Sunday, May 5, 2013

Guitar Vader | 5 albums, 2 EPs

Reupped at a reader's request, here.

If someone put a gun to my head and forced me to choose just one Japanese rock band to listen to until my retirement years, my first impulse would be: "Just kill me." For, how could I--how, indeed, could anyone--choose just one? My second impulse, tempered by the desire to continue living, would be to flip a coin: Heads = Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her; tails = Guitar Vader.

Formed in 1998 as a male-female duo, Guitar Vader was largely influenced by the Beatles and the Pixies, though they also learned and/or borrowed from every late 20th century act from Guitar Wolf to Beck. Their first album, Die Happy!, was released on cassette and never had a proper CD (or LP) release. (It is, I would argue, the single most perfect example of Japanese pop rock ever recorded.)

In 2000, they added a drummer and a couple of years later added a(n American) keyboardist. They broke up in 2007 when their drummer began to have serious health issues related to his heart; they had been working on a sixth studio album, which was abandoned. So far as I know, none of them seem to have pursued solo musical careers.

I found most of these albums on other, now-defunct sites, wiped out in the Megaupload action. They are, so far as I can tell, all out of print and impossible to find.

Included here are:

Die Happy! (1999)
Wild at Honey (2000)
From Dusk (2001)
Baby-T/GVTV/Shimanagasgi (2001)
Dawn (2003)
Happy East (2004)

Watch an interview with Guitar Vader's Ujuan Shozo and Miki Tanabe:


Barron said...

Just curious: is Boris on your radar at all?

Imho Boris is probably the finest rock and roll band on the planet (using the Creem magazine criteria, with the MC5 as the gold standard.)

I am pretty impressed by SSKHKH though, and now I'll give Guitar Vader a listen.

Keep up the good work! You have a very tasty blog.

Gary said...

Yeah, I really love Boris.

I have hundreds of Japanese albums, mostly found online, mostly now lost (Megaupload, etc.), and I've been debating what I should share here in the near future ...

Ampontan said...

Of possible interest to viewers of the interview is that it is conducted in front of a sign that reads "Musical Performances Prohibited" (the red part at the top). It seems to be a public park.

JamesL said...

DAYUM this is awesome. My knowledge of Japanese rock is limited to the punk scene and this is a nice segue for me to get into more stuff.


Holly said...

I will check these out over the weekend, Gary, thank you!

*If* I put the Ketchup away. :-)

Anonymous said...

holy shit thank you so much

Anonymous said...

holy shit thank you so much

Anonymous said...

I was the american playing keyboards. Someday I'll upload high quality versions of this stuff.

Gary said...

Is that really you, Steve?

You know, many more people than me would love to see a new website dedicated to the band, something more than the Wikipedia and MySpace pages that exist now.

If either CDs or high quality MP3-4s (or whatever format) of these albums existed I would order them--especially-especially the CDs, although I have a strong suspicion that CDs are going the way of cassettes and vinyl.

Anyway, a proper site of some kind would be really welcome ...

Anonymous said...

Actually it was Vocalist and Bassist Ujuan Shozo that suffered from the heart infection.

How this band didn't get more attention is beyond me. I heard rumors that they had planned on doing a US tour, but the plan ended after the health issues.

I own all 5 of their albums, and honestly, over the last few years they have become one of my favorite bands in the world, of all time. I find myself singing and jamming along on my bass at least once a week.

What a shame to see Guitar Vader fade away with little to no trace... a proper website, as well as some reissued CD's would be awesome!

Siberian_Khatru said...

Hi Guys,

This is Steve Laity. Unfortunately, I doubt there will ever be any re-releases. I have some material that was never released lying around somewhere. It was on a CD that Suzuki gave me the last time we met. I never really listened to it because I was too bitter at the time.

Jones/Zalid said...

Hi. Any chance of reupload this? Thanks in advance

Gary said...


Gill said...

Gary, Many Thanks, yet again! You are a true Netizen, the hard work you do to share these tunes around the world are greatly appreciated.



Jones/Zalid said...

Thanks man. I appreciate your work ;)

Long Ron Avalon said...

Hey, I don't know where to post re-up requests, and I'm sure you've gotten more than you know what to do with, but I'd love you forever if you could re-up The Fly. No hurry, though, I'm sure you're plenty busy with all the other stuff people are asking for, not to mention all the new stuff you've uploaded.

Gary said...

Long Ron, I need to rerip it at 320 (it's at 192 in my iTunes) and I'll post it Monday or Tuesday.

Dolmance said...

Thank you. I love this band. Tried to get Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, because I guess you posted that before I discovered your blog. Anyway, it's gone now. Love to find it again, but meanwhile, I'm going to listen to Guitar Vader.

Again, thank you, so much.

Gary said...

Seagull will definitely be reposted, but this time it'll be their complete catalog.

Dolmance said...

I was aware of this group, but not that aware. Wonderful stuff. And this singer is such a stand out.

Anyway, Gary, thank you. This is great stuff. I appreciate it very much. You're up there with the Madrotter in my esteem now.

Thanks again.

Terry said...

Wow……I've been looking for Guitar Vader stuff ever since JSR came out. I even went to a bunch of indie stores in Japan to search for the CDs, to no avail.

I once found Die Happy on some random torrent, but lost it in a crash.

Can't thank you enough. orz Definitely sticking around!

PS: I think the encoding messed up a bit on Magical Girl on DH

SmokyPS said...

This band is awesome, thanks for the turn on - I came looking for Screaming Seagull KH KH and was sad to see it gone but this is a great substitute. I haven't seen anyone else cover the J-Pop/J-Indie scene in their blogs. Look forward to more posts!!! Kahimi Karie?

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