Monday, March 20, 2017

Japanese TV Commercials are Amazing!

This TV commercial was just sent to me by my friend, James Honeycutt who helped me write the screenplay for the movie Ghostroads. (https://vimeo.com/197078048)

This is a commercial for a new computer sales or service company.

James writes: "Japanese TV Commercials are Amazing!"

Indeed.




If the video does not play, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtHugtXVWlI

Friday, March 3, 2017

Rock N Roll Music and the Proof of the Existence of God!


I'm making a rock n roll movie. It's called, "Ghostroads - A Rock N Roll Ghost Story" Here's the trailer https://vimeo.com/197078048


The movie stars my favorite Japanese rock band of all time, "The Neatbeats." Rodney Bingenheimer (AKA "Rodney on the Roq" KROQ Los Angeles) is also in the movie. Rodney is one of, if not thee most famous DJ in the world. He's made many great stars famous. As some regular readers might know, I used to be Rodney's assistant (Read: His lowly "Go-fer.")


Rodney Bingenheimer

In Japan, it isn't too cool to "toot one's horn" so to speak, so I tell few people about my past....

One day, during the shooting of the movie, I was at the Neatbeats' studio. There I saw they had a book about Phil Spector (a very famous music producer who did the Beatles, etc.) 

I saw the book and then I opened the book to a random page and, I'll be damned if there wasn't a photo of Rodney and Phil Spector right there. "What a coincidence!" I thought to myself.

I walked back into the studio where we were shooting and said to the Neatbeats members, "Hey! You guys like Phil Spector?" 

They all said, "YES! HE IS GOD!" 


Phil Spector

I answered, "Oh? I've met him two or three times. I even "had lunch" (or was it dinner?) with him and Rodney when he showed up to that restaurant that Rodney 'lives' at in Hollywood named 'Canters.'"

Oh. That was a mistake. I opened my big mouth. Should have shut up and said nothing.

Why?

I could tell by the expressions on their face that they didn't believe me at all. Their jaws dropped open in disappointed disbelief... They looked stupefied.... 

Here, all this time, I was their friend. They thought they could believe me and trust me.... But here I was telling them something that, to them, couldn't possibly be true in a million years...

I said, "No! Really! I have! I have met Phil Spector a few times.....I'm serious." They still looked like they thought I was full of shit....

Flustered and insistent to prove I wasn't lying, I figured I'd offer proof... I added, "Do you guys know who Rodney Bingenheimer is?" 

They all lit up again and said, "Of course! Rodney on the Roq is legendary! He is a DJ god!" 

I paused... hesitated a bit, and then I said, "I was Rodney's assistant from 1980 ~81. He introduced me to many famous people...."

It seemed then like the roof caved in. I was ready for the insane asylum by the expressions on their faces.

I could tell by the way they looked at me that they had lost all respect for me at that very moment. They thought that I was a total useless bullshitter. 

They didn't believe me at all. 

...Not anymore.... 

.....Not about.... 

..........Anything....

I protested, "No! Really! I was! Rodney introduced me to lots of famous people. The Ramones, Phil Spector, etc. etc." 

They still didn't believe me... So, in frustration, I threw my hands in the air, gave up and said, "OK. Fuck it! Whatever!...." 

That was Jan. of 2016. 

A few short months later...

In May 2016, by sheer coincidence, Rodney came to Japan and I was able to be a tour guide for several days for my old friend, Rodney on the Roq! I hadn't seen him in over 25 years.... 

We went to many good restaurants and fun places in Tokyo while he was here with his girlfriend (and fab movie director), Kansas Bowling who made the horror film, "B.C. Butcher." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxsSH4NhXMc)

And, Rodney and Kansas both appeared in my movie too! What timing!!!! 

So, don't tell me, "There's no God!" 

There is. 

I have met him. 

His name is Phil Spector....

...and another god named Rodney Bingenheimer.


