Teengenerate at Rock-ichi Rock-za – Review from the Target Earth Blog

This is my translation of the Target Earth Blog’s review of Teengenerate at Shindaita Fever on August 3rd. When I started it, I realized it was part 6!!! So, if things keep going like they’re going now and nobody gives me a motherfucking job, I’ll do parts 1-5.

But for now, here’s the TG part…

Cozy’s performance was finished but vocalist Steve still had a big job to do. He was asked to warm up the crowd for Teengenerate.

He looked pretty nervous and shaky backstage. Later when I was listening to him, it sounded like he prepared ahead of time what he was going to say. But it looked like he was going around in circles in his head. From what Fink said, it sounds like he asked Steve to say something light like Mike Lucas’s ‘Wakarimasuka? Rokkunroru!’ (transl: you unnerstan? Rock n’ roll!) at the beginning of ‘Live At Shelter,’ but Steve had a lot to say and really ran with it (Postscript: The other day when I was talking with Fink, he said he didn’t remember saying anything like that, so maybe it was somebody else, not Fink). I was kind of wondering if he could pull it off but there really wasn’t time to worry about it so I just slapped him on the shoulder and said ‘Good luck’ and got ready to DJ.

Long-time rival band Guitar Wolf’s Seiji was backstage as well. When it was decided they’d get back together I called Seiji right away and told him to keep 8/3 open. He was really excited about it. I had a chance to talk with Seiji a bit but we mostly just talked about Teengenerate.

During the DJ set before Gimmies, I noticed that sitting at the soundboard was Yoko-chin. She’s the one that did sound back in the day for Teengenerate so she was largely responsible for their live sound. Now she’s doing PA work as a freelancer, but she said she’d do the show tonight. I remember that when Teengenerate was active, Fink would make tapes that were the kind of sound he wanted to get. He was really aiming to get a particular sound. When Thunderroads were finished I nodded ‘hi’ at Yoko-chin and started DJ’ing.

I decided to start off with Devil Dogs’ ‘Radio Beat.’ I was happy to see everybody’s response to that. It was a natural choice. Stuff like Undertones and Firestarter are standards I always play. When I put on First Alert’s ‘Back to the Night,’ Jimbo, who was standing next to me, suddenly went nuts, and everybody in the place was singing along. Some people were moshing each other around too, but who cares. I’m glad I played it. A few days later when I told Imai about it, I said, ‘Isn’t it cool people were into Alert?’ He said, ‘Maybe people who want to see Teengenerate would like Alert too.’ He added philosophically, ‘But right now, it’s like Alert’s not playing is like the most playing we’ve ever done.’ (note: I have no fucking clue that that means)

The band appeared to be ready. Among cheering from the crowd, Steve took to the stage. I listened to him warming up the crowd as I packed up my records. It went something like this: ‘Do you know why I’m here? It’s because of a certain band I heard 20 years ago. All because of this band, I started a band and started studying Japanese.’ He finished his story even though there were some jeers from the crowd saying it was too long and bring on the band. I heard this story many times from Steve but I think it was a really meaningful message for the people here tonight.

Then, Aniki kept his promise and said, ‘Good evening. We’re Sharam Q,’ and they launched into ‘Get Me Back.’ (note: Aniki is Fifi) The place went nuts. Amazing. Every time Teengenerate has reformed and placed since the Estrus benefit, they’ve slowed the tempos down a bit, but tonight’s show the songs were as fast and mean as back in the day. I thought that was absolutely awesome. This was Teengenerate. The energy was intense the rock and roll kept coming.

I spent most of the show watching from the DJ booth but I went up to the stage to take some pictures and saw the show from a few different spots. The crowd’s craziness went all the way back to the back of the club. At a usual show, about 1/3 of the crowd isn’t moving but today was different. They were going nuts all the way to the back. And of course, Yoko-chin nailed it with the PA work. It was exactly the Teengenerate sound that we all know and love. It was so much like the old TG sound that it even sounded like Aniki’s guitar had been drinking (of course, he meant it to sound that way). Now that I think about it Yoko-chin was at the board for the Live At Shelter CD’s recording too.

There was a ton of people watching on stage and at the side of the stage, but having watched the show from a bunch of different angles, I think the sound was best down in the crowd so that’s kind of a shame for them. Who knows when they can hear this sound again.

