What do Dorothy Morrison, David Maloney, Faith Petric, Fillmore Slim, Jon Fromer, Dave Lippman, Gary U.S. Bonds, The Temptations, John Sebastian, John McCutcheon, Kathy Mattea, Tom Dundee, Sukay, Jimmy Collier, Joe Louis Walker, Chuck Brodsky, Mitch Woods, Frankie Lee, and Lucy Lee have in common? Chet has performed with all of them and many, many others. From beginning on ukulele in the 50s, Rock and Roll lead guitar in the early 60’s, acoustic lead guitar and bass from the 60’s to the present, Rock and Roll, Gospel and Blues bass guitar from the 70’s to the present and Folk-Rock Acoustic guitar and vocals from the 60’s to the present, Chet has been there on stage and in the recording studio through it all and is still rockin’ on. And he can be heard in Hawai’ian now TOO!
Remember Covid? Way back then all of our gigs dried up so I spent countless hours in my recording studio on my coffee farm in South Kona putting together the tracks above. My good friend and partner, Solomon I Choo contributed his inspirational harmonica tracks and a few guitar leads to the project. I nearly emptied out my instrument collection using 4 electric guitars (Gibson SG Standard, Line 6 Variax "Strat", Squire Telecaster, Yamana SBG1200 - Les Paul Style), 4 acoustic guitars (1975 Gallagher 71 Special, Taylor 514CE, Taylor 714CE, Taylor 12-string), 4 basses (John Jordan Custom 6 string fretless and custom 4 string fretless, Fender Jazz 5 string and Kala U-Bass), a Mandola (Eastman MDA315), one banjo (Gold Tone) and one Kala Ukulele for these recordings.
And my voice, of course. Among the vocal microphones used were a Rode K2, Rode NT4 and Townsend Sphere L22
Tracking and mixing was done in Steinberg's Cubase Pro on a Dell Xeon workstation. Mastering was done using Steinberg's Wavelab and Izotope's Ozone Advanced plugins.
I moved back home to Hawai'i from Tucson, AZ in early 2014. One Sunday, I tossed my guitar in the trunk and drove up to the Auntie Leona's Pure Kona Green Market in Captain Cook. I encountered Solomon who was set up on the north side of the market playing his music. I asked if it was OK if I sat in with him and thus made my first appearance here on Hawai'i Island. Solomon turned me on to the Farmers Market Circuit in Kona. As a result, I played dozens of wonderful farmers market gigs in Kailua-Kona and Captain Cook as a single performer and for the last few years we've been playing them as Solomon and Chet. We're currently fixtures at the Ho'oulu Community Farmers and Artisans Market at the Outrigger every other Wednesday and once a month at the Keauhou Farmers Market.
In April of 2018, Solomon and I got together in the studio and recorded the above set of songs live over a couple of afternoons. We've hooked up with road warrior Steve Kida on drums as The Uncles. Steve has toured with We Five back in the day as well as Canned Heat and adds tremendous, steady tempo to the act. We're planning trips into the studio and a live concert later this year.
Click to view video: The Uncles - Live at Ho'oulu Market
The 2nd group of folks I sat in with at the Pure Kona Market in 2014 were Kalima and his dad Tony with their friend Luis on Congas. I sat in on lead and rhythm guitar or bass. I quickly realized that I needed to learn the Hawai'ian repertoire that they were playing.
So I went on-line and went back to the roots. I studied the slack key masters from Gabby Pahinui through Led Kaapana and glued my car radio on KAPA radio for a couple more years before I felt I "had a clue". Along with HPR, KAPA is still one of my 3 main go to stations.
Over our years of playing together, Kalima and I have developed a special blend between his slack key guitar and my embellishments in standard tuning that served as the soul of Soul. Kalima, Luis and I were eventually joined by Keoki Cortez and morphed into the 2nd Generation of "Mauka Soul". (Kalima and his dad Tony headed up the original Mauka Soul.)
In 2017, I produced our self-titled CD that includes the tunes above (plus Pane Mai, a bonus track not included in the album release). In addition to some major gigs on the island, the original four of us played nearly every other week at Leona's Pure Kona Market until Covid hit. Since its re-opening last year, Kalima, Chet and Luis have been joined by Solomon Choo and drummer John Yoeman and are featured every other week at Pure Kona. Alas, Keoki has moved to the other side of the island!
I was driving to our gig at Pure Kona on the first Sunday morning that KAPA's "Hawai'i Home Grown" program was on the air and was extremely pleased to hear our version of Ku'u Home O Kahalu'u as the 2nd song ever played on the show!
