From HawaiiBase - The Hawaii Wiki
B.Y.K. (Beat Your Kids) is a Hawaiian punk rock band from the late 80's to the late 90's. They were considered one of the most influential bands of Hawaii's second wave punk movement. They grew in popularity by playing Hawaii's underground hotspots of the time such as The Backdoor, C-5, and Pink's Garage. They grew a big following in Hawaii and had a few top ten hits on Radio Free Hawaii's weekly top listings. Although playing with and befriending several major acts in Hawaii, their success never made it abroad to the rest of the world.
The band was first formed in 1986 by Junior High School friends Willie Fruean(Guitar/Vocals) and Scott Akana(Drums)under the name, The Brigade of Sound. After meeting Bassist Dave Samford and Guitarist Tracy Masuda in 1988, they joined together as Beat Your Kids (B.Y.K). There were several other members throughout the years, some shifting within the band. Raymond Bala/Drums from M.U.G., Shigeoku (Jay) Ku/Drums, Akbar Noldon/Vocals, Willie Fruean/Drums, Tracy Masuda/Bass, Ryan Kunimura/Trombone, Zane Nedbalec/Trombone.
The Early Years
The band played their first show at the infamous Backdoor to great success. They started frequenting the Backdoor and many of Hawaii's other famous venues. Their early music was a mixture of Skate Rock and Punk styles mixed with Reggae and Ska. The band would always end every show by playing a traditional Polka "In Heaven there is No Beer" which became a hallmark. During this time the band release their first self titled album.
In 1990 after Scott and Willie had graduated from High School, Scott decided to move to California for school which left the band without a drummer. With a high demand for shows they set up a show at He'eia State Park without a drummer. For that show WIllie sat in on drums and good friend of the band Akbar Noldon filled on Vocals. Despite being terrible, the fans had a great time. At that show, Ray Bala offered his drumming talents up to the band until a new drummer could be found. Several shows were played with Ray and it seemed like Ray was a great fit. After a while Ray was tired of doing double duties with both bands and found Jay(Shigeoku Ku). The band thrived with the new drummer and started to dominate the club circuit. The band attracted the attention of promoter Rico Lago. With their new friendship, Rico had B.Y.K. playing at almost every show he promoted. This was a long stint of shows with bands such as Fishbone, Danzig, Agent Orange, Bad Religion, and Pantera.
In 1992 Jay had left the band and returned to is homeland of Japan. The band was once again without a drummer and took a short haitus. Fortunately, a few months later Scott Akana had returned from California to live back in Hawaii. B.Y.K. was together again in original form with the best drummer they had ever had and their playing and music grew.
The band frequesnted the Backdoor. It was the most famous punk club in Hawaii and hundreds would flock to the backdoor every weekend to see Hawaii's hottest underground bands. It was really like a community there where everyone knew everyone there and the party would spill out into the parking lot like a social club. Saturday nights were Punk night and Fridays were Reggae nights. The house band for Reggae nights was Maacho and Cool Connection. Their lead man Maacho had his own sound system and would also do the sound for the punk nights. Maacho became great friends with the members of B.Y.K. throughout the years and loved the Ska and Reggae songs they would throw into their set. When Maacho lost his drummer and keyboard player, he recuited Scott to play drums and Willie to play guitar and keyboards. To fatten up his sound he also recuited B.Y.K's Dave Samford and Zane Nedbalec to play trombone. The new Maacho and Cool Connection was formed and was 70% B.Y.K.
Playing with Maacho opened up a lot of doors in the reggae community especially for Scott and Willie. They both became in demand session musicians within Hawaii's music scene. Willie started to play with several bands at one time including North American Bush band(NABB), Roots Natty Roots, Hawaii Reggae International. Willie started to play several gigs a week till 4am and still had a day job. He began coping with the stress with drugs and alcohol. He didn't want to play music anymore, but didn't want to let down the bands that he had committed to and was preparing for tour of Japan with NABB. So a night of playing would mean a night of heavy drinking. While playing with NABB he collapsed on stage while playing. A month later, a week before his 21st birthday, Willie's body had shut down while making a music video for NABB. He had suffered a nervous breakdown. It was very hard for Willie after the breakdown. The breakdown was so traumatic, he instantly quit drinking and smoking and did not leave his house for months. He was unable to leave his house or be around others with suffering severe panic attacks. It took a year before Willie was comfortable to be around others let alone start playing music again.
1994 was the year of change. Willie was recovering from chronic anxiety and panic attacks and decided to live a healthier lifestyle. He had stopped drinking and drugs for a year now and decided to cleanse his body as well as his mind. His binge drinking and nightlife lifestyle of before left him unhealthy and severly over weight tipping the scales just under 300lbs. He had lost a lot of weight already from not drinking and decided to pick up his long lost love of skateboarding again. Within months he was back to a trim weight, healthy and happy. With his new attitude in life, he decided to cleanse his mind by writing music again. Music for his other great love in life, his band B.Y.K. Willie started to write song after song. After feeling ready to play again, brought them to the rest of the band and they started to rehearse. Along with the huge change in Willie's life came a big change in his writing styles. Now with a much more upbeat Power Pop sound.
Their sound had changed drastically and they were more serious than before. After a over a year wait, they started to play sjhows again with people embracing their new sound. They had kept only a few of their older songs but of course ended every show with the famous "In Heaven there is No Beer" Polka which would make the crowd go crazy. The new sound got them more big named shows with bands like Primus and even Cheap Trick. The band had also played with a little known band at the time, Reel Big Fish, and became great friends with and played with several times in the future.
The Radio Free Hawaii Years
Radio Free Hawaii was a radio station that started in 1991. It was a commercial radio station that played whatever the listeners wanted to hear. Literally! Anything you wanted to hear you could request it and they would play it. Like a college radio station, only this was the real deal, a commercial radio station that you could catch the station anywhere you were. Doesn't sound like much by todays standards or even by standards to someplace like Los Angeles, but for Hawaii, this was huge. B.Y.K started to get a lot of air play on Radio Free and even made the top 10 several weeks. Things were going great for the band. Radio free Hawaii even sponsored big festivals called the Big Mele with major acts that included B.Y.K and they also played the first Van's Warped Tour.
In October of 1997