Tribal Theory

Nico Tuilesu: Vocals | Seuko Hawkins: Vocals | Rudy Duenas: Bass guitar | Peter Cruz: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals | Brian Baker: Drums

Genre: Blues & Soul, Hip-Hop & Rap, Reggae & Ska, Rock, World

RIYL: Iration, J Boog, Anuhea, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Common Kings, Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Damien Marley, Hirie, Tribal Seeds

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Inception: San Diego, 2005

Ex-Band Members: AJ Blount, Vocals Ku Hawkins, Vocals Dominic Blas, Ukulele, Vocals Rich Duenas, Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) Mike Paulino, Bass guitar Paul Bowen, Keyboards Robert Lemos, Drums Benjah Guzman, Keyboards

Influences: Bob Marley, Sublime, Steel Pulse, Katchafire, John Legend, Sean Paul, Iration, Rebelution, UB40, Ekolu, Fiji, SDIB, SOJA, Island Irie, the Wailing Souls, Barrington Levy, Ziggy Marley, Ky-Mani Marley, Rebel Soujahz


Based in southeast San Diego, the three original members of Tribal Theory (A.J. Blount, Dominic Blas, and Richard Duenas) began as dancers in the Polynesian dance troup Kaleo O'Nalani. They also performed with a Guamanian cultural dance group, Imahen Taotao Tano. The players picked up their first guitar and ukulele in the backyards of their teachers and instructors, jamming by the makeshift bonfires and smoking barbecue pits.

Originally known as Last Minute, singer Seuko “Ku” Hawkins joined and they evolved into Tribal Theory, with singer/drummer Nico Tuilesu, and keyboardist Paul Bowen. Several members cite roots in Guam.

“We were inspired by the Temptations and Earth, Wind & Fire,” says Nico Tuilesu, one of Tribal Theory’s three lead singers. “AJ [Aberary] is the more soulful one. Seuko [Hawkins] is more hip-hop. I handle the pop end. We don’t have one main singer.”

Since 2005, the group has opened for One Drop, New Zealand reggae band Katchafire, dancehall artist Collie Buddz, and bands with roots in Hawaii like Iration, Natural Vibrations, Ekolu, and Ten Feet.

A self-titled debut EP was released in May 2011, recorded at Quino’s Catacumba Studio, then mixed and mastered by Wendell Ching. That summer, they played the San Diego stop of the Vans Warped Tour. Later in 2011, bassist Mike Paulino was replaced by Peter Cruz, who had recently moved to San Diego from Guam. An early 2012 single “DeJaVu” was followed by a tour of Guam.

Their debut full-length Hell of a Night was released in August 2012, winning Best World Music Album at the October 2013 San Diego Music Awards.

By 2014, co-founding members Dominic Blas and Richard Duenas had left the band, leaving A.J. Blount as the sole original member. Their Mr.2Nite Fall Tour ran through the end of November, when they wrapped up in Seattle, Washington with Hawaiian singer Anuhea.

Dominic Blas turned up the following year in WhataGuam, featuring Jason J of Mighty Mellow Massive. After sole founding member Blount left Tribal Theory, the revised 2015 lineup featured Nico Tuliesu (vocals), Seuko Hawkins (vocals), Peter Cruz (guitar, vocals), Rudy Duenas (bass), and Benjah Guzman (keyboards).

The band recorded their Reclamation EP in 2016 with Jesse Barrera of My American Heart, with a single called "Burnin'" released that January. A new single appeared the following year, "Part Time Lovers." In 2018, the lineup featured Nico Tuliesu, Peter Cruz, Rudy Duenas, Ku Hawkins, and newest member, drummer Brian Baker.


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