Milton eventually left the group for professional reasons and was replaced by Ronald Ishikawa on lead guitar.  Ronald was a talented, versatile guitarist and used an assortment of effect pedals to recreate the hard rocking, psychedelic dance sounds of the sixties.


‚ÄčTHE LOVIN' SOUNDS

LEAD GUITARIST MILTON POSING WITH HIS FENDER JAZZMASTER

Pearl City, HI

1968

LEAD GUITARIST RONALD PRACTICING WITH WITH MOSRITE

Waipahu, HI

1968

When I joined the Lovin' Sounds in 1968, Kendrick and George were now playing with Milton Matsusaki (lead guitar), Daniel Yoshizumi (organ), Dennis Cockett (drums) and Felipe Root (vocals).  The Lovin' Sounds was a well established Top 40 cover band regularly booked at school dances and large socials.


Milton was an exceptional lead guitarist.  Kendrick switched to playing rhythm guitar and George was now on the bass.  Having three good guitarists in the band really helped our sound.

In 1966, Kendrick Inafuku (lead guitar) and George Furukawa (rhythm guitar) formed the Lovin' Sounds inspired by their mutual interests in rock & soul music.  Initially joined by friends, Glenn (drums) and Howard Matsuura (organ), they played at weddings, parties and high school dances.  Over the years, the Lovin' Sounds experienced several line-up changes.

Between 1966 - 1970, the Lovin' Sounds specialized in Top 40 cover tunes and performed at school dances, proms,  community events and military clubs throughout Oahu, Hawaii.  The Lovin' Sounds won First Place at the "Battle of the Bands" held at the Waikiki Shell (1969), was invited to play on neighboring islands and performed "live" on Hawaii's local television.  The group also took Third Place prizes at "Battle of the Bands" contests held in Ewa, Kailua and at the Honolulu International Center (H.I.C.) Arena.

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RELAXING WITH PINEAPPLES AFTER THE GIG

Molokai, HI

1969


( Ronald Ishikawa, Kendrick Inafuku and Bryce Freeman )


When Ronald, Kendrick and Bryce were clowning around together you never knew what to expect.  It was a pleasure to hang out and play with the Lovin' Sounds.  Our personalities were different enough to make our association interesting, exciting and definitely never boring.

LOVIN' SOUNDS PERFORMING ON STAGE

Molokai, HI

1969


( George Furukawa, Felipe Root, Haro Kagemoto, Wesley Nakashima,

Kendrick Inafuku, Ronald Ishikawa and Bryce Freeman )

LOVIN' SOUNDS PERFORMING ON STAGE

Molokai, HI

1969


( Foreground:  Bryce on drums, Kendrick on rhythm guitar and Ronald on lead guitar;

Background:  Wesley on organ, George on bass, Felipe and haro on vocals. )

LOVIN' SOUNDS SWEET SOUL MUSIC

1969


( George Furukawa, Wesley Nakashima, Haro Kagemoto and Felipe Root)

Off-Camera:  Bryce Freeman, Kendrick Inafuku and Ronald ishikawa

BRYCE SOLOING ON DRUMS

Honolulu, HI

1969

Vox definitely contributed to the Lovin' Sounds' distinct musical sound.  Ronald played his solid-body Mosrite through his 2 x 12 Vox Buckingham; Wesley played his Vox Jaguar organ through his classic 2 x 10 Vox Berkeley and Leslie speakers; Kendrick played his Rickenbacker 330 through his Vox Berkeley; and, Felipe and I sang through a Bogon PA amp powering two 4 x10 Vox Grenadier columns.  George played his Vox Panther bass guitar through his 2 x12 Fender Bassman and Bryce kept us all together thundering away on his Ludwig drums.

LOVIN' SOUNDS AND VOX AMPLIFIERS

Pearl City, HI

1968

( Kendrick Inafuku and Ronald Ishikawa )

LOVIN' SOUNDS PRACTICING IN GEORGE'S GARAGE

Pearl City, HI

1968


( George Furukawa, Wesley Nakashima, Bryce Freeman and Kendrick Inafuku )

Wesley Nakashima replaced Daniel on organ and Bryce Freeman replaced Dennis Cockett on drums.  We usually practiced for hours often several times a week in George's garage and, fortunately, George's neighbors were pretty understanding about it.  The Lovin' Sounds slowly transformed into a really tight musical group.

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LOVIN' SOUNDS PERFORMING ON STAGE AT THE "BATTLE OF THE BANDS"

Honolulu International Center (HIC) Arena

Honolulu, HI

1970


( Felipe Root, Haro Kagemoto, Bryce Freeman and Harold Kageura )

Off-camera:  George Furukawa, Wesley Nakashima and Ronald Ishikawa

LOVIN' SOUNDS ON THE KHON-TV SET

Honolulu, HI

1969


( Bryce Freeman, George Furukawa, Ronald Ishikawa,and Harold Kageura )

Off-camera:  Wesley Nakashima, Felipe Root and Haro Kagemoto

The Lovin' Sounds was one of many Waipahu High School bands to play at school rallies and dances.  Although the band was comfortable playing on stage at dances and in front of large crowds, it was still a little awkward performing at our school rallies in broad daylight.  Fortunately, some of the bolder students always danced and really helped us to relax and enjoy the moment.

