|Genres||Alternative rock, post-hardcore, indie rock, noise rock, experimental rock|
|Associated acts||Zazen Boys, Vola and the Oriental Machine, Bloodthirsty Butchers, Lama, Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, Toddle, Spiral Chord, Sloth Love Chunks, Crypt City, younGSounds|
|Past members||Shutoku Mukai|
Number Girl (ナンバーガール) was a rock band formed in Fukuoka, Japan in August, 1995 by guitarist and vocalist Shutoku Mukai. They disbanded in 2002 following bassist Kentaro Nakao's departure from the band.
Number Girl played fast, guitar-driven rock similar to the Pixies, Sonic Youth, and Hüsker Dü. Over the course of seven years their sound evolved greatly, serving as a basis for Mukai's post-Number Girl project, Zazen Boys.
Number Girl was formed in August 1995, when Shutoku Mukai decided to form a band to play at a local event. A solo artist at the time, Mukai was briefly involved in one band called "Number Five". Learning that his new members were previously in a band called "Cowgirl", he combined the names, and christened his new band "Number Girl".
The original incarnation of Number Girl was unsuccessful, and the collaborating musicians quickly left the group. Mukai invited bassist Kentarō Nakao, who in turn invited guitarist Hisako Tabuchi, whom Nakao knew from her former job operating lighting at the Vivre Hall venue. Mukai convinced a fellow Fukuoka scene musician Ahito Inazawa to play drums, finalizing Number Girl's lineup. The band self-released two demos, "Atari Shock" and "Omoide in My Head", and was also featured on several compilations. Number Girl released their first full-length studio album, School Girl Bye Bye in November 1997 on independent label Automatic Kiss, and released their first single, "Drunken Hearted", several months later.
Major Label Debut
In 1998, the band began playing shows in the Shimokitazawa area of Tokyo. Gaining a higher profile in Japan's indie rock scene, the band quickly attracted major label attention, and signed with Toshiba EMI. In May 1999, their major debut single, "Tōmei Shōjo" (透明少女) was released with their major debut, School Girl Distortional Addict, released the following July. Number Girl quickly gained popularity throughout Japan, playing shows with other high-profile indie acts such as Bloodthirsty Butchers and Eastern Youth. In fall of 1999, Number Girl released the single "Destruction Baby", produced by Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann, as well as a live album, Shibuya Rockstransformed Jōtai.
In 2000 the band again entered the studio with producer Dave Fridmann and released their third full-length studio album, Sappukei. Fridmann's production helped the band to reach their full potential, and Sappukei served to combine Number Girl's aggressive rock with traditional Japanese sounds. During this time, they embarked on a brief US tour with Polysics, playing in small clubs through several cities.
After a year of touring, the band again enlisted Dave Fridmann to produce what would become their final studio album, Num-Heavymetallic. Num-Heavymetallic took elements of their previous sound and combined it with Mukai's newly found experimentation. Unusual rhythms, effects-laden guitar lines, and a vocal style which alternated between punk-inspired grit and spoken word, would eventually be incorporated into Mukai's subsequent band, Zazen Boys.
The band then set out on their largest tour ever, playing over thirty dates, to support Num-Heavymetallic. However, on September 20, 2002, the band shocked fans by announcing their dissolution. The reason behind the band's demise is not entirely clear, although it is widely known that bassist Kentarō decided to leave the band. The other members decided that the band was a specific group, and opted to disband rather than replace Nakao. Number Girl played their final show on November 30, 2002 in Sapporo. The recording of the performance would later be released as Sapporo Omoide in My Head Jōtai (サッポロOmoide in My Head状態).
Following the demise of Number Girl, the members each went on to other projects. Nakao joined several bands like Spiral Chord, Sloth Love Chunks, Crypt City, younGSounds and later joined his long time friend Aiha Higurashi for the revival of Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her. Nakao also played as support member for the bands like MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS, dry as dust, The SALOVERS, hammer, fast Tokyo, and produced the band called THE GIRL. Guitarist Hisako Tabuchi formed her own band Toddle, became a member of Bloodthirsty Butchers and later joined the supergroup Lama consisting of former Supercar members Koji Nakamura & Miki Furukawa. Mukai continued performing as both a solo artist with his "Mukai Shutoku Acoustic & Electric" shows and formed a new band, Zazen Boys alongside drummer Ahito Inazawa. In 2005, Inazawa left Zazen Boys to form post-punk revival band Vola and the Oriental Machine and later joined BEYONDS. In 2010, Mukai formed another band called KIMONOS.
Toshiba EMI released several posthumous Number Girl recordings under the title Omoide in My Head, consisting of a best-and-b-sides collection, two comprehensive live volumes, a three DVD set consisting of the band's two earlier live albums, and a rare tracks collection.
Many bands have cited NUMBER GIRL as an inspiration, including Base Ball Bear, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, tricot, kafka, TOUMING MAGAZINE, Kinoko Teikoku, MINOR SCHOOL and ART SCHOOL. They are considered one of the biggest names of the Japanese indie rock scene of the late 90's to early 2000's.
- Shutoku Mukai (向井秀徳 Mukai Shūtoku) (born October 26, 1973) - guitar, vocals
- Hisako Tabuchi (田渕ひさ子 Tabuchi Hisako) (born December 9, 1975) - guitar
- Kentarō Nakao (中尾憲太郎 Nakao Kentarō) (born June 17, 1974) - bass
- Ahito Inazawa (アヒト・イナザワ Ahito Inazawa) (born June 6, 1973) - drums
- "Drunken Hearted" (August 20, 1998)
- "Tōmei Shōjo" (透明少女) (May 26, 1999)
- "Destruction Baby" (September 26, 1999)
- "Urban Guitar Sayonara" (May 31, 2000)
- "Teppū Surudoku Natte" (鉄風 鋭くなって) (November 29, 2000)
- "Num-Ami-Dabutz" (March 30, 2002)
- "I Don't Know" (April 8, 2002)
- School Girl Bye Bye (November 6, 1997)
- School Girl Distortional Addict (July 23, 1999)
- Shibuya Rockstransformed Jōtai (December 16, 1999)
- Sappukei (July 19, 2000)
- Num-Heavymetallic (April 26, 2002)
- Sapporo Omoide in My Head Jōtai (サッポロOmoide in My Head状態) (January 29, 2003)
- Omoide in My Head 1: Best & B-Sides (Omoide in My Head 1 〜Best & B-Sides〜) (March 2, 2005)
- Omoide in My Head 2: Kiroku Series 1 (Omoide in My Head 2 記録シリーズ1) (June 22, 2005)
- Omoide in My Head 2: Kiroku Series 2 (Omoide in My Head 2 記録シリーズ2) (June 22, 2005)
- Omoide in My Head 4: Chin NG & Rare Tracks (珍NG & Rare Tracks) (December 14, 2005)
- Sawayaka na Ensō (騒やかな演奏) (June 20, 2001)
- Number Girl Eizōshū (Number Girl映像集) (April 26, 2003)
- Omoide in My Head 3: Kiroku Eizō (Omoide in My Head 3 記録映像) (September 28, 2005)