Tuesday, June 21, 2011

TOKYO TRASHVILLE revisted, Bruce Milne at SWANK & The Stompin' Riffraffs new release!

Looking back to my college days there were three compilations that got me interested in the Japanese garage punk scene of the early 90's. In no particular order they are Wacky Wild Gift, a Benten label sampler with all girl bands; Hodge Podge Barrage Vol.2, a mix of 90's era Japanese and American garage punk bands compiled by 1+2 Records... And last but not nearly least, Tokyo Trashville, released by Australia's Au-Go-Go Records with a selection of thrilling Japanese tunes hand-picked by label owner Bruce Milne & DJ Hiroshi Sekiguchi of the hit record hop SWANK. Trashville was my first taste of Guitar Wolf and Teengenerate, both of whom do tributes to the Ramones with "Kung Fu Ramone" and "Johnny & Dee Dee," respectively as well as girl garage groups the 5678's and Supersnazz and a number of bands I have seen in some form since coming to Japan to discover the scene for myself and carve out a niche of my own. In fact, I dare to think of my own label Swamp Fiction as a "Child of Trashville!"

While I had the excellent fortune to catch Teengenerate on their 2005 reunion in New York, the first Trashville band I saw in Japan after moving here was Jackie & the Cedrics, who do "Squad Car" on the comp. I still go crazy when I hear them play this frantic ride live! (Incidentally, the inimitable Rockin' Jelly Bean did the cover art Tokyo Trashville, as well as the other aforementioned comps). During this honeymoon period of mine, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Sekiguchi-san himself and also went to a couple of his SWANK DJ parties in Tokyo. As I started getting more deeply involved in the scene, I had the nice opportunity to invite the man himself to DJ at my own "House of Mystery" rockin' frat house Christmas party at Club Heavy Sick, which was, by the way, great fun! Then the rumors started coming to a head... Au-Go-Go Records' Bruce Milne was coming to Japan to spin records at SWANK, needless to say, I promised Sekiguchi-san I'd be there or be considered square!

(Hiroshi Sekiguchi, Wayne Manor, Bruce Milne)

When I arrived at Green Apples, the site of the alleged SWANK rockin' party, I was ushered almost directly to Bruce's table by the kindly giant DJ Wild Ox and sat down for a quick chat. I found Bruce very amiable listening to me babble on about my own endeavors, err foibles, into the Japanese garage scene while we listened to the cool rock 'n' roll tunes on the turntables and waited for the bands to play. The place was small dimly lit and the bill was perfect. Lonely rocker Taka-rock & One Man Heartbreakers opened the show with his oldies covers and jovial personality. The spectacular Stompin' Riff Raffs played a fun-filled set (more on them later!) and I was honored to see that Swamp Fiction's own Theee Bat was the headliner! Yet again I was reluctant to take the last train home, but I was lucky to get a couple snaps with Hiroshi & Bruce before the nite was up.

That nite I was also prodded with the new Stompin' Riff Raffs album "Horror Show" by their sociable bass player Rie and took home a stack with me which are now available at Pacifiction Records! Before "Stompin'," as they are known by familiars, played I asked Bruce if he had seen them before and he recounted an amusing anecdote involving Hiroshi in which he pleaded with him over dinner to get him to drop his chopsticks and get him over to the live house and catch their set... upon reviewing the new CD I found this exact scenario scribed in the liner notes! Just to say a little something about the new album, Stompin' Riff Raff's first effort pays homage to a unique era of early sixties rockabilly & frat rock hybrid style that historically falls in between the fall of the leather jacket greaser and the emergence of the shaggy-haired primitive 60's punk. There's a number of covers including a well-done version of the legendary Ron Haydock's "99 Chicks" as well as the bands original material largely penned by wildman Nao and finely executed by his masked entourage of chicks! Expect a good measure of Nao's rippin' riffs, rhythmic thumpin' by Rie and drummer Saori and some keyboard poundin' by Miku, not to mention little wrigglin' theremin, and if you really try hard you can imagine Saori brightly smilin' throughout each track!

This last bit is a big arigato to all who have made me feel welcome in this very real Tokyo Trashville I set out to discover! Ya'll know who you are & I keep looking forward to more great times with each stompin' weekend!

1 comment:

maru said...

Please watch the movie! Japanese rock'n roll band. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYNHLxRDUe8