Lucky Lizard Band are ‘musical chameleons’ of Hawaii Island

  • The Lucky Lizard Band performs covers of a wide range of musical acts, such as the Beatles, the Eagles, Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. (Karen Rose/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • The Lucky Lizard Band performs covers of a wide range of musical acts, such as the Beatles, the Eagles, Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. (Karen Rose/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • From left, Tony Chelte, Colleen McDonald, and Pali Wengren from the Lucky Lizard Band. (Karen Rose/Special to West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Almost everyone has heard of Dead Heads, the fans of the American rock band The Grateful Dead. Now, Hawaii Island has its own group of band loyalists who call themselves Lizard Heads, followers of the local musical group, the Lucky Lizard Band.

Formed in 2014, the Lucky Lizard Band quartet has grown in popularity across the island, performing for clubs, benefit events, parties and weddings. The band is made up of Tommy Chelte, Pali Wengren, Colleen McDonald and Adrian Hindin. Their focus is to entertain their fans and have fun.


“We perform a wide range of music,” said Wengren, who plays guitar and bass for the band. “We do a lot of classics like the Beatles, the Eagles, and Jimmy Buffet. We also play Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. We’re musical chameleons, just as our name suggests.”

Combining humor with classic songs from various genres such as country, blues and rock and roll, has increased the band’s popularity across the island. The band sometimes chooses songs that were not necessarily at the top of the charts, yet they feel they are worth featuring in their set list.

“We look for hidden gems, those treasures in music that have a great feeling about them,” said Wengren. “It may be a song you haven’t heard in a long time, like a Beatles song from 30 or 40 years ago. It’s sort of a fond memory for people to jump back in time. Or we may dig up a song people have never heard before and hopefully we are passing on the joy of discovery to our audiences.”

Adrian Hindin, who plays bass and steel guitar for Lucky Lizard, enjoys the response they get when people recognize an old song they love.

“It’s great to see the look on peoples’ faces when they recognize a favorite song they haven’t heard for a long time,” he said. “More often than not, the song is associated with good times in their lives and it brings an immediate smile.”

Texas-born Colleen McDonald enjoys the intimacy of playing in small island venues. “We love playing places like the Hana Hou in Naalehu, where you can get into the audience, and where people can enjoy the music over a meal in a casual, warm setting,” she said. “There’s an intimacy there that’s missing in many musical encounters these days.”

Lucky Lizard also enjoys playing for visitors to the island and helping make their experience in Hawaii a positive one.


“It is truly rewarding when we can positively contribute to visitor’s time on the island during their vacation” said guitar player, Tony Chelte. “I especially enjoy playing at the Keaau Eagles Club because we can cut loose with more a more driving beat. It’s a totally different type of energy and we love the dancing and the dancers.”

The Lucky Lizard band is currently working on their website. To find where they are playing, contact Tony at

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