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Seiji, lead singer and guitarist for Guitar Wolf
|Origin||Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan|
|Genres||Garage rock, hard rock, noise rock, garage punk, blues punk|
|Labels||Guitarwolf Records, Sony JP, Ki/oon, Goner, Matador, Narnack, Okami, Third Man|
The Let's Go's
|Members||Seiji, Tōru, Gotz|
|Past members||Hikaru, U.G, Billy, Masaharu, Narita|
Guitar Wolf (Japanese: ギターウルフ) is a Japanese garage rock power trio founded in Tokyo in 1987. The band is known for songs with piercing vocals and an extremely loud style of noise-influenced punk which emphasizes heavy distortion and feedback. They coined the phrase "jet rock 'n' roll", which they also use to describe their musical style – an energetic cross between the Ramones, Link Wray, rockabilly, 77 punk, and garage rock. The band is part of Sony Music Japan's Ki/oon Records division.
Guitar Wolf has released thirteen studio albums internationally as well as a live album, numerous singles, and a retrospective compilation called Golden Black. The band members have also been featured in two B-grade science fiction horror movies: Wild Zero and Sore Losers. A collection of Guitar Wolf's most popular videos and live performances have been compiled into a limited edition DVD titled Red Idol. Guitar Wolf is a staple at music festivals in their native Japan, and typically embark on lengthy tours both domestically and internationally after the release of a new album.
Guitarist Seiji was born in Nagasaki Prefecture, but moved to nearby Shimane Prefecture while he was still young. Upon graduating high school he moved to Tokyo where he became lead vocalist for the band Far East Punch. With a strong desire to play guitar and after giving up on several attempts, Seiji finally dedicated himself to the instrument after coming across a copy of the single "Rumble" by Link Wray & His Ray Men at Tower Records in Shibuya. He has stated that the 1958 instrumental "saved his music life."
Seiji met bassist Billy while the two were working in, Harajuku, the former in a used leather jacket, '50s clothing and antique shop and the latter in a punk rock shop located behind it. Realizing they shared similar musical tastes, the two decided to form a rock and roll band together. After convincing Seiji's coworker Narita to accompany them on drums, Guitar Wolf formed in Harajuku in 1987. Each member adopted a Ramones-style surname reflecting the instrument he played: Seiji became Guitar Wolf, Billy became Bass Wolf, and Narita became Drum Wolf, though Narita would depart the group shortly thereafter. For a brief period Seiji's younger brother Masaharu - himself currently in the Tokyo band Thunderroads - filled in on drums before a permanent solution in the form of current drummer Tōru was found, a suggestion made by Rockin' Enocky Thunderbird, guitarist of the surf band Jackie & The Cedrics and Seiji's personal guitar hero.
In time the band would come to develop its own unique strain of punk rock music, fusing multiple genres together into what the band described as Jet Rock 'n' Roll. Although Guitar Wolf has cited Joan Jett as an important musical and stylistic influence, contrary to some reports, the term Jet Rock is not derived from Joan Jett's name. The term's origin is, rather, attributed to the sound of a jet plane. In an interview conducted in St. Louis April 5, 2012, frontman Seiji clarified, "I love jet plane. I love noisy music, too. So... There were records... many records... every record have no big sounds. So... easy to listen. I hate that! So! I add jet sounds. Bwaaaahng! Explosion!" In the same interview, when asked who created the term, Jet Rock, Seiji replied, "Me. Yeah, yeah. So we are #1 Japanese Jet Rock Band."
By 1994, the band had released three albums and a single. Their first album, Wolf Rock!, having been recorded in Seiji's basement and released in America by Goner Records - incidentally being the label's first release and its impetus for inception - after Goner founder and Oblivians member Eric Friedl saw the band at the second Garage Shock festival in Bellingham, Washington. Having received the band's permission, Friedl released the demo tape that the band had given him, becoming their first release. Their second album, Kung Fu Ramone, released through Bag of Hammers; their third, by and large a retooling of Kung Fu Ramone titled Run Wolf Run being their debut studio album and the first released in Japan on the label Less Than TV. 1994 also saw the release of their first single, Somethin' Else b/w Red Rockabilly, again through Bag of Hammers.
The period between 1994 and 2000 is when Guitar Wolf released much of their most well known material. In 1996 an in-store performance at a New York City record store secured the band a contract with Matador Records, who issued the band's fourth album Missile Me! that same year. Guitar Wolf would continue releasing albums with Matador until 1999's Jet Generation, an album which Matador Records claims is the loudest album ever put to wax and included a warning that playing it could potentially damage the listener's audio equipment. These two albums contain many of the band's most well known songs, including the two titular tracks and "Can-Nana Fever."
