This is an interview with garage rock force of nature, Gasoline, who just put out a new record.
Translation note: There are a lot of (笑)’s peppered throughout the interview. (笑) means ‘laughter,’ so instead of writing ‘they laugh,’ ‘he laughs,’ ‘laughing,’ etc., which is horribly tedious to read, just imagine that everybody’s pretty much guffawing throughout the interview. Gasoline are those kinda folks.
Following splits with The Prisoner, Antonio Three and The Neatbeats, Yokkaichi Motor City’s garage rock mad cow Gasoline is putting out its first full-length as a 4-piece. Released by Diwphalanx Records, it’s an infusion of garage, punk, rock n’ roll, pop, soul, blues and booze belched out as 100% pure stumbling drunk rock and roll. The band meant to put it out this year to celebrate its 20 year anniversary but didn’t make it in time, so it’ll commemorate their 21st year instead. Here’s to them raging on for another 50!
Gasoline： Gan (G,Vo), Guy (B,Dr), Justeen (Dr), Koichiro (Gu,Ba)
Q. Do you feel like it’s been 20 years?
Gan: Not at all. It’s like we just keep playing shows and suddenly it’s been 20 years.
Koichiro: Just life rolling on.
Gan: Some people say our sound changed when we changed members, but I think, of course it does. That’s what happens when you change members. You get influence from the different members.
Koichiro: What influence came from me?
Gan: You’re the reason we’re playing so many fast songs. Guy’s the reason for the… impressions?
Q: Koichiro and Guy, what’s it like playing in Gasoline?
Koichiro: I didn’t know about Gasoline. I always just knew Gan from the bars. I thought, “That old slob plays in a band?” One day he suddenly called me and told me they had a show in Kyushu but the bassist was pregnant, so could I come along and play bass.
Guy: I was supposed to play drums originally but then Gan told me to play bass. I didn’t know how to play but I lied and said I did because it seemed like it would be fun.
Gan: At first, I’d never seen him play bass. I couldn’t imagine him doing anything but moving cars around on the factory floor (*I think everybody in Gasoline works together at a car factory). Guy’s good at impressions so I thought it’d be fun if he was in the band.
Q: More than musical ability it was personality?
Gan: If you don’t make any money playing your music, why not have a good time? What’s important is drinking and traveling around playing shows. So, Gasoline is me and my drinking buddies driving all over the place playing shows.
Koichiro: It’s like a field trip.
Gan: Where Koichiro sometimes doesn’t come along.
Q: And you guys play a lot of shows.
Gan: We basically don’t turn down shows. Cuz we hate putting on shows on our own.
Koichiro: It bothers me if we don’t play more than 50 shows in a year. But sometimes when we get a lot of offers, we turn down good shows with big bands. We turned down a show with The Birthday and Guitar Wolf.
Gan: We give the first offer first priority. That’s our MO.
Koichiro: That’s why we’re not fucking going anywhere.
Q: Does Gasoline have a vision or mission?
Gan: Yeah. I want to be a rock and roller that other rock and rollers look up to.
Koichiro: That’s fucking lame.
Gan: Well, it’s truth
Koichiro: C’mon man, they’re gonna publish this.
Q: Okay, let’s talk about the album…
Gan: This time around we decided to make a big hit album. To me, a big hit album is one where there’s good melodies and variety, and this album has all of that. And it’s over really fast all of a sudden like a roller coaster.
Koichiro: It’s short as fuck.
Gan: With everything going on now in music, it’s actually really original because it’s recorded analog and the songs are fast pop songs.
Koichiro: I totally don’t think so.
Gan: Different generation, I guess…
Q: Koichiro, what kind of band is Gasoline to you?
Koichiro: It’s just like some random people bringing me along on their field trip. Gan looks down on me but sometimes he gets stuck and asks me for ideas.
Gan: I think it’s cool to have ideas from other members to kind of mix it up.
Koichiro: Only me and Gan. Guy doesn’t contribute shit.
Guy: Hey, I’m fucking pitching in ideas too.
Koichiro: Yeah, shitty ideas.
Guy: Fuck off.
Gan: Hey, no fighting during interviews, guys… Songs come from collaborating. Things are kind of tense so, Guy… do an impression for us.
Koichiro: When did you start doing impressions?
Guy: It all started with an impression I did of Kunie Tanaka in elementary school. (*Kunie Tanaka is a badass actor who has appeared in such flicks as Kurosawa’s Sanjuro and Kobayashi’s Kwaidan)
Koichiro: Tanaka-kun? Who the fuck is that? (**-kun is an ending that’s used for boys. Pretty fucking disrespectful for a distinguished actor)
Guy: Not Tanaka-kun, Kunie Tanaka. Lately he’s like playing Napoleon and stuff.
(At this point, the interview is derailed by some impressions)
Q: Okay, that’s better. Let’s talk about the album…
Gan: It’s a good album…
Q: Um, can you give us more details about it?
Koichiro: The performance and production are way better than before. But they’re all Gan’s songs, so they pretty much sound like everything else.
Gan: This motherfucker’s too serious about his music.
Koichiro: Gan, which song do you like most?
Gan: I like “Rock noR”
Koichiro: Realy!? That one? Yeah, I guess me too.
Q: The backup vocals from Xero Fiction’s Haruka are really good.
Gan: Yeah, her style really comes out in it. I like how girl punks always sing like they couldn’t give a fuck.
Koichiro: Yeah, her vocals are really good.
Gan: You can get a sense of her style even more than in Xero Fiction I think.
Koichiro: No way, I gotta disagree with that.
Q: So, how did the album turn out?
Gan: You always hear people in interviews saying stuff like, ‘my songs are my babies’ or whatever, but for the first time I feel that way about this one. All the songs are good and I feel like I got all my ideas down. They’re all my babies I think.
Koichiro: So your babies are all ugly?
Gan: You’d better apologize to my babies.
Koichiro (to 2You): Anyway, why don’t you say something from Dragonball like you always do?
Q: Sorry, I don’t think anything I say today is gonna be funny compared to you guys.
Gan: HaHAA! This is for Krillin!
Koichi: What the fuck is that?
Gan: It means ‘over the top.’ Like, that motherfucker has already fucked the guy up, but still he’s punches him one more time and says, ‘This is for Krillin!’
Q: I’m sorry but please don’t refer to Goku as ‘that motherfucker.’
Gan: Hahaha! But you know, live shows are kind of like that. You don’t need to punch the guy again, but we do anyway.