One of Japan’s premier names in rock music, Guitar Wolf, is looking for a new bassist, and our reporter Seiji Nakazawa has filled out his resume.
■ JETTO ROKKU!!!!
The successful jingle Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen made an impact on the music business in more ways than one. For example, it was the first song to crack the American Billboard charts in 26 years. As you can probably tell by this statistic, making the U.S. charts is rarefied air for Japanese musicians.
And one of the few who made it was Guitar Wolf. For those unfamiliar with this band, who have been playing since 1987 and made a name for themselves especially in the 90s and early 2000s, they’re kind of like the Ramones, if the Ramones were hit by cosmic rays and gained super-powers becoming exponentially both louder and more technically proficient at playing music.
They play a brand of music called “jet rock,” which as the name suggests is like regular rock music except it sounds as if it were blasted out of a jet engine. Here’s a taste, but be warned it’s quite loud, so mind your surroundings and volume settings.
▼ “Invader Ace”
▼ “Jet Reason” is probably the best example of their “jet” sound
■ Call of the Wolf
Recently, on their official website, Guitar Wolf posted a want ad for a new bassist. Naturally, for many aspiring rock stars this is a great opportunity, and RocketNews24’s own rocker Seiji Nakazawa is no different.
Seiji has played guitar in a few bands and written a few songs but has never achieved a level of success anywhere near that of Guitar Wolf. He quickly checked the website to see what was required to apply.
Guitar Wolf Bassist Recruitment Requirements
1.. Normal Resume (include height, weight, blood type, bass experience, favorite bands, band experience if any)
That was it. By the way, although including your measurements and a photo in a resume violates labor laws in some countries, it is standard practice in Japan. So overall this was a surprisingly sober job posting from the men who penned “Let’s Get Hurt.”
However, this troubled Seiji for a number of reasons. First, aside from watching other people play bass, Seiji has no bass experience to speak of. This wasn’t a deal-breaker though. Guitar Wolf’s current bassist U.G. also had never played bass before joining.
The bigger problem is: What is a “normal” resume? Guitar Wolf seemed to go out of their way to state that CVs should be “normal,” which also begs the question of how out-there a resume would have look to be deemed “abnormal” by the group that brought us the song “Sex Napoleon.”
Nevertheless, Seiji tried his hardest to make the most straightforward and honest resume he could. There were also no online applications. Resumes had to be hand-written and delivered by mail. Seiji liked this old-school charm, and it made him want to join even more.
He included his full employment history such as his stint at a Lawson convenience store and a few periods of unemployment. He also included his 10 years of experience in indie bands and included Aerosmith and Thee Michelle Gun Elephant as his favorite groups.
With his CV complete, Seiji was still concerned. Maybe it was too normal? Rather than a rock-n-roller, he feared he might just come across like some old fart and not even get past the initial screening. To balance this, he figured he would make the photo more Wolf-like.
■ If Seiji meets Seiji
On the way to drop his resume into the mailbox Seiji decided to get a Guitar Wolf-inspired photo taken at a coin-operated booth. As he walked along the street, Seiji fantasized about what he would say to the lead singer – who is also named Seiji – if he got the chance to be interviewed.
“Nice to meet you Seiji. I’m Seiji Nakazawa. We have the same name. I will be 35 years old this year. After graduating university I moved to Tokyo where I have played with indie bands for about 10 years. I still play at clubs in Shimokitazawa.
However, you might be wondering why a guy my age would apply having never played bass.
First of all, I don’t ‘play’ bass. This is not playtime. I’m serious about bass and will use it with courage.
Of course, I am scared, but I’m much more scared of not doing it. Ever since I was a teenager I wanted to use the guitar to change myself. But I have to admit that I haven’t changed… I couldn’t change.
Among my band activities over the past ten years, I have released some CDs. But I always felt like I was hitting walls. These walls were other people not buying my albums and no one coming to my shows.
Still, I wanted to express myself, and with my knowledge of music I could always do that with my guitar. But I could not see beyond those two walls I mentioned to find my path.
However, I realized that those weren’t really walls, but it was me holding myself back…probably out of fear. That was my weakness, and just as a member’s strength adds to a band, a member’s weakness hurts it. It took me 10 years to realize that, but I get it now.
And now I long for the pure freedom of expression that Guitar Wolf has tirelessly embodied.
I want to be in this band. Although I’m not exactly what you asked for, I would like your careful consideration. Thank you.”
And the application was sent. Because this is all done through traditional mail, Seiji won’t get a reply for several weeks. However, the recruitment ad said that applicants would get a response whether they were accepted or not, so at least no getting jerked around like we were with those Yakuza games.
Will the two Seijis unite to blast jet rock around the world? Or will our Seiji have to settle for writing rocket news rather than playing rocket rock?
The ball is in their court now…