04 April 2004

One Word That Describes The Yoshida Brothers: Daaaaamn!

AssKick and OddJob: The Yoshida Brothers Posted by Hello


Be forewarned. I'm about to rant about A&E's Breakfast with the Arts again.You know who rocks? No, you don't. The Yoshida Brothers rock. In fact, they rock so hard they should wear helmets. And you know what they play? No, you don't. They play the freakin' shamisen. Now when I think rock, I don't think 10th century Japanese instrument. Not often, anyway. But these guys wield the shamisen as though it was the Hammer of the Gods. The Three Strings of Doom. The Banzai Banjo. Say "herro" to superior rocking through ancient instruments, roundeye!

What's it like? Imagine if you will The Dixie Dregs' Steve Morse if he flat–picked a shamisen and was twins. Okay, that takes care of the speed aspect. Now imagine the thump–picking style of Les Claypool combined with guttural HOOO–uugghh jungle shouts on Kool and the Gang's Jungle Boogie. That rounds out the description a little better, but it's still not complete. Now picture AssKick, Yoshida Brother #1, [1] doing his tuning on the fly! He does not stop the rock to maintain his exquisite tone.

Now continue to dig: shamisen music usually sells about 5,000 CDs per year in Japan. That's the total of all shamisen artists combined. These cats have sold 300k. They're on fire for the Buddha.Needless to say, I applaud this sort of thing. Ironically, CBS Sunday Morning, which has been my substitute for church ever since I became a godless, heathen atheistic Buddhist, also ran a feature story on classical musicians. However, the classics they were talking about were mostly 18th and 19th century European guys, and the classical musicians they were talking about were the sort who dress like Cher and sell out the classics to an audience with clay palates by pissing in it with a so–called modern beat and look. I say give me Kiri Te Kanawa over The Opera Babes any day. She's Maori, she can sing her ass off so she doesn't need to show her navel, and she'll put your head on a pike if she has to. That's my kind of opera star.

Okay, I have to go make pancakes now. If you get the chance, go down to Borders or Barnes and Noble and give a free listen to the Yoshida Brothers. I believe that listening to them will not only rock both cheeks of your ass, it will reduce your karmic debt.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.

[1] Not his real name. It's actually Ryoichiro, which I'm pretty sure means "Ass Kick" in Japanese anyway.

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