The Boredoms are a 6-piece bundle of energy from Osaka, Japan. The following interview with three members of the band, Yoshimi, Eye, and Yamamoto, was done right before their first show in San Francisco at the Kennel Club. Not present were singer Yoshikawa, bassist Hira and the other drummer whose name we forgot. A big thanks to Ruth Kraiman for interpreting.
How did you guys get together and what inspired you to create this wild music?
Yoshimi: It started out with Eye on drums, Yamamoto on guitar, and Hira on bass with a female vocalist in a band. When that band broke up then the remaining members became the Boredoms.
What was the band called and what year was that?
Eye: We were called Acid Maki & Combi and Zombie. That was in the early 1980's.
A lot of your song titles really remind me of Funkadelic, not just in name, but also in the guitar wah-wah sound. Are you fans of them?
Yoshimi: There is a lot of influence by the jacket art of Funkadelic. The illustrations of Pedro Bell.
And, Eye, are you responsible for the artwork on the Boredoms albums?
I want to ask you about the other bands you all have been in. [ed. note: Yamamoto is also in Omoide Hatoba. Eye was in Hanatarashi, UFO or Die, Audio Sports, and has performed with John Zorn's Naked City] Eye, what is your connection to Audio Sports?
Eye: That was not my project. I wasn't involved in it musically at all. Somebody else was the leader. I just allowed them to use my voice.
Is UFO or Die your solo project or do other people work with you on it?
Eye: Yoshimi does drums with that group and somebody else plays bass as a trio.
I know you worked on Naked City records and that you've done some duets with John Zorn. How did you meet him and start to work together?
Eye: We met him at a gig in Japan of Geva Geva where I was doing vocals with K. K. Null (from Zeni Geva) on guitar, and John Zorn came to see the show. He just got up and started playing sax with us.
Yamamoto, since you are in both Omoide Hatoba and the Boredoms, do you find it difficult being in two bands at once?
Yamamoto: It serves as kinda balancing each other out. So doing guitar with Boredoms and then doing my own thing with Omoide Hatoba balance each other out and move in the same direction. If I drop doing one project, then both will fall apart.
Yoshimi, you are in UFO or Die and Boredoms. Do you have any other projects?
Yoshimi: I play drums and trumpet with Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) and Julie Cafritz (ex-Pussy Galore, Live Skull) in the band Free Kitten.
In the recent Boredoms CD, Pop Tatari, there is a picture in the booklet of you. It looks like you are with Lee 'Scratch' Perry...Is that right? Where did you meet him?
Yoshimi: Yeah! (laughs) I love him. I went to see him play live in Osaka and then went after him (laughing) ...
Eye, Is that your real name?
Eye: Actually, it comes from my younger sister's name Aiko. I took the Ai part, writing it out like the English word 'eye.' No meaning, I just did it.
Did that happen around the time you dropped the 'i' from the band name Hanatarashi when it became Hanatarash.
Eye: Mmmaybe, but nothing intentional (laughs).
Hanatarash were a pretty infamous band that was known for wild, violent live performances. There is a rumor that you drove a bulldozer through the wall of the club where you were performing. Is that true?
Eye: Yes. It was the dinosaur kind. With the back hoe scooper. Just drove it into the club.
Was the club owner happy with you destroying the walls of his club?
Eye: Hmm. We pretty much destroyed... ruined that club. I was planning on throwing Molotov cocktails but the bulldozer I was driving tipped over and gasoline spilled out. If we threw the Molotov cocktails, we would have set the whole place on fire.
Is that the same show where you had a circular saw strapped on your back and accidentally cut your leg?
Eye: That was a different show.
What sort of changes have the Boredoms gone through since you started? Has it been the same members the whole time?
Eye: We've gone through some changes. We started out with Tabata, who is now with Zeni Geva, on guitar. When Tabata quit, then Yamamoto came in to take his place. Yoshimi (the drummer) was not a member from the start. The vocalist Yoshikawa was the drummer initially.
What is the instrument that Yoshikawa is playing?
Eye: He now plays a synthesizer box along with vocals.
When I saw you perform in Ohio, Yoshikawa had it taped to a pizza box. It was really neat. I was like 'what is he playing? A pizza box?'
Have you felt the sound has changed since you started? Will the new album be different than Pop Tatari?
Eye: The first album was not really musical because Yoshikawa didn't really know how to play drums.
Yoshimi: It was great, but it wasn't music.
Eye: He would always kinda play around the edges, hit all kinds of strange parts on the drum. His sweat would be flying all over the place because he was a very energetic drummer.
There are two Japanese noise bands that we don't know much about in the U.S. It is difficult to find information about Masonna and Violent Onsen Geisha. Who are they and what do you know about them?
