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Hula Hayride to play again in Surf City

The show at Don The Beachcomber's this time around will raise money to support Life Rolls On event for paralyzed surfers.

April 18, 2012|By Imran Vittachi
  • Road Kill Kings features band leaders Randy Cochran, second from left, and Darren Ellis, second from right.
Road Kill Kings features band leaders Randy Cochran,… (A. Smith, HB Independent )

The idea came to Darren Ellis, front man for the Road Kill Kings, during a recent trip with his daughter to Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.

"I thought 'how cool would it be to do our own version of the Grand Ole Opry?'" the Huntington Beach resident recalled, when pressed to tell the story of how the Hula Hayride came about.

His band's website describes the Road Kill Kings as an Americana group. Its five members came together out of their love of country, bluegrass and rockabilly music — all "with a dash of rock 'n' roll thrown in for drinkability," the band's online bio noted. The Road Kill Kings have played gigs at Mother's Tavern in Sunset Beach, the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano and elsewhere in Orange County.

Since his trip to Tennessee in December, Ellis has combined his love of country music with his fondness for the "Prairie Home Companion" broadcasts on National Public Radio and his reverence for the bygone Louisiana Hayride — which launched Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams to musical stardom — in creating a new local musical endeavor, he said.

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Ellis and the band's bass player, Randy Cochran, along with Christopher Burkhardt, a Costa Mesa resident who isn't in the band, have now started the so-called "Hula Hayride." This dinner time entertainment program for a good cause blends elements of an old-fashioned radio variety show with Americana or Roots music against the Hawaiian backdrop of a tiki ballroom.

On Thursday night, the three co-producers will present the third installment of the Hula Hayride, sponsored by Atlantico Rum, at Don the Beachcomber's in Huntington Beach. Throughout the evening, bottled and draft domestic beers will sell for $3 and patrons can take advantage of Happy Hour prices on drinks all night, said Burkhardt.

"It will be an uninterrupted and fast-paced show," said Ellis, alluding to how there won't be any breaks between the acts.

At least eight bands and soloist musicians from the area — the Road Kill Kings, Cowboy Jack, Black Tongued Bells, Patty Booker, Kerry Getz, Eric Gorsuch and Alice Wallace — are scheduled to perform acts to raise money for the Life Rolls On Foundation, a Culver City-based nonprofit.

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