Volume 93, Issue 18

Thursday, September 29, 1999


I'll take bland for $200, Alex

Skepticism Inc. not questionable

An open letter to Lorne Michaels

Nails hit it right on the head

Cooper has whip-crackin' good time

Guitar Wolf luckily speak universal language of music

Guitar Wolf luckily speak universal language of music

By Mark Pytlik
Gazette Staff

I'm waiting on the phone to talk to somebody from the Japanese rock thrash band Guitar Wolf and wondering exactly what to expect. I've been advised ahead of time that the rock-obsessed trio are going to be carting along an interpreter in order to help media appearances go smoothly – apparently they don't know very much English.

Things don't start off well. Lead singer/songwriter Seiji comes onto the line, mutters a confused "aye" and waits. I ask him where the interpreter is and he replies "Guitar Wolf." I pause and rephrase my question, this time exaggerating the enunciation slightly, "Do. You. Know. Where. The. In-ter-pret-er is?" Another pause. The hollow sound of confusion. Then, slowly and deliberately, he speaks, "I Guitar Wolf."

Turns out interviews with people who don't speak English aren't that easy to conduct. Fortunately, Guitar Wolf have a blinding new album and a peerless live reputation to speak for them. Their latest album, aptly named Jet Generation, sounds like an airplane landing. Equal parts punk, garage and cock-rock, Jet Generation exudes a sound which most American punk bands could never hope to recreate.

This seems odd, considering the band's influences include some of America's long forgotten rock acts. Seiji counts "Johnny & The Heartbreakers, Joan Jett and Link Wray," among his favourites, only confirming the notion that one country's kitsch is another country's gold. Make no mistake about it, though, this unique brand of thrash (dubbed "jet rock") sees Guitar Wolf exploring new territories in the world of sound. This is rock turned up to 11 as played by a trio of tireless, leather-clad children of the '80s.

Hoping to be regaled with some little known Billy Idol factoid, I ask Seiji where the name Guitar Wolf came from. He stops, thinks and slowly measures out his words. "My grandmother" he says, "Is a wolf."

"I'm sorry," I ask slightly flustered. "Can you repeat that?" Again, this time louder and slightly annoyed, "My grandmother is a wolf."

No matter – Jet Generation is reputedly the loudest rock n' roll album ever created. Apparently the folks at the mastering lab returned early drafts of the record back to the studio, confused because the volume levels surpassed the theoretical maximum possible on a regular compact disc.

With an urban legend like that to back you up, who needs to be coherent?

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Copyright The Gazette 1999