Howling from Japan: Guitar Wolf to rock Tassie for First Time

Seiji talks aliens ahead of Hobart gig. Image: Warp Magazine.

Roaring out of Japan come leather-clad hard rockers Guitar Wolf, who have been blowing amps and bursting eardrums since 1987. While it may be possible to hear the wolves howl a whole continent away, they’re bringing their heavy distortion and adrenaline fuelled live performances right here to Hobart’s Brisbane Hotel this November. Singer/ guitarist/ self-confessed alien messenger Seiji answers a questionably translated Q & A ahead of the band’s Beast Vibrator album tour.
STEPH: Some of your earliest recordings released were made in practice rooms with tapes, and even on a walkman. How have you used today’s technology to maximize your hardcore sound?
SEIJI: In the recording studio, we put the stuffed head of our ancestor wolf on the amplifier and three of us play together simultaneously like the wild beasts.
You’ve never been back to your hometown, but you’ve travelled all over the world. What’s holding you back?
I was born in Nagasaki. If I return to my hometown, it would create total chaos in town because all my ex-girlfriends would come to see me. I’m thinking of going back there without telling anyone.
What’s your favourite country to tour?
All and every country is interesting and my favourite. Seriously, it’s true. I can’t choose.
Your music provides relief from the massive kawaii culture craze that Japan is exporting to the West. Do you think modern Western audiences find surprise in the fact that contemporary Japanese music is not all pink and cute but can also be leather and badass?
We are cute “kawaii” wolves. Tasmanian girls, don’t be scared. Don’t be shy. Come close to us.
What do you do when you’re not making music?
Communicating with the aliens.
Is it safe to ask why you named your new release Beast Vibrator?
Recently, everyone is smart phone junkie. The other day, I suddenly felt anger spring up. YOU! Get your wild nature back! Go wild! Then all of a sudden I just got this title.
Tell me the story of the tattoo you have hiding under your leather.
When I moved to Tokyo, I was so surprised getting tattooed was popular in Tokyo. I had thought it was only for Yakuza. I had been thinking of getting tattooed all over my body, but decided not to. Too many people had tattoos. It turned me off. My tattoo is a flying guitar. I wanted it because I thought it was cool when I saw Richie Valens had one in a movie. One of my friend, now a well known tattoo artist, got it inked on me as his practice when he was just starting out as an artist.
You’ve just celebrated 25 years since your first album release. How has Guitar Wolf changed and grown since beginning?
My guitar play is getting worse, but getting more power as much.
Best place in the world for a post-gig drink?
The best after-gig parties in the past are the one on the cruise ship on the River Kwai in Thailand, in San Francisco, New York, Auckland in New Zealand, Stockholm in Sweden, Seoul in South Korea, and Japan. Any place where we can find super beautiful ladies is the best place. Hope Tasmania will join the list.

How should Tasmania prepare for your November gig?
Stare at a Tasmanian Tiger face to face, and get used to the growling sounds. Tasmanian Tiger is our distant relative.


This article featured in Warp Magazine November 2013.

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