-------------------------------

(I took lots of photos and wrote about sightseeing with Rodney here: http://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2016/06/rodney-bingenheimer-in-japan.html) 


With my old friend and legendary radio DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer 
at the Poor Cow in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, Japan May 27, 2016.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Japanese Girl Rock Bands That Matter in 2017

I got together with my friend, Satoshi Miyaki and, unbeknownst to him, I've come up with a list of Japanese Girl Rock Bands that matter in 2017.... Satoshi, who just likes cool music because, well, just because that's what he does, has selected a bunch of these groups (Thanks Satoshi san!)... I have also added a few of my own. This isn't the complete list. This is just Japanese girl bands - with girl members only - who are performing gigs now.... If I miss your band from the list, send me an email as I am going to make another list a little later.


Also, these are all female only bands. There's lots of cool bands in Japan but if we start making exceptions and adding bands that have guys and girls, we'd be here forever. 

Also, these are bands that I think (from my most probably confused viewpoint) that a foreign audience might like. Also, there is no particular order to this list excepting the first two. I think not putting Shonen Knife at the top of the list along with the 5,6,7,8s, would be an atrocity. Maybe even deserving the death penalty!

So...

First up on the list of Japanese Girl Rock Bands that matter in 2017 (Vol. 1) are two bands that need no introduction to that foreign audience. And, so, of course, that means the first band we "introduce" are the queens of Japanese Girls Bands, Shonen Knife. 

Shonen Knife (HP: http://www.shonenknife.net/english/index.html)

If there were no Shonen Knife, I wonder how different the Japanese rock scene would have been? Shonen Knife are THEE legendary Japanese girl's rock band. Wikipedia writes: "Shonen Knife is a Japanese pop punk band formed in Osaka, in 1981. Heavily influenced by 1960s girl groups, pop bands, The Beach Boys, and early punk rock bands, such as the Ramones, the trio crafts stripped-down songs with simplistic lyrics sung both in Japanese and English. Despite their pop-oriented nature, the trio maintains a distinctly underground garage rock sound rooted in edgy instrumentation and D.I.Y. aesthetics, which over the course of their long career has earned them a solid, worldwide cult following and made avid fans out of seminal 1990s alternative rock bands such as Sonic Youth, Nirvana, and Redd Kross. The band has been credited with making "the international pop underground more international" by "opening it up to bands from Japan". They have a Facebook page here: 
https://www.facebook.com/ShonenKnifeOfficial/

Since this is my blog, I want to show you a Shonen Knife music video I made along with my video genius friend Ken Nishikawa over at Robot55 (http://robot55.jp/)

Shonen Knife - Ghost Trainhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCpfohSnp0U 


(I can't remember well, but I think Shonen Knife were first personally introduced to me in 1986 (or 87?) by my dear old friend Page Porazzo. R.I.P. We miss you Page!) 


The 5,6,7,8s (HP: http://www.the5678s.com/)

Wikipedia writes: "The 5.6.7.8's are a Japanese rock trio, whose music is reminiscent of American surf music, rockabilly and garage rock. They frequently cover songs from American rock and roll. All members are from Tokyo, Japan. The 5.6.7.8's first started performing as a quartet in Tokyo. They first officially became a trio in 1992. The 5.6.7.8's made a brief appearance in the 2003 Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill Volume 1, where they were shown playing barefoot in an izakaya. In 2012, they appeared at the "Girls Got Rhythm" fest in alongside artists such as Ronnie Spector, The Muffs and Nikki Corvette." Here's their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/The-5678s-Official-277355125413

5 6 7 8's - Woo Hoo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DJv0rx5g-c



su凸ko d凹koi - すっとこどっこい(HP: http://stdk.jimdo.com)

This is difficult for foreigners to say the name of this band correctly (I still can't) but try "Su K D Koi." That's close enough.

Su Ko D Koi are on this list because I think they are one of, if not the best, new comers. They are basically exploding on the scene. Besides an awesome reputation and incredible audience reaction to airplay on the FM radio, a few things really stand out: 1) Their newest CD that went on sale Jan. 11, 2017 sold out all over Japan within the first 2 weeks - It was sold out even at online shops. That's amazing! Nobody does that anymore. 2) Their recent live shows were sold out. 3) They have been charting on several of the Japanese hit charts (an indies band!? WTF?) 4) The video for one of their most recent single releases, "Shop Manager, I'm Quitting My Part-Time Job" has more than 175,000 views! Amazing! Once again, today's video is made by Ken Nishikawa and myself in some more shameless self-promotion for Robot55 video production companyOf course, Su K D Koi has a Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/ssttddkk/

