THE SPUNKS
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THE SPUNKS

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"Review of "Born To Be Mild" album"

"Born to Be Mild" starts off with an instrumental track which seems like an odd choice, but
somehow it works. Make no mistakes this is a Rock and Roll album, and the louder you
play it the better it sounds. I know, "rock and roll" doesn't necessarily sound good, but this is
Japanese rock and roll, influenced more by The Ramones and The Clash than The Stones
or The Beatles. It's loud, it's fast, and it's fun - there's no heavy political messages or overly
complicated song structures. When I was in Kindergarten the hit song was Joan Jett's
"I Love Rock and Roll" - I don't particularly like the song, but it holds a permanent space
in my memory as the song I heard every morning at the bus stop on my way to school
courtesy of "the big kids" - The Spunks do a take off on that song called "Wok & Roll"
that is full of wild silliness and strangely endearing.
- Pocketful of Change Issue #1 2005


"Skratch Magazine March Reviews"

ELECTRIC EEL SHOCK
THE SPUNKS
GITOGITO HUSTLERS
THE INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOYS
March 21, 2005 @ Green Door (Oklahoma City, OK)
By H. Barry Zimmerman

Did you know that in the classic film GODZILLA VS. KING KONG that there were two different endings, one for American audiences in which King Kong (our guy) wins and one for Japanese audiences in which (their guy) Godzilla wins? America and Japan share a great deal more than ego and marketing techniques. For example, Japan gave Americans music at the beach by way of the transistor, and America gave Japan (and the world) rock 'n' roll. Monday night, March 21st, I went to the Green Door to see three Japanese bands (along with one group from Montana), and I can tell you that our baby is thriving in their hands.

A sample of a motorcycle motor revving up played over the P.A. as The Spunks' gear was moved out onto the Green Door's stage. Lead vocalist/axeman Hajime had been standing out in the crowd like a sore thumb all night, with his bleached blonde hair spiked up and back giving him the appearance of riding the iron-horse highway. When the New York City three-piece (which now included drummer Al Batross, formerly of MDC, Ludichrist, and The Plungers; and George on bass) hit the stage, Hajime ran at 90 mph holding the detached chrome handlebars of a motorcycle. The Spunks music is high voltage garage rock 'n' roll played tight. The Spunks played songs off of their disc BORN TO BE MILD, such as "I Love Wok & Roll", "Joystick Rock and Roll", and "Highway 69". In-between songs, Hajime relentlessly discussed his "small wiener." The Spunks' show was fantastic raw music and cool leather-jacketed showbiz.
- H. Barry Zimmerman


"THE SPUNKS: Kamikaze Punks stop by to Rock Pittsburgh out"

can be viewed at:

http://www.geocities.com/the_spunks/spunks.jpg - Zak Sovek, THE FRONT, Pittsburgh`s town paper


"The Spunks with Deceiving Ralph, The Gravity Car and Super77"

The Spunks dive straight into Rock & Roll from the direction of the rising sun. They bill themselves as "Kamikaze Rock & Roll from Japan/NYC" and they aren't kidding. They take the power of old-school Punk -- Iggy and the Stooges come to mind -- and the madness of New York City's Japunk scene and ram both down your throat in acidic bursts of insanity. The band was formed in 1996 in upstate New York by college friends Hajime (guitar/vocals) and George (bass). Last year, Al Batross (Ludichrist) took over drumming duties. The band has organized the "Japunks Panic Jamboree," a showcase of Tokyo underground music at NYC's CBGB's since 2000. But enough back-story -- these guys are nuts. Their completely out-of-control stage show simply has to be seen to be believed. And, with songs like "Sex, Drink, Motor-Rides" and "I Love Wok 'n' Roll" caterwauled in the best Punk tradition of top-volumed snottiness, The Spunks will make you believe that with loud guitars, driving drums and a hyperactively throbbing bass, all things are indeed possible. On a local level, if you recall the glory days of the Jockey Club, The Spunks will certainly bring back memories. If you weren't around and are relatively new to Punk, these guys will make you believe that the world can be torn apart and rebuilt in your own image on a nightly basis. As the band says, "Thrills, stupidity and loudness guaranteed." What more could you possibly want? (Dale Johnson)

- Dale Johnson @ City Beat, Cincinatti, OH


"NXNE 2005 Review"

