Kings of Spade is appearing at Charley’s Saloon in Paia this Friday, so we got cozy with Kasi Nunes, the band’s lead vocalist.
MAUITIME: Why did the band come together?
KASI NUNES: I was bartending at Anna Bananna’s Pub and jokingly got asked to come up and sing a song with the house band. As it happened we all knew “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N Roses and launched into it. In the middle of the song, some sort of chord got struck in me and I became overcome with a feeling of, “hey, this is what you’re meant to do!” It was never a dream or anything I pursued in the past. It was just fun as hell.
When I sing, I mean it… it feels like getting possessed. Jesse (guitar) who wasn’t even old enough to drink would come in and shred Johnny Cash tunes every week. I would always look forward to his open-mic performances so when I decided to start a band he was the first guy I approached. We sort of recruited everyone else out of different bands they were playing with at the time.
MAUITIME: What’s something your fans don’t know about the band?
NUNES: Besides being band-mates, we are pretty tight friends, too. Also, for me… people see a spiked mohawk and suspenders and assume I’m not from here. I’m Hawaiian, born and raised in Waianae, and graduated from Kamehameha Schools.
MAUITIME: What do you look forward to on Maui?
NUNES: Everybody, especially on Maui, is so friendly and welcoming and enthusiastic. It’s the home of my favorite band, The Freeradicals Projekt. I will fly to Maui just to go to a Freerads show. We get to cruise with Aunty Angela and Uncle Phil Benoit (two of your local Jazz musicians) that are our hanai Maui parents in Makawao. One of my best friends, Summer Starr, is there, too. She has been supporting our band since its inception on Oahu.
We have a tradition that after every Maui show we eat crepes at Cafe Des Amis in Paia the very next morning. We are lucky to have made friends with Maui’s live music scene cultivators and supporters like Scott Johnson, Trish Da Dish, Brendan Smith, David Randall and Mike O’Dwyer. Most recently we got a new super awesome booking agent who lives in Maui but books clubs on the mainland–Tammy Miranda. We also agree the prettiest girls, by far, are on Maui. We love how Maui loves to dance. I don’t care if the dance floor is empty. I’m happy dancing by myself, but on Maui, people always jump in and start cutting it up with me. It’s awesome.
MAUITIME: What inspires your music?
NUNES: I write the lyrics and they’re almost always autobiographical. I write to share my stories and connect with other people. Musically, it all starts with a riff from Jesse’s head. He writes 99 percent of the music. If we dig the riff, we explore it and decide as a group how it plays out. When all the parts are there I feel like the song tells me what it’s about.
MAUITIME: What’s your favorite tour snack?
NUNES: Jameson for the boys. Throat Coat tea for me.
MAUITIME: What’s the craziest fan story you have encountered on tour?
NUNES: In Austin, a fan asked us if we wanted to go to a house party and we were like “hell yeah!” There was a terribly boring live band playing super slow, depressing, wrist-cutting music. Soon as we got there we knew we had to plot an escape but it wasn’t easy because it was a “quiet” party and you could see what everybody was up to. I saw our drummer, Matt, slowly trying to sneak away so I began to follow his lead. Just before we reached our tour van the host of the party was like, “Hey, where you guys goin’?” Without flinching, Matt made up a story about how our bass player texted him and that he was drinking in a bar downtown and got the shits and needs to get picked up right away because it’s an emergency. We couldn’t stop laughing as we burned rubber out of there.
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KINGS OF SPADE (with The Freeradicals Projekt)
21 and over
Doors open 9pm/ Show 10pm
$15 pre-sale/$20 at the door
Charley’s Saloon (142 Hana Hwy, Paia)