Meet the Legendary Japanese Punk Band That Sings About Food and Toured With Nirvana
By Carl Samson
May 26, 2017
A Japanese pop punk band that sprang up in the 1980’s and managed to attract a cult-like following for its unusual songs has just finished its “2017 USA Ramen Adventure Tour”.
Meet Shonen Knife, the punk trio currently composed of Naoko Yamano, Atsuko Yamano and Risa Kawano.
The band was formed by sisters Naoko and Atsuko in 1981 in Osaka, Japan. Over the years, its line up has changed, with drummer Risa being their latest addition. They have, however, produced songs about food from the beginning and successfully amassed a niche of followers.
Their recent tour comes in promotion of their latest album called “Adventure”. Interestingly, they seem to have a very good reason for picking ramen for a theme. As Naoko told NPR, “Sushi is already very popular, but ramen is now happening in America.”
“Ramen is so tasty and a very creative food. It consists of noodles and soup. Very simple, but it is deep and complex in flavor. Each Ramen restaurant has their own recipe with a different and unique flavor. That’s why it is growing in popularity in the US. Plus, the price is reasonable and it’s easy and quick food to eat!,” she revealed in a press release.
During the course of their tour, Shonen Knife sampled ramen in cities across the U.S., while they played gigs at night. Also, they actually have a song titled “Ramen Rock,” which was written for a former band mate who loved eating it after their shows.
The band’s discography includes other titles such as “Banana Fish,” “I Wanna Eat Chocobars,” “Ice Cream City,” “Fruit Loop Dreams” and “Fruits and Vegetables.”
Shonen Knife managed to attract popular fans by 1989 in the likes of L7, Red Kross and Sonic Youth, NPR noted. Two years later, Nirvana asked the band to join them on tour. “I was an emotional sap the whole time. I cried every night,” Kurt Cobain told MTV News in an earlier interview, recalling his feelings while watching the band.
Shonen Knife might not be as big as history’s biggest bands, but they sure have a dedicated following. See, the world needs music about things other than love and sex.
“When I started Shonen Knife, I was ashamed to write about love,” Naoko told NPR. “I found that eating delicious food is the most important thing for people. It’s a kind of universal topic.”
Perhaps it’s that kind of thinking that makes bands legendary, after all.
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