Thee Michelle Gun Elephant
|Thee Michelle Gun Elephant|
Universal Music Group
|Past members||Yusuke Chiba
The band was formed in 1991, while Chiba, Ueno, and Kuhara were students at Tokyo's Meiji Gakuin University. They later drew influence from The Roosters. Their unusual name originated when a friend mispronounced the title of an early jam session recording; featuring cover songs of Thee Headcoats (one of the band's main influences) and from The Damned's album, Machine Gun Etiquette. Some years later Futoshi Abe joined the band. After an independently released EP in 1995, they signed to Nippon Columbia's Triad label, releasing the album Cult Grass Stars in 1996, followed later that year by High Time, the band enjoying chart success in their home country. Chicken Zombies (1997) gave them a top five hit. The band's 1998 album Gear Blues was the first to be released in the US (in 2000).
Song titles and lyrics
The majority of the band's songs have English titles, which often appear to be a random selection of words cobbled together - 'Pinhead Cranberry Dance', for example.
The lyrics are almost entirely Japanese, with the odd English phrase or word thrown in.
Chiba did not play the guitar so much. Sometimes the sound of Chiba's guitar was not sent to PA's mixer, because he played the guitar not to make a sound but to keep himself a rhythm.
- Fender Hot Rod De Ville
Seen is a brand name of the guitar produced by Matsushita Guitar Factory, placed in Harajuku, Tokyo. Some details were changed in Abe's Telecaster Custom-modeled guitar. The toggle switch was replaced where the tone knob of the rear pickup should be, because the switch's setting could be changed easily by his heavy playing. Because of it the guitar had only 3 knobs, 2 volume knobs and a master tone knob. For the majority of TMGE's lifespan, Abe played a Fender "The Twin" - a master volume amplifier with pre-amp distortion. Later he used a Marshall JCM-900.
Through almost all the time of Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, he used only two units of Fender bass guitar. Two of them were completely same, one had 3-tone sunburst body and the other vintage white. Both of them had amber pickguards. Fender Jazz Bass and contrabass were used in some tracks. He always played the bass guitar with a Jim Dunlop's pick.
- Canopus (Japanese drum company), Ludwig-Musser
All four members have had other musical projects or played with other bands both while in TMGE and after its break-up. Some of these are as follows:
- ROSSO (Vocals, Guitar and Songwriting on all releases)
- The Birthday (Vocals, Guitars and Songwriting on all releases)
- The Midwest Vikings (Vocals, Guitars and Songwriting under the alias 'LACOSTE')
- Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (Vocals on one song on the album 'Stompin' On Down Beat Alley')
- Bugy Craxone
- Midnight Bankrobbers
- ROSSO (Drums on some live appearances)
- The Birthday (Drums on all releases)
- The Midwest Vikings (Drums and Pianica under the alias 'HANG TEN')
- Yoko Utsumi's YOKOLOCO BAND (Drums on later releases)
- Shigeki Hamabe (Drums on first two albums)
- M.J.Q (drums on all releases)
- KOOLOGI (Guitar on first album)
- Strawberry Jean (Guitar - This was Futoshi Abe's pre-TMGE band - their one album is sometimes available via Japanese online auctions)
- Maximum! Maximum!! Maximum!!! (1993) Self-released
- Cult Grass Stars (1996) Triad
- High Time (1996) Triad
- Chicken Zombies (1997) Triad
- Gear Blues (1998) Triad
- Casanova Snake (2000) Triad
- Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter (2001) Triad
- Sabrina Heaven (2003) Island
- Sabrina No Heaven (2003) Island
- Casanova Said "Live or Die" (2000) Triad
- Last Heaven's Bootleg (2003) Island
- Sekai no Owari (1996) Triad
- Candy House (1996) Triad
- Lily (1996) Triad
- Culture (1997) Triad
- Get Up Lucy (1997) Triad
- The Birdmen (1997) Triad
- G.W.D (1998) Triad
- Out Blues (1998) Triad
- Smokin' Billy (1998) Triad
- GT400 (2000) Triad
- Baby Stardust (2000) Triad
- Abakareta-Sekai (2001) Triad
- Taiyou wo Tsukande Shimatta (2002) Island
- Girl Friend (2003) Trippin' Elephant
- Electric Circus (2003) Island
- Rumble (1999) Triad
Best of compilations
- TMGE 106 (2000) Triad
- Collection (2001) Alive Records (US release)
- Grateful Triad Years (2002) Triad
- Thee Greatest Hits (2009) Columbia
- Wonder Style (1995) Trippin' Elephant
- Wonder Style (reissue) (1997) Triad
- Vibe On! (1998) Trippin' Elephant
- Kwacker (with Mick Green) (2001) Trippin' Elephant
TMGE have released a number of live and PV DVDs. A box set of some of these were due to be released by Universal in January 2010, consisting of 10 discs under the title of 'THEE LIVE'.
- "Ｔｈｅｅ ｍｉｃｈｅｌｌｅ ｇｕｎ ｅｌｅｐｈａｎｔ │ オリコン芸能人事典-ORICON STYLE". Oricon.co.jp. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 1025-6
- "ROCKIN'ON JAPAN インタビュー : チバCollection". Shine1771.exblog.jp. 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
- ドコデモタワレコ. "ニュース - Tower Records Online". Bounce.com. Retrieved 2014-07-04.