Thursday, May 13, 2004
On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, the seven-piece ska/reggae band Go Jimmy Go is huge. In addition to being a critical success, the band can pack people into the island’s nightclubs at places like Anna Bannanas and the Pipeline Café. Heck, Go Jimmy Go even opened for No Doubt in July of 2002.
But the band realizes that it has to leave its 597-square-mile tropical paradise occasionally in order to make a living in the music business. So, for the fifth time, the members of Go Jimmy Go are touring the mainland, and according to drummer Shon Gregory, who spoke with me from a tour stop in Moscow, Idaho, all is well.
“We are trying to get out there and break new ground, and the shows have been surprisingly great,” Gregory says.
Despite the current success of the band’s six-week tour, not all of Go Jimmy Go’s journeys on the mainland have been fun affairs. During 2002, the band struggled to stay together on a five-week spot of the Vans Warped Tour, which featured groups like NOFX, Bad Religion and The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones.
Gregory says the tour’s vigorous schedule, driving every day and performing every night, took its toll on the band’s members, causing one member of the group to return to Hawaii. “It was a real learning experience,” he says.
According to Gregory, the band’s strictly ska and reggae sound stuck out in a festival dominated by punk music. What stands out about the band is vocalist Jason “Bison” Friedmann’s soulful singing. On “In-Between Times,” Friedmann sings pedestrian lyrics yet makes them interesting with a vocal delivery that combines humming, shouting and singing.
When this tour ends in two weeks, the members of Go Jimmy Go plan to go home for a few weeks before returning for another mainland tour. Gregory says he knows what he will do when he gets back to his home state of Hawaii. He is going to take a dip in the warm, clear ocean water.
Go Jimmy Go play Viva Monterey, 414 Alvarado St., Monterey, Friday at 9pm. No cover. 646-1415.