Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon


Bang! Bang! Bang!: The Evolution of a J-Rock Classic

Posted in J-Pop,J-Rock,Japanese film,Music by bourdaghs on the November 30th, 2012

(Recycling something originally posted here in 2009)

In 1967, Group Sounds superstars The Spiders recorded a song composed by their rhythm guitarist, Kamayatsu Hiroshi. Not much was expected of “Ban Ban Ban,” a crude three-chord rocker with throwaway lyrics and a riff supposedly lifted from a song by The Mindbenders. The tune was originally used as the B-side for a single and later included on the band’s fourth album. Here’s the original Spiders’ version, taken from one of their movies:

There was something about “Ban Ban Ban,” though, that made it stick in people’s minds: the rhythm, the catchy chorus, the sheer joy of it all. It’s become a J-rock classic now, one that every J-Rock band has to know, something akin to the status of “Wild Thing” or “Smoke on the Water” in the West.

Here are 1990s rockers Flying Kids performing the song on a drive through Tokyo. They get bonus points for digging up replicas of The Spiders’ old red doorman costumes:

http://nicoviewer.net/sm9906496

And here are today’s fave-rave indie rockers Go!Go!7188 performing the song live.

Probably the most memorable cover of the song comes from “Monsieur” Kamayatsu himself. In early 1990, he was recording a new album in London. Word came down that all hell was breaking lose in Berlin, and so Kamayatsu headed over to Germany to see what was happening. The Wall had been breached, but not torn down yet, and there were still military patrols on both sides. Kamayatsu writes in his autobiography that he figured out that patrols walked by at two-minute intervals. Timing it carefully, he waited for one patrol to pass, then scrambled up to the top of the wall with acoustic guitar in hand. He dashed off an impromptu rendition of “Ban Ban Ban” for the assembled crowd, and luckily the moment was captured on video.

Comments Off on Bang! Bang! Bang!: The Evolution of a J-Rock Classic

Comments are closed.