Julian Cope presents JAPROCKSAMPLER.COM

Recent Posts

Miki Curtis – vocals, flute
Tetsu Yamauchi – bass
John Redfern – guitar
Joe Dunnett – guitar, keyboards
Yujin Harada – drums (later-Far East Family Band)

Samurai was a progressive rock outfit formed by singer Miki Curtis from the ashes of his Group Sounds outfit The Samurais. Always a chancer, Curtis cleverly hired two Engish rock musicians and future Free bass player Tetsu Yamauchi, thereafter recording two albums with this ensemble entitled GREEN TEA (1970) and KAPPA (1971).
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Sandii & the Sunsetz were formed by Hawaiian model and DJ Sandii Suzuki in the mid-1970s. However, her new wave-style music is outside the interest of Japrocksampler parameters.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Obscure folk rock group.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Played with Flower Travellin Band on May 6th, 1970. Also appeared at the opening of the Rock Garden Saint Lazare, with Rallizes, Foodbrain, and Brain Police.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Kazuhiko Katoh – guitar, synthesizer, vocal
Mika – vocals
Masayoshi Takanaka – guitar, synthesizer, Mellotron
Rey Ohara – bass, marimba
Yulihiro Takahashi - drums

Ian MacDonald’s NME review at the time said that it made “Iggy and the Stooges sound like the Amadeus String Quartet”! Formed as a supergroup by successful solo artist Kazuhiko Katoh, this band was shit.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Masayoshi Kabe - guitar
Zaleski – flute, piano, guitar
Keibun Hayashi – bass
Jon Yamazaki – drums

After quitting The Golden Cups at the end of 1969, Masayoshi Kabe was listening to bands such as The Fugs, Canned Heat and Detroit’s SRC (the organ-based band led by Scott Richardson of The Rationals). Kabe had entered a hugely psychedelicized period and especially liked SRC ‘because their jackets were pretty mushroomy’. Kabe therefore decided to form a similar improvisational ensemble based on the more loose and bluesy side of Led Zeppelin, The Fugs and Santana. So, along with old friends Keibun Hayashi and Jon Yamazaki, Kabe invited jazz guitarist/flautist Zaleski to join Room. Playing airforce bases and temporarily moving to Kouzu island, the band did no studio recordings during this period of total freedom and, according to Masayoshi Kabe himself, Room appears to have spent a great deal of its time ‘all sniffing paint thinner… We all liked chemicals… I did anything people gave me.”
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Chibo - vocals
Shinki Chen - guitar
George Yanagi - bass
Shinichi Nogi – drums

Powerhouse was a heavy blues combo led by the highly rated guitarist Shinki Chen. Originally named Midnight Express Blues Band, the newly named Powerhouse were persuaded to perform a version of The Beatles' 'Back in the USSR' as their debut single. Despite its inappropriate nature, The Beatles' 'Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da' was next foisted upon them by their record company. Powerhouse chose to record the song as a heavy blues, and their debut LP NEW STYLE OF BLUES - HERE COMES POWERHOUSE was released in April 1969. The band was, however, too heavy for the imploding Group Sounds scene but not original enough to write their own material. Thereafter Shinki went solo then formed Speed Glue and Shinki.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Kenji ‘Julie’ Sawada – vocals
Takayuki Inoue – guitar
Osami ‘Sally’ Kishibe - bass
Katsuo Ohno – keyboards, steel guitar
Hiroshi Oguchi – drums

