The Hawaii Show
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The best kept secret in music

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"Blue Hawaii"

Blue Hawaii

Partying for the right to fight: Steve Barone


by Melissa Maerz


Steve Barone has fulfilled my favorite rock 'n' roll fantasy. No, it's not the one involving Björk, the erotic bees in Cremaster 2, and a big ol' bottle of honey-scented body lotion. Okay, so maybe I should say that Barone--a.k.a. Mr. Hawaii Dude of the "band" the Hawaii Show--has fulfilled my second favorite rock 'n' roll fantasy: getting identical-twin boys to play inflatable guitars. During a typical Hawaii Show performance, Barone lip-synchs (or "lips it," as he calls it) along to a tape of his own singing voice while the two young clones churn out air-guitar riffs in perfect symmetry with the pre-recorded music. It couldn't be more perfect if he had Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen booty-dancing in cages.
And if Barone had snakeskin pants. And maybe a mustache... Ahem. My point is that sometimes a concert's visuals are every bit as important as the music. This is a fact that Barone, who recently chatted with me at Moose and Sadie's coffee shop, must be familiar with. The Minneapolitan has spent the last five years performing what are essentially the same songs with a rotating cast of Hawaii Show members. And while he's lippin' it live to his Casio chic-meets-Weird Al geek music, he goes through more prop and costume changes than Russell Crowe goes through married movie stars.

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Barone is currently working on the ultimate visual stimulus: an upcoming event at Intermedia Arts, where he will present the Hawaii Show's notorious documentary, music videos, and commercials while performing his self-proclaimed "fake music." Those lucky viewers in attendance will see shorts like "The Hawaii Video," "All the Right Moves, All the Wrong Notes" and "Afro-Disiac," with scenes that include Mr. Hawaii Dude praying to the porcelain god, bouncing around to an aerobics routine, and declaring David Hasselhoff to be a genius.

You've gotta hand it to the Dude: He doesn't leave anything out. Barone notes that he would like to include more comedy skits in his performances, and he's even planning on carting the trash along to his upcoming shows. (Sorry, Baywatch fans, that doesn't mean Hasselhoff will be there.) "We have this garbage can--you lift the lid and you hear people clapping," the Dude explains. "[City Pages staff writer] Peter Scholtes once wrote that the only thing my show needed was canned applause. Now I literally have it."

Those who count themselves as enemies of the bad pun (i.e., those with bad taste) may not understand the Dude's sense of humor. Most people will giggle when they hear Mr. Hawaii sing, "He pisses like a racehorse and drinks like a fish/He's checkin' out the girls, but the girls are saying Ish!" over a synth siren and a canned beat. But not everyone digs Hawaii's own Gong Show-like performance: Barone admits that he almost got booed offstage after opening for über-serious metalheads Nickelback at the Quest.

And the Twin Cities activist scene seems to find the Hawaii Show's high jinks about as funny as a night of improv with John Ashcroft. "Two weeks ago I did a show for people who are associated with [the anarchist bookstore] Arise," Barone recalls. "We're going on after these leftist puppet skits and social commentary about Afghanistan, and there's me with my shirt off, singing these misogynist lyrics--but it's not me, it's a character. And [fellow Hawaii Showman] Afro-Disiac has this, um, three-foot-long prosthesis on and he's doing these spread-eagles and the audience is just appalled. They got really angry. But the more violent people got, the bigger his spread-eagle would get. We essentially assaulted the crowd. It's like You want more? Here's more!"

For those of you who do want more, there are two--count 'em, two!--Hawaii Shows in the upcoming weeks. Just watch out for Barone the Belligerent. "I'm basically at the point where I play shows so that I can get into fights with the audience," he notes, half-jokingly. Could there soon be canned screams and prerecorded comic-book sounds (pow! kaboom!) to soundtrack the choreographed punches? Behold the lip-synch circuit, the indie alternative to the WWF.
- City Pages-minneapolis


"Hot Lips"

The Hawaii Show Feb 18 2002
Led by super-cool, self-proclaimed make-out artist Mr. Hawaii Dude, the self-titled debut from local ensemble The Hawaii Show ventures to do what every wannabe rock star has dreamed of: rewriting the lyrics to the worst songs heard on the radio.