YAMATSUKA EYE PHOTO: Gail Butensky
Yoshimi: Masonna are my friend.
Eye: I am friends with them but I don't know that much about them.
On the recent Violent Onsen Geisha CD, it said that they had died. Did they really die or did they just disband?
Eye: It is just a one person band, and he seems to still be alive.
People in the U.S. have the stereotype that women in Japan are very subservient to men. Yoshimi, what kind of reaction do you get being a woman drummer? Is this stereotype even true?
Yoshimi: When playing with Boredoms I don't think about me being a woman and them being men or anything like that. Just being in a band.
I guess I meant more like reactions from other people in Japan towards you.
Yoshimi: Some people may think I am kind of scary, both men and women. They think it is hard to come up and talk to me.
The whole band was in New York last year to record an album with John Zorn. Is that going to be available soon? Will it be available in the U.S.?
Eye: We are planning to release it in August. For it to be released in the U.S., it will take a little bit longer. Pop Tatari may be released soon in the States.
Eye, you did some duets with John Zorn during the Noisefest Tokyo show at the Knitting Factory in New York. Is that ever going to be released?
Eye: I don't know if they were recorded or not.
I understand you went to visit Caroliner Rainbow today. How did you find out about them and what is it about them that you like?
Eye: I learned about them from Steve Albini and got one of their records from David of Public Bath. I really like their music. I was very shocked and impressed by what I saw at their house today.
Skeletons, mummified animals, bright fluorescent colors...
Eye: Mmmmm yeah.
A friend wanted me to ask "Why are wild and crazy bands like Boredoms only coming from Japan and not the United States? Is it something about the Japanese culture?"
Eye: I say
San Francisco is more
...more, More crazy!
(as of summer 1993)
Soul Discharge LP (1989, Shimmy Disc 035)
"Michidai" b/w "Fuanteidai" 7" (1990, Public Bath PB-3)
Soul Discharge CD (1991, Shimmy Disc Europe SDE 9131/CD)
Pop Tatari CD (1992, WEA/Japn WMC3-24)
"Anal by Anal" +2 CD single (1993, Bron SSE 8015CD - reissue of 1st single)
Journey Into Pain K7 (1987, Beast 666)
Dead Tech II LP (1988, Dossier Records)
NG CD (1989, Transrecords)
Transcraze CD (1989, Transrecords)
HANATARASH (with Eye)
The Hanatarashi LP (Alchemy ARLP-007)
2 LP (Alchemy Records ARLP-018)
3 LP (1989, RRRecords, RRR-049)
4 CD (1991, Public Bath PB CD3)
The Hanatarash and his eYe 7" EP (1992, Public Bath, PB-12)
Live!! 88 Feb. 21 Antiknock Tokyo CD (1992, Mom n' Dad 001)
Live!! 84 Dec. 16 Zabo-Kyoto CD (1993, Mom n' Dad 002)
Sexorama K7 (1986, ZSF Produkt)
Journey Into Pain K7 (1987, Beast 666)
Alchemism CD (Alchemy WCD-4)
Dedication LP (1991, Artware)
Japan Bashing Vol. 3 7" EP (1991, Public Bath PB-7D)
YAMATSUKA EYE & JOHN ZORN
"Rectal Mucus" on ABSOLUT #2: The Japanese Perspective CD (1990, EAR Magazine)
NAKED CITY (with Eye as guest)
Naked City CD (1989, Elektra/Nonesuch 9 79238-2)
Torture Garden EP (1991, Shimmy Disc 039)
AUDIO SPORTS (with Eye as a guest)
3-6-9 12" EP (1990, Bron Records)
Eat & Buy & Eat CDEP (1992, All Access AACD-001)
UFO OR DIE (with Eye and Yoshimi)
U.O.D CD3 (1988, Bron UFO-2)
U.F.O. or Die Live CD (1992, Dead Inc)
Cassettetape Superstar CD (1993, Time Bomb BOMB CD-02/Public Bath PBCD-4)
OMOIDE HATOBA (with Yamamoto)
Surfin' in UFO 7" (1990, Public Bath)
Daiongaku CD (1990, Alchemy ARCD-015)
Suichi Joe CD (1991, Alchemy ARCD-031)
Black Hawaii CD (1992, Alchemy ARCD-050)
Alchemism 2 CD (Alchemy WCD-9) with Omoide Hatoba, Hanatarash,
Japan Bashing Volume 1 7" EP (1990, Public Bath PB-2) with Boredoms, UFO or Die, and Omoide Hatoba,
Taste of Wild West 3 CD (1990, Wax) with Omoide Hatoba, UFO or Die, and Boredoms.
Sonic Youth w/ Eye "Sonic Shit" 7" (comes with What's This Noise magazine #12)