Friday, September 18, 2009

Get Action!

Whenever Japanese garage punk is mentioned, Guitar Wolf is usually the name that comes to most folks’ minds. And rightfully so. I’m not saying they’re wrong in the slightest. But to me, the first band that comes to mind is Teengenerate. Although Guitar Wolf are undoubtedly Japan’s kings of lo-fi, trashed-out rock ‘n’ roll, it’d be an error in judgment to simply write off Teengenerate as inferior. That’d be like turning down a free $100 bill just because it’s wrinkled or something. Guitar Wolf is rock ‘n’ roll in its out-of-control, sweat-drenched glory. Teengenerate is less chaotic in their approach, yet faster-paced and more punk-influenced. Chocolate or vanilla, which do you prefer?

Back in 1995, my friend Ben and I were at Free Radio Berkeley to “promote” an upcoming gig both of our bands had with Oppressed Logic. Their singer Mike had a slot on the station, and we were going to hang out and bump some tunes while talking about the show. We’d gotten there early, so we opted to hang out drinking 40s and smoking cigarettes while the previous show went on. The DJ was this girl Claudia who used to sing for an early Criminals lineup, and I don’t think she appreciated us being there. She played a song from Get Action! somewhere in there, which got my approval but not Ben’s. On the way to Free Radio Berkeley, Ben had been bitching about how many times Teengenerate had been brought up to him that day, so he was none too pleased about this happening yet again. If I remember correctly, she was reading off the playlist and being cute acknowledging our presence, asking us “ruff and tuff punkers” what we thought of Teengenerate. I said I liked them, of course. Ben was kinda drunk and growled “I fucking HATE Teengenerate!” right into the microphone. Claudia got all bent out of shape and made some comment about our having bad taste, forgetting that I said I liked them. It was pretty funny.

Now that I think about it, Teengenerate was actually the first Japanese punk band I ever heard, via their Full Service split EP with the Rip Offs in the mid ‘90s. Although I have always been more a fan of the hardcore side of punk, there were a number of great garage bands during this time. I vaguely remember hearing a band called the Spoiled Brats who were good, trashy fun. The Rip Offs were fantastic, and Rip Off Records released a lot of the best bands playing this style then.

Get Action! is Teengenerate’s first album, released by Crypt Records in 1994. Although they’d only been around for a year, they’d already made quite an impact on the garage punk scene with their split seven-inches and compilation tracks. People who saw Teengenerate’s San Francisco shows have told me that they were one of the best live bands they’d ever seen. If only I was old enough to attend those shows…I’d probably agree.

Get Action here.

1 comment:

Toxik Boys said...

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