Monday, May 23, 2011

0 SHOW PREVIEW: Guitar Wolf at El Corazon

I love Japanese punk rock! I love the energy, I love the hyperactivity, and even though I don't often understand the words, the Japanese language has an incredible cadence behind fuzzy guitars and thundering drums.

On Tuesday May 24th, the Godfathers of Japanese Punk Rock, Guitar Wolf is making a rare Seattle appearance. Guitar Wolf's "Hoochie Coochie Space Men Tour 2011" will stop at El Corazon, and I can't wait!!

In Japan, Guitar Wolf is one of the biggest bands in the country. They are known as the kings of "Jet Rock and Roll". Their style is much like a jet, very quick to take off and then BAM! into the stratosphere. Imagine giving The Ramones super strength and a hit of speed, then turning them loose on stage, that's Guitar Wolf.

On Tuesday, I'm gonna sacrifice some sleep and head to the show, not only because I love Guitar Wolf's music, but also to confirm some rumors. I've heard Guitar Wolf will sometimes play a full power-packed set without stopping. Another rumor has it that Guitar Wolf uses specially designed microphones that spray fire, and travel with a giant illuminated backdrop. Cool!

A ton of other legends and myths surround Guitar Wolf. One of the most popular legends is Guitar Wolf is the reason for the inception of Goner Records. Story goes, Eric Friedl, the founder of Goner Records, was so awestruck by a live Guitar Wolf performance in Memphis, that he contacted Guitar Wolf's Japanese record label Less Than TV. Friedl, founder of the Memphis band Oblivions, asked to release and promote Guitar Wolf's LP "Wolf Rock!" in the United States. Guitar Wolf agreed and Goner Records was born. Goner Records would later release music by the legendary Jay Reatard, King Khan and BBQ Show, Box Elders, and many more.

Guitar Wolf was formed in 1987 by friends Seiji, Billy, and Narita in Nagasaki, Japan. Since then Guitar Wolf has released 14 full length albums, 15 singles, and appeared on numerous compilations. In 2000, Guitar Wolf starred as themselves in a Japanese "Rock 'n Roll Zombie Horror" movie titled "Wild Zero". In the movie, Guitar Wolf must defend themselves from crazed fans, fight zombies and fend off an alien invasion. The movie would eventually achieve cult classic status and launch the directing career of Tetsuro Takeuchi.

As if a Guitar Wolf performance wasn't enough, one of my favorite local Seattle bands, Jaguar Paw, is opening up the show. Jaguar Paw is a rockin' poppy band with a spectacular front woman, Heather Jane who dances around like Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club, but screams and sings like Joan Jett. Totally rockin!!

I can't wait to see one of my bucket list bands, Guitar Wolf. In general, Japanese audiences are difficult to impress. Since, Guitar Wolf is dubbed, The Kings of Japanese "Jet Rock and Roll", you can probably bet the rock show is gonna rule. And who knows, Guitar Wolf's live show might be so inspirational, they might inspire you to start your own record label.

Guitar Wolf:
Jaguar Paw:

By Mark Ostler


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