The Hi-Fivin' White Guys
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The Hi-Fivin' White Guys

Band Pop Punk


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The best kept secret in music


"The Punks of Punk Rock - The Hi-Fivin White Guys Prove They Know How to Party"

Alex Steed - Staff Writer

Once in a while (or a little more than that in my case) you want to go out and see something really stupid. Some people like to check out movies like The Ringer, while others like to keep up with politics. I like to go to punk rock shows and see non-functioning alcoholics get nearly too drunk to play coherently, but still kick out amazing Descendents-like jams. I have a preference for tasteless live entertainment, and The Hi-Fivin White Guys provided everything I look for in crass performances at Genos late last Thursday night.

A thing or two must be noted about the HFWG. The band is fronted by Portlands former ska superhero, Josh Malia. Malia, also no stranger to the Portland punk scene, is an amazing vocalist in the vein of the Bouncing Souls, Descendents or Screeching Weasel. Confusatron drummer Adam Cogswell provides percussion, and their drumming is always on point. Attention-whore Leon Samson plays the bass and also back up vocals. He provides for the band a minstrel-like, drunken performance.

The show started with Samson shouting obscenities into the crowd, referencing things that were dumb, just like my mother, and screaming a lot. As the show progressed and he got drunker, audience members began spitting copious amounts of beer in his face and he made more obscene references. My favorite was when he called Cogswell a fag and then clarified, Not like he takes it in the ass but like a douche-bag.

Samson was upstaged only once the whole evening. After getting a stern-talking-to by a member of the Genos staff for rolling and attempting to smoke a joint, a member of the audience took a porno magazine out of his bag and through it onstage. Not to be upstaged by a lowly member of the audience, Samson gyrated on the magazine for thirty seconds until the song ended.

HFWG needed not rely only on the antics of their out-of-control bass player (though the antics were appreciated). As theyve noted on their MySpace page, In a musical day and age dominated by "indie-rock/emo" bands, The Hi-Fivin' White Guys are your punk-rock saving grace. Faster than something fast, more melodic than something melodic.

They make a good point, too. Somewhere along the line, poppy crap became an acceptable substitute for punk rock. Often, when eye-liner clad, lip-ringed pretty boys sing sometimes nice, sometimes unbearable epics about girls, I thirst for some true-blue punk to wash the taste out of my mouth. On Thursday night, I was provided with just that.

Before the show was over, Samson found himself getting his mike turned off by an angry sound staffer for abusing it by constantly throwing it on the ground. He then was the recipient of a stern talking to, all while still performing. Nearly too drunk to stand by the end of the show, Samson misstepped (or misdanced, more appropriately) and fell off of the stage- hard.

What else can be expected from the genre of music that brought us the Sex Pistols?

The audience loved every minute. Some danced around while others jumped up and down. They were ready to scream swears and flash the middle finger in response to the bands doing the same. They spat beer at the band, slapped Samsons ass, sang along, smiled and marveled.

The White Guys are everything I look for in a punk band. Their music is fast, relatively simple and tight. Their lyrics are aggressive and delivered through a sneer of disgust. Their stage presence is absurd and nears on totally unbearable. They insult the crowd, are messy and childish. They are dirty and unkempt. They are rude and inconsiderate. The Hi-Fivin White Guys are punk rock. - The Free Press - U.S.M. - 23 January 2006

"White Guys Burden"