We're in the planning stages of a live concert, video and recording evening with the band that was Mauka Soul plus Solomon and our friend and excellent drummer John Yoeman for later this year.
1953-1956: Taught myself Arthur Godfrey style Ukulele from chord charts.
1955: Got a guitar for X'mas. I don't think my mother ever really forgave my grandmother for that.
1958-9: Got out of PE with scary PE teacher by playing in Concert and Marching Band (poorly on Percussion) and Dance Band (poorly on guitar) at Radford High School on Oahu Island.
1960: Began playing in a "REAL" band. My dad bought me my first really GOOD Playable guitar and amp. A '61 Gibson SG Special and a Dicoverer Tube Amp. (I recent bought a 2019 Gibson '61 SG Standard that was like going back home).
1960-2: Played in a 50s Rock and Roll Band - Our first REAL gig was at the Shamrock Bar & Grill in Georgetown, DC. My first bar gig - too young to buy a drink - age was 18. We auditioned for Ted Mack's Amateur Hour. Didn't get picked.
1962-3: At the University of Georgia, played in a band with a couple fraternity brothers called the Vigilantes (named after airplane, not the evil bad folk) - played numerous fraternity gigs. Sat in one time on guitar with Gary U.S. Bonds for a couple tunes.
1963-1966: Dead time in College, dropped out, dead time in Gainesville, FL. No music there.
1966-8: Arrived in San Francisco in '66. Where to Begin. Learned folk music from the bottom up - 3am breakfast shows at the Lion's Share in Sausalito fingerpicking Dylan on a Gibson SG through a Super Reverb Amp. Got convinced to buy an acoustic then played at open mics. Finally playing lead and singing in a PP&M clone band that played the No Name Bar the night before I got fired from Crocker Bank, Jan 31, 1968.
1968: Half the year playing solo folk gigs, then 4 months in an acid rock band called Stonehenge. Band broke up while on a tour to prepare for an appearance at the Fillmore and as opening act for Grateful Dead and Canned Heat at the Greek Theater at UC Bekeley. "Ringers" played the gig.
1969-'72: Met and jammed with Robert Orban at a party in the Redwood City hills. Began recording using Bob's studio level equpment set up in my basement. We later moved into Bob's living room in Menlo Park and upgraded the studio from 4 tracks to 8. We finally saw the release THIS YEAR (2022) of one of the tunes from that period (1969-1972) that we recorded in 1970. My brother Steve, Bob and I recorded "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and Chicken Hirsch added drums and that recording opens side 2 on a compilation vinyl LP called "Hits of the 70s" from Numero Group Records. Only 52 years from recording to release.
1970-1972: Played Bass and toured with the Voices of Joy gospel choir.
1970-1974: Played with a country/folk group called the Hand Band. Then with a partner Ramesh Markam. Then with a new partner Steffie Fuller - soon we added Kieth Crossan - Steffie, Chet and Kieth. I also played occasional gigs with Stephen Longfellow Fiske. Steffie, Chet and Kieth just missed playing the Newport Jazz Festival in '74. Then Steffie "changed the lineup" and I wasn't in it any more but Ramesh was. :-(
1974-75: Oregon Sunshine Band in Eugene Oregon. Spent what felt like 10 long years one winter in Eugene. Fled back to a blue sky as the first drops of rain fell in Sept '75.
1975-77: Burned out as a single in '77 - took 7 years off to try being a stay-at-home depressed drunk and part-time cocaine user. Didn't work out that great.
1984-2004: Cleaned up and took lessons from Marc Bonilla beginning in '84. WOW! Began playing again with different folks. Off and on for 14 years with Jim Passard - '88 to '02 or so. Hooked up with the Berkeley/S.F. folk scene and played with numerous others - notably bass with Freedom Song Network led by Jon Fromer, Faith Petric and Jimmy Collier, gigging for a while with David Maloney including at Kerrville Folk Festival and Napa Music Festival, Played Napa with Tom Dundee and one headline set with Sukay - pan pipe band, played some gigs with Dave Lippman and some great gigs as sideman with a fine performer from Texas named John Carrick that included Esalon Institute and opening for Jerry Reid in Dixon, CA.
2004-6: Began jamming on bass with local blues legands. Backed up the Temptations Motown Review playing bass with the Bay Area Blues Society Caravan of All-Stars. I was Joe Louis Walker's bass player for a bit during his early come-back period.
2007: Move to Tucson - co-founded a blues band, The Earthlingz and played folk around town as well as at the Tucson Folk Festival as the Chet Gardiner Band with the great Phil Anderson on bass and Randy Omdal on percussion.
2014: Moved back "Home" to Hawai'i see above.