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Double life gets double acclaim

Forest Grove bank teller wins big with DK Band in online YouTube contest


by: COURTESY PHOTO: DK BAND - A mild-mannered bank teller by day, Travis Stine rocks out on his ukelele by night with DK Band.Travis Stine has a double life. And right now, both sides happen to be getting rave reviews.

On the one hand, the 23-year-old bank teller was recently voted “Most Popular Teller” at the Forest Grove branch of Bank of the West.

On the other hand, Stine — and his DK Band — recently won “Yahoo!-A-Palooza,” a nationwide YouTube “battle of the bands” video contest.

With one foot planted firmly in the workaday world and the other in the musical sphere, Stine is pleased about both accolades.

His musical life started early, inspired by his father’s guitar playing, as well as listening to The Beatles, James Taylor, and Fleetwood Mac.

At age 13, while living in Hawaii, he discovered a ukulele in his grandmother’s house. His mother, always an enthusiastic supporter, taught him how to play “Heart and Soul” on it.

That was the beginning.

His respect for the ukulele is still evolving and he cherishes his own custom-made rosewood version, crafted by his girlfriend’s father. by: COURTESY PHOTO: DK BAND - The group recently won a nationwide YouTube contest and will be opening for Counting Crows in San Francisco Dec. 7.

Stine is largely self-taught, listening and endlessly rewinding CDs of ukulele virtuosos such as Troy Fernandez and Jake Shimabukuro, sometimes marveling at the instrument: “Hey, I didn’t know it could do that.”

DK Band began after Stine met fellow musicians Alex Taimanao and J. Jury at Pacific University, where they started jamming together. Over time, the band has evolved to include Dane Lum Ho on lead guitar, Shawn Hames on bass, Pete Gibson on drums, Jacob Potter on sax, and Bjorn Carlson on Trombone.

Stine describes DK’s sound as a fusion of hip-hop, jazz, rhythm and blues and even some reggae, all coming together in a funky upbeat sound.

by: COURTESY PHOTO: DK BAND - Travis Stine at work in Forest Grove's Bank of the West.The band’s award-winning performance of “Good Times” is available by searching for “DK Band” at youtube.com. It’s the first segment to pop up and runs 2:28 minutes.

Stine said there’s a little crossover between bank telling and performing in a band. Both activities allow him to work with people he really likes. But making music is a tad more exciting, he said, especially with chances for improvisation.

He is now studying five-string banjo, listening to the sounds of Béla Fleck, and preparing for an upcoming show in San Francisco.

DK Band, which rehearses twice a week in an industrial building in Portland, will open for the Grammy Award-winning Counting Crows for the Dec. 7 Yahoo! Year-End Party.




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