Julian Cope presents JAPROCKSAMPLER.COM

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Keiji Heino's large ouevre falls outside the timescales of Japrocksampler, despite his having spent considerable time in Tokyo's avant-garde scene of the late '60s and early '70s.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
This studio project, released on Victor Records in 1971, was the brainchild of future Free/Faces bass player Tetsu Yamauchi and Haruo Chikada, whose long career stretches from the Kyoto protests of 1971 to his DJ exploits of today, via his strange band Haruophnone-Biburasuton. The LP sleeve was styled like Miles Davis' hip street corner ON THE CORNER/BIG FUN period, populated with funky occidental dudes and dudettes.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
I've never heard this band, but internet bloggers claim that they recorded at least one album, ‘FULUKOTOFUMI’, which is reputedly progressive.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
I personally know nothing of this very obscure group, except that they recorded at least one album, FUMANZOKU, which bloggers claim 'contains psychedelic rock'. However, as I've been burned by umpteen Japanese ebayers using that term, I'd suggest you hear it before you purchase a copy.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
This duo was formed at the end of 1971 by future Far East Family Band vocalist Fumio Miyashita and ex-Launchers guitarist Osamu Kitajima, whose previous project had been the English freakbeat-styled Justin Heathcliff. Their sole LP SHINCHUGOKO ('New China') is discussed on page 239 of Japrocksampler.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Akira Fuse was a debonair '60s pop star whose story is central to Japrocksampler, and is told in detail throughout the length of the book. His finest contribution to Japanese music is undoubtedly as lead singer on the King Records LP LOVE WILL MAKE A BETTER YOU by Love Live Life +1. This record appears at number 6 in Japrocksampler's Top 50.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
The early career of Keiji Haino is well catalogued in Japrocksampler, and his ostrasism from Japanese rock society appears to have lasted beyond the mid-1970s. Fushitsusha are a power trio whose career was best known during the 1990s. However, Haino now claims that the original Fushitsusha were rehearsing if not performing by the late 1970s. One release appeared on the PSF label, typically clad in Haino's all-black, and bearing these words:

‘Endlessly scattering the people fragments that must have been’.

‘Sooner or later they will want to huddle together’.

‘The numerous fragments that got out of myself, ‘Thinking: Things Shouldn’t Have Been Like This’

Each One Of Them Drag Out, Expose, Bring Forth Further Editions Of Myself’.

‘PRETEND TO BE ME’

‘The untranslatable act that brings the impossible (such as pretending to be me) closer to the possible, in order to send a letter of challenge to the subject called eternity, I continue to persist in this untranslateable act and carry on living.’
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Masumi ‘Vocal’ Ono – vocals
Momoru ‘Mark’ Horiuchi – vocals
Tomiaki Hidaka – vocals, guitar

Best known for their 1973 hit 'Gakuseigai No Kissaten' (Café In A Student Town), Garo was a poppy folk trio who had very long hair and perpetually wore sunglasses. They all came out of the university folk scene, although Masumi Ono and Momoru Horiuchi both made their name in HAIR, playing the same character ‘Wolf’. Garo was named by their powerful manager, who took his inspiration from a hip discotheque in the Kawara-machi area of Kanuma City. Before joining the cast of ‘HAIR’, Masumi Ono had been an early member of Tokyo Kid Brothers, where he wsas known by the two stage names ‘Christ’ and ‘George’. In April 1971, the three received a major break playing at the famous festival ‘Rock Invitation Number One’, at the Hibiya Outdoor Hall, alongside Murahatchibu, Blues Creation, Too Much, Carmen Maki, Blind Bird, M and Tadashi Kosaka. Garo also supported Murahatchibu in July ‘71, performing alongside Blues Creation and Escape. With these cool underground credentials under their belt, they proceeded to make several very catchy singles, scoring hits in 1973 with 'Kimi No Tanjobi' (Your Birthday) and 'Romansu' (Romance), and the aforementioned ‘Café In A Student Town’. Garo broke up in December 1975.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Hideto Kano – guitar, vocals (ex-M)
Masayuki ‘Mahbo’ Aoki – bass (ex-Too Much)
Ryoichi ‘Ryo-chan’ Nakano – drums, synthesizer

Formed by ex-members of early '70s festival stalwarts the M and Too Much, Gedo was a power trio whose biker fans followed them from bar to bar, making each gig into a show of ritual, full of euphoric moments, in-jokes and surprising outbursts of extreme collective male melancholy. With songs full of lyrics evoking images of hell, despair, pig’s flesh and fool’s paradises (sic), Gedo's early LPs were sparsely-produced by Mickey Curtis, who kept intact the band's furious Born-to-be-Wild rush of proto-Ramones. Unfortunately, like other such mid-'70s hard rockers (think Bang, think Pink Fairies, think Dust), Gedo's albums nowadays suffer from too much variety. However, their debut LP appears at number 30 in Japrocksampler's Top 50, and the band is discussed further in the book's brief essay 'Gedo & the Rise of the Festival Bands' (pages 130-131).
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Named in English 'Yamashiro’s Performing Arts Group', Geino Yamashirogumi was a massive vocal ensemble comprised of up to 70 singers at a time. The ensemble was joined on side one of their 1976 debut LP by the Spiders' organist Katsuo Ohno and 'Monsieur' Takayuki Inoue on some particularly incendiary electric guitar, along with bass player Takanori Sasaki and drummer Jiro Suzuki, conspiring to create a thrilling and soaring hybrid of Krautrock, Gospel and swampy Cajun music. Side two's bizarre early Residents-like vocal chimping and LORD OF THE FLIES prattle was almost (but not quite) as great. Named OSOREZAN after the legendary sacred mountain on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, this debut LP is a spectacular achievement and appears at number 8 in Japrocksampler's Top 50. Thereafter, Geino Yamashirogumi unfortunately lost 'it', their muse being substituted instead for a series of bizarre 'genre' LPs. The second LP CHI NO HIBIKI was merely an accurate reading of several Georgian, Russian and Bulgarian folk songs, most likely without interest to anyone still on this mortal coil, and certainly back up on ebay just two days after our postie had delivered it. Five years later, the third LP AFRICA GENSHO was released, though the title freaked me* out so I've never attempted to search it out. In conclusion, we rock'n'roll frontiersmen just have to accept that in order to find the greatest lost Japanese music, we're gonna have to become ever more open-minded about the places where we search. A further tour of underground Japan will undoubtedly bring forth umpteen more lost classics from the most unlikely places, as evidenced by the unexpected classics lurking within theatre music, street music and the like.

* In the early 1970s, Japanese attitudes to Africans can best be illustrated by the behaviour of Murahatchibu's lead guitarist Fujio Yamagauchi, who went to such lengths to emulate his hero Chuck Berry that he appeared in blackface for one press shot.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007