On April 24, 2019 it was announced that Guitar Wolf's latest album Love & Jett would be released on Jack White's Third Man Records on May 10, 2019. A US Tour with Nashville Pussy would happen to promote the album as well.
In 1997, all three original members of Guitar Wolf appeared in the John Michael McCarthy's The Sore Losers in the role of the mysterious strangers alongside Memphis indie rock musician Jack Oblivian. McCarthy also directed the music video for their song "All Night De Buttobase!! (Roaring All Night!!)". In 2000, Guitar Wolf starred in the Japanese rock ‘n’ roll "zombie horror" movie, Wild Zero, directed by Tetsuro Takeuchi. The band play themselves in as they take on crazed fans, zombies, and an alien invasion. Guitar Wolf are featured heavily in the movie's soundtrack. A sequel, tentatively titled: Wild Zero 2: The Strongest Blood of Humanity, was announced in July 2019 when the film screened at the New York Museum of Art and Design as part of its Global Punk Film series, though no release date has been confirmed. The band has also appeared in the documentaries Get Action!! (2014, dir. Jun'ya Kondō), and Garage Rockin' Craze (2017, dir. Mario Cuzic), the former exploring another well-known Japanese garage rock band Guitar Wolf considered something of a rival, Teengenerate, and the latter exploring the formation and evolution of the Tokyo garage punk scene and its de facto founder, DJ Daddy-O-Nov. Both films feature interviews with Seiji and the latter features live footage as well. Seiji also has a cameo in the 2017 Australian mockumentary Top Knot Detective (2017, dir. Aaron McCann & Dominic Pearce).
Death of Bass Wolf
In 2002 the band made the move to Narnack Records where the band continued to release material until 2005 when the band released their greatest hits album, "Golden Black." That same year after completing a U.S. tour, the band returned home to Japan where bassist Billy suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 38. Billy, whose real name was Hideaki Sekiguchi, died in Tokyo on March 31, 2005, and is survived by his wife and two children. In September 2005, Guitar Wolf played their first show with their new bassist, U.G, a co-worker at the construction site where Tōru worked who had up to that point only been interested in hip-hop and had never touched a bass guitar in his life. U.G would play with the band for the next 12 years, departing in 2017. Their frenetic replacement, Hikaru, would only serve a tenure of less than a year before being replaced with current bassist, Gotz.
The band have their own line of Jet clothing consisting of jackets, pants, T-shirts and belts. The Guitar Wolf motorcycle jacket, a variation of the 613 Perfecto called 613GW, is manufactured by Schott NYC. In 2018, alongside big name Japanese bands The Cro-Magnons, The Bawdies, and Stompin' Riffraffs, Guitar Wolf headlined Wings, Wheels, & Rock 'N' Roll, a show sponsored by British motorcycle jacket maker Lewis Leathers to commemorate the brand opening a Tokyo store. They have since released a model for Guitar Wolf, known as the 723 Memphis.
- Missile Me 7" (Bag Of Hammers, 1996, BOH 041)
- Satisfaction 7" (Bag Of Hammers, 1996, BOH 042)
- Can-Nana Fever 7" (Wallabies, 1997, WAL-018)
- Bad Reputation 7" (Wallabies, 1997, WAL-019)
- Kawasaki Z11 7750 Rock 'N' Roll 7" (Matador, 1997, OLE-271-7)
- Kaminari One 7" (Less Than TV, 1998, CH-53)
- Murder By Rock! 12" (Ki/oon, 1999, KSC2 305)
- God Speed You 12" (Ki/oon, 2000, KSC2 320)
- I Love You, Ok 12" (Ki/oon, 2001, KSC2 373)
- Jet Satisfaction CD/DVD (Ki/oon, 2009, KSCL 1528-9)
- Run Wolf Run CD (Less Than TV, 1994, IDCW-1002)
- Missile Me! LP/CD (Matador, 1995, OLE-219-1/2)
- Planet of the Wolves LP/CD (Matador, 1997, OLE-248-1/2)
- Jet Generation LP/CD (Matador, 1999, OLE-333-1/2)
- Rock'n'roll Etiquette CD (Narnack, 2000, NCK7022)
- Live!! (Ki/oon, 2000, KSC2 347-8)
- UFO Romantics LP/CD (Narnack Records, 2002, NCK 7001)
- Loverock CD (Narnack Records, 2004, NCK 7020)
