Japan’s favorite girl band hits the big 3-0

Michael Fitzgerald By Michael Fitzgerald

Happy birthday, Shonen Knife.

Pin another 30 years on us, Shonen Knife (Shonen Knife photo)

Japan’s peppy, sunshiney girl band Shonen Knife hit a milestone birthday on December 29th. That’s the day 30 years ago that Naoko Yamano, Atsuko Yamano and Mitchie Nakatani went into a recording studio for the first time. The Yamano sisters and Nakatani have since built a cult following, including fans like Nirvana, Sonic Youth and their idols, The Ramones.

The band’s appeal comes in part from its stripped down sound – the trio had drums, a bass guitar and a lead guitar – and its quirky, boisterous songs like “Twist Barbie” and remake of the Carpenter’s classic “Top of the World.”

Naoko Yamano, the only original member still in the band, told The Japan Times that “Most bands write songs about love. I was too embarrassed to write love songs: I wanted to sing about my favorite things, which were food and animals. We don’t want to write sad, serious songs — I want to write fun songs, because I want our songs to make people happy.”

For 30 years now, they’ve succeeded in doing just that. And, as Naoko notes in her blog, “We’ll Rock hard!”

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