BIG IN JAPAN
Formed: Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK
Alongside The Spitfire Boys this was one of Liverpool's first punk bands, although Big In Japan was arty and eccentric enough to not sound much like your normal punk band i.e. there were no traces of pub rock at all. A kind of supergroup in reverse, all band members were unknown at the time but after they split most of them went on to bigger things. The singer with the shrieking little girl voice and shaven head is Jayne Casey, later of "cold wave" combos Pink Military and Pink Industry. Second drummer Budgie, fresh out of The Spitfire Boys, joined The Slits and then Siouxise & The Banshees. Guitarist Ian Broudie formed the Lighting Seeds, and Bill Drummond formed Lori & The Chameleons, managed The Teardrop Explodes and founded Zoo! Records (amongst other endeavours). Holly Johnson played bass for a while, and formed Frankie Goes To Hollywood with Paul Rutherford (ex-Spitfire Boys). Other band members who were part of their revolving door policy included Ambrose Reynolds (later in Nightmares In Wax and Pink Military), Steve Lindsey (Deaf School) and David Balfe (Lori & the Chameleons / The Teardrop Explodes / Dalek I Love You).
The posthumous From Y To Z And Never Again 12" EP captures a band with semi-intellectual pretensions peddling amateurish, skeletal demi-pop in a style that will be familiar to anybody owning records by Prag Vec, The Dodgems, Nicky & The Dots and a zillion acts from post-punk Britain. The perky 'Suicide A Go Go' is mildly enjoyable, but what's with the Smurf voices on 'Cindy And The Barbi Dolls'? The music – recorded over a period of one year with various line-ups - proves that Big in Japan will remain better known for their musicians than their music. In all, a rather unprepossessing artifact.
The Zoo single has been reissued on the Zoo compilation CD.
Jayne Casey - vocals (Pink Industry / Pink Military)
Bill Drummond - guitar, vocals (Lori & The Chameleons / The KLF)
Ian Broudie - guitar (Original Mirrors / Care / Lighting Seeds)
Clive Langer - guitar (Deaf School)
Kevin Ward - bass, vocals
Phil Allen - drums
Holly Johnson - bass (Frankie Goes To Hollywood)
Ambrose Reynolds - bass (Nightmares In Wax / Pink Military)
Steve Lindsey (Deaf School)
David Balfe (Lori & the Chameleons / The Teardrop Explodes / Dalek I Love You)
Budgie - drums
Singles / Albums
|Brutality, Rhythm And A Dance Beat
(7", split with The Chuddy Nuddies, 1977)
|From Y To Z And Never Again (7", 1978)|
Street To Street - A Liverpool Album UK LP 1979 (Open Eye): Match Of The Day
To The Shores Of Lake Placid UK LP 1982 (Zoo): Society For Cutting Up Men / Suicide A Go Go
'The Zoo' Uncaged 1978-1982 UK LP/CD 1990 (Document): Suicide A Go Go / Nothing Special / Society For Cutting Up Men Taxi / Cindy And The Barbi Dolls