Posted April 12, 2007

King Brothers:
Turning the blues


Peel back the layers of pretentious theatrics, inflated egos, fucked up personal relationships, moronic substance abuse and specious pop philosophy and rock’n’roll is basically just the blues – the original devil’s music – scrambling for artistic credibility. Or something like that. Japan’s King Brothers understand the blues, and apparently know a thing or two about putting on a good show for the punters. With such champions as Eric Oblivion and Jon Spencer, the King Brothers have built a reputation that’s verging on modern mythology. Just as we edge slowly towards full recovery from the last Guitar Wolf tour, the King Brothers are about to set foot on Australian soil to open up old wounds and make us bleed with excitement. This interview with KEIZO from the King Brothers was conducted by email, and is reproduced in its original form, for reasons that should be entirely obvious.

When did the band originally form?

Like the scene in the Blues Brothers, we had an oracle at James Brown’s church to form a band to save the poor kids.

How did you meet the other members of the band?

We met each other in a teen jail.

When did you play your first show?

It was in Kobe around 1997.

How many people were in the audience?

We had no audience and we did both playing and the audience by ourselves.

Have you always played your shows the same way you play now?

All of our band members are looking for killing ourselves on stage and we never change that dream. We will keep rocking and rolling till our brain explodes.

Your last few albums have had more of a blues sound to them. Has this been a deliberate decision to change the band’s sound?

Everyone has Blues. Even Japanese people like us have Blues. King Brothers are something very dangerous like an atomic power plant to make a big energy from exploding our Blues. We can play the latest style Blues because we are always willing and trying to make it better. It is very safe to say King Brothers are the latest model of 100% pure hardcore blues and punk band.

Have you always been interested in the blues? Do you have any favourite blues artists?

I am not interested in used old Blues. However, I like Elmo Williams from Mississippi and Howling Setta from Sabebo, Nagasaki. Also, Fujio Yamagichi (ex - Murahachibu, Dynamites) is fantastic.

I have read that you once appeared on stage with paper sacks on your heads. Was there any reason for that, or was it just a way of getting the audience to notice you?

That day, we went straight to the venue after we robbed the bank. We might come straight after the wrestling this time.

When you first toured the United States (1999, I think) what was the reaction to the King Brothers? Did you play to bigger audiences when you went back to the United States in 2001?

On our last US tour, all our passports and money wre stolen and our tour van has exploded on a road. We had a bigger crowd on our 2nd US tour. However, our manager disappreared on a road..

Have you been back to the United States since then?

No.. we want to go back again. Someone please call us again – send a message to our HP

Is your audience in the United States bigger than in Japan?

I think so.. Even in Japan, we have a lot of foreigners and they are all dancing topless. Please do the same, Australia!!

Have you toured Europe? If you have, what was it like?

We love to go there. Please call us! I just got an offer from Italy today.

Jon Spencer produced your album "6x3". How did you meet Jon Spencer?

Guitar Wolf introduced Jon Spencer to us. He is absolutely my master. Thanks for IN THE RED (US label) who hooked up us to work together. One of our dreams has come true, so now the next one will be to work with the Rolling Stones.

Do you think Jon Spencer’s production created a different sound on the record?

To be honest, Jon Spencer was the original reason we have started King Brothers. It was the best time we ever had and I think we have finished one career respecting and following Jon Spencer after that. So that experience brought the latest style of King Brothers. Now we have moved on to the new level without Jon in a good way.

Is it true that Jon Spencer and Christina Martinez’s son plays or sings on "Doo Doo Scratch"?

Jon's son Charlie and Ron from my favorite NY band, Speed Ball Babys, joined in that song. We have recorded it in Matt from Speedball Babys studio. When I met Jon and Matt in NY again, I shouted NY ROCK N ROOL!! THIS IS THE CENTRAL OF THE WORLD!!

The King Brothers show is supposed to be very wild and exciting. Do you think of your shows as similar to a theatre production?

There is no other band you can feel the real wildness and excitement like us in the world. We are thinking we can kill people by the real loud, fast and groovy rock n roll. If you can understand the lyrics, you can even feel the blues so please study Japanese.

Do you think your shows are similar to 1950s rock’n’roll shows by artists like Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis (because both Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis were wild performers)?

I will be happy if so. We are aiming to make it much more dangerous and thrilling. Don't you wanna see the people really going carazy on stage?

How would you describe your music?

Hardcore Blues.

How would you describe your live show?

A Big Killing Bulldozer destroying everything.

What’s the reaction from audiences who haven’ seen you before?

Close their eyes or going insane.

What’s the most memorable show you’ve ever done?

When we played with Guitar Wolf, I jumped off from the speaker which is about 20 metres high. Then after, Guitar Wolf jumped off too!!

Do you think getting a reaction from the audience (and getting the audience very excited) is an important part of the King Brothers show?

It all depends on the audience. We just play hard as possible. If the audience response to it, then the whole show will become very dangerous one. We need your power.

What are you looking forward to doing and seeing when you’re in Australia?

I would like to see the vintage motorbike shops. then surfing with koala and kangaroo on my shoulder. We will show you the best rock n roll show, I promise. Please listen to our new album Blues and come to see our show. I want you to feel the real Blues comes from Nishinomiya, Japan. Rock and Blues and not for white or black people anymore. They are ours. I am looking forward to seeing the real rock n roll in Australia. See you at the devils intersection where rock is born.

And if that doesn’t convince you to check-out the King Brothers, nothing will. These guys must be seen to be believed. "Blues" (with bonus DVD) is out now through Infidelity Records.

Live dates:

Thur 19 April - Crown & Anchor, Adelaide
w/Backseat Romeos

Fri 20 April - Espy Front Bar, St Kilda
w/Kamikaze Trio + The Mares + Killer Birds

Sat 21 April - Exile On Smith, Collingwood
w/Backseat Romeos + Trough Lollies + Tash Mints

Tue 24 April - Tote, Collingwood (Anzac Day Eve)
w/Nation Blue + Young and Restless + These Hands

Thur 26 April - Rics Cafe, Brisbane

Fri 27 April - Spectrum, Sydney
w/Pink Fits + DJ Jay Katz

More info, sounds at their website or Myspace