If a true fan of lounge music stumbled into a Richard Cheese concert, he or she would know immediately that the whole thing was a joke. If that same person walked into a Johnny Aloha show, they might think it’s the real thing. Both lounge singers are very entertaining creations of my friend Mark Davis.
Mark sent me a CD of Johnny’s debut album, “Lavapalooza.” A big difference between Richard and Johnny is the selection of material. Richard Cheese prefers rock and hip-hop songs, especially those with profanity in the lyrics. Johnny Aloha sings mostly pop and rock songs that a real lounge singer might also choose. His cover of “Vacation” sounds like it could have been performed at the Best Western at the Honolulu Airport. All the titles on the disc contain words like summer, vacation or resort. Only a few tracks on the album betray the conceit, most notably “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Thong Song,” which is done as a clever parody of Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
In this age of digital downloads, the packaging of “Lavapalooza” is worth mentioning. The cardboard cover folds out to three panels on each side. The disc itself offers a nice surprise. It is labeled to look like an old View-Master reel of Hawaiian pictures.