Volume 92, Issue 32

Friday, October 30, 1998

big money


Straight outta... Tokyo?

Photo by Kelly Catchings
WHO LET THEM OUT OF THEIR CAGE? East meets west as Zoobombs blow-up at Call the Office on Nov. 2.

By Mark Lewandowski

Gazette Staff

Konichiwa! It's a Japanese invasion. Put away your modern rock and listen up to some serious new flavour courtesy of the East Coast – East Coast of Asia.

The Zoobombs are the latest Japanese sensation to bring their funky, hard-ass, rock and rhythm to Canada for the first time. The band has played alongside The Flaming Lips, Beck and Prodigy in Japan and the U.S., but has not yet had the pleasure of touching Canadian soil.

The mastermind behind the Zoobombs, explosive success is Don Matsuo, who organized the band in 1994. Unfortunately, Matsuo doesn't speak English so he required a quirky translator and the interview became a weird ménage-‡-trois via his hotel room in California. Kinky.

"We've never played for a Canadian audience before, but the crucial difference between American and Japanese audiences is that [Americans] give a more direct feedback to the music they play. If they play well then the audience will give a quality response," Matsuo explains through the use of his trusty translator. "Japan is so small and information driven that everyone already has preconceived notions about the band – certain expectations."

Okay, let's get this straight. People have expectations about a band who piles hip hop, '80s disco and indie noise on top of stripped down Stones rock. The imaginary president of the self-created Zoobomb empire is Kumaku, a little bear who appears on their products. Member names like Mattaira, Bukkabilly and Moo-stop complement Matsuo. These guys make Ween look normal.

One thing not to expect at a Zoobombs show is convention and English. "The language barrier gets kind of inconvenient but the music transcends barriers," Matsuo explains. "In America, the flavour of each town reflects on the regions music. In Japan the groups are divided differently. There are those who listen to hip hop, techno and rock, but their lines never cross. The Zoobombs combine these sounds – it's our gimmick."

When asked what Matsuo likes most about Japan he quickly responds, "Mt. Fuji of course. It has such a great size and shape. It gives me strength." He'll need it as the Zoobombs are noted for their explosive live shows. Let the invasion begin.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998