Su Ko D Koi - Busu (Ugly): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCTjm5YGJ-c



The DROP′S (HP: http://drops-official.com/)


The Drop's are 4 or 5 girls who met in high school in 2009 (I don't know how many girls exactly!) They've performed at Rising Sun Festival and at the Rock in Japan Festival. Here's their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Drops-351994348234869/?fref=nf

Drop's - The Red Blues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsXOjF20jFc



The LET′S GO′S (HP: https://theletsgos.jimdo.com/)

The Let's Go's are a "Japanese girl's band formed in Tokyo." I guess it was around 2009. At least, that's what their bio says. They also want to rock all over the world. Which is a fair and worthy goal. Here's their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/the0252/

The Let's Go's - Snakey Shakey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SfcMAtbCRQ




Check out: Top 3 Indies Artist Videos for Mar. 4, 2017! Baby Shakes, TsuShiMaMire (Japan), The Coathangers, Hands Off Gretel! http://bit.ly/2m6sc6R


The Pats Pats (HP: http://the-pats-pats.tumblr.com/)

The Pats Pats are two girls from Tokyo named Midori and Akiko who make up what I think is one of the coolest and most fun bands in Tokyo! The Pats Pats just released their newest 7-inch record on Feb. 25. It is available on Passion RecordsHere's their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/patspats/

THE PATS PATS - Girls Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGd5wESg3Rk




NOODLES (HP: http://noodles.velvet.jp/index_e.html)

Who are the Noodles? Their FB page explains: "In 1991, four young girls gathered to start the band Noodles, performing their first shows in Yokohama. In 1995, they released their debut album on the Benten Label. That same year, the girls wrote and recorded a song for a Coca-Cola commercial. The song became a big hit and was a radio favorite throughout Japan. In 1999, the band moved to the DELICIOUS LABEL. In March, 2003, they opened for The Breeders, in Osaka. Later that year, Noodles started to branch out overseas by performing at the CMJ Music Marathon. They have since been back to the States for two US tours and have appeared at SXSW two years in a row. Noodles remain Japan's best all-girl rock ensemble." Here's their Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/noodlesjpn/

The Noodles - Blood Waltz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el7-e0sqIKs




OLD LACY BED (HP: http://oldlacybed.com/)

Old Lacy Bed are 4 girls from Nagoya, Japan. Their bio says, "They’ve carried on shows with many bands from abroad (including)“Summer Twins.” Also, they’ve released their first 7 inch vinyl “Little Girl” and a split 7 inch vinyl “Coastlands” with “Summer Twins” in the UK with “Dufflecoat Records”. On August 5th 2015, They released their second mini album “SHE DAYDREAMS” from “2670records”. Here's their Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/oldlacybed/

OLD LACY BED - Hold Your Dreams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSgwkWbdXrA 



The Stephanies (HP: https://the-stephanies.jimdo.com/)

The Stephanies are a girls three piece band from Tokyo. They features great chorus work, tight rhythms and powerful vocals. They are hot live and they are performing about 100 shoes live every year! They have also won several awards including the Emerging Festival, Hard Rock Rising and the Space Shower Contest. Very cool. Here's their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheStephanies/

THE STEPHANIES - Baby, I love you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXmTOEm-I2g




TADZIO (HP: http://www.tadzio.info/)

Tadzio are two girls whose webpage says, "An explosive hardcore pop band composed of a leader and director TADZIO (Tagio).
Tazio formed in 2010. They released their first album in 2011 which is a mix of rock, metal, hardcore and garage.  etc., all original 11 original songs mixed with various elements are all released. Tadzio has appeared on UK 's SPINE TV and appeared in Italy' s FAR EAST FILM FESTIVAL.

TADZIO / DEATH DRIVE - KISS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQlZsVXjjJw



Hope you enjoyed this. Like I mentioned, there are lots of other good bands, so if you know one, let me know. - Mike


Oh, and be on the lookout for the biggest rock n roll movie to come out of Japan in years: "Ghostroads - A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story." Here's the trailer: https://vimeo.com/197078048 



Edward G Robinson, the Sexy Geisha and Me - A True Story!

Whenever I put some famous person's name in the title of my articles, the hits and access to those articles literally explodes. I like ...