A Little History
First off, it must be noted that Kapakahi was not always so named. It went through many revisions of its identity as members left and returned and cycled around. There were countless "sit-ins" who lingered and moved on, leaving behind traces of arrangements and fragments of tunes that stuck to the jug band repertoire.
Some of the recalled aliases were:
The Wat 4 Jug Band
What follows is a recent edit of the cover notes for an album cut by the Kapakahi Jug Band in 1981.
Before the Kapakahi Jug Band was a twinkle on the toes of Pee Wee's dancing shoes, before Duane's gut bucket deluxe boomed its first bass note, before Pan clawhammered his banjo across North America to Hawaii and before Jan Killam started her All Girl Jug-less Jug Band at Punahou School back in '66, the spirit of the thing was jazzing around somewhere out there waiting to get its voice back. You see, there's nothing new about the music and certainly nothing new about the rhythm - and the words just serve to give a 20th century perspective to human situations as old as jealousy, love and the blues.
There's no one that doubts that whatever its origin, Jug Band music is by nature accessible to everyone. Even the poorest of us usually has access to the necessary "musical" components. A clothesline, a broomstick and a washtub make a gut bucket bass; a washboard and wooden spoons can take the place~ of a real rhythm section; a ceramic jug and a comb covered with a piece of waxed or newspaper simulate horns, and someone usually has a guitar, banjo or fiddle. The resultant "sound" is unique to Jug Bands, though there are many variations on the theme. Of course, the most important element is a heart full of music - the surefire elixir - remedy to a world of woes.
In the Beginning
There is a slim consensus that holds that Jan Killam and her "All Girl Jugless Jug Band" was the beginning of Kapakahi. In 1966 She met up with Pan Wilson who was doing his "60's thing" in the coffee houses of Honolulu. He had recently arrived from mainland wanderings and brought influences drawn from the well known "Jim Kweskin Jug Band," a group he had only seen once and never met. He "backed up" the All Girl Jugless Jug Band during a radio appearance and though he tried to stay in the background, the truth was leaked.
It then followed that Duane Preble, at that time an Art professor at UH, who also had jug band experience from his college days in Califirnia, was putting on an exhibition of art created out of recycled throw away objects from our culture of waste. Though the channel remains unknown, high school Jan and hippie Pan were soon to team up with Professor Duane, Navy medic Ned, and UH student Tom to play tunes for the opening of the "Junk Art" show in 1967.(see picture 2 above)
Since then so many people have passed through the ranks, each adding their own unique touch, that attempts at chronology defy order. Suffice to say that this history has been a long time coming. If there are a few rough spots, that's the Spirit of Kapakahi -
"If we'd wanted it slick we would have practiced."
Over the years of its existence the Jug Band's roster has reflected a diversity of backgrounds and avocations:
Richard "Pee Wee" Drake, jug, spoons, washboard, our one man quorum on culture and the arts.
He was not just our voice, he was our sense of humor - there was no one else who could render Prokoviev, Schubert, or King David Kalakaua on the Jug as well as he, no one who played as rude a washboard, and certainly no one who beat quite as mean and melodious a staccato tattoo on his cheek with two wooden cooking spoons as our man Drake. The list of his talents stretched on and on; some people remember him as "Uncle Ned" who read the Sunday funnies on KGU Radio between 1947 and 1953, others may know him through the numerous dramatic productions he had been in or through his job with the Hawaii Housing Authority. Most important to us, with the Kapakahi Jug Band he was pure Pee Wee.
Pee Wee passed from us in 1988 but we forever hear him in our backgrounds.
Duane Preble, (),
Duane Preble, among other things, was a Professor of Art, now retired, at the University of Hawaii. Who else but an art prof could get away with playing a washtub bass designed by an architect? A trustee of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, an excellent artist and photographer, and with his wife, Sarah, the co-author of a nationally utilized university art text, Artforms. Duane will still leave it all behind at a moments notice to get back to his bass where he really gets a chance to exercise his artistic license.
Jan Killam (
), vocals, guitar,spoons etc.
Jan, besides being a talented songwriter, offered much to the early soul and feel of the jug band. She once joined Pan for a short stint in Las Vagas as a band called Meadowbrook. She now is somewhere in Montana or Washington on some new wild and wonderful adventure.
Jan has produced a CD of her original tunes which is available by contacting her via email above.
Pan (), banjo, kazoo, vocals
Pan was another member of the band with diverse claims to notoriety. While he was a big part of the original core group he drifted out in 1969 and back in in 1970. To make a long story short would take several pages. He, too, is a capable and prolific artist, who presently has turned his talents to the internet and to editing these ridiculous self-gratifying notes.
(), guitar, ukulele, Hawaiian lap steel
Bart is married to a Waldorf teacher and they have two great kids, 7 and 10 at the time of this 2005 writing.
Bart has owned and operated a sawmill in Hawaii since 1984. He now specializes in supplying tonewoods and veneers of Hawaii-grown woods to luthiers worldwide. Bart is the first to admit that he is but one merchant in the tonewood supply world but if you see a koa Taylor or Martin, chances are pretty good that he supplied the wood. Other customers include the Kamaka family, Kevin Ryan, Fine Resophonic (Paris), Dave King (England), Paul McGill (Nashville), and Joseph Yanuziello (Ontario), to name a few. Bart gets a kick out of the fact that these makers have placed guitars that employed Bart's woods in the hands of players such as Eric Clapton, Chet Atkins, Michael Messer, Earl Klugh, Jake Shimabukuro, Kenny Loggins, Richie Sambora, Artie Traum, the Norah Jones Band and countless others. Bart feels fortunate to have Norman and Denise Takeya of Ukulele Suply of Hawaii handling web sales of his ukulele tonewoods.
p>As a counterpoint to the wood he has sold to the musical instrument community, Bart feels an obligation to give back to the forest and has been very involved with the Hawaii Forest Industry Association since its inception. Recently, he is working with a Hawaii landowner to produce veneers from some of their best (dead, downed) koa logs and 10%of the net goes directly to a fund that will pay for design and implementation of a management plan for koa reforestation.
