If you have never heard of the Japanese punk band Guitar Wolf, it’s time to start questioning your adolescence. Their self-described style of “Jet Rock ‘n’ Roll” brings together punk, noise, and rockabilly to stereo obliterating decibels which the band may or may not use to save us all from a zombie apocalypse.
Though their lyrics veer more toward B-grade cult films than nihilism and politics, their high-energy and style have kept them rocking for almost 30 years. , Seiji, Toru and U.G. took the time to meet us in a secret underground bunker to talk about Korea-Japan relations, their inspirations, favorite tunes, and whether or not they really will save us from that zombie invasion.
Chincha: The bands been around since 1987. Whats kept you going through good times and bad? What keeps you interested?
Guitar Wolf: We have a mission. We may never be one of the biggest mainstream bands, but we know we’re one of the coolest. All the band members are aware of it. We just keep on moving forward and doing what we do.
You coined the term Jet rock ‘n’ roll What does it mean?
I love Rock n Roll that sounds like a jet engine.
I love Rock n Roll that runs as fast as a jet plane.
And I love the word “Jet.” I think I’d probably be a Jet plane if I was reborn.
You’re known for a wild, theatrical live show. How do u keep it fresh? Where does your energy come from?
We just want try to give out the same high-energy rock that the great rockers in musical history emitted. Our energy? That comes from a lot of beer.
1999’s “Jet Generation” is claimed to be the loudest record ever released … is that actually true?
Well the record label put a sticker on to warn listeners that “we were not responsible for broken stereos due to loud volume..” One of my friends did actually claim that his stereo blew up while listening to it.
If you weren’t musicians, what would you have all ended up doing?
We would be movie stars in Korea.
You’re well known for the cult movie Wild Zero. How did you end up getting involved?
The director wanted to make a Rock ‘n’ Roll movie packed with the motorcycles, explosions, UFO’s , zombies and a whole bunch of other stuff. We met and the rest is history.
Whats a favorite song of yours?
And how about from someone else?
“Kick Out The Jams” – MC5” and “Rumble” – Link Wray
Is there a particular album which defines you? Something we should listen to on repeat for the next few days?
Has to be our very first album. “Wolf Rock”.
If you had to pick your 3 biggest influences, what would they be?
Kawasaki motorcycles, Bruce Lee and when I first came to Tokyo from my countryside hometown.
You’re heading to London soon, where are your favourite places to play around the world?
Paris, New York, Memphis, and Seoul.
You’ve played in Seoul a bunch of times. What do you always try and do when your in town?
Aside from playing awesome live shows and drinking, we love the nightlife here. It’s fanciful and interesting, different from Japan. I always find it very charming. So we party.
How does the music scene in Korea compare to Japan? What’s your opinion of punk/rock ‘n’ roll culture here and there in general?
I hope theres still as many rock and punk clubs as ever. There were so many great bands in the 70’s and 80’s in Korea. These days Galaxy Express are a great inspiration. I love people in Korea, everyones always so enthusiastic and friendly, we have a great relationships with our friends here. I can’t believe the two countries are having so many political problems with each other. Hopefully we’ll can learn to get along well as nations aswell as people. The occasional fight is ok but absolutely no hatred.
AstroZombies from space invade tomorrow. Whats your weapon of choice?
Guitar Wolf’s explosive sound. We’d play a gig with with huge speakers like the one in ‘Back To The Future”, paralyze what’s left of their brains, turn them into Rock n Roll zombies and make them dance behind us.
Touché. Who would u have on your side in a bar-fight? The Misfits or the Cramps?
Of course, The Cramps.
Is Elvis alive or Dead? IF he’s alive, what’s he up to?
I’m a big fan of Elvis. I wish he was still with us today. If Elvis was alive I’d love to see him singing cool punk rock.
Run over a Vampire on a Motorcycle or a zombie with a Cadillac?
The vampire would probably dodge the motorcycle and jump on my back. Then he’d bite my neck with his fangs and I’d be a vampire, too. Then I’d probably go round looking for Korean ladies to turn. Come be a Vampire with me.
Rock n Roll will never die because ___________________ ?
Guitar Wolf are here to stay.
, supported by guests from Tokyo, the Spanish Barrow’in Guitar and local rockers Streetguns, Dead Buttons and Assassination Squad. Check the for more details on the gig and to keep up to date with all their upcoming parties, séances, zombie hunts and secret meetings.
Interview by Alex A and James D