While claiming on the video mpg’s available on the CD “Everything is 100fake” and noting that their concert is totally lip synced, Hawaii proves more clever than anything P. Diddy has sampled over the last half decade. Still, 15 years too late, The Hawaii Show borrows from Bon Jovi’s “Runaway” and Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open The Door” to sing about dandruff, Calhoun Square and choads.

The genius of Hawaii lies in the fact that the lyrics are so off the wall and sexually irreverent that the listener is drawn in just to hear what Dude is going to say next. On “Super Fucked Up,” Dude sings about a guy whose “mom is a slut and his dad is a dude/that’s always hanging out at D� vu.” Or in “All of Life Started With a Choad,” Dude advises that “if you’re gonna take a chick home and have sex with her/Do it without a condom/Cause condoms suck, right?”

Playing few instruments besides guitar, (while sampling Queen’s “We Will Rock You” in “the bionic musicians”) ["Jaques Wait actually played the solo"-.ed] and using a synthesizer for everything else, The Hawaii Show proves that one doesn’t need to write great music to create a 35-minute CD full of listening delight. And Dude is right about the finding action in the Twin Cities, noting that “Minneapolis, St. Paul / There are plenty of girls and guys right here in the land of 10,000 booty calls”
-Andrew Thomas Staff Reporter Minnesota Daily - The Minnesota Daily


"The Hawaii Show"

5 new acts for the new year
Sounds like: Lip-synched mock-rock.
Their story: Some bands tune up before a gig. This one blows up its instruments. The ragtag troupe of dorks, freaks, babes and one studly black dude ("Afrodisiac") is not really a live band. On stage, it wields inflatable guitars and keyboards plus a giant plasterboard amp. It dances around to pre-recorded music and mimes between-song banter. The songs, generally crude, sexual and hilarious, are worked up on Casios and Macs before each show.
Stupid and silly, you might say. But at least half of the people who've seen the Hawaii Show think it's one of the best spoofs of rock's ego-ridden theatrics since Spinal Tap. (The other half agrees it's stupid.)
Headset-wearing frontman Steve Barone isn't really sure what the group is. All he knows is that "it's something different and, I hope, something entertaining." The so-called Mr. Hawaii invented the act a couple years ago as a one-off joke, but when he grew tired of playing the same-old, same-old rock gigs with his former band Lifter Puller -- a well-respected indie band -- he turned to the group full-time early this year. And it really is full-time.
"I put a lot more work into this than I ever did playing in a band," he said. "I have a lot more fun than I ever did, too."-Chris Reimenschneider Star Tribune
- Minneapolis Star Tribune


"Prerecorded future"

Charisma is as elemental to folk heroism as it is to rock-star posturing and performance-art pranks. This fact is not lost on Hawaii, a singer who embodies all three elements. Operating under an alias that reminds me of Elvis and countless state/city-named bands (e.g., Boston and Kansas), Lifter Puller guitar-keyboardist Steve Barone lip-synchs not only his prerecorded, Bay City Rollers-style anthems but even the mindless stage patter between them. He obliterates any pretense to spontaneity or audience interaction, and manages to put the ploy over on nerve alone. His "band," Hawaii Rocks, plays air-everything and comes complete with a phony entourage of fans to fill the front rows, hold up signs ("Hawaii Rocks"), and cheer like teenagers. It's a closed circle, this little cabal--and, perhaps, the ultimate defense mechanism against a bored rock scene. All they need now is canned applause and a self-published fanzine to give the show a rave review. That is, if this blurb doesn't count. -Peter S. Scholtes City Pages - City Pages


"All the right moves"

