Milton eventually left the group for professional reasons and was replaced by Ronald Ishikawa on lead guitar. Ronald was a very talented, extremely versatile guitarist and used an assortment of effect oedals to recreate the iconic, hard rocking, psychedelic dance sounds of the Sixties.
Wesley Nakashima replaced Daniel on organ and Bryce Freeman replaced Dennis 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.
VOX instruments definitely contributed to the Lovin' Sounds' distinct musical sound. Ronald played his solid-body Mosrite through his 2 x 12 Vox Buckingham amplifier; Wesley played his Vox Jaguar organ through his 2 x 10 Vox Berkeley amp with Leslie speakers; Kendrick played his Rickenbacker 330 through his Vox Berkely amp; George played his Vox Panther bass through his 2 x 12 Fender Bassman; Felipe and I sang through a Bogen amp powering two 4 x 10 Vox Grenadier columns; and Bryce kept us all together thundering away on his Ludwig drums.
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The Lovin' Sounds was fortunate to have a very astute and savvy business manager, Howard Furukawa. He was always there for us and was instrumental to our success. Howard gave us a place to practice, rented the trailers and drove the equipment 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 Lovin' Sounds booked pretty solidly through the years. 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, often four, 45-minute sets a night on stage in clubs packed with appreciative Vietnam-era servicemen, the Lovin' Sounds started to really sound good.
The Lovin' Sounds was one of many Waipahu High School bands * to play at school rallies and dances. There were lots of opportunities in those days to hear the Good Tymes, Koachmen, Riot Squad and the Lovin' Sounds playing on campus stages. 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 openly and really helped us to relax and enjoy the moment.
The Lovin' Sounds at the Waikiki Shell (Left to Right) Photo by Emory Akamine (1969)
George Furukawa (behind dancer, Nadine Ho), Felipe Root, Bryce Freeman, Wesley Nakashima, Haro Kagemoto, Kendrick Inafuku and Ronald Ishikawa.
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
Bryce Freeman's drumming style was so unique and amzing that we decided to showcase his extraordinary talents. We always placed 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."
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The Lovin' Sounds sometimes played at dances in community centers and high school gyms without stages. In order to project our vocals across the dance floors, we placed the Vox Grenadier PA speaker columns on tables or chairs out in the crowd. We were always surrounded by appreciative music lovers and curious onlookers, so the atmosphere was always very upbeat, lively and lots of fun. As always, Ronald 's lead guitar solos and Bryce's drumming were truly mezmerizing.
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.
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 were a well established Top 40 cover band regularly booked at dances and large socials.
Milton was an exceptional lead guitarist and could play everything from surf music to rock and soul. Kendrick switched to rhythm guitar and George was now on the bass. Having three versatile, talented guitarists in the band really helped our sound.
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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.
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.