The Spill Magazine - Toronto Monday, June 13, 2005
NXNE: The Spunks @ Sneaky Dee's
Saturday, June 11th - 11:00pm. In much the same fashion that Guitar Wolf defiled Canadian Music Week mere months ago, The Spunks proved that Japanese (via New York City) rock was still chewing glass with a torrid 30-minute set, impacting like a squirt of wasabi in the eye. Diminutive frontman Hajina was a total card, bragging about his small penis and tossing out references to wonton soup and Mexican food with blatant disregard. But when the band ignited, this tight three-piece dug into their songs with surgical focus and animalistic aggression. Very
straight-forward Motorhead/Dead Kennedys-style thrash and most
assuredly, best enjoyed in a live setting but even if you've seen a
million bands like The Spunks before, there is no denying to heart these guys put into their performance. It's about fun and when Hajina hopped into the crowd, looking to high-five anything with a pulse, it was one of those great rock and roll moments that can momentarily suspend belief
and leave the focus 100% on the music.

- Cameron Gordon
- The Spill Magazine, Toronto, ON


"April 2003 Concert Reviews"

The Spunks: For a time, there were no bands on stage. I figured it was sound issues, but when I looked back at the handy audio tech and mixer duo nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then all I heard were the rev up sounds of a motor cycle. There wasn’t any one on the stage, but there was someone parting the crowd from the very back of the room. I stood on my tiptoes and tried my best to get a gander, but it was hopeless – there was just too much spiky hair in the way. Above a sea of Mohawks and haze of nicotine, I saw a line of hands holding motor cycle handles. I was half waiting and half dreading to see just what was going on with these hovering handles – it was like a warped version of Jaws! All of a sudden the row behind me began to heave and shove for space, and through the parted crowd emerged three Japanese American blokes wearing huge motor cycle helmets, “riding” their way on stage! Once they made the step onstage, they got in what looked like a “flying V” formation, and stayed there, twisting their wrists to rev up their bikes… Dude, it was a mix of highly entertaining and disturbingly bizarre. Then they “mounted off their rides” so to speak (they actually straddled the air like a real Suzuki dirt bike hehehe), suited up with their respected bass, guitar and drumsticks, and announced in a thick –almost faux Japanese accent “we are the Spunks!”

They threw themselves into the secret agent mischief of “Brand-new Cadillac” and proceeded to deliver one of the most amusing performances I’ve ever seen. If the fan boy-turned musicians of Joker Five Speed were merely enthusiastic, then in comparison the lunatic Spunks urgently need to be exorcised!They literally threw their bodies into the gentle swing of the song, sometimes they’re guitars would swing so violently around their necks that they could catch it in their arm pits! They were wearing the straps down to their knees too. You know how bands pogo? These guys sort of pogo-d, but they’d throw their body weight into their decent, so they’d go up and down rapidly. Kind of like Bunnies on meth. Other bounces, they’d skip forward and backward to the beat, springing off their toes at a rapid pace. It looked like a cross between Capoeira and hardcore mosh pit ‘dance moves’ (you know the hardcore kids that go to the pit to do ‘the gorilla’?!? Freak’n bizarre).

After their first song, the band proudly stepped up to the mic and yelled “Yea! Sex Drink and Ride!” much to the merriment of the cheering crowd. There’s some sort of motif going on with the broken English thing, because in big red letters their website reads “Come see us or curb your shit, damn ass!” Then, before they went into a new song, the bassist began to rub his palms up and down the neck of his axe really fast and screamed “eeeeyyaaaiiii I am cumming too much!!!” Throughout the show, there was this phallic fixation going on: just as soon as the guitarist played the oppenning guitar parts to "Protex Blue" they turned sideways, cradled their guitars on their crotches and began to hump the hollow wooden bodies with impassioned thrusts of fiery amour! They just raped the be-jesus out of their instruments, let me tell you it won’t be long before the poor things take up piano playing and start their own rape and incest hotlines. Boys for Pele, anyone? Anyone whose heard The Clash’s Protex Blue knows that it’s a really short song, and before you know it the music stopped and the guitarist who ditched the rough, broad body of his instrument for the smooth, glowing curves of a bottle o' Heineken.

Then the guitar player did this cool trick; he wrapped his fingers around the tip of his bottle, and with a flick of his thumbs he ‘jizzed’ a wad of alcohol that hit the singer in the face. This continued for a few squirts until the irritated singer decided to begin the next song. All of a sudden they played this completely odd number, while shouting “London’s Burning” and “Meow” at the chorus. I’ve heard my share of Clash, and I know they weren’t playing London’s burning. I emailed them about it, and Hajme explained: “actually, we did our own song called "here goes the black cat" just shouting ‘London’s burning!’ and ‘meow!’” Truly an assortment of individuals full of insight and creativity.

