Dyson Ramones: Island vs. Mainland

Dyson's backside 180 fakie 5-0 up this ledge in Huntington Beach was safely taken by photographer Ben Karpinski, who, on the mainland, is not regularly threatened by "mokes." Ben Karpinski

Everything I know about Hawaii, I learned from the movie "North Shore" (probably not the best source) and my friend Adam Maher. I've never been there, but Adam's always pointing out funny stuff that Hawaiians do and funny stuff that mainlanders do that Hawaiians don't do (or do better). So, I decided to confirm or deny these claims with Stereo's Dyson Ramones, who's from Hawaii, but spends a lot of time on the mainland. Here's what he taught me about island life and my mainland existence.


It's more like all the local kids that really wear it and support it and think it's pretty rad, but it's pretty lame to me. I don't know what the deal is with the fannypacks. The locals have worn fannypacks as long as I can remember and it's not like on the mainland, where hipster kids wear them ironically. When you think about it, it's hilarious. It's always been that way, so it's not too weird anymore. But, when people point it out, it's hilarious.

Worse comes to worse, Natural Koncept?

[laughs]No, I wouldn't [ride for Natural Koncept]. I'm not against them or anything, it's just not my style.

Heineken—a Hawaiian beer?

That is another one. I have no idea why Heineken is so huge on the islands. It's like an export on the mainland, but the locals here have pretty much taken Heineken in as their own beer. You know? All the locals will be like, "Ah yeah, let's get Heineken, let's get Heineken," and I'm like, "Why? There are so many other beers and it's not even from Hawaii...it's from Holland."

In the Army?

I would never consider it. It's just not my style. So many people on the island join the army, but I don't like the whole idea of it.

Why's UFC so big on the island?

I'd say because the locals—the Mokes—are really aggressive. You just look at them wrong and they want to fight. So, maybe that's why they relate. They can take in the fighting and it plays into how aggro they are. It's a pretty big thing here. Actually my cousin, KJ Noons
—he like boxes for the Friday Night fights thing in Hollywood—but, he was doing MMA
(mixed martial arts) for a while.


Like I said, people like to fight on the islands. I never really got into many fights. I was always like the little dude and all the big dudes took me under their wing. But, I've been in fights. Like, this one time we were leaving a bar and my friend Joe backed up our friend Ben [Karpinski], who was visiting from California. These two dudes asked Ben where the party was at and Ben was like, "I don't know. I'm not from around here." Then, the dudes said something under their breath and my friend Joe heard it and called the guy out on it. I turn my head and my friend Joe's shoving two guys in a stairwell. So, I go running over there to fight these dudes and security came, so it got broken up.

It's probably just a territorial thing, though—like a lot of people and not much land. 'Cause you go to another city on Oahu and some dude will try to start s**t and then there's the beef between the two cities, kind of thing.

Is that "Red, Red Wine"?

UB40's still pretty big on the island. It's just the way it sounds. It has that reggae, island sound. Like, Hawaiian music—the local music on the radio—is like reggae, but it has different types of lyrics, like different accents...the instruments are kind of the same, so it has the same vibe. And, I guess that's why UB40
is so big here. I've definitely noticed they're bigger here than they are in the mainland now.

Mr. Boombastic?

I'm not sure if Shaggy's still big. But, he was. I think some people still really like him, probably more than they still like him on the mainland. But, I never really liked him, so I'm not sure. Ha ha. You know, I don't know for sure what other Hawaiians' relationship with Shaggy is. They still play it on the radio a good deal. You get so much different music out here with the mix of cultures—Korean, Japanese, East Islander and all the other nationalities and ethnicities—that it's definitely unique compared to the mainland. Certain music stays popular there.


A lot of times people call out McLovin
when they see a Hawaiian license. They're also always looking to see if it's fake, even more so than a license from other states. A cop actually tried to throw me in jail for it, pretty much. We got busted at a skatespot in Arizona and the cop checked everyone's I.D. and he asked me for mine, so I got it and I pulled it out and he did a full background I.D. check on my license. He didn't do it to no one else but me. It happened in Texas, too. We went to jail for 24 hours there for skating a spot. I think that was more because the cops were racists or bigots or something. But, maybe there are a lot of fakes from Hawaii.


What are they like? They pretty much wear surf shorts—like board shorts—and some sort of local shirt. They wear crooked hats, too, like in the weirdest way you could imagine—like it's basically not even on their head and they think it's so cool. Sometimes they bleach part of their hair, too. It's really weird. They speak pigeon and they walk around like tough guys...and they are. That's the thing about it. They walk around like tough guys, but they will back it up. They will f**k s**t up. That's what's gnarly, because the people that come to visit from the mainland don't know that these guys are really tough. They think they're just fronting, but they seriously beat peoples' ass. They'll throw down for the smallest reasons. You gotta watch out for those dudes.

Also, it's pretty funny. A lot of them have lowered or lifted pickup trucks. Some of them have the hugest lifted trucks out here. Then, you'll have the dudes who have super lowered trucks and they can't even go over a speed bump. It's kind of funny.

Birth control?

There are a lot of young kids out here that have kids. Maybe they don't think and then end up with the consequences. But, it's pretty common for younger kids to have families and still do all right. It's really normal to me, but I still trip on it, because I know dudes—and I'm older than them—but they have kids. It makes you wonder why they'd want that, but it's more common, so their families help out a lot. Some families probably don't want their kids to have kids, but once they do, it's more accepted, so they get psyched. They're just happy to have a new baby in the family. I don't know if the mainland's like that. I'm sure it is, but it seems even more frowned upon to have kids when you're young in the mainland.

