Uma’s Ultimate Kona Konnection is a weekly column covering the music scene of Kailua Kona. This week she spotlights Steve Fundy – guitarist & singer in five Big Island bands. Catch him shredding guitar and singing his heart out June 1st at Laverne’s Sports Bar on Alii Drive from 7-10 pm; covering hits from Aretha to Zeppelin & the Beatles to the White Stripes. Laverne’s has a lovely outdoor venue upstairs next to Humpy’s with a view of the stars and plenty of room to shake your tail feathers or play pool.
This week I had the chance to interview Steve Fundy, who caught my ear at the Six String Fling at Aloha Theater last September. I was working the t-shirt table outside, so truly, I only heard him. He had joined Bottle of Blue plus 3 more guitarists for an evening of rippin’ rock ‘n roll. Steve has been playing guitar for 50 years and it shows! He was born in Brooklyn but moved to Staten Island shortly thereafter. In 6th grade, he began violin and guitar lessons; violin fell by the wayside by 11th grade, but thankfully, he kept up with guitar. Steve studied with a couple of teachers, the first whose corny musical taste turned Steve off, the second who helped him play music he enjoyed. Steve majored in music for many years at college. In 1964, he had the serendipitous opportunity to see the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show; he was immediately hooked as he discovered that music was what he wanted to do with his life.
In 1977 he started to gig playing Electric Bluegrass music and fell in love with the Grateful Dead and a young lady who accompanied him to many of the 400-450 Deadhead shows he enjoyed nationwide over the years. The Dead truly opened his mind to the musical possibilities. Ever since, he’s used almost every musical encounter to improvise. Steve has performed in 10 long-term bands plus 40 to 50 ‘one-night stand’ or sit in bands. Some never made it out of the garage, however! His musical influences include: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Queen and Glam Rock from 1973-1974.
Over the years he’s played rock, jazz, blues, soul, funky music and now even country music. For a retired guy, he stays incredibly busy with five bands: Glass Onion (Beatles Tribute Band), The Experimental Music Trio, The Experimental Music Trio, Gone Country and the Uma Zuma Band.
While music is his true love, he’s made his living as an Audio Visual and Communication Technician. The warmer weather of California called to him in 1986; then Hawaii beckoned as he replied by moving here in 2013 with his lovely wife (not the same Deadhead fan). Now that he’s retired, he has more time to play guitar and make as much music as he can. Steve also enjoys fixing amplifiers, equipment and recording music. He truly appreciates the interest people show here as compared to California. Steve notices that grassroots groups are given more of a fair chance on the Big Island. He is also super thankful of anyone who supports and reviews music, whether it’s organized or not.
What Steve loves most about playing music is the combination of creating something in the moment, via improvisation and all the ‘parts’ going just right and the reaction of an audience when that’s happening. He says, “That’s what moves me.”
Steve resides in Pahoa, where he recently built his own home. While most of his musical offerings occur in Hilo at the Hilo Tavern (2nd and 4th Fridays) and Keaau (Eagles every 3rd Saturday), he’s been playing in Kona more since joining the Uma Zuma Band last year in November. Steve sings almost half the songs which allows the other singer to dance with the audience or sing harmonies. Of course, you’ll hear some Grateful Dead!
Steve Fundy Live!
When: Saturday, June 1st @Laverne’s 75-5819 Ali’i Dr, Kailua, HI 96740 (808) 331-2633
To find out more and to see him in action check out: https://www.facebook.com/steve.fundy
Visit Steve’s music blog: https://stevefundy.wordpress.com
Love Guru Uma sings, plays ukulele, is a substitute teacher and writes books. She has just completed Book 2 in a series of adventure love story and self-help reads entitled Love is Crazy – Lessons in Love: Creating your own Happy Ever After and Love is Crazy Satisfying. More at umaojeda.weebly.com
Photo: Gerald Besson