- Golden Black CD (Narnack Records, 2005, NCK 7035)
- Dead Rock CD (Sony, 2007)
- Mars Twist CD (2007)
- Uchusenkan Love (Space Battleship Love) CD (2010, KSCL1671)
- Beast Vibrators CD/LP (2013)
- T-Rex From A Tiny Space Yojouhan CD/LP (2016)
- LOVE&JETT CD (Guitarwolf Records, 2019, GW-001)
- Wild Zero CD (Ki/oon, 1999, KSC2 306)
- Split 7" with The Statics (Wallabies, 1997, WAL-019)
- Aussie Tour Split 7" with Shutdown 66 (Corduroy Records, 1999, CORD-077)
- Split 7" with Sludgefeast (Must Destroy Music, 2005, DESTROYER 25)
- Ultra Cross Vol. 1 with Lightning Bolt (Ki/oon Records, 2006)
- I Love Guitar Wolf: Very Much CD (Narnack, 2005, NCK 7028)
- "Summertime Blues" by Eddie Cochran
- "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones
- "Rumble", "Jack the Ripper", and "Ace of Spades" by Link Wray
- "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash
- "Kick Out the Jams" by MC5
- "I Love You, OK?" by Eikichi Yazawa
- "The Way I Walk" by Jack Scott
- "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" by Bobby Troup
- "(I'm A) Sore Loser" by The Royal Pendletons
- "Brand New Cadillac" by Vince Taylor
- "Fire" by Bruce Springsteen
- "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf
- "Let's Get Hurt" by Teengenerate
- "Gimme Some Lovin'" by The Spencer Davis Group
- Red Idol DVD (Narnack Records, 2003, NCK7007)
- Hero The Wolves Movie And Music To Mangle Your Mind DVD (Ki/oon, 1999, KSBL 5800)
- Live At The World Rising Of The Wolves DVD (Ki/oon, 2005, KSBL 5811)
- 69 Comeback Special At Hibiya Yagai Dai Ongakudo 2009.4.4 DVD (Ki/oon, 2005, KSBL 5896)
- The Sore Losers (1997) as "Mysterious Strangers"
- Wild Zero (2000) as themselves
- Guitar Wolf – Red Idol (2003) as themselves
- Rock 'n Tokyo (2007) as themselves
- Guitar Wolf (the guitarist) appears in the Puffy (Ami Yumi) video for "Teen Titans".
- In the anime series Black Lagoon, protagonist Revy says she enjoys Guitar Wolf's music. The music played during the scene was 'Can-Nana Fever' by Guitar Wolf.
- Get Action!! (2014) as themselves
- Garage Rockin' Craze (2017) as themselves
- Bartz, Simon. "Guitar Wolf return to silence the lambs". The Japan Times. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
- Cruz, Anne Marie (Dec 1997). "Guitar Wolf - Planet of the Wolves". CMJ New Music Monthly. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
- Dudes Magazine [paperback], Issue 20, Page 34, published Winter 2012–13.
- "Guitar Wolf". Rockofjapan.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- Dudes Magazine [paperback], Issue 20, Page 35, published Winter 2012–13.
- "Guitar Wolf". Rockofjapan.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "An Interview With Eric Oblivian". Furious.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "Guitar Wolf". Rockofjapan.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
-  Archived June 24, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- [dead link]
- "Wild Zero 2 Trailer Premieres". Twitter. July 11, 2019. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
- Phares, Heather. Biography for Guitar Wolf at AllMusic. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
- "Punk Rock World Mourns Derrick Plourde And Hideaki 'Billy' Sekiguchi". MTV. 2005-01-04. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "jet G - Guitar Wolf Official Home Page!". Guitarwolf.net. Archived from the original on 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Guitar Wolf.|
- Official website
- Guitar Wolf record label
- Nippop Profile|Guitar Wolf
- Jett Clothing
- Guitar Wolf Shop (English)
- Guitar Wolf At The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn NY, 5-13-2011
- Guitar Wolf. "www.rockofjapan.com". Accessed August 24, 2007.
- Christmas, Shane Jesse. An Interview with Eric Oblivian "www.furious.com", August 2000. Accessed June 8, 2007.
- Harris, Chris. Punk Rock World Mourns Derrick Plourde And Hideaki 'Billy' Sekiguchi "www.mtv.com". 2007 MTV Networks. Accessed August 25, 2007.