LOVIN' SOUNDS PERFORMING AT A DANCE IN A GYMNASIUM

Honolulu, HI

1969


( Ronald Ishikawa and Bryce Freeman )

Off-camera:  George Furukawa, Wesley Nakashima, Felipe Root, Haro Kagemoto and Kendrick Inafuku

Unlike most bands of the sixties, the Lovin' Sounds placed our drummer up front flanked by two lead singers slightly behind him.  Sometimes, Felipe and I would move even further back so we could hear ourselves singing over the amazing roar of Vox amplifiers on overdrive.

HOOKING UP THE EQUIPMENT TRAILER

Pear City, HI

1969

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MY FAREWELL TO THE LOVIN' SOUNDS

Waipahu, HI

1970

CELEBRATING A WINNING PERFORMANCE

Honolulu, HI

1970


( Felipe Root, Bryce Freeman, Harold Kageura and Ronald Ishikawa )

LOVIN' SOUNDS PERFORMING AT THE "LOVE TO BE LOVED" DANCE

Molokai, HI

1969


( Felipe Root, Haro Kagemoto, Bryce Freeman, Kendrick Inafuku and Ronald Ishikawa )

LOVIN' SOUNDS PERFORMING AT "THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS"

Waikiki Shell - Honolulu, HI

1969


( Left to Right:  George Furukawa (behind dancer, Nadine Ho), Felipe Root, Bryce Freeman,

Wesley Nakashima, Haro Kagemoto, Kendrick Inafuku and Ronald Ishikawa )

LOVIN' SOUNDS PERFORMING AT WAIPAHU HIGH SCHOOL RALLY

Waipahu, HI

1969


( Audience dancing - Bryce on drums - Kendrick on Rhythm Guitar - Ronald on Lead Guitar )

Bryce Freeman's drumming style was so unique and amazing that we decided to showcase his extraordinary talents.  We always put him "front and center" on stage and often strobe lighted his drum solos during our nightly renditions of Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." 

( Ronald Ishikawa, Bryce Freeman and Manager Howard Furukawa )

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LOVIN' SOUNDS PERFORMING ON STAGE

Honolulu International Center Arena

1970


( Bryce Freeman, George Furukawa, Wesley Nakashima, Felipe Root, Harold Kaeura and Ronald Ishikawa )

Off-camera:  Haro Kagemoto

The Lovin' Sounds won Third Place at the "Battle of the Bands" held at the Honolulu International Center (H.I.C.) Arena in 1970.  The HIC Arena was the largest venue we played in and this was the only time we played so loud that I couldn't hear a thing!  Fortunately, our musical timing was near perfect and many friends in the audience later said we really sounded good.  (What are friends for, right?)

The Lovin' Sounds performed several songs on KHON-TV Channel 2.  Unfortunately, prior to our television appearance, Kendrick decided to leave the band for professional reasons and it was pretty sad to see him go.  One of the original founders of the group, Kendrick's personality was a part of the essence of the Lovin' Sounds.  Harold Kageura replaced Kendrick on rhythm guitar.  Harold's guitar playing was exceptional having played for years with other musical groups before joining us.  The KHON-TV gig was quite an experience.  Although we were comfortable playing together, the hardest part for me was to "keep moving" while singing on live TV.

SETTING UP ON THE KHON-TV SOUND STAGE

Honolulu, HI

1969


( Manager Howard Furukawa and Felipe Root )

The Lovin' Sounds won First Place at the Hawaii "Battle of the Bands" held at the Waikiki Shell.  There were a lot of really good local bands performing during the two night competition and we were all pretty nervous.  Fortunately, all of the hundreds of hours of practicing and gigging came through for us.  We didn't make any mistakes and sounded very good.  Unfortunately, this is the only photograph I've seen of us performing on stage that night.

The Lovin' Sounds sometimes played at dances in high school gymnasiums and community centers without stages.  In order to project our vocals across the dance floors, we placed the Vox Grenadier PA speaker columns on tables out in the crowd.  We were always surrounded by appreciative music lovers so the atmosphere was always very upbeat, lively and lots of fun.  As always, Ronald's lead guitar solos and Bryce's drumming were mezmerizing.

The Lovin' Sounds was fortunate to a have a very astute and savvy business manager, Howard Furukawa.  He was always there for us.  Howard gave us a place to practice, rented the trailers and drove the truck so we could haul our amplifiers and equipment.  He was there on every gig, kept us out of trouble and, more importantly, kept trouble away from us. 


Howard really understood the local music scene and kept the band booked pretty solidly throughout the year.  He encouraged us to play the military club circuit to work on our timing and to give us much needed stage experience.  The Lovin' Sounds performed for NCOs and officers at all of the military bases on Oahu during 1968 - 1969.  After playing three or four 45-minute sets a night on stage in clubs packed with appreciative servicemen, the Lovin' Sounds started to really sound good.