Shonen Knife’s Upcoming US Tour Will Capture Hearts of Loyal Fans

By Anita Stewart, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
July 14, 2018
Shonen Knife. Photo by Andras Paul.

Shonen Knife is beginning their latest US Tour on August 28th and have a new live album out. Rock at Night wanted to make sure that we got a short interview, not only because they are one of our favorite all female bands, but because they are truly international, have staying power and still maintain a huge fan base outside of their home country.

Even if you are too young to know who this band is, you have probably heard their music which has been used in TV shows, movies and commercials. They have recorded over 20 studio albums and each one is a classic!
The band formed in 1981 in Osaka, Japan. Taking their influences from many standard pop and punk bands such as the Beach Boys and the Ramones, their genre is a distinct underground garage punk rock/pop genre and they sing in both English and Japanese. Getting their records spun on the radio helped them to gain many fans during the 1980’s but the 1990’s really exploded for them with their watershed album and this writer’s personal favorite, “Let’s Knife.” (1992).
Kurt Cobain loved Shonen Knife. “When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a hysterical nine-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.” Cobain then offered the band an opening spot on the UK leg of Nirvana’s tour in 1991.
Shonen Knife
Over the years, recording and touring kept the members busy and the band’s lineup changed many times as members moved on to other projects. Naoko Yamano remains the sole original member at this time and she answered Rock at Night’s interview questions below.
RAN: What are some of your expectations for this short tour through the US?
Naoko: I think this 5 weeks tour is not “short” tour for me. Anyway, I expect to see many fans of Shonen Knife in the US and share happy moments with them at our shows.
RAN: Are you visiting any US cities that you have not been to before?
Naoko: I think I’ve ever been to most of all cities in the US.
RAN: You have been playing rock and roll for a long time and have traveled extensively all over the planet. What are some your favorite places to go that love rock and roll and appreciate your music?
NaokoI can’t choose one but I like every city which there are our fans. Fortunately, there are many Shonen Knife fans in the US. I really like to rock and roll in the US.
RAN: How does the music industry in Japan differ from the US?
Naoko: We don’t have so many music venues at local cities. Many of the US venues have enough space of bars and sometimes they have diners, too. Japanese regular venues don’t have enough space for eating food. In the US, local music clubs are popular to neighbors but in Japan, only enthusiastic underground music fans come to music clubs. Regular Japanese music fans listen to domestic bands. The music genre is different from the US.
RAN: Do you think women in music are treated better or worse in Japan or the US and why? Please give a few examples.
Naoko: When I started Shonen Knife, many bands invited us to play with them because we are unique and prominent because of all female band. Everyone was kind to us. The only disadvantage for us is that it is difficult to carry heavy equipment.
RAN: So you have a new album…”Alive in Osaka.” Can you tell us a bit about the recording of that, the particular show or shows, the venue, etc.?

Naoko: This DVD/CD package was recorded live at Juso Fandango in Osaka, Japan in December of 2017 and includes 21 tracks. I was nervous for live recording before the show but once the show was started, I could play cheerfully getting audience’s support.
RAN: You all have been rocking since 1981. Where do you see yourselves in 5 years? Still rocking? Retiring?
Naoko5 years… Hmm… I can’t decide now whether still rocking or not.
RAN: Besides rock, pop, punk what other genres are you listening to right now?
Naoko: Funk, Soul, Disco like Con Funk Shun, The Isley Brothers, Slave, The Bar-Kays like that. RAN: Who is your favorite Japanese artist right now? Naoko: Extruders. RAN: Who is your favorite US artist right now? NaokoEarth Wind & Fire. RAN: Who is your favorite European artist right now? NaokoPilot
Get your tickets to see this legendary band and check out the newest album, “Alive in Osaka.” The trailer video for the new album is HERE.


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