Tokyo Damage Report

gekiteki 6 : noise/performance art

I'm putting in noise bands that have a theatrical aspect – props, costumes, interacting with the audience, etc. Of course the theatrics come from  performance art moreso than  Shakespeare-type "theater"!

 


 

非常階段 (hijokaidan)


MEANING : :  emergency exit
CITY . . : Osaka
ERA . . . : late 1979~
SOUND . . :
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . : noise / performance
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . : japan wiki, http://noise.as/hijokaidan
TDR REPORT . . .:

This band took performance art and merged it with noise music (a form of electronic music that sounds like radio static).

There is a great English translation of the bandleader telling the story of the band at the website Psychedelic Noise From Japan And New Zealand.

 

Here is my favorite anecdote, but I really suggest you go to that website (wonder what it's about?) and read the whole thing.

In April 1981 an event called "Answer '81 Part Two" took place at Takudaku in Kyoto.  The performance-art aspect of Hijokaidan became more distinct at this show. In addition to the direct violence which they had expressed before, Oka and Zuke decided to convey physical loathing through every possible sensory medium. To this end, before the show they mixed garlic, raw fish and such like with buckets of putrid water. During the performance they started throwing these buckets around the stage. As it happened, I had not been forewarned about their plans and I was thus struck dumb with amazement. I remember being rooted to the spot, unable to move. Finally I drew some strength from the sight of Taniyan in his loincloth, his face shining with a certain type of innocence all the while continuing to wail on his guitar, and I was somehow able to continue with the performance. This show also marked the first time that Semimaru urinated on stage – a routine that at one time became almost synonymous with Hijokaidan. By the end of our performance, the entire venue stank so badly that it took over a week for the stench to fully dissipate. The next day we denied all knowledge of what had taken place.

another story, also from '81:

If I remember correctly we appeared fourth from last on the bill at the Keio University gig. However because some of our members let off a fire extinguisher they had found somewhere during our set, the audience (not to mention the band) found it difficult to breathe and we were forced to cut short our performance.It also seems that some of the members of Hijokaidan were themselves angry at the PA man's decision to leave and that they ran around breaking the windows in the classroom. The only direct danger that your writer experienced at this gig was caused by my climbing up one of the signboards that had been erected by members of the student protest movement. I was discovered by one of the students who had erected the signboard and he mistook me for a reactionary element. Fortunately one of the promoters of the gig had some influence with the student revolutionaries and things passed over without serious incident.

 

 I don't think it's an overstatement to say that this gig has now become legendary. Almost all the audience laughed with blank amazement at the sheer Kansai-ness of Hijokaidan. Then the next moment they were forced to flee in panic by the direct assault from the stage – at the same time they were unable to look away, transfixed as though by some terrifying sight. In a word I think their wide-ranging violent experience can be summed as being akin to extreme culture shock. The shaven-headed Oka and Zuke stood rigid in their combat clothing as they threw around buckets of gunge, ripped up raw fish with their teeth, using their own flesh as musical instruments.

 

Are there any Hijokaidan fans out there who can tell me what "using their own flesh as musical instruments" means? Did they tape contact microphones to their body, or just bash their heads with a microphone?

 

 

We bought some earthworms and lugworms at a fishing tackle shop and mixed these in buckets with eggs, milk, squid, salmon roe, raw fish and so on. During the performance we upended these buckets over our heads (in order not to damage the stage we had covered it with cardboard boxes we had found in the street. I remember fondly that Taniguchi and I had wandered around Shinjuku looking for these cardboard boxes and we sometimes came to blows with the homeless over them). It was too detailed a performance to be seen by the audience but I noticed that Oka carefully allowed the earthworms to hang from his mouth. The instruments we had brought along were soon unable to produce any proper sounds. In a gig like this where we were 200% hyped up we of course played our bodies and howled, resulting in a performance centred around badly connected noise. There was also an incident where Ebi-kun, a devoted follower of Hijokaidan and pyromaniac, got so turned on by the performance that he threw a firecracker on to the stage. The sight of him running around after the gig with a squid in one hand, a sea cucumber in the other and a big grin on his face, is one that has remained with me.

 

 

An 82 show with The Stalin:

 

Then it was the turn of Sta-Kaidan, eagerly awaited by the entire Kansai punk scene. From the Stalin side the line-up was Michiro, Shintaro, some guitarist I can’t remember, and Jun on drums. From Hijokaidan the line-up was Jojo, Oka, Yuka, Woo, and Hayashi. While The Stalin played songs such as The Jacks “Marianne” that had been selected by Michiro, Oka upended buckets of fermented beans, raw fish, milk, eggs and god knows what else over his head. In order to avoid defeat. The Stalin also started throwing around chicken carcasses and a pig’s head, and more buckets and flooring segments came flying from the audience. The Seibu Kodo and the 800 audience members dissolved into total anarchy. When a bucket thrown by someone in the audience hit me on the head, Hayashi charged out into the melee swinging a shovel. However this kind of chaos had been warmly anticipated by the audience and I believe that both they and the bands both enjoyed the show. I have very little memory of what we actually sounded like. Before the gig we had decided that this was to be a strictly one-off affair and so we purposely agreed not to record or video what happened. The event had grown out of the friendship between Hijokaidan and The Stalin and so we wanted to avoid it being turned into a commodity at some later date. Another episode that sticks in my memory – we had bought some shovels to use on stage, and after the rehearsal Hayashi and I put our heads together and dug a pit in the garden behind the venue. Ishibashi, one of the staff from the Seibu Kodo was good enough to fall into our pit twice – a comedy classic that still raises a laugh to this day.

