SHONEN KNIFE: 'MY ROGUE SPIRIT IS FOREVER THE SAME'
Leader Naoko Yamano talks with us ahead of her enduring Japanese punk band's 1,000th show at the Turf.
Since Shonen Knife‚Äôs first rehearsal in 1981, the Japanese punk trio has endured decades of recording and touring the globe. While the threesome‚Äôs lineup has changed over the years, its fun, danceable brand of songs about food (‚ÄúBanana Chips,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúBroccoli Man‚ÄĚ) and cats (‚ÄúGiant Kitty‚ÄĚ) garnered the band a cult following and heavyweight fans like Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.
Known for its energetic live show, coordinating outfits, and upbeat attitude, Shonen Knife is a shameless aural indulgence. The band‚Äôs latest release, this year‚Äôs ‚ÄúOverdrive,‚ÄĚ was inspired less by punk and more by ‚Äė70s rock but still contains the edible and animal influences that longtime listeners love.
Naoko Yamano, the only remaining member from the original Shonen Knife lineup, spoke to Vita.mn in anticipation of the band‚Äôs 1,000th performance at the Turf Club.
Q: Shonen Knife has been around for over 30 years. How have you and the music changed over time?
A: I‚Äôve never changed. My ability to play the guitar has progressed. My skill of writing songs has progressed, too. But my spirit, my rogue spirit, is forever the same. I never look back. I just look forward. I can‚Äôt believe that so many years have passed.
By Joey Cutler
Though it's probably not realized, or even thought about, Osaka, Japan's Shonen Knife has been a diligent and constant force since the release of their debut album, 'Minna Tanoshiku', all the way back in 1982. They have been influencing and inspiring countless artists and bands for the past 32 years; once upon a time, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain said that he was like a nine year old little girl getting to see the Beatles, once he finally got to see Shonen Knife live for the first time, in addition to calling them "the best band in the world." Their role in the world of rock & roll has been grossly overlooked, especially on American soil, but they've been standing their own solid ground and they, or their music, have never relented.Now, in 2014, they've released their 20th studio album, 'Overdrive', and the music is as strong as it has ever have been. Naoko, the band's lead vocalist, recently answered some questions about the new record and a whole lot more. After you take the interview in, check out the review for 'Overdrive', and a few new tracks from the album; videos included. Enjoy! [Read More...]
Shonen Knife Talks New Album and Tour
Japanese pop punk band, Shonen Knife, is alive and well after more than thirty years with the ‚ÄúOverdrive‚ÄĚ North American tour in support of their new album.
After my interview with Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls, he mentioned his record label Good Charamel Records has a signed artist who will be in Chicago soon. The artist in question is all-female band from Osaka, Japan, Shonen Knife, mentioning ‚ÄúShonen Knife is one of the hardest working, passionate bands I‚Äôve ever known, I‚Äôm very proud to be part of their legacy here in the US.‚ÄĚ
The band was formed in 1981 by sisters Naoko (lead vocals/guitar) and Atsuko Yamono (drums). Singer Michie Nakatani joined, and they released their first album ‚ÄúBurning Farm.‚ÄĚ Atsuko and Nakatani left the band eventually, and Eimi Morimoto and Ristuko Taneda replaced them.
Ten years after founding the band and gaining international recognition, the band was approached by a man who asked if they would open for his band. While the girls had no idea who the man was, you might ‚Ä¶ his name is Kurt Cobain. Thus Shonen Knife joined Nirvana on a UK tour.
Shonen Knife has recently released Overdrive, their 20th full-length album. Overdrive offers ten tracks that seamlessly combine punk rock‚Äôs edgy guitar riffs with psychedelic 70s-esque enchanting nostalgia. The songs are simple, at times whimsical, and perhaps their best album to date. ‚ÄúDance to the Rock‚ÄĚ is my favorite song on the album ‚Ä¶ [Read More...]
Osaka, Japan's infamous girl group Shonen Knife are about to reach another milestone in their 30-plus year career of bringing the joys of punk rock, fantasy and food to the hearts and ears of the fortunate!
They will play their 1000th worldwide show since their 1982 inception not in their native Japan but in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota market at The Turf Club on September 16. Prince, a famous native, should totally come out and hang, right?
Some bands don't even get to 500 shows, much less 1,000. Amaze! Congrats, Shonen Knife. [Read More...]
NAOKO YAMANO EXPLAINS WHY THIN LIZZY AND SHONEN KNIFE HAVE MORE IN COMMON THAN YOU THINK.
