Three architecture college students from UFRGS, Humberto Gessinger (vocal and guitar), Carlos Maltz (drums) and Marcelo Pitz (bass) decided to form a band for a show in a college festival. That performance brought invitations to do new shows and after some gigs in alternative venues in Porto Alegre and a series along Rio Grande do Sul's country region, the Engenheiros do Hawaii recorded their first solo album: Longe Demais das Capitais (Too Far Away from the Capitals) in 1986 (the first recording was a compilation with several local bands, called "Rock Grande do Sul" in 1986). The record's musical direction pointed towards a more New Wave sound, very close to the sound of bands like The Police and Paralamas do Sucesso. It includes the songs "Toda Forma de Poder" (Every Form of Power) and "Sopa de Letrinhas" (Alphabet Soup).
Before they got around to recording the second album, Marcelo Pitz left the band. In his place was recruited the guitarist Augusto Licks, who had worked with Nei Lisboa, a known local musician. With Gessinger assuming the bass the Engenheiros released the album A Revolta dos Dândis (Rise of the Dandies) in 1987. The band changed their sound, turning to a more Bob Dylan-ish, folk mood, with critical lyrics with literature quotes from philosophers such as Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. It brought the hits "Infinita Highway" (Infinite Highway), "Terra de Gigantes" (Giants' Land), "Refrão de Bolero" (Bolero Chorus) and the title track, divided in two parts. By this time they had begun to play gigs to greater audiences in the center of the country, like the Alternativa Nativa festival, between 14 and 17 June 1987.
From this date, the Engenheiros filled halls and stadia all over Brazil. The following album, Ouça o Que eu Digo: Não Ouça Ninguém (Listen to Me: Don't Listen to Anyone) of 1988 can be seen as a natural succession from the previous one, due both to the album coverwork and the theme and style of its songs. Well-known songs from this album include "Somos Quem Podemos Ser" (We Are Who We Can Be), "Nunca Se Sabe" (You Never Know), "Tribos & Tribunais" (Tribes & Tribunals) and "Variações Sobre o Mesmo Tema" (Variations Over The Same Theme), the last one being a tribute to Pink Floyd, with its progressive mood and being split in three parts. This album also marked the time that the Engenheiros relocated from the city of Porto Alegre to Rio de Janeiro. With the new formation settled, the Engenheiros released Alívio Imediato (Immediate Relief), of 1989, their fourth album and the first live one. It showcased a retrospective of their main songs and the new ideas leading to a more electronic sound, present in the title track and in the song "Nau à Deriva" (Carrack Out Of Route).
The following album, O Papa é Pop (The Pope is Pop), from 1990 consolidated the band's change of sound. Fuelled by the success of "Era Um Garoto Que Como Eu Amava os Beatles e os Rolling Stones" (He Was a Boy that, Like Me, Loved the Beatles and the Rolling Stones or, in the original Italian title, C'era un ragazzo che come me amava i Beatles e i Rolling Stones), a new recording of an old song from 60's group Os Incríveis, this album tried out a progressive sound, with Licks's guitar solos and a more electronic base of keyboards and drums. He is the author of the songs "O Exército de um Homem Só" (The One-Man Army)--also split in two parts--"Pra Ser Sincero" (To Be Honest), "Perfeita Simetria" (Perfect Symmetry) and the title track. Acclaimed by the people and bashed by the critics, the Engenheiros do Hawaii left their mark in Rock in Rio II, earning praises from even The New York Times. The following year would see the band's next release, Várias Variáveis (Many Variables), that failed to repeat its predecessor's success, even with songs well-known to fans like "Piano Bar", "Muros & Grades" (Walls and Bars) and "Herdeiro da Pampa Pobre" (Heir of the Poor Pampa), cover version from a Gaúcho da Fronteira song.
In 1992, a brand-new album, Gessinger, Licks & Maltz, or GLM for short (a homage to Emerson, Lake & Palmer). Their sound kept on mixing MPB, Milonga and progressive elements, most noticeably in the tracks "Pampa no Walkman" (Pampa With a Walkman), "Ninguém = Ninguém" (Nobody = Nobody, or extensively, no one is like anyone) and "Parabólica" (Parabolic), a song composed by Gessinger in homage to his daughter, Clara. Their follow-up release is a semi-acoustic album: Filmes de Guerra, Canções de Amor (War Movies, Love Songs), from 1993, recorded live in Sala Cecília Meirelles, Rio de Janeiro. With acoustic guitars, percussion, piano and guesting the Brazilian Symphonic Orchestra, scored by Wagner Tiso, old songs like "Muros & Grades" and "Crônica" (Chronicle) and new works like "Mapas do Acaso" (Maps of Randomness) and "Realidade Virtual" (Virtual Reality) sounded cooler and highlighted the quality of Gessinger's songwriting.
The year 1993 also marked the first tours to Japan and the United States. Unfortunately, towards the end of this year, an internal rift resulted in Augusto Licks leaving the band. There began a long legal dispute over the ownership of the name “Engenheiros do Hawaii," with Gessinger and Maltz finally winning control of the name. The next step was to rebuild the Engenheiros, with the addition of a guitarist, Ricardo Horn. Afterwards two new members joined the band - Paolo Casarin (accordion and keyboards) and another guitarist Fernando Deluqui (ex-RPM). After two years without recording, Engenheiros released Simples de Coração (Naïve at Heart), towards the end of 1995. The sound was heavier, with a regional flavour given to it by the accordion of Casarin. Standout tracks were "A Promessa" (The Promise), "Lance de Dados" (A Cast of Dice) and "Simples de Coração". Towards the end of this period, Maltz decided to leave the band, resulting in a new crisis in the band.