We are watching the 1980's sitcom "Perfect Strangers" in the living room of Adam Cogswell, drummer for The Hi-Fivin' White Guys. It is a perfect example of nostalgia revisited that reveals an inaccurate and askew memory of the past. "Perfect Strangers" sucked, as Josh Malia (guitar/vocals) and Leon Samson (bass/vocals) will attest to. Even as the television is muted we can't look away except to crack another Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Weeding through nostalgia can be dangerous business, especially for rock bands. It romanticizes the "good old days" and can cause reunion shows or re-grouping. The Hi-Fivin' White Guys took that chance by having just such a reunion in October 2004 and marking their return to the Maine music scene.
"Leon and I decided to start the band back up after I moved back to Maine," says Josh, formerly of the ska punk band The Taxis.
"Yeah, we had to kind of relearn and rewrite some of the old songs, since we didn't remember them all," notes Leon. "We kept some of the old ones, but started writing new songs too. ...We got Adam [also of Confusatron] and we were able to start recording and playing out."
"What's kinda strange is that I don't even really listen to this kind of music," says Adam. "I just liked the energy and their songs. I'm having fun with it."
Hi-Fivin' has a sound worth protecting and a credo worth enforcing. Their page reads: "In a musical day and age dominated by "indie-rock/emo" bands, The Hi-Fivin' White Guys are your punk-rock saving grace. Faster than something fast, more melodic than something melodic... The Hi-Fivin' White Guys are here to prove to you that music of the 21st century is good for something more than a soundtrack to the hatred of your own life..." The song "No Sympathy" is full of crescendos and stuttering changes, all in the name of high-energy songwriting. Their very catchy style of So Cal punk rock is full of pop hooks and tasty guitar riffs. There is no down tuning, growling, or mashing of chords, and there are certainly no apologies regarding what they write and perform. Fans of Hi-Fivin' know the sound they want, but more importantly they know who their target audience is.
"We do really well with high school age fans. You know... 16 or 17 year old kids who are into the punk scene," says Josh.
"Yeah, we will play 21-plus shows," adds Leon, "but it isn't really the same. You know, there will be three or four people who are getting into it, but most everyone else has their back to you... ordering drinks or whatever. It's not the same kind of energy. High school fans will get right into it and pay attention." From a marketing standpoint, your teenage audience is the largest consumer of your musical product; they are more apt to attend shows, buy CDs and remain excited about a band's presence on the scene. "One of the best shows and places to play we ever did was The Alley in Jay," continues Leon. "It's this bowling alley out in the middle of nowhere and it's awesome. The kids come from miles around to hang out there, 'cause there's nowhere else to go. ...It was also one of the worst shows we have done. We put on a crappy performance the last time we played there; some equipment broke down and we did our last song a cappella. ...Yeah, we sang all of our instrumental parts, but the kids loved it. They thought it was so cool."
The Hi-Fivin' White Guys have a CD coming out this year, probably this summer. After having recorded past demos to promote their music, a full length album will be on the way for fans who have been reduced to the two tracks on and occasional live shows. While live shows are important for a band's presence in the local music scene, Hi-Fivin' has taken a relaxed approach until the CD is released.
"We aren't really booking any shows right now," says Josh. "We did some shows recently, just because people asked us to play. Really, we are just kind of waiting for the album to come out and then we will start touring around and playing out a lot to push the CD."
Nominated for best punk act in the Portland Phoenix Best Music Poll, Hi-Fivin' are clearly part of the Maine punk scene even if their nomination does rub them the wrong way. "Yeah, we aren't really punk punk," says Josh. "We have a lot of pop melodies in our sound."
"That whole thing was just fucked," says Leon. "I don't even remember half of that [awards show]. I was drunk. Whatever, The Leftovers didn't win either and I'm a huge Leftovers fan. I think they have a real good thing going on. They are a Maine band who kind of sets an object lesson for us."
Regardless of their admiration of other bands, The Hi-Fivin' White Guys set an object lesson of their own; no egos, pretentious attitudes, or inflated values about their music. At the very least, Hi-Fivin' are a great punk rock trio with some serious catchy songwriting skills and talent to boot. If your band equipment malfunctioned could you do an a cappella version of your songs? Probably not, punk - Matthew Morris - IT Rock Mag


"The Hi-Fivin' White Guys .. ..a demonstration of our power.. . ." DEMO - OCT/04

"Ate Songs" DEBUT - MAY/06


Feeling a bit camera shy


In a musical day and age dominated by "indie-rock/emo" bands, The Hi-Fivin' White Guys are your saving grace. Faster than something fast, more melodic than something melodic....The Hi-Fivin' White Guys are here to prove to you that music of the 21st century is good for something more than a soundtrack to the hatred of your own life........