by Fancy Brandy
If you’re at all familiar with Tiki & lounge music and culture in Boston, you’ve probably heard of Brother Cleve. We asked him a couple questions so you could get to know your host behind the laptop at this Saturday’s event…
What is your favorite cocktail? My favorite tropical drink is the Jet Pilot
If you were a LUPEC member (or DUdePEC, for the gents), what would your namesake cocktail be? I think I’d like to just be Old Mr. Boston, cuz I ain’t gettin’ any younger!
Favorite bar? Probably the one in my living room, as I have all the necessary/hard-to-find ingredients and my huge collection of Tiki mugs!That said, my friends at Drink will make you a Mai Tai or a Zombie with the original recipes.
Favorite place to sip a mai tai? Locally, the back room at the South Pacific in Newton; the decor hasn’t changed since 1957. Beyond Boston, the Mai Kai in Ft Lauderdale and Tiki Ti in Los Angeles have the best tropical cocktails, the way Donn Beach and Trader Vic created ’em.
What do you like most about tiki? The lure of the tropics, the retreat to an ersatz Disneyland world comprised of perfect calm.
If you were putting together a playlist to your tiki party, what would you put on it? I have made that playlist, and it includes around 150 songs, from the godfathers of Exotica [Les Baxter, Martin Denny] and the cool concept albums of the late 50’s/early 60’s [“Jun’gala”, “White Lotus”, “Tropical Fantasy”, “Surfer’s Paradise”…], Elvis hits from films like “Blue Hawaii” & “Paradise Hawaiian Style”, surf music, and modern day practitioners like Combustible Edison, which I was a member of, and Waitiki, whose last 2 albums I produced.
How have you been involved in Boston’s tiki history? How have you seen it change? The sad change has been the closure of the fantastic Polynesian restaurants from the era’s heyday of the 50’s/60’s : Bob Lee’s Islander, Aku Aku, South Seas, Diamond Head, Trader Vic’s, Kon Tiki Ports; these were fantasy island outposts in the midst of our urban grit. Fortunately, a few places like the Kowloon and South Pacific have survived. As for my own involvement, I’ve worked/presented many a Tiki event over the last dozen years, here and all over the world, along with shows in the lounge and burlesque worlds.
What is your the crown jewel of the tropical tunes? Les Baxter’s “Quiet Village” is the ultimate exotica song, in any of its myriad versions; my personal fave, if I had to name just one, would be Alex Stordahl’s recording of “The Moon Of Manakoora”.