Smoke Two Joints
In 1982, Mawg (Jean-Christophe Kay) and his brother Sky (Michael Kay) were rooming together in Waikiki. Sky was working as a pedi-cab driver and Mawg was gigging as guitarist/vocalist in the Honolulu-based cover band The Lifters.
In the fall of that year, Mawg and Sky were entertaining some friends who had arrived at their home to party. While jamming on a rootsy groove and improvising lyrics, the hook of Smoke Two Joints came tumbling out to the delight of the party guests.
Seeing the response, Mawg and Sky completed the lyrics the following day while sitting under a large banyan tree on Kuhio Beach. Soon after, Mawg performed Smoke Two Joints with The Lifters. According to Mawg, “From the very first time we played it, the crowd went wild and sang along. We had to play it 5 times that night after the crowd stopped our other songs in mid-performance by chanting 'Smoke Two Joints' louder than we could play.'" The tune had become an instant sensation.
Financed by their mother Paulette Kay, who was living in France at the time, the Kay brothers immediately recorded the song and produced 500 45 RPM vinyl discs. Joining them in the studio and rounding out the trio was 17 year-old Ricci Accardi, a local drummer. Having quit The Lifters, Mawg, Sky and Ricci joined up with singer Mike Dawson to form Tightrope, which they later renamed The Toys.
In late 1983 The Toys received a Cease and Desist letter from Motown Records' legal department threatening a lawsuit over the use of the name "The Toys", who were a signed act of Motown and who had recorded "A Lover's Concerto". Wanting to avoid costly litigation with the recording giant, the brothers decided to change their name. Many permutations of "The Toys" were considered, from "Toïz" to "Play Toys" but, liking the fact that they word "yes" could be part of their name, the band finally decided to simply add an "e", becoming The Toyes.
On December 2, 1982, Mawg, Sky and Ricci went into modest Audio-Media Studios in downtown Honolulu to record Smoke Two Joints and a hastily made-up jam song, Big Fat Mama. The sessions were produced by Mawg and Sky and engineered by the studio's house engineer, Ed Roy. The songs were recorded and mixed that same day, and the master was quickly sent to a vinyl pressing plant on the mainland.
Mawg distributed the 45's at clothing stores, gift shops and convenience stores, as well selling the record out of the trunk of his car at their live shows.
The record soon found its way into the hands of Andy Preston, the Music Director at 98 Rock KPOI-FM, Oahu’s top rock station. That month Smoke Two Joints rocketed past Michael Jackson and Journey for the #1 most requested song and held that position for ten months.
After Dr. Demento's manager, Jay Levey (now Weird Al Yankovic's manager) heard The Toyes while vacationing in Hawaii, he brought the record home to the mainland where Dr. Demento introduced it on Los Angeles rock giant KROQ.
Just as it had in Hawaii, Smoke Two Joints spread across the mainland like wildfire and is still to this day the #1 American Reggae track of all time.