Julian Cope presents JAPROCKSAMPLER.COM

Kuni Kawachi

Beginning his career in the Group Sounds act The Happenings Four, keyboard player Kuni Kawachi will nevertheless probably always be best remembered for his writing contributions to Tokyo Kid Brothers’ version of THROW AWAY THE BOOKS, WE’RE GOING OUT ON THE STREETS, and also for his prescient employment of Flower Travellin’ Band members on his first LP KIRIKYOGEN. Indeed, despite the strung out elegance of that solo record having spanned several genres, the appearance on lead vocals of Akira ‘Joe’ Yamanaka has guaranteed KIRIKYOGEN a rightful place in rock’n’roll history, and a more genuinely listenable Japrock art statement you’d be hard pressed to find. Moreover, Kawachi’s early version of Flower’s ‘Map’ is, to some ears, even better than the later ‘original’. For his second LP, 1972’s LOVE SUKI DAIKIRAI, Kawachi turned to the ubiquitous Jun ‘Kimio’ Mizutani, former teen raver with garage band Out Cast, whose lead guitar had informed such legendary LPs as People’s BUDDHA MEETS ROCK and LOVE WILL MAKE A BETTER YOU by Love Live Life +1. Mizutani’s own highly rated solo album A PATH THROUGH HAZE was co-written by Masahiko Satoh along with Kawachi, whose painting is featured across the gatefold inner. In his later years, Kawachi moved north to become a farmer in Hokkaido, keeping his musical hand in writing TV commercials. A couple of years ago, his old Group Sounds band reformed, and are said to have played Kawachi’s KIRIKYOGEN in its entirety.

Julian Cope
  • KIRIKYOGEN (Capitol, 1970)
  • LOVE SUKI DAIRKIRAI (Capitol, 1972)

  • Kuni Kawachi 
- My Heart Remains Frozen (1978)
Posted by The Pole of Justice, Jan 16, 2009
The Happenings reFourmed
"A couple of years ago, his old Group Sounds band reformed, and are said to have played Kawachi’s KIRIKYOGEN in its entirety."

I went to The Happenings Four gig at UFO Club in Jan 2007. Sorry Julian, I don't know what songs they played, but I can tell you that they were absolutely awful. They spent as much time talking between songs as playing, which is something some Japanese bands are prone to do and is a huge no no as far I'm concerned, but here it was almost a blessing as the music was just horrendous. I remember several years ago borrowing a GS comp from a friend and it was just unlistenable (nothing like what I knew as GS); I didn't note the artists on it at the time, but The Happenings Four live were very much of the same ilk. I'm not talking about such lesser inconsequential but still listenable GS such as say The Wild Ones, who actually I enjoyed quite a lot when I saw them at Loft last year; I'm talking unspeakably bad, and I had to leave half-way through their set (missing the last band) because it was just beyond enduring.
Posted by asiamiles, Apr 29, 2008
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