Respect | The Toyes

Irie Magazine presents The Toyes
Irie Love

The Toyes

Pick Yourself Up

The Toyes are an American reggae band based in Grants Pass, Oregon consisting of Mawg, lead guitar/vocals, B-dub, rhythm guitar/vocals, John Trujillo, bass/vocals and Brian Rogers, drums/percussion. With a style often described as a ‘cross between Bob Marley and Barenaked Ladies’, they are famous for writing and recording the 1983 ghanja smokers’ anthem ‘Smoke Two Joints’. One of the top American reggae tracks of all time, the song was again featured ten years later on their album The Toyes.

In 1982, Mawg (Jean-Christophe Kay) and his brother Sky (Michael Kay) were living in Waikiki, Hawaii, where Mawg gigged as a guitarist/vocalist in a Honolulu based cover band called The Lifters. While jamming for friends and improvising lyrics, the hook of Smoke Two Joints came tumbling out, much to the delight of everyone there. Inspired by the previous night’s success, Mawg and Sky ran with it, or rather sat with it, composing the lyrics while sitting under a large banyan tree on Kuhio Beach, where Smoke Two Joints was born.

From the first time they played it at the 23rd Step bar in Kailua, the crowd went wild, singing along and chanting ‘Smoke Two Joints’. Mawg remembers: “We had to play it five times that night after the audience stopped our other songs in mid-performance by chanting ‘Smoke Two Joints’ louder than we could play.” The tune was an instant sensation.

With financial help from mom Paulette Kay, the brothers immediately recorded the song and produced a limited run of five hundred 45’s on vinyl. Joining them in the studio and rounding out the trio was local drummer 17 year-old Ricci Accardi. After leaving The Lifters, Mawg formed The Toys, originally named Tightrope with Sky, Ricci and singer Mike Dawson. The group changed their name after being threatened with a lawsuit by Motown Records, who already had a signed act called The Toys. Liking the fact that the word ‘yes’ could be part of their name, they became The Toyes. The band then went on the road to support their new album, touring the Hawaiian Islands and Guam.

When it debuted on Oahu’s top rock station, KPOI-FM, Smoke Two Joints rocketed past Michael Jackson and Journey to become the No. 1 most requested song, and held that position for ten months. The song enjoyed widespread airplay on such stations as Los Angeles rock giant KROQ. DJ Sea Bass at WXTB in Tampa played the song regularly as the opening music to his show. Smoke Two Joints was also featured on the soundtrack for the 1998 American comedy-thriller ‘Homegrown’ as well as in the 2005 video game ‘Narc’.

More recently, in 2011, The Toyes released Anchovy Picnic, sharing more of their unique rock & reggae blend. Like every great concept album should, each song becomes an engaging episode in a larger story being told, with creative arrangements and plenty of ear candy served up to keep it fun. A variety of artists have covered ‘Smoke Two Joints’: Norman Nardini, Sublime, Frankie Lopez, Richard Cheese, The Rudiments, German band Ohrbooten, South Park Mexican, Afroman and Macy Gray. Undoubtedly, they won’t be the last.

The Toyes are well known advocates for the legalization of marijuana; they are a perfect fit and right at home in Irie Mag’s 420 Issue!

Did You Know

On friday afternoons at 5 p.m., the San Francisco radio station KFOG (104.5 FM ) always broadcasts the song ‘Smoke Two Joints’, for their listeners, a.k.a. ‘Fogheads’, to kick off their weekend. Now that’s Respect, Mon! Irie Magazine Logo

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