 

But perhaps the most offensive part of their performance was : saxiphone solos. Not only that, but other noise guys like NIKUDOREI copied the saxophone format.

 

 


QP CRAZY


MEANING : :
CITY . . :
ERA . . . : 1994~
SOUND . . : hard rock
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . : noise / performance
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . :
TDR REPORT . . .: here.

The Crazy SKB is the vocalist. He is a pro wrestler, on the indies circut. He also runs his own label, 殺害塩化ビニール (satsuga enka vynyl), which has a lot of "geki rock" acts of various genres, such as 大日本意識革命軍狂暴 (as seen Gekiteki 5), Shine Shine Shine Dan, and 毒殺テロリスト.


In fact, the Hijokaidan guy talked about Crazy SKB  showing up to their shows and being on their jock. I guess he was a Hijokaidan fan before he became a musician. But his pivotal insight was: marrying the high-art stylezzz of Hijokaidan to the low-art  performance style of pro-wrestling!


His live performances are full of wrestling-style moves.  Back-flip diving onto a "fort" of flourescent light bulbs a meter high, erecting a chicken-wire fence between stage and audience, filling the fence with firecrackers,  then attacking the fence with a spiked bat as the firecrackers go off and burn the audience. . . and hitting band members with flourescent lights.


When I saw them, Crazy SKB had a megaphone that shot fireworks, a giant flaming head of Asahara Shoko (head of the murderous AUM cult), and a bunch of Buddhist funeral sticks that had "666" painted on them. He finished the show by back-flipping off a speaker cabinet onto the giant Asahara head, which was on a giant sheet of glass which was on cinderblocks. BLAM. wtf!

 


 


肉奴隷 (nikudorei)


MEANING : : meat slave
CITY . . : ???
ERA . . . : 1996~present ???
SOUND . . : noise / performance
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : ???
CLIQUE . . . : 組織暴力幼稚園, SENTIMENTAL 出刃包丁, 病気マン、肉奴隷
STYLE . . . : noise / performance
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . :
TDR REPORT . . .: HERE

What are his lyrics about???

A classic noise act. His performances include: screaming while wearing nothing but a gimp mask, while being penetrated by a dominatrix with a dildo, setting himself on fire and being carried at a dead run to the nearest hospital (by ANOTHER dildo-weilding band, still in costume), playing with a succession of female saxophone players (including the singer of Gallhammer at one point), and other terrible incidents.

 


 

 

 ゴキブリ・コンビナート (gokiburi konbinaato)


MEANING : : cockroach factory
CITY . . :
ERA . . . : 2000~now ???
SOUND . . :
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . : 組織暴力幼稚園, SENTIMENTAL 出刃包丁, 病気マン、肉奴隷, QP crazy

STYLE . . . : noise / performance
ALBUM TO GET . . . : 粘膜ひくひくゲルディスコ
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . :http://www.geocities.jp/goki_con/
TDR REPORT . . .:

These guys are like an updated version of a traditional Japanese carnival freak-show (called misemono). But they generally play with rock bands, not with other misemono acts. They start out in contemporary street clothes and then usually get naked. Compared to traditional misemono, there is less actual deformed or handicapped people, and more vulgarity, almost a South-Park style button-pushing: they make fun of the handicapped or retarded people, suicidally depressed people, and people with “conjoined fetus syndrome”. . . and put on skits using “domestic abuse of the elderly” is the funny point. They take a popular kids’ song “dangosan kyoudai” about a kind of 3-ball shishkebab and change it so that the shishkebab pierces the cheeks of 3 members of the group, welding them together. Also their performances are in a “play” format, with the various grotesque acts being part of the “plot.” They also do occasional songs to backing tapes, but that is not their main thing.

 

The main guy also has a solo act, under the name of  病気マン (byoukiman, sort of a super-hero name like Sick-Man). I have no idea what that is about.


 

 

 関西ゼロ世代

MEANING : : : west-side zero generation
CITY . . : osaka
ERA . . . :
SOUND . . : early boredoms worship.
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . : noise

 

West-side Zero Generation is a sort of clique or mutual-support group of Osaka bands with avant-garde or noisy leanings. Unlike most "scenes",  none of the bands sound the same. I'm including it here because so many of the bands are gekiteki. Does anyone know when this scene started? Or if they have a manifesto, something that explains why they think performance is such an important part of music?