Pyg was formed in 1971, as a super group, by former Tigers vocalist Kenji ‘Julie’ Sawada. Made up of Sawada and former Tigers drummer Hiroshi Oguchi, plus ex-members of Group Sounds bands The Spiders and The Tempters, Pyg was a highly commercial early ‘70s ‘pretty boy’ rock quintet. Fronted by this extravagantly preening and effeminate former Tigers frontman (sometimes described by the Japanese press as the Japanese David Bowie), and supported by the uber-heavyweight Tanabe management agency, Pyg released very commercial singles and albums to a predominantly female audience, reinforced with contemporary ‘heavy’ cover versions. Inane rock fodder at its worst, and – even at their best - barely slapping together passable renditions of the heavy hits of the day, Pyg LPs should not be touched even with a bargepole. Imagine early Deep Purple’s version of ‘Hush’ performed with a Blackpool Illuminations organ accompaniment and weak-as-shit lead vocalist, and you’re getting somewhere close. Recorded at Tokyo Colosseum on August 16th 1971, and fleshed out with a triple gatefold sleeve and free poster, Pyg’s live double-LP FREE WITH PYG was nevertheless nothing more than a teenage scream-o-thon, containing bland ‘play-by-numbers’ band compositions buoyed up by thumping Smokie-meets-Arrows versions of Randy Newman’s ‘Cowboy’, Screaming Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Put A Spell On You’, Sly’s ‘I Wanna Take You Higher’, and The Rolling Stones’ arrangement of Woody Payne’s ‘Love In Vain’, plus the Stones’ own ‘Sympathy For The Devil’. Capturing the mood of the time, they also managed Elton John’s ‘Bitch’ and ‘Country Comfort’ plus The Bee Gees’ ‘To Love Somebody’. You just don’t need this shit.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Like the mythical Norns who tended the tree of Yggdrasil in The Norse Myths, The Peanuts are an almost supernatural entity in Japanese pop culture, and sit at the roots of it all. For these identical twin sisters – born Hideyo and Tsukiko Ito, on April Fool’s Day 1941 - achieved such sustained international success, both on the charts, in movies and on TV, that they have a cultural status all their own. Leaving their home in the Aichi prefecture in the mid-50s, to work as The Ito Sisters in the huge industrial city of Nagoya, the twins were discovered by Japan’s foremost music impresario Sho Watanabe, founder of the Watanabe Pro management company that was later to have such impact on the Group Sounds scene. In 1958, Watanabe re-named the sisters Emi and Yumi, and brought them to Tokyo to co-present THE HIT PARADE TV show with former Elvis wannabe Miki Curtis. In the Tokyo media world, the Ito sisters were embraced and nicknamed The Peanuts because of their diminutive size; and manager Sho Watanabe noted that as Emi Ito had a mole next to her left eye, so sister Yumi should draw one in the same place to reinforce their sense of similarity. In 1959, the twins made their first recording as The Peanuts, and had instant hits with ‘Kawaii Hana (Cute Flower)’ and ‘Jyonetsu Hana (Passion Flower)’. Their own TV series SHABONDAMA HOLIDAY (‘soap bubble holiday’) followed, named for their detergent company sponsors; and they gained massive fame throughout the Far East in 1961, when they sang the theme tune to Ishira Honda’s classic monster movie MOTHRA, concerning a monster moth worshipped as a Goddess by the island people over whom she presides. The Peanuts, while still co-hosting the TV series, then had another massive hit with ‘Koi No Balansu (Vacation Of Love)’ in 1963, and were befriended by the German singer Caterina Valente, who performed their latest song when she appeared on their programme. When The Peanuts reciprocated by covering several of Valente’s songs, their versions became successful in Germany, which led to performances on variety shows across Europe and even in America, where they appeared on both Ed Sullivan’s and Danny Kaye’s TV shows. In 1964, The Peanuts topped the charts with the theme song for the new blockbuster movie MOTHRA VERSUS GODZILLA, and furthered their mythical cause by appearing in the movie as two tiny shobijn, beautiful underworld characters just twelve inches tall, who had a telepathic connection to the mighty Mothra. More hits followed in the year ahead with ‘Koi No Fuga (Love Fugue)’, ‘Sayonara Wa Totsuzen (Goodbye Was Too Sudden)’, and the 1965 theme song of the third Mothra movie GHIDORAH, THE THREE HEADED MONSTER. In the meantime, The Peanuts continued to present their long-running TV series, on which Emi met her future husband singer Kenji ‘Julie’ Sawada of Group Sounds superstars The Tigers. However, The Peanuts’ TV show was finally cancelled in 1972, and, after the inevitable round of geino kai (celebrity appearances), The Peanuts officially retired from show business with a farewell appearance on Nihon TV, on May 25th 1975.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007