I’m going to piss off some people!
There’s this idea – both in japan AND in the west – that if you say you’re ‘into Japanese punk’ then you must be ‘into ‘80s punk’ , because ‘80s bands are “The Real Deal.”
Balls to that idea!
I am obsessed with Japanese punk, (in fact, it’s the whole reason I came here in the first place!) but I have never heard the ‘classic’ bands. I don’t even hate ‘80s j-punk – I just simply do not care about it .
People I DO hate are record collectors and know-it-alls who are into obscure ‘80s “classic” punk SO MUCH THAT THEY TOTALLY IGNORE CURRENT BANDS THAT ACTUALLY PLAY LIVE. That just sucks for everyone. Dummy! All mythologizing some scene that they can never be a part of, while refusing to rock out with current bands that would love to have them as fans. The dude from GISM isn’t going to be your friend, dude! Young bands will! If you were young in 1984, you would probably have ignored OUTO or SWANKYS because you were mooning over some broken-up band from the ‘70s.
Here’s another concept : that people who love punk listen to it all the time. This concept is much more sensible than the first concept, but I say bollocks to IT, too! At home, I’ll bump some rap, prog, kraut, doom, and massive amounts of Kvlt BM . . .but you won’t catch me listening to punk, and DEFINITELY you won’t find me ever buying any damn overpriced albums.
Here’s the thing: the first concept (Japan punk died after ’88) and the second concept (punkers always listen to / collect punk) are really the SAME concept: Punk is always about the live show, not the fuckin’ recordings. The intensity and immediacy. Blundered notes, broken strings, flying bodies, random sweat . . .that is the shit that sets punk apart from all other styles of ‘heavy’ music. At least for me!
If you say that so-and-so was the hardest band ever in ’83, I don’t disagree. They might have been. But this isn’t fuckin’ ’83. I don’t want to see a bunch of geezers my age, who haven’t had an idea in 20 years, going through the motions. And I don’t want to buy a record in order to try and re-live someone else’s ’80s either. My 80’s was like Butthole Surfers, Repo Man, Killdozer, and Venom, and have absolutely no regrets.
Some people talk about “such-and-such a band are hardcore legends because they fight the cops and go to jail.” I’m sure they could kick my ass, but so what? Any gym coach could kick my ass. That doesn’t make gym coaches the kings of punk! And there’s a difference between fighting the cops in an anti-war demo or an anti-Emperor protest. . . and fighting the cops because you and your junkie friend broke into a pharmacy to steal some codeine and left a fingerprint. Oops!
War stories like that are awesome, but they’re STORIES, not songs. I get the feeling that for a lot of these ex-con veterans, the band is the LEAST interesting thing about them.
Exception to the rule: Gauze. Gauze is OK, but every other angry-uncle band : whatever. Life is too short for that. Matter of fact, I’d rather listen to Too $hort. Or Nomeansno. Or ELO. Or Perry and Kingsley.
And if you’re not mad enough now, let me add more poopoo to the fire: I don’t even LIKE THE WAY ’80s JAPAN PUNK SOUNDS.
What I like about ‘classic’ USA HC is 4 things: the short songs, the stop-start parts, the slower breakdowns, and the total absence of guitar solos. Jappacore fails on all four categories.
It’s too complex to be a short sharp shock, but too generic to really be “complex.”
Dudes just go from one riff to a same-sounding, same-speed riff, for 4 minutes. They kept all the boring parts of English / American hardcore, lost all the good parts, and then (on top of that) decided “We invented this! This is our thing, we didn’t copy anyone. This isn’t hardcore, it is a separate style of music.” So you got this bullshit nationalist attitude as well. Like making minor changes means you own it. Of course this attitude goes back a thousand years – you can hear old, right-wing Japanese guys crowing about how “We Japanese invented kanji, we Japanese invented ramen noodles, we invented calligraphy.”
And so on.
So in that respect, it is no surprise that old Japanese musicians would copy the nationalist biases of their fathers and grandfathers and say “We invented hardcore.” Patriotic tomfoolery, I won’t stand for it.
Well, maybe I’m just jealous because I can’t be a popular ‘scene guy’.
But on the other hand, I’m glad I’m not a ‘scene guy’ because then I’d have to pay dues for years, have to give up all my other hobbies.
Maybe I’m not ‘hawd’ as the next guy, but on the other hand I got freedom. I’ll go to a hardcore show tonight, and I can spend the rest of the week listening to Lord Finesse or Cluster or whatever the fuck floats my boat that day. Bushwick Bill. I mean, Little Big Man? That shit was classic. Fuckin’ uh, fuckin’ Audio Two. Or Critical Beat-down. Fuck keeping shit real- I’ma listen to The Swans and Conway Twitty back-to-back. The Day Everything Became Nothing. Klaus Schulte in the house. Some Wolfskin when I’m trying to sleep. Mad enka tunes. The Brak Show soundtrack. The fuckin’ Frogs, for goodness’ sake. All the beats on I Got Next are scary as hell and utterly timeless. Anyone got an instrumental version of BLOWE? Ten Point Buck. Jesus! Can’t forget Li’l Baby Buntin. Why settle for less? I really can’t accept cookie-cutter bands unless they’re copying Burzum. It’s a guilty pleasure, I know, but I love me some fake Burzum. Dude is second only to Discharge in spawning a cottage industry of bands that are proud to be clones. If I ever start a discharge-clone band, we’re only going to copy the GRAVE NEW WORLD album. Bum all the other d-beat bands out. Furthermore, and I can’t emphasize this enough: The Alice Donut version of War Pigs is one of the best things ever recorded by humankind. I liked the beat from Natural Born Killas so much I took the first 4 bars and made an instrumental version out of that. I like to get kind of drunk, put that shit on the ipod and freestyle about hating rich peoples’ helicopters that always make a gang of noise when they fly low over our building. Fuck’em! Holy shit, guess what I just found online: 10 different live versions of John E. Smoke. Can you even imagine the vocal goodness that awaits? See, that’s what I’m talking about: if you focus all your energy on trying to get “cred” in one narrow “scene” you’ll never experience the epic goodness, the fuckin’ audio cornucopia that the world of music has to offer.
Course, if you get too broad-minded you’ll wind up listening to techno sooner or later, so you got to have SOME standards.
24 comments Tags: hardcore, japanese hardcore —