Not just a headset

by Oren Goldberg

No more inflatable props for eclectic rock ‘n’ roll circus The Hawaii Show I hear this is where Slug hangs out. There’s tons of celebrities out here and you can be as alternative as you want,” said Mr. Hawaii Dude, founder and star of The Hawaii Show, sitting at the hip, underground Edina Starbucks location that he suggested we meet at for this interview. “It’s like Hollywood,” he said.

It all began in 1996 when Dude’s then Lifter Puller bandmate Craig Finn gave him a keyboard. Dude first started to practice with his toes-“for real, dude”-and with time he began to improve until finally, he decided it was time to start performing. He recorded a four-track tape, which he played at parties, and would then lip-sync over. Dude called this original form of his show “7 1/2 Minutes of Fame with Extra Cheese.”

“I don’t like it when people call what I do ‘lip-syncing,’ I prefer lippin‘ it to my own voice.” It’s unusual ideas like this that set The Hawaii Show apart from typical boy bands. In fact, Dude writhes with disgust at the mere mention of the phrase boy band.

“Dude, I don’t even want to talk about boy bands, they’re sooo 2000,” he said, then clarifying with, “I mean, I think those dudes have a style, and I think there are chicks that go for that. It’s just a choice.”

When faced with criticism of his own work, Mr. Hawaii Dude admitted, “Yeah, it’s a fake show. Yeah, I drink booze, and yeah, I have an alter ego… I got an ‘F’ in music theory at the University of Minnesota.”

This kind of brutal honesty demonstrates an unexpected kind of integrity.

“In the 21st century you have to be a renaissance man. I have a new line of condiments. It’s called ‘Embellish,’ it’s, like, mustard, ketchup, and relish all in one. I’m also planning to have a cable access show on SPNN,” Dude continued. “According to my Website (, it started last month.”

“I’m running in the Twin Cities Marathon,” he said, for absolutely no reason. “I’ve been training since May.” These kind of sporadic statements are evidence of the sheer genius of The Hawaii Show. “In the movie Man on the Moon there’s a scene where the club owner tells Jim Carrey, who is playing Andy Kaufman, to get a new shtick. And when Carrey replies, ‘I’m just a song and dance man,’ that’s when I knew.”

When I asked Mr. Hawaii Dude what lies in the future of the Show, he told me that he is trying to get away from having all inflatable props. “I need a prop artist. I also really want to play at a sorority. I would definitely play for free at a sorority. Someone from a sorority would just have to come up to me or email me through my website and ask me to play a show. I would also play a frat party if there were a lot of sorority girls there.”

The Hawaii Show plays Sunday at the Uptown Bar (3018 Hennepin Ave., S., Mpls., 612-823-4719) with Rhombus and Punky Bruiser as part of the Sound Unseen festival. 9:30 p.m. $5. 21+. Also as part of Sound Unseen, Sunday, The Hawaii Show mockumentary, ‘All the Right Moves, All the Wrong Notes,’ shows at the Oak Street Cinema. 5:15 p.m. $7. All-Ages. Download The Hawaii Show mp3’s at