Despite changes, band keeps going

The term “revival” means the state of being brought back to life, and that is something that the members of the local reggae band Revival are all too familiar with.

“We were switching all over the place,” said drummer Evan Gibson, one of the band’s founding members. “Us three have stuck together. We’ve changed lead singers and keyboardists a lot of times, but the bass, drum and lead guitar have stayed the same.”

The three that “stayed the same” are Gibson and the other two founding members, Ola Akau and Kana Pikini.

The band was formed in the late 1990s, while Gibson, Akau and Pikini were all working at the Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa in Po‘ipu.

“We all worked at the lu‘au at the Hyatt for the Drums of Paradise show. We still work there,” Gibson said.

They were members of different bands, but got together after the band Pikini and Akau was in need of a drummer.

“They asked me to play a gig and I was available so I did,” Gibson said. “From then on I became their drummer.”

It was as if changing band members was something that happened often either because someone moved away or certain band members wanted to go in different directions.

“The guys before wanted to do island style music and we wanted to do reggae,” said Pikini, who acts as the leader of the band. “It’s just the three of us holding it together.”

Pikini said they took the name Revival after a CD called “Roots Revival.” They just dropped the roots part, but also it had to do with reviving the band every time a member left.

The band altogether has enjoyed a pretty good run on the live scene, performing to large crowds at Sushi Blues and Tahiti Nui on the North Shore, The Shack in Kapa‘a and the Kuhio Lounge.

They hadn’t sealed record deals with any of the local production companies until Noah Evslin, owner of Ohana Productions and Unity Records based in Waimea, approached them.

“He used to hire us at the Kuhio Lounge and he liked our music and saw that we could draw a crowd, so we started working with him,” Gibson said.

Then, as if revolving musicians in the band weren’t a hindrance, the band had to keep changing recording studios.

“We started making the CD in 2003. We started in Hilo and ended on O‘ahu,” Pikini said.

“We couldn’t do it here, because at the time there was no studio here,” Gibson said.

Their CD “Roots Natty” was finally released last month and has been consistently on the top five best-sellers list at the Borders Books, Music, Movies & Cafe in Lihu‘e and is in the top 10 best-sellers list in the state.

“Kaua‘i was completely sold out in the first week we released it,” said Pikini. “We had the CD at the Borders, Wal-mart and K-mart.”

Producer Evslin is currently in New York promoting the band and its CD.

“I think we’re waiting for (Evslin) to come back and then we’ll start touring and going back in to make another CD,” Gibson said.

Pikini said now that the CD is out, they are doing a lot of appearances at stores and radio stations across the state.

“We’re going to start promoting it right now and start going to the outer islands,” Pikini said. “As for the history of us, the three of us are holding it down.

Revival will be holding it down tonight, playing at a carnival at the Friendship House in Kapa‘a.

For more information on the band call 652-8638.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be


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