Although it may be hard to believe, the songs the band did perform were preformed well. Even in light of the crazy physical ‘fits’, the bass and drums were in the pocket and the guitars rung out the right chords at the right times. Truly an impressive band and the best live show that night.

- Basim c/o Starvox.net


Discography

READY TO SHOOT (2000) by 9 Byard Records (self)
SEX, DRINK, MOTOR RIDES (2003) by 9 Byard Records (self)
BORN TO BE MILD (2005) by 9 Byard Records (self)
YELLOW FEVER BLUES (RPM076) by Gearhead Records (2006)
RUSSIAN ROULETTE / CAN NANA FEVER (RPM066) by Gearhead Records, 2005
V.A. NITRO FRANKEN PANIC RELOADED (2004) by Trash Rockin` Party, Tokyo, Japan
V.A. CANDY POISON Vol. 2 (2004) by Candy Poison Record, Tokyo, Japan

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

With straightforward lyrics (in both English and Japanese) only about sex, drinking, motor rides, animals and chinese food, The Spunks youthful, often sexually charged and self destructive stage performances have earned them a steadily growing fan base. In 2002, the band was selected as one of the best 18 bands in the New York downtown music scene (NYROCK). In December of 2003, The Spunks were featured on the Charlie Rose show as a prime example of the Japanese music scene in the USA. Originally formed in 1996 by two bored Japanese college students stuck up in Albany, The Spunks have evolved into one the best bands you have never heard of. After making a number of demo recordings the band first released a CD on 9 Byard Records (a DIY label) entitled "Ready to Shoot" in 2000. Since '98 The Spunks have played hundreds of gigs in NYC at places like CBGB's, The Continental, Coney Island High and Don Hill's. In addition to their work in the US, they also toured Japan in both 2003 and 2004 and have played some of the best known clubs in Tokyo. During their first Japan tour, their second CD "Sex Drink and Motor Rides" was released and they were featured on TV ASAHI (2002) and TV TOKYO (2004), both of which were broadcast nationally across Japan. A 2003 compilation of Japanese garage rock bands entitled "NITRO FRANKEN PANIC!" included The Spunks track "Jet Blue." And recently released throughout Japan on GITOGITO HUSTLER's record label CANDY POISON is a compilation called "CANDY POISON VOL 2" which features The Spunks track "Road Runner" (please don't sue, Warner Brothers). In 2002, the band did their first month long Mid West tour of the US and in 2003 they hit 20 states on their second tour. Their Kamikaze performances earned them spots in a number of big festivals including THE NEW YORK TOKYO MUSIC FESTIVAL (2003) and GUITAR WORLD presents M.E.A.N.Y. Festival (2003), the CMJ MUSIC MARATHON (2003), ANIME NEXT (2004) and NXNE (2005). Since 2000, the Spunks have organized the legendary Japanese Punk Rock event "JAPUNKS" (www.japunks.com) at CBGB's. With The Spunks acting as the event host, it features 5-6 Indie and Major Label bands directly from Japan, exposing the real Japanese underground music scene to Western audiences. The event rapidly grew in both attendence and notoriety. At JAPUNKS event 6, the headline act was GUITAR WOLF and the club was packed well beyond the legal limit. In January of 2004, after sitting in with the band for the 2002 tour and for a number of gigs in NYC when original Spunks drummer Takehiko was unavailable, drummer Al Batross was invited to become a permanent member of The Spunks. Al (no he is not Japanese and he does not understand why his nickname is "Yamamoto") has performed with many of New York's wildest bands over the years (LUIDCHRIST, BIG SNIFF, THE PLUNGERS, GELATINE) including 2 years with the legendary political punk rock group MILLIONS OF DEAD COPS. The Spunks toured the US with GitoGito Hustler twice in 2005, bringing both bands all the way from NY to Texas (for the SXSW Festival) and back in one van. In 2005, The Spunks released their third CD entitled "BORN TO BE MILD." In August of 2005, Gearhead Records put out the first Spunks recording released on vinyl with two exclusive tracks, "Russian Roulette / Cannana Fever" (RPM066). Their 1st full-length album on Gearhead "Yellow Fever Blues" produced by Don Fury in stores 10/17/2006.