It seems like an odd outing for former Lifter Puller guitarist/keyboardist Steve Barone, but his stylish/humorous/fun-filled Hawaii Show is a perfect fit.
Since 1996, Barone has been recording lo-fi songs, which eventually led him to a career in lip-synching at parties. His quirky, low-budget songs became so popular among friends, Barone decided to get a band together and, with help from his roommate at the time, Jacques Wait, produced even catchier tongue-in-cheek tunes. Since the demise of Lifter Puller in 2000, Barone (a.k.a. Mr. Hawaii Dude) took on the Hawaii Show as a full-time project, dazzling audiences with his expert lip-synching and million-dollar smile.
Finally, thanks to those good folks at Heart of a Champion records, the show's self-titled debut disc has been released, making it easy to mouth along to your favorite pop ditties including "Mr. Right," "The Booty Call," "Shaved Ice" and, if you're feeling adventurous, "The Whistle Intro," in the privacy of your own home. If you feel exceptionally daring, go on a thrift-store hunt for a headset mic just like Mr. Hawaii Dude's. Amy Crlson Pioneer Press - Pioneer Press


Discography

The Hawaii Show self titled 2002 Heart of a Champion Records

radio : 770 am and 89.3 fm the current..
2005-"The whistle intro song" placed in a national tv spot for Allianze Life Insurance

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

First and foremost, the thing that sets us apart from other bands is that we lipsync our sets. Stage banter and comedic bits spoofing rock star posturing and pop culture are prerecorded in mono, then played on a CD player through PA systems. We press play, don our fake headset mics and try to be as funny as possible.

The biggest influences would have to be Weird Al and Milli Vanilli..then pop culture in general. We try to spoof current events in music and and news, musically.

The Hawaii Show began as a side project joke when Steve Barone was in the now defunt Minneapolis band Lifter Puller. Since 2001, it's become his main musical outlet. Creating a genre of its own, it's a schizophrenic mix of rock, comedy, and lip sync performance that can leave an audience laughing, singing along, confused, or even traumatized. Whether it strikes a chord or not, it's guaranteed to be the most original fake show you've ever seen.

Extended HISTORY:steve's words
The concept started in the winter of ’96 after I sold my Jeep Wrangler for a ton of $$$ and quit my job at a thrift store(this is where I acquired the headset mic that would eventually become my #1 prop). It afforded me the luxury of being unemployed. Aside from playing in Lifter Puller, my resume was a napkin. That Christmas, my old college roomate, Craig Finn give me a casio. For the next few months, I recorded lo-fi songs on my four track. Those sessions eventually produced a 45 minute cassette that I passed out around town. Local friends started taking the cassettes on tour and wondered when I was going to put a band together to perform them live. Because I was practicing 3 days a week with LP, I just didn’t think there would be enough time to deal with another band. That’s when I decided it would be easier to just pop the tape into the stereo at my parties and lipsynch to the songs. The casio, the headset mic and an ironing board used as a keyboard stand came into play. When dance parties would break out after bar time, I would set up some stobes and fog machines in my living room and press play. I billed it as "7and 1/2 minutes with extra cheese". I would just play the first few songs on the cassette and do as many rock moves as I could.

In ‘98 I moved in with producer Jaques Wait. We started recording on his reel to reel 4 track using drum machines and a bigger casio. The production value became so much better. During this time, I recruited friends into the fold to make up the fake band/ entourage. Nobody we knew had cd burners at the time so Jaques and I would have to sequence sets an Dat tapes which took forever. The songs were and still are mixed in mono because PA systems project sound in Mono.

Skip to 2000-Up to this point there were on average about 3 Hawaii Shows a year. Then Lifter Puller Broke up in the summer of 2000 and my side project became my main dealio. I bought a computer in early 2001 and started recording and sequencing stuff on my own. I still looked to Jaques for help on songs but started recording most of the "in between song" stage banter. Now the show includes more fake phone calls and skits that are acted out to audio sounds. This includes press conferences, boxing matches, evil kneivel spoofs with stunts, Ozzy spoofs in slow-motion(I eat the head of a stuffed bat and get tons of heinz on my face), canned applause after our own jokes, and pre-recorded encores. Nick Johnson begins to help in the recording process.

2002-2003 Self titled record is released on Heart Of A Champion Records
Two mini tours out to NY and back follow.
Also flew into NYC for two shows at SPA and the Mercury Lounge. We cut up our props and folded them into checked luggage bags.

2004-present: working on a DVD release to capture what Hawaii is about. An audio release at this point won't do us justice. Looking for this to be completed in early 2006.
Also, "The hawaii intro" was selected as the backing music for an Allianze life insurance commercial that has seen national tv exposure.