Missing Spam?

You know, I don't eat it that much out here...except for these things called Spam musabis, which are like spam and rice with seaweed wrapped around it. It's like a spam sushi. You can get it at any gas stations, like a little snack. I really don't eat it much here, though.

Chili and rice?

I think Hawaiians like chili and rice because it's filling. A lot of Hawaiians are huge. It's a super common dish
that a lot of places serve. You can just make massive amounts of it, too. You can feed a lot of people, so that's probably why it's so popular here. We have get-togethers here all the time...potlucks, we have those a lot.

Beaches: Hawaii vs. Cali

I hate the beaches in Cali. The water's cold, it's dirty...the only thing that's better out there is there's no reef. In Hawaii, you've got to watch out where you go. Otherwise you'll get cut up real bad. But, yeah, the beaches out there are just horrible for me, compared to here in Hawaii. The water's clearer here, too.

Tropical Storms!

Right now, we're kind of getting hit with a tropical storm. It was a hurricane, but it got moved down to a tropical storm. We're getting heavy winds and a lot of rain. Earlier this morning it was super windy and the rain was pouring down hard. The mainland, at least the West coast, doesn't really get that. A couple of the islands out here have flood watches, because the mountains flood up and there are flashfloods and landslides. You know?

Driving with Aloha

Ha ha ha ha...I guess out here, when you're driving, there's a lot of hand waving. Someone let's you go and you give them a shaka or a wave. I notice out in California, no one does it really. We'll be driving and people won't even let you get in the lane sometimes. You've got to force your way in. Out in Hawaii, people are more polite...and they will say thank you. I guess that's driving with Aloha. Ha ha. Whenever I drive in Cali, I lose the Aloha spirit, 'cause everyone's driving so fast. I'm more like, "I don't care about you guys. I'm going!" When I'm back home, I kick back.

Being nice

I notice in California, they mind their own business. Like, if they don't know you, they won't even say hi to you, you know? If I'd be out here, someone would just say hi to you and say what's up to you like, "Hey, how are you doing?" They're not afraid to start a conversation with a total stranger. That's how people are. Sometimes I'll say hi to people like that without thinking about it when I'm out in Cali. Sometimes they'll get weirded out, but other times they'll like it and start to talk. But, there's always that first part where they're like, "What's this guy doing talking to me? Is he crazy?"

Racial confusion?

On the mainland, I get confused for other races all the time—either Spanish or Mexican. One time I went to Canada and they thought I was black. Ha ha. I went to British Columbia and I guess in the town I was in, there were only four black people in the whole town, so people were tripping, like "Dude, who's this guy?" I had a bunch of tattoos and I was dark from being in the sun on the trip. It's super funny to me, actually. I'm like, "Ah, I'm not black." On the mainland, I get black and Mexican all the time.

Haole hate?

It's a pretty common term for white people on the island. It can be endearing or used hatefully. I guess they're pushing for Haole to legally become a racist term. I guess some white guy backed up into this Hawaiian guy's truck on accident and the Hawaiian guy and his son just lit the dude up and called him a Haole and all that. So, the guy took him to court and because of that case, they're trying to change it to a racial slur.

Shoe etiquette

At first, when I started going to the mainland, I would take off my shoes when I went into someone's house, because it's so common here in Hawaii. But, now I don't unless someone asks me to. You always do that when you walk into someone's house in Hawaii. I was just so accustomed to doing it that I'd take them off. Then I'd realize everyone else had their shoes on still. Ha ha. Sometimes, when I go back to Hawaii, I forget to take them off, because I was just in the mainland.

"No island hopping for me."

It's pretty common to stay on the island you grew up on. I haven't really explored the other ones. I mean, I've probably been at the airport or...I haven't really stayed overnight on any other island. I actually just thought about that. It's kind of weird. It's so close. It's like a 45 or 50 dollar plane ticket, but I just never found the time or got the drive to go to another island. I just think my island's so rad, I don't want to leave it, you know?

Mexican food vs. Lunch plates?

Cholo's on the North Shore is probably the only good Mexican food place. I take advantage of the good Mexican food when I'm on the mainland, 'cause it's way cheaper. A burrito out here [Hawaii] is like nine bucks. Out there it's like three bucks and it's huge, you know? But, if I had to choose between Lunch plates and Mexican food, I'd have to go with lunch plates—keep it local. With the lunch plate, you can mix it up with all the different types of plates. But the Mexican food is kind of the standard rice, bean, chicken. Lunch plates are a mix of food. You've got Korean, Japanese, Chinese, traditional Hawaiian—all of the different cultures that make up the local food out here, you know?

My Tattoo Sponsor

I never got the Hawaiian islands, but I got Hawaii written on me. The outline of the islands is pretty much the most common tattoo and you'll probably see it everywhere out here. I skate for this tattoo shop called 808 Tattoo, so all my ink is done by one artist that hooks me up. That's where I got the Ramones tattoo
—that was my first one ever...on my chest. I was gonna get it all small, but my friend was all, "Go balls out and get it all big and center it." I was like, all right. Ha ha.

Lots of time on the mainland

I was actually just in California for five months and I've gone on trips from there. I was out there a lot with Hurley. We did a Texas demo tour all around Texas. It was a parking lot demo, so that was cool, 'cause we had our own obstacles we brought with us. We did a Woodward
thing for like a week. Then, I got an opportunity to go to the Cayman Islands right before I came back to Hawaii. That was for Hurley. We were teaching local kids how to skate out at that Black Pearl skatepark they have. I was in injured mode, so I was just lurking about. I was just living island life on another island. I was psyched they still let me go on the trip.