Gessinger returned to Porto Alegre, and with two friends, Luciano Granja (guitar) and Adal Fonseca (drums), formed the band Gessinger Trio. Later, they produced the album Humberto Gessinger Trio in 1996. The key points of the disc cover Gessinger's early works, such as the songs "Vida Real" (Real Life), "O Preço" (The Price) and "A Ferro e Fogo" (By Iron and Fire). In reality it is "an album by Engenheiros without the name Engenheiros do Hawaii", in Gessinger's words. They proved themselves the next year when Granja, Adal, and Gessinger re-assumed the name Engenheiros do Hawaii.
For their 1997 album Minuano (no certain translation; minuano is the name given to the breezes that blow over the pampas), which marked the return of Engenheiros, a new keyboardist, Lucio Dorfman, joined the band. The disc, which mixed regional influences and critical lyrics by Gessinger, combining the success of "A Montanha" (The Mountain), as well as other songs such as "Nuvem" (Cloud) and "Alucinação" (Hallucination), a cover of an old tune by MPB singer Belchior. The follow-up, Tchau Radar! (Bye Bye Radar!), from 1999, showed a more mature Engenheiros, with tunes considered beautiful by fans, like "Eu Que Não Amo Você" (It's Me Who Don't Love You) and "3 x 4" (roughly translated as ID Photo - 3x4 is its popular name in Brazil, referring to its measurements in centimeters), and two covers: "Negro Amor" (Black Love), a version of Bob Dylan's It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, and "A Cruzada" (The Crusade). Afterwards, they released their third live recording, and the twelfth album of their career: 10.000 Destinos (that might mean 10,000 Destinations or 10,000 Fates).
Then, Gessinger went back of the back catalogue of the band and wrote new songs, amongst them covers of "Rádio Pirata" (Pirate Radio, by RPM, with their frontman Paulo Ricardo guesting) and "Quando o Carnaval Chegar" (When Carnival Comes, by Chico Buarque). Renato Borghetti was prominent in new versions of two hits: "Toda Forma de Poder" and "Refrão de Bolero". Some months after their performance in Rock in Rio III, Lucio, Adal and Luciano left the band to form Massa Crítica, changing once again the formation of Engenheiros.
After this parting, Lucio, Adal and Luciano were replaced by Paulinho Galvão (rhythm guitar), Bernardo Fonseca (bass) and Gláucio Ayala (drums). Gessinger took back the lead guitar, after playing bass for fourteen years in the band. With this new lineup, they re-recorded various previous tracks by the band and released 10.001 Destinos. The sound is cleaner, but also a bit heavier. In 2002, a more nostalgic phase of the band was started, with the release of Surfando Karmas e DNA (Surfing Over Karmas and DNA), with the participation of ex-band members, especially Carlos Maltz on "E-stória" (E-story). Standout tracks for this album include "Esportes Radicais" (Extreme Sports) and "Terceira do Plural" (Plural Third (Person)). The following album, Dançando no Campo Minado (Dancing on the Mine Field), from 2003, continued the theme: short tracks, heavy guitar and critical lyrics of Gessinger denouncing the perils of globalization - in "Fusão a Frio" (Cold Fusion) -, war - "Dançando em Campo Minado" - and showing disillusionment with politics and ideology - in "Segunda Feira Blues" (Monday Blues), divided in two parts -, the last one featuring contributions from Carlos Maltz. However, the most successful track of this album was catchy pop-rock theme "Até o Fim" (Till The End).
To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the band in 2004, Engenheiros do Hawaii released a disc from an MTV Unplugged session. Special guests on this session were Fernando Aranha (acoustic guitar), Humberto Barros (Hammond organ) and Carlos Maltz (singing "Depois de Nós" (After Us), which he wrote in his solo career), Gessinger presented new versions of classics like "Infinita Highway" and "O Papa é Pop". Other tracks are "Pose", with contributions from Clara, Gessinger's daughter, and songs from the Gessinger Trio era (like "O Preço" and "Vida Real"), which had already been incorporated to the EngHaw official material.
After the success of the unplugged DVD, the band, reformed by Humberto Gessinger, with the loss of the guitarist Paulinho Galvão who went on to other projects, carried on with new additions Fernando Aranha on strings, and the young musician Pedro Augusto on keyboards.
Now, the band is looking back to their glorious time in the late-80's and early-90's, with some old hit songs, barely altered from their original versions, being played in shows. The acoustic phase can be counted as one of the greatest successes of the band in recent years. Moving forward from 2006, the band has promised a new album sometime in the first quarter of 2007.Longe Demais das Capitais (1986)
A Revolta dos Dândis (1987)
Ouça O Que Eu Digo, Não Ouça Ninguém (1988)
Alívio Imediato (1989)
O Papa é Pop (1990)
Várias Variáveis (1991)
Gessinger, Licks & Maltz (1992)
Filmes Guerra, Canções De Amor (1993)
Simples de Coração (1995)
Humberto Gessinger Trio (1996) 1
Tchau Radar! (1999)
10.000 Destinos (2000)
10.001 Destinos (2001)
Surfando Karmas & DNA (2002)
Dançando no Campo Minado (2003)
Novos Horizontes - Acústico (2007)