- This article is about the band called Half Japanese. For people of mixed Japanese and non-Japanese descent see: Hafu
Half Japanese at the SXSW Festival, March 2008
|Genres||Post-punk, experimental rock, indie rock, alternative rock, punk rock|
|Labels||50 Skidillion Watts, Safe House|
|Past members||David Fair
Half Japanese is a punk rock band formed by brothers Jad and David Fair around 1975, sometime after the family's relocation to Uniontown, Maryland. Their original instrumentation included a small drum set, which they took turns playing; vocals; and an out-of-tune, distorted guitar. Both Fair brothers sang, although over time Jad moved into the frontman role.
Band history 
Jad is well known for playing an untuned electric guitar. After 30 years, he still does not play in any traditional manner; in the documentary Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King he states that "the only chord I know is the one that connects the guitar to the amp."
Their lyrics often deal with monsters and the supernatural (especially as influenced by campy "creature feature" and scifi movies), in addition to more conventional themes, such as young love. They have stated that all their songs are either "love songs or monster songs."
The band released their first single Calling All Girls in 1979, followed by a triple album 1/2 Gentlemen/Not Beasts that gave them an instant cult status. It has been stated that they were the first band to debut with a triple album.
The band played and recorded as a duo until the early '80s when they began incorporating additional members into the group: Mark Jickling (guitar and vocals) and brothers Ricky and John Dreyfuss (drums and saxophone). Since that time, dozens of musicians have come and gone under the Half Japanese banner, including Howard Wuelfing, Don Fleming, Jay Spiegel that are both from the band Velvet Monkeys, Shockabilly bass player and Shimmy Disc impresario Mark Kramer and many, many others. Jad is the only member who has been with Half Japanese from the beginning. David Fair eventually left the band in the early 1980s to focus on his family. He has continued to make guest appearances with the band from time to time.
The next line-up of Half Japanese came together in the late 1980s, proving to be a long-lasting and stable unit recording several albums and touring frequently throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan. This incarnation featured guitarist/multi-instrumentalist John Sluggett (also a longtime member of Moe Tucker's band), multi-instrumentalist Jason Willett, and drummer Gilles Reider. Since then, the group has worked with Moe Tucker from The Velvet Underground, who produced and performed on Fire In the Sky (1992) as well as The Band That Would Be King, Fred Frith, and John Zorn, among others.
Fans of Half Japanese include Penn Jillette, who helped the band release some of their albums on his label, 50 Skidillion Watts, and Kurt Cobain, who had them open some dates of Nirvana's 1993 In Utero tour. Cobain was wearing a Half Japanese t-shirt when he died.
The band's history and influence are chronicled in the 1993 documentary Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King by Jeff Feuerzeig. The band was chosen by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that he curated in March 2012 in Minehead.
The album Hot from 1995 is one of their noisiest grunge albums with heavily distorted vocals and guitars. In 1997 the band released Heaven Sent. The title track, over sixty minutes long, was a live recording for a radio broadcast on Radio 5 VPRO's De Avonden.
In 2011 the band toured through Europe in the formation Jad Fair, Sluggett, Willett & Reider. In 2012 the band performed a few times in the US in the start up formation with the Fair brothers, the Dreyfuss brothers and Jickling. Early drummer Rick Dreyfuss passed away in March 14th 2013.
Studio albums 
- Half Gentlemen/Not Beasts (Armageddon, 1980)
- Loud (Armageddon, 1981)
- Our Solar System (Iridescence, 1985)
- Sing No Evil (Iridescence, 1985)
- Music To Strip By (50 Skidillion Watts, 1987)
- Charmed Life (50 Skidillion Watts, 1988)
- The Band That Would Be King (50 Skidillion Watts, 1989)
- We Are They Who Ache with Amorous Love (TEC Tones, 1990)
- Fire In The Sky (Paperhouse, 1992)
- Hot (Safe House, 1995)
- Bone Head (Alternative Tentacles, 1997)
- Heaven Sent (Emperor Jones, 1997)
- Hello (Alternative Tentacles, 2001)
Live albums 
- Half Alive (Cassette - live at DC Space and the Red Door, Baltimore - 50 Skidillion Watts, 1977)
- 50 Skidillion Watts Live (Calypso Now, 1984)
- Boo: Live in Europe 1992 (TEC Tones, 1994)
Compilation albums 
- Best Of Half Japanese (Timebomb Japan, 1993)
- Greatest Hits 2 CDs / 3 LPs (Safe House, 1995)
- Best Of Half Japanese Vol. 2 (Timebomb Japan, 1995)
- "Calling All Girls" (50 Skidillion Watts, 1977)
- Horrible (Press, 1982)
- Real Cool Time/What Can I Do/Monopoly EP (Overzealous Editions, 1989)
- Everybody Knows, Twang 1 EP (Seminal Twang, 1991)
- 4 Four Kids EP (Ralph, 1991)
- Postcard EP (Earl, 1991)
- Eye of the Hurricane/Said and Done/U.S. Teens are Spoiled Bums/Daytona Beach EP (1991)
- "No Direct Line from my Brain to My Heart"/"(I Don't Want to Have) Mono (No More)" 7" (50 Skidillion Watts, 1978)
- "Spy" (Armageddon, 1981)
- "How Will I Know" (Press, 1982)
- "U.S. Teens Are Spoiled Bums" (50 Skidillion Watts, 1988)
- "T For Texas"/"Go Go Go Go" (X.X.O.O. Fan Club, 1990)
- All the Doctors in Hot Springs, December 2012 
- "Follow-Up Report". Seattle Police Department. 8 April 1994. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- ATP curated by Jeff Mangum
-  sanantokyo.com
- The Half Japanese Fan Site
- Half Japanese entry at the Trouser Press website
- Half Japanese band page at Alternative Tentacles label website
- Jad Fair's official website
- Interview to Jad Fair
- Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King
- Epitonic.com: Half Japanese featuring tracks from "Hello"
- Myspace page featuring tracks from various albums