The Rock’ N’ Roll Accountant

By day, he’s a mild-mannered accountant. But when the night lights begin to shine, Stan Garrett pulls his own Clark Kent act and becomes a drummer for several Honolulu rock bands

Wednesday - June 14, 2006
By Lisa Asato
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Stan crunching numbers in his cubicle at MidWeek/Star-Bulletin’s Kaneohe plant
Stan crunching numbers in his cubicle at MidWeek/Star-Bulletin’s Kaneohe plant

Stan Garrett pounds out a drum solo break on the ‘60s surf classic Wipe Out, and the Friday night crowd at O’Toole’s Irish Pub on Nuuanu Avenue roars its approval.

“Stan! Stan on the drums!” the vocalist shouts over the crowd. “Stan wrote that song,” he adds, tongue-in-cheek.

It’s nearing midnight, the party’s in full swing and Garrett has transformed from his day job as an accountant to rock ‘n’ roll drummer by night.

That’s right - at the end of each workaday week, Garrett trades his cubicle for a four-piece Gretsch trap set and his 10-key for a pair of wooden sticks with plastic tips.

Garrett is an accounts receivable clerk for MidWeek and Star-Bulletin, and a member of four bands - and he says he’d feel incomplete having one without the other.

Stan’s the man on drums with The Mixers at O’Toole’s on Friday nights
Stan’s the man on drums with The Mixers at O’Toole’s on Friday nights

“I’ve always done both,” says Garrett, who turned 55 in May. “Sometimes I’ll just play music full time; other times I’ll just do accounting full time. It’s just like a pendulum. But sooner or later I’ll always go back to the other, I’ll always do both. I’m a Gemini. Maybe it has something to do with that, if you believe in the twin personality.”

His twin personalities spring from his parents: His dad was an accountant, his mom was musical.

“She didn’t play an instrument, but she yodeled,” Garrett says.

Growing up in Nevada City in Northern California, he remembers his dad bringing home sets of books from cattle ranches belonging to the company he worked for.

“One of them I remember called Bare Ranch, and I did their payroll,” Garrett says. “Cowboys and cowgirls on the payroll and I’d deduct the taxes, calculate the taxes and write out their checks.”

When Stan plays, you can’t sit still
When Stan plays, you can’t sit still

At the time he was about 17 or 18 years old. He’s been drumming for just a bit longer, starting with lessons when he was 14, which led to his first regular gig at 19, buying the four-piece drum set (which he still uses today) for $350 plus a trade-in at 20 years old, and earning enough money drumming to put himself through college and earn a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from California State University-Chico at 25.

He made his way to Hawaii five years later on a 10-day vacation from an accounting job, met a girl who played drums, found a place to live, made recordings with some friends (the Emerson Brothers, who recorded with Moe Keale) and returned to stay. Nothing ever became of the girl, the job or the recordings, but he found his way through accounting and music.

“I was quite poor, but I had a little shack on the beach at Chun’s Reef. It was great. I was doing the same thing then almost on a daily basis: accounting by day and music by night,” he says, adding that the steady pace of accounting is a welcome reprieve from what can be a “insane and crazy” world of music.

The music biz was lucrative for him in the ‘80s what with him

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