as well, so if you have the weekend free, island hop over and check this innovative new festival. Support local music and holdfast to the great bands we have here in Hawai‘i before they seek broader horizons and mainstream markets.  

And, guess what, they seem to be really nice guys who are passionate, talented and working hard to get their name and music out there. That’s commendable in the music industry out here in the middle of the Pacific, which is saturated with Jawaiian and reggae, especially on the radio.

Too many bands wait around for something to happen, but this is Hawai‘i baby—you have to make it your own way. Yet, with the creative freedom that is allotted to bands and a transient, diverse audience willing to open their ears to new sounds, up-and-coming bands DO have a chance. Although O‘ahu is the mainstay for most big acts when they head west of Cali and Seattle, Maui is thirsty to thrive and strives to provide outstanding artists venues and PR support. 

Listen up this Friday morning from 7 to 8 a.m. on my radio gig on the Maui Breakfast Club on KAOI’s 1110AM and 96.7FM. Also, listen to Johnny A drive his hit show the A-Train this Friday afternoon on KRKH’s 97.3FM. I’ll be on both shows to holler about Skunkdog and maybe even play a few tracks off 1.0

So, once again, come support Skunkdog as they open for The Vandals this Friday, March 12, at the Hard Rock Café, located at 900 Front St.

Maui's Highly Unlikely is also on the bill, and if you haven't had a chance to check them out, do so. They rock! But, unfortunately, the band doesn’t play live often, so catch them while you can. Visit www.myspace.com/highlyunlikely808.

Show kicks off at 9 p.m., and presale tickets are available now at the Hard Rock for $19. Call 667-7400 for more information. A portion of the proceeds to benefit Musicians On Call, an awesome nonprofit organization formed in 1999.

Musicians On Call brings live and recorded music to patients in healthcare facilities, and uses music to promote and complement the healing process for patients, families and caregivers. Check out www.musiciansoncall.org.
 
And, make sure you check out www.skunkdog.net where you can listen to their brand new release and learn more about these cool guys.

Skunkdog can also be found networking on myspace, Facebook and Twitter as well.

The 10-track 1.0 is now available for purchase from iTunes and at www.lala.com.

Looking forward to 2.0.

Aloha and rock on! 
 

 
 

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Blog Photos

Kaua‘i's Skunkdog is (left to right) Joey Wray (drums), Kyle Duvall (lead & rhythm guitar) and Shea Fabiana (bass & lead vocals). Rock out Friday, March 12, at the Hard Rock in Lahaina when they open for SoCal punks The Vandals and Maui's own rock gods Highly Unlikely.