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Garage Rockin' Craze : The Story Of Tokyo Garage Punk!

  • Written by  Debbie Sheringham

This much anticipated documentary film, made by Mario Cuzic and BB Clark, certainly kicks off as it means to go on. From the get-go, this film is packed full of rocket-fuelled, high-octane, in your face Rock and Roll - Nihon style.

The film centres around one of the protagonists of the garage scene in Tokyo. Meet Daddy-O-Nov. Quite an unassuming guy, with an obsession for cycling, garage punk and hanging out with teenagers. ‘He’s always hanging out with young people’ cheerful Enocky (of surf band Jackie & The Cedrics) comments, ‘hence the name Daddy’. Daddy is not concerned with a pecking order (which in Japanese culture is a huge deal) and likens the scene to a more Western way of being.

Daddy-O-Nov’s story is quite a familiar one. He kissed a few frogs (Elvis, Glam, Psychobilly) before meeting his true love, ‘60s garage punk, via the Crypt label's Back From The Grave compilations. Inspired, he went on to open the eponymous club night in the late ‘80s. 5678s drummer Sachiko comments that BFTG ‘significantly influenced its patrons. The patrons and bands being interchangeable’. And thank goodness they were saved - they were heading down the punk-pop route prior to their discovery of the BFTG club. By the early ‘90s the club had propelled BFTG regulars such as the 5678s, Jackie & The Cedrics, Guitar Wolf and Teengenerate into the western eye; particularly the eyes of Dave Crider (Estrus Records) and So-Cal degenerates The Mummies, Trashwomen et al where a similar scene was happening simultaneously and gig swaps ensued.  

There’s also input from DJ Jimmy Mashiko, who ran a club night prior to BFTG called Garage Rockin’ Craze. He talks solemley about the GS (Group Sounds) movement of the ‘60s, how it was very much steered by the industry (sound familiar?). Subsequently a discography, and book of the more obscure GS bands appeared in the late ‘80s. ‘Everyone was wearing really exciting clothes’ he marvels ‘and the fuzz was intense - wild like Pebbles’ (Pebbles comps released late ‘70s onwards). The love and reverence for the music, and scene stalwarts Jimmy and Daddy-O, are just a few the things that are so uplifting about this film. That and the real edginess conveyed throughout the live performances - it’s primitive kids.

I don’t want to give too much more away, but expect raw fuzz-soaked music from more obscure bands like The Saturns, heartwarming anecdotes, intergenerational rock 'n' roll, crazy spills and thrills and many Yokai. An absolute must see for any garage nerd. 5 stars.  

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