‚ÄúWhen I finally got to see them live,‚ÄĚ said Kurt Cobain, ‚ÄúI was transformed into a hysterical nine-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.‚ÄĚ Over three decades since their very first show in Osaka‚Äôs Studio One, the legendary indie pop trio Shonen Knife has shared tours with Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and Redd Kross. Now promoting their latest album, Overdrive on their North American tour, the band is on the verge of playing their 1000th show, which will take place September 16th in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Though they‚Äôre most famed for defying the early J-pop craze with their DIY garage rock aesthetics (and more importantly, songs about snacking, cats and boring desk jobs), the band takes a grittier turn in Overdrive. They make a detour down Route 1975 on their new single, ‚ÄúBad Luck Song.‚ÄĚ Vocalist/guitarist Naoko Yamano revvs it up with some Joan Jett riffs, but serves up her vocals with the same sugar-coated simplicity she‚Äôs maintained for years. [Read More...]
Shonen Knife Plays 1000th Show and Celebrates 30+ Years During North American Tour
Osaka, Japan's Shonen Knife are an iconic trio for their incredible musicianship and D.I.Y values, often paired with consistently amazing outfits and cat lyrics. They've toured and played alongside bands such as Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Red Kross who've also claimed themselves as avid fans. Thirty-three years and 20 albums later, Shonen Knife prepares themselves for another North American tour where they will perform their 1000th show. Pretty badass, right?
The show will take place in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota at The Turf Club on 9/16 during their upcoming 33 show North American tour. The band will be taking requests from fans via their Twitter and Facebook pages, and the 1000th performance will also include an appearance by original Shonen Knife member Atsuko Naoko. So get to it and start tweeting to @shonenknife!
Stay tuned for an interview with Shonen Knife in issue 6 (out October 2014) [Read More...]
The St. Paul date is their fifth stop in a cross-continental tour that runs from September 11 through October 21 and it is pure coincidence that the millenial stop is in the Twin Cities. The energetic band has played the Twin Cities numerous times, documenting their last two visits on their blog and even including photos from the Mall of America. While the band enjoys the people and energy in Minneapolis-St. Paul, it seems their first impressions were of our weather. "I don't remember [our first visit] well, but I think it was the show with Nirvana on December 10, 1993 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium," says vocalist/guitarist Naoko. I just remember it was so cold." [Read More...]
An Interview With Naoko Yamano Of Shonen Knife
After my interview with Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls, he mentioned to me that his record label, Good Charamel Records, has a signed artist that would also be in Chicago soon. He introduced me to an all-female band from Osaka named Shonen Knife saying, ‚ÄúShonen Knife is one of the hardest working, passionate bands I've ever known. I'm very proud to be part of their legacy here in the U.S." The band was formed in 1981 by sisters Naoko (lead vocals/guitar) and Atsuko Yamano. Singer Michie Nakatani joined and they released their first album, Burning Farm. Atsuko and Nakatani left the band eventually and Emi Morimoto replaced them. I inquired how the name Shonen Knife came to be. Naoko explained, ‚ÄúShonen Knife is an old brand name of a pencil knife. When I saw this knife, I was impressed by the name. Shonen means ‚Äėboy‚Äô in Japanese. The images of the words are boy equals cute and knife equals dangerous. When cute and dangerous are combined together, it‚Äôs the image of our music.‚ÄĚ The band was one of the first all-female bands from Osaka. That was not a concern for Naoko however, ‚ÄúI just wanted to form a band with people who have been my friends before. I‚Äôm shy and I didn‚Äôt want to start a band with strangers. As a result, I formed an all-female band.‚ÄĚ [Read More...]
Long-running Japanese punk combo Shonen Knife have been hitting concert stages since way back in 1981. They'll soon be back on the road for a North American trip behind their recent Overdrive LP, on which they'll perform their 1,000th show.
The Osaka trio head our way in September, with the milestone show set to go down September 16 at St. Paul, MN's Turf Club. To help celebrate, the band are actively seeking out requests from fans, with the group also adding that original member Atsuko Yamano will grace the stage with the current roster.
The trek has the band crossing over into Canada as well, though, with shows on this side of the border lined up in Toronto and at Pop Montreal. You'll get all the venue and date specifics down below.
Overdrive is the band's 19th studio full-length and was released in North America earlier this spring via Good Charamel. You can check out the almost Thin Lizzy-styled swing of crunchy pop number "Bad Luck Song" beneath the tour info. [Read More...]
Punk-rock sensation, Shonen Knife, has been creating music and touring for more than 30 years to date, and have no plans of stopping anytime soon. They've recently announced bringing their upcoming Overdrive Tour to the US, now Shonen Knife has announced the coming of their 1000th show!
This is also a very exciting time for Shonen Knife as on September 16, this particular show in St. Paul, MN will mark the band's 1000th performance! In celebration, Shonen Knife will take song and setlist requests from fans via their Facebook and Twitter pages. Also, they will bring on none other than original member Atsuko, sister of lead singer Naoko.
Check out the tour dates below and for those who are attending the 1000th performance, be sure to visit Shonen Knife's Facebook and Twitter pages to request songs to be played!