Badly shaped and fresh faced, art school antics afoot, the Night Train Express with me in tow for a wild night, Loud by Half Japanese was coming out of cheap speakers, masking tape and wire strung, the turntable that played too fast. A few weeks later at city party, legs came out the wall and I’m hearing the same band, Half Japanese, they’re sound is punk and spiky, out-of-tune guitar, tourettes-like saxophone, snare drums and inept vocals – it is nothing I’ve heard before.
The backbone of this band were brothers Jad and David Fair (two hearts that beat as one), songwriters in the primitive tradition, they make the music and create the covers, joyfully simplistic artworks that perfectly reflect the sounds within, they are like Rock n Roll Crumbs. Although David Fair has always been part of the Half Japanese, it is Jad Fair who took centre stage, writing most of the material and producing solo projects. Subjects for Jad’s music are broad, Jody Foster, Zombies, Roky Erickson, U.S Teens but mostly Love. His songs are playful tales of teen angst, unrequited love and are full of wry wit and a purposefully awkward lo-fi sensibility. Over the years there have been many line-up changes in Half japanese, musicians come and go and so do collaborative friends, the role call is impressive – John Zorn, Fred Frith, Mo Tucker, Daniel Johnston, Teenage Fan Club, The Pastels and Kramer to name just a few. Kurt Cobain was also an ardent fan, even sporting a Half Japanese t-shirt when he was found dead.
“the only chord I know is the one that connects the guitar to the amp” Jad Fair
Great records –
Music to strip by
The band that would be king