Main Members: afurirampo, zuinoshin, oshiri penpens, Midori

Other members: azurashii, dmbq, bogulta, ワッツーシソンビ (WATUTSI ZOMBI) NECO眠る. 巨人ゆえにデカイ, パイプカットマミヰズ, アウトドアホームレス, N'夙川ボーイズ, 宇宙三輪車



あふりらんぽ (afurirampo)

 


MEANING : : :
CITY . . : osaka
ERA . . . : 2002-2010
SOUND . . :
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . : 関西ゼロ世代, 鉄劇団
STYLE . . . : noise / performance
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . : choreography, audience participation.
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . : wiki, http://www.afrirampo.com/
TDR REPORT . . .: herrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre

No costumes or props, but choreography.  A lot of the songs have movements that go with the notes, which is quite an accomplishment since they are also playing instruments at the same time. For instance, in their Onigiri song, they pantomime making onigiri (rice balls). 

Do they count as gekiteki? I think so!

 

Here's an excerpt of a review from  the CLEAR AND REFRESHING website:


"It ends with drummer Pika leading a sizeable chunk of the audience out into the streets screaming "Puripuripu-pu-pu!" at all the stylish Tokyoites in the stylish cafes, then round in a circle and up onto the pedestrian bridge overlooking the venue, where guitarist Oni has led the rest of the crowd onto the pavement, thus commencing a nonsensical call and response shouting match."

This sort of take-the-crowd-out-of-the-venue was pioneered in Japan by guess who? Terayama. So there's that.

 



zuinoushin

 


MEANING : : :
CITY . . : osaka
ERA . . . : 2004???
SOUND . . : noise
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . : 関西ゼロ世代
STYLE . . . : noise / performance
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . : here
TDR REPORT . . .: here

One of the Osaka west-side generation bands. . . way better than afurirampo, but they never got big because they're not cute girls.

 

Here's what I thought of them when I saw them:

 

kind of like early boredoms. Totally spastic and percussive but yet really tight. Too bad they decided to use like 39 effects pedals so we could not hear any actual notes. But still they got all crazy, plus the drummer had a fucking rayon SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK shirt. Fucker!

 

 



センチメンタル 出刃包丁  (senchimentaru dekabouchou)

MEANING : : sentimental big knife
CITY . . : Tokyo ???
ERA . . . : ???~ 2008 ???
SOUND . . : punk
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : none
CLIQUE . . . : 組織暴力幼稚園, SENTIMENTAL 出刃包丁, 病気マン、肉奴隷

STYLE . . . : noise / performance
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . : myspace fan site
TDR REPORT . . .:

 

on that) this guy is the Japanese G.G. Allin, they say. Pissing on  and cutting up the audience, the whole 9 yards.

I have no information on him other than that. Total underground outlaw.
 



  組織暴力幼稚園 (soshikibouryokuyouchien)


MEANING : : kindergarten of organized violence.
CITY . . : Tokyo
ERA . . . : ???
SOUND . . :
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : white kimono covered with writing, similar to those worn by singer of Junior High School Casket.
CLIQUE . . . : 組織暴力幼稚園, SENTIMENTAL 出刃包丁, 病気マン、肉奴隷

STYLE . . . : noise/ performance
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :
No JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : in the lyrics. unintelligible, but pretty sure he’s not happy.

WEB . . . :
TDR REPORT . . .:

They started as a rock band, who would scream abuse at the audience and finish the show by diving headfirst into the trash-bins and wearing it for a hat while rolling in trash. Of course there are a lot of bands who do that nowadays, but what makes Soshikibouroykuyouchien so special is a few times they’d continue the live-show by marching outside into the street (followed by the audience) and smashing shit until the cops came.

 


 

 

ブッシュマンズ・インポテンス (buschmann impotenz dv)

and the side project: 汚名らんど (omei Land)

MEANING : : Omei is named after a Lip Cream song.
CITY . . :
ERA . . . : 2007 ???
SOUND . . :
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE :
CLIQUE . . . :
STYLE . . . : noise / performance
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . :
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . :
TDR REPORT . . .: hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhere

 

The youtube is of them being less tribal, more slick, wearing matching fundoshi and welders' helmets. When I saw them – an April Fools' day show at night in a cemetary packed full of cherry blossoms – (!!!!) they played tribal noise – sort of like CRASH WORSHIP i suppose? Improvised tom-tom drumming with feedback over it, plus layers of pedal-driven "noise" over that, and the singer screaming.

 

 

There's an omeiland video, but it's not embeddable. go here to see it.

 


LOGISTICS


CITY . . :
ERA . . . : 2008 ???
SOUND . . : butthole surfers
JAPANESE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCE : : fundoshi, Japanese construction worker costumes, decorations of b-movie Japanese stars. (politicians?)
CLIQUE . . . :  QP CRAZY
STYLE . . . : noise / performance
ALBUM TO GET . . . :
THEATRICAL POINTS . . . : multi-media, stage decorations, costumes.
HISTORICAL ATMOSPHERE :

WEB . . . :
TDR REPORT . . .: here

 

These guys had a sort of psychedelic, multi-media performance (props, video projections, thrown objects)  that was like a more sedate butthole surfers, mixed with Weird Al comedy rock. Anyone know who those giant heads are?

 


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  1. […] of shows by Osaka-based noise collectives like Hanatarash and Hijokaidan, the latter of whom have talked about interacting with a young SKB at their concerts. These groups were infamous for doing things […]

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