May 01, 2008, 06:12AM

Big In Japan

Dedicated thrashers Pulling Teeth took their Baltimore brand of hard core on the road to Japan. Frontman Mike Riley explains exactly why every band needs to have the Japanese experience: feudal ninja training grounds.

Pulling.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Cover from Pulling Teeth's Japanese pressing of Vicious Skin.

"We spent the next four days sightseeing and taking in some Japanese history and culture because unless you're a pretty big band, playing shows on weeknights is most often not too worthwhile. We hit some temples and shrines including the temple of 1001 buddhas and Ryoanji Temple which houses Japan's most famous Zen garden. We also spent plenty of time in the area's record stores and took a day to learn all about Japan's most superior ninjas of feudal times. The fact that most of the history we took in was at least 1000 years old was a bit mind-blowing and it's really impressive that so much of this history is still intact and so well kept up.

Some of the things I learned about the Japanese hardcore/punk scene and Japan in general: most bars stay open until 5am, beer is sold in street-side vending machines, and public consumption of alcohol is quite acceptable so these kids rage hard until the sun comes up and can survive on little to no sleep; most bands tend to practice for sometimes up to a year before playing out live to make sure they are up to par with the scene's best bands, meaning every single band we played with were incredibly tight and super high energy; vending machines with used girl's underwear is an urban legend; people would rather ask me about American bands than tell me about Japanese bands; Pizza of Death Records is Japan's version of Epitaph Records, so most legit hardcore kids want nothing to do with the label or the bands on it; door prices of $20 - $25 and t-shirt prices of $30 - $40 is the norm and if you mark your prices down the products are thought of as inferior and are not wanted; and nine times out of ten, Japanese bands blow American ones out of the water in tightness, energy, and rage.



Register or Login to leave a comment