Anesthesia is a Kihei-based metal band that was formed by guitarist Ian Smith over 25 years ago. Formed in the 1990s, they eventually reached legendary status in the Maui metal community. Gone from the stage for two and a half years, they’ll soon return with a Dec. 2 show at Mulligan’s on the Blue.
Drummer Kai Katchadourian says he met Smith when they were high school classmates and started playing gigs before they graduated. Tim Prest, a guitarist, later joined the lineup, as did vocalist Russell Carbonell and bass player Ryan Sawtell.
“Being a Kihei-based metal band on Maui, as you imagine, wasn’t exactly the house music at the time,” said Katchardourian. The band had to look outside of the norm to find gigs, playing at places like Kalama Park and the old Maui High gymnasium.
“We were really challenged with venues, but we were packing them,” Katchadourian said. “In this independent gig period, we were riding the underground wave that turned out to be a ferociously dedicated crowd of kids. It was almost like a reaction to all the reggae being played on Maui. As the ball got rolling, we began working with the late Gungi Paterson. During his time, he was a very influential man in the sphere of live sound.”
Paterson toured with Judas Priest for roughly eight tours and worked with Deep Purple as well as Black Sabbath doing sound engineering. In his time off from touring, he lived in Kihei, which is where he first caught wind of Anesthesia.
“It was really a blessing that he picked up on what we were doing,” Katchadourian said.
After gaining notoriety and metal fandom on Maui, Anesthesia was picked for the opening slot of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1992 show on Oahu. A year later, the band opened for Metallica at the Blaisdell Arena in front of 10,000 fans.
In 1993, Metallica was touring for their Black Album, arguably the pinnacle of the band’s career. They played two shows in Honolulu, the first of which Katchadourian attended as a fan.
“This was before email and cellphones,” he remembered. “I went to the show with my friend and I didn’t find out we were opening for Metallica ’til the day of their second show. We had about eight hours notice. Promptly at 7:30, the band dropped the lights and the 10,000 fans thought we were Metallica going out on stage. It was tough crowd–winning them over was one of our crowning achievements, for sure.”
Since then, the band has performed occasionally, working on their music whenever possible. A few of the band members have since focused on raising kids, but now with the children mostly grown, the band is making a comeback, dedicating their time to playing together and getting their second album finished.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to reconnect and recharge our batteries,” Katchadourian said. “We’ve never been at a better point in our lives to collectively do this, and we’re doing it on our own terms.”
Their upcoming show happens on Dec. 2 at Mulligan’s on the Blue in Wailea. Joining them will be the Freeradicals Projekt. The two bands have very different styles of music and Katchadourian says he’s excited to reconnect and “mosh metal” with their new and old fans.
ANESTHESIA AND FREERADICALS PROJEKT
Saturday, Dec. 2
Mulligan’s on the Blue
100 Kaukahi St., Wailea
Photo of Kai Katchadourian: Shooting Stars Maui