Seiji was also in the crowd watching intently. Actually, I offered the show to Guitar Wolf as well but he said no because he wanted to watch Teengenerate. He even bought his own ticket. Seiji always talks about how he loves the song ‘Dressed In Black.’ I think the gumption and good sense to mix a song like this into a set full of high-speed garage rockers is what makes Fink such a genius.

Teengenerate Reunion

If I write down each individual song, this’ll be endless, so I won’t. Definitely the big surprise of tonight’s set was ‘Johnny & Dee Dee.’ That’s an Eastern Dark cover. I’m not totally sure but I think they’ve only ever played it at the Tokyo Trashville compilation release show. The set had a lot of songs Aniki sings. He said to me half-jokingly that since he can’t play guitar right he might as well sing a lot.

I went all over the place watching the show from here and there and then ended up in the DJ booth with Daddy-O-Nov, Iijima and some others. We all just stood at the booth and watched in awe. Finally they ended with ‘Gonna Feel Alright.’

Teengenerate Reunion Show

Of course there was an encore. They played ‘Get Stuffed’ another one I don’t think they played live very much. Then, ‘My GTO.’ There was a time when they always opened with this song but tonight they made us wait for it.

Next, they played ‘Hippy Hippy Shake.’ Right then, somebody from the audience hit Fink and everything kind of went out of whack with tumbling amps and other random chaos and that brought the show to an end. I remember one time I asked Fink why he chose such a corny cover as ‘Hippy Hippy Shake.’ He said something to the effect that they played it to prove that they’re an R&R band. I think that’s kinda cool.

There was another encore and they played ‘Wild Weekend.’ On the ‘Live at Shelter’ CD you can hear me a little singing along and for a minute I thought maybe I should get up there, but then I realized that would be lame so I didn’t do it. They just did the one song and that was it but people were heckling and shouting for more until Fink came out and basically said shut the fuck up and that was it.

Was it really over? Gan from Gasoline was sort of stirring people up to get them to play more but yeah, it was definitely over. They seemed to be getting ready to come out and maybe play more, but backstage Aniki was like, ‘We’re done.’

Beside me was Daddy-O-Nov who was the night’s last DJ, but there was a problem. If he put something on it would really be like the night was over. What should we do? Seiji got pissed at us before for doing that. But then again, that time we just picked up in the middle of Dictators’ ‘Teengenerate’ at the spot where it was when we’d stopped it.

Steve was talking into the mic. He was saying that after experiencing tonight’s show, everybody should go out and start a band. Yeah, I was also thinking, ‘Now what can I do? What should I do?’

You could say there was a band that thought along those lines years ago and it was called Teengenerate. 20 years ago I heard their first single and asked to meet them. We met that first time at Shimokitazawa’s First Kitchen and it’s been like that ever sense. They’re that kind of band.

(note: Sorry, I translated this part a little shittily. I think what he means is that TG didn’t follow fashion or trendy bullshit. They were inspired by the cool records they were listening to and basically DIY’d it. So the way your punk rock ass feels after just watching TG, thinking ‘what can I do?’ is kinda the way they felt back in the day getting blown away by kickass records. Or I just totally made all of that up)

Teengenerate Reunion Show

Anyway, this moment was the culmination of many boozy discussions in drinking holes over the past half year. When will we see them again? Probably never.

But that’s alright and here’s why. Teengenerate was an amazing band that everybody loved and tonight’s show was incredible, but now the TG bros have their own unbelievably awesome bands – Firestarter and Raydios. From seeing these two bands over and over again, I can honestly say that Teengenerate don’t need to get back together again.

There are lots of kids like Cozy everywhere influenced by Teengenerate who are starting bands, playing shows and putting out records. So it’s really meaningful that Cozy shared the stage with them tonight. This isn’t looking back and recalling the old days, but instead proof that there’s a living rock and roll tradition. Masaharu and Koji could’ve put together a lineup of old reformed bands from back in the day, but they had the good sense not to. I commend them for that.

We still have the movie to look forward to (and a mountain of work for me to do). Only 300 people got to see this show but everybody can enjoy the movie.

To everybody who came and everybody involved, thanks so much.

That’s the end of my Rock-ichi Rock-za story

Teengenerate set list

Whew, jeez, that was a longy. I wanna thank all the employers who refuse to hire me, because without that I wouldn’t have had time to translate all of this. Thanks also to my lovely wife for helping me with a few tough bits.

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