Island ‘royalty’ comes to Petaluma

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.



What: The Common Kings with Nattali Rize

When: Fri., March 1, at 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.)

Where: Mystic Theatre, 21 N. Petaluma Blvd.

Admission: $26

Tickets: Call (707) 775-6048 or visit

“The thing about the Common Kings is that we all come from different musical backgrounds,” says bassist Ivan “Uncle Lui” Kirimaua. “For the most part, we have collaborated, putting our musical influences into the bucket to see what we come out with, but we are being more eclectic with our sound, with our inspiration, and working to bring it all together. We’re like that crazy artist that just throws paint on the canvas and then steps back see that the results look amazing.”

Not familiar with the Common Kings?

Check out “Wade in Your Water,” from the band’s “Lost in Paradise” album, produced by Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, known for his work with Justin Beiber, the Audible, and others. The song is a love-struck homage to a surfer girl (“Really wanna rock her boat . . .”) that is filled with references to Billabong, bikini tops, board shorts and bonfires.

It’s a Polynesian musical fantasy that’s easy on the ears.

“Our fans have coined us as a feel-good band,” says Common Kings lead singer Sasualei “Jr King” Maliga, during a conference call with Kirimaua.

“And that has stuck with us.”

The members of the Common Kings were born in the South Pacific Islands, but grew up in the vibrant Polynesian communities of Orange County, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. The band has had a fairly rapid rise, thanks to some high-profile encounters. The Common Kings have toured with Justin Timberlake and in 2001 collaborated with singer, songwriter and producer Meghan Trainor, best known for the 2013 hit “All About the Bass.”

Those experiences proved crucial in helping the band to grow.

“Meghan is just one of those people who is talented beyond their years,” Kirimaua says. “At the time, she was 18 and just coming out of Nantucket. It blew our minds that people like her actually exist. She’s an incredible human being, a super talented songwriter and producer. I mean, she can just do it all and at a very high level.”

The band’s latest recording, the seven-song EP “One Day,” is composed of material the Common Kings shelved after meeting Poo Bear in Hawaii. The EP includes “Lock Me Up,” a collaboration with Jamaican reggae star Stephen Marley.

“Those are songs we were working on shortly before releasing ‘Lost in Paradise,’” Kirimaua says. “We felt really strongly about those songs, especially our collaborations with Stephen Marley and others, and we wanted to get those out there.”

The band is currently working on a follow-up to “Lost in Paradise.”

“What we have so far feels really good. I like the direction we’re going in,” Maliga says. “It will be an eclectic sound, but still very much like the Common Kings, though we’re in a new phase right now. It’s gonna be dope.”

Kirimaua elaborates.

“We’re experimenting with a few different genres that we all collectively like,” he says. “It’s like a big crash test. We’re looking to see what’s sticking to the wall and so far we’re really liking what we’re doing.”

In the studio, both musicians say, the band’s island roots allow those influences to gel.

“What brings us together is our personalities and the fact that we’re all family,” Kirimaua adds. “When we get into the studio there’s a cohesive coming together of our differences. It’s not like those bands where one person does all the work and everyone else cow-tows to whatever that person wants. The Common Kings is a real collective effort. Everyone has a chance to throw something in the basket and everyone’s influences are respected. Like with JR, there’s no one quite like JR. He has a great voice and he has a passion for R&B and some of the greats, so we make sure that the songs we do feature those influences. And then we have influences in the Foo Fighters and that alternative feel. So we put all of that into the creative process.

“It’s a 100 percent collaborative effort.”

Kirimaua also credits Polynesian island culture with creating the band’s feel-good vibe.

“For the most part, if you go to the South Pacific islands, everybody is smiling. It just feels like nobody is having a bad day,” he says. “I know that everyone goes through their own troubles, but when I’m on the Fiji islands, I hear a lot of cackling and laughing. It just feels like everyone is having a really good time when you’re in the islands. People are laughing at each other, they’re laughing with each other, they’re constantly cracking jokes.

“I think that reflects in our sound in that our music is not heavy,” he goes on. “There’s no gloom or doom or emo negativity. We sing about having fun, we sing about love, we sing about chilling with out friends.”

The band’s members would like to see the Common Kings garner wider radio play, but they’re happy with the course the band has charted.

“We’re providing for our families doing what we love and it’s only getting bigger and better,” Kirimaua says. “As long we stick to enjoying ourselves and having fun with our music, we’ll do fine. Our music is constantly evolving. We don’t want to become content because that’s when you stop growing.

“We want to continue growing and evolving and making good music.”


What: The Common Kings with Nattali Rize

When: Fri., March 1, at 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.)

Where: Mystic Theatre, 21 N. Petaluma Blvd.

Admission: $26

Tickets: Call (707) 775-6048 or visit

Show Comment

Our Network

Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Emerald Report
Spirited Magazine