Janice Hanley (Taketa),(), vocalist
Always live and direct, our wild Irish rose, Janice Hanley, can sing the chrome off a trailer hitch. When not being musically recreational with Jug Band music she performs lovely Irish tunes with other friends. Janice now has her Masters from UH in Speech Pathology and Audiology.
Jerry Stewart, musical saw (bowed)
If you test his mettle, you're trying his temper. A builder of lavish kudo-winning custom homes, when carpenter-entrepreneur Jerry Stewart joined the Band he usurped Pan's position as Bon Vivant. As the figurehead of another group (Jerry and the Leimakers) he exposed himself nationally as the dean of the Hawaiian Musical Saw. Jerry and Pan sometimes moonlighted as "Sweet and Sour" performing banjo and saw duets. After years of hearing, "your saw is too sharp" or too flat, Jerry has gone on to find a new audience though I doubt it will be more appreciative.
Jerry passed away in April 2006. Aloha, Jerry.
Autumn Hancock,() fiddle
"A Six foot buxom fiddler with the riffs"
This wonderful woman of symphonic roots, gravitated toward jazz improvisation on her violin. For a number of years she lived in a rustic bungalow nestled in Honoliwai Valley on Moloka'i.
Over the years she has enhanced the performaces of many noted musicians. Boy, do we need her.
Learn more at www.AutumnHancock.com
"You put them all together and that was Kapakahi, brudda."
Other Contributing Members
There have been many others who were part of the performing group over the years. The following list is not neccesarily complete and is open to future edits. I am happy to add the names of other band associates if information about them can be forwarded to me.
Don Sharp. He is not only a pro, he has incredible soul and the ability to articulate it musically. He keeps on getting better as time goes by. One of Don's main concerns is focused in an effort to bring appreciation of and participation in music to the lives of Hawaii's children via lively and informative lectures that he has designed to present at their schools. Don provides brass on the album.
Tom Haar, original tin can player
Tom Haar, now a noted photographer, was jamming on the tin cans with Duane Preble and Ned Murphy from around 1964). They kept the spark alive in Honolulu, waiting for the 1967 burst of inspiration.
Ned Murphy - original banjo player
Ned was in on the early jams with Duane and definitely took part in founding the linage of Kapakahi. As a navy medic, Ned provided the perfect rounding out of these early assemblages of musicians. He is still in Manoa I believe.
Bill Jenkins - A great guitarist who teamed up in the band with Joyce after returning from a tour of duty with the military.
Bill passed away in Florida, 2001.
Joyce Jenkins - A spirited guitar and banjo player
Joyce provided Pan with his first opportunity to start whammin' the banjo. We loved her "Waltzin' with Bears."
In recent years she has been hosting a radio show in Petersburg Alaska and in her real world headed up the library there. The last info across the waves says she has retired from that world and is sailing around on a norwegian yacht
John Massey, - Good ol guitar finger picker
John bumped into the jug band in association with Joyce. He sent us this short bio of his years since then.
Jeff Preble, John, and Joyce in the background
"The last 35+ years contain far too much to even begin to tell, but music has been an almost constant part of things except for about 12-15 years when I hardly played at all. I'm playing a lot now and have made significant progress. I'm now 62 and teaching first grade in Lincoln, California. Doubt if I'll ever retire. Though I don't know if it will work out, I may do some professional development gigs in the arts with Duane. In addition to teaching first grade, I'm the Visual and Performing Coordinator in my school district and a presenter for the Sierra North Arts Project at U.C. Davis. Next month I'm doing a demonstration lesson for the California Arts Educators Association at their annual, state-wide meeting. All in all, life's good and I'm thrilled to be back in contact with people that have been very important to me."
Now happily married and living in "shake and bake", California. He is now a legal librarian (as opposed to an illegal one?) and still professionally writes tablature for guitar and mandolin. Especially specializing in transcribing slack key tuens.
Dick Loomis, fiddle
Seen recently sharing western Massachusetts with Pan.
D B Brown
Far away in NY at Vassar College
and DJing a radio show on Tuesday evenings from 6 - 8 pm ET
This show can now be heard on internet through live365.com
You can choose high or low bandwidth from www.wvkr.org
Lorna (ukelele, guitar, vocals)
Loved her quiet strumming in the background.Added a rich texture to the ambience.
Mike McClellan (clarinet, guitar, ‘ukulele, and vocals).
A bastion of Hawaiian language and music in California, Mika'ele contributed a wonderful feeling and a wealth of lyrics to the bands presentation. His jug band roots most assuredly predate and whisper of Kapakahi. Slack key is his world these days.
Mikes web site: GiveMeSomeSlack.com
Mike Ogan, saw (thumbed) Where are you Mike?
Ensconced on the "Big Island"
Review of a performance at Duc's Bistro 2002
Edits and comments and updates are more than welcomed by emailing