A Jelly Bean in NY

I’ve written previously on the Japanese garage band scene and it’s amazing ability to take the basics and put their own indelible spin on it. Another area that is just as important but often neglected is the art angle. Shows need advertising. And while the Japanese scene boasts its own lineup of stellar illustrators, the one most often pointed to as the Grandaddy of them all is Rockin’Jelly Bean.

Starting as a way to advertise his surf-garage band (the amazing Jackie and the Cedrics) his style of art evolved into a combination of 50/60s pinup girls, and 70s exploitation movies with a smattering of eroticism. Success and accolades soon followed allowing RJB to open up a store, Erostika, in the Harajuku area of Tokyo, followed by another one in Nagoya.

front1Personally, I am indebted to RJB for being kind enough to encourage me to bring many of the images on this site to Japan for a gallery show in Shimokitazawa as well as an additional show at his store in 2009. At that point I had only begun exploring what to do with the images I had collected. It was mainly through his encouragement that much of what you see here became a reality. Which brings me to the point of this post!

On October 8, Rockin’ Jelly Bean brings his amazing art stateside with a rare NYC appearance in Toy Tokyo’s basement gallery at 91 Second Avenue. Previously, the last time RJB was in town was in 2011 with Jackie and the Cedrics for the Norton Records 25th Anniversary shows. If you’re in the tri-state area, stop by and bask in the masters glow….I sure will!



Rockin’ All Over the World

One thing that never fails to amaze me is how garage punk has transcended international borders. Both in the 60s and especially today. Especially considering the fact that many folk are still in the dark about the entire genre. Nevertheless, the underground nature of the movement hasn’t stopped scattered scenes from all around the world from creating their own localized versions. One of those places is Japan.

Amazingly, the Japanese garage music scene continues to flourish amidst a sea of homogenized pop bands. Much of the reason for that longevity comes down to the dedication of a handful of true believers and visionaries such as promoter Daddy-O Nov.

For a quick sample, please enjoy the trailer below for Garage Rockin’ Craze. An amazing, long overdue documentary on the current Japanese garage rock scene by Japan-based filmmaker Mario Cuzic.