Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"George Washington's Birthday - At Honolulu Zoo" (Wayne Kaumualii Westlake, Judge Nothing)

It's amazing that Judge Nothing's first contribution to a Poetry Scores project was to a Poetry Scores Hawai'i record and the commission came from halfway across the Pacific Ocean.

This is amazing because Judge Nothing is from Alton, Illinois. Poetry Scores has its roots in a rock band formed by two boys from Granite City, Illinois, just a few miles downriver from Alton. That band, Enormous Richard, grew up in the same St. Louis music scene and on the same national indie touring circuit as Judge Nothing.

And their invitation came from Richard Hamasaki on the island of Oahu!

Richard Hamsaaki produced the first Poetry Scores Hawai'i record, Down on the Sidewalk in Waikiki, musical settings of a poetic sequence by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake (1947-1984). Richard was Westlake's friend and became his editor. He is largely responsible for this poetry seeing the light of print from the University of Hawaii Press and being recommended to us by Michael Marshall, our partner at the University of Hawaii - Hilo.

Richard is also a seasoned, talented producer and performer of what he calls Amplified Poetry (spoken word amplified by music), so it was natural for him to take the lead in producing the musical adaptation of Westlake's poetry. Poetry Scores (mainland) sent Richard some suggestions for songwriters, and of those songsters Richard commissioned scores from Judge Nothing, Robert C. Goetz and Three Fried Men. We're blogging those bands' poetry scores of Westlake.

Judge Nothing just blazed through Westlake's poem "George Washington's Birthday - At Honolulu Zoo." Their pop punk aesthetic has seldom been stated with this intense degree of purity.


"George Washington's Birthday - At Honolulu Zoo"
(Wayne Kaumualii Westlake, Doug Rafferty)
Judge Nothing 

Recorded and mixed by Doug Rafferty


For more information on Down on the Sidewalk in Waikiki and for CD ordering information, contact producer Richard Hamasaki at redflea@Hawaii.rr.com.

Westlake: Poems by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake (1947-1984) is in print with the University of Hawaii Press.


"Christmas Day, 1972" (Wayne Kaumualii Westlake, Three Fried Men)



"Christmas Day, 1972"
(Wayne Kaumualii Westlake, Chris King, David Melson)
Three Fried Men

Wayne Kaumualii Westlake
Photo by Mark Hamasaki

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