Half Japanese is a punk rock band formed by brothers Jad and David Fair in their Coldwater, Michigan bedroom around 1975. Their original instrumentation included a small drum set, which they took turns playing; vocals; and an out of tune (but quite distorted) guitar. Both Fair brothers sang, although over time Jad moved into the frontman role.Jad is well-known for playing an untuned electric guitar. After 30 years, he still does not play in any traditional manner; in the documentary Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King he states that "the only chord I know is the one that connects the guitar to the amp."
Their lyrics often deal with monsters and the supernatural (especially as influenced by campy "creature feature" and scifi movies), in addition to more conventional themes, such as young love. They have stated that all their songs are either "love songs or monster songs."
The band played and recorded as a duo until the early '80s when they began incorporating additional members into the group: Mark Jickling (guitar and vocals) and brothers Ricky and John Dreyfuss (drums and saxophone). Since that time, dozens of musicians have come and gone under the Half Japanese banner, including Howard Wuelfing, Don Fleming, Jay Spiegel, and many, many others. Jad is the only member who has been with Half Japanese from the beginning. David Fair eventually left the band in the early 1980s to focus on his family. He has continued to make guest appearances with the band from time to time.
The next line-up of Half Japanese came together in the late 1980s, proving to be a long-lasting and stable unit recording several albums and touring frequently throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan. This incarnation featured guitarist/multi-instrumentalist John Sluggett (also a longtime member of Moe Tucker's band), multi-instrumentalist Jason Willett, and drummer Gilles Reider. Since then, the group has worked with Moe Tucker from The Velvet Underground, who produced and performed on Fire In the Sky (1993), Fred Frith, and John Zorn, among others.
Fans of Half Japanese include Penn Jillette, who helped the band release some of their albums on his label, 50 Skidillion Watts, and Kurt Cobain, who had them open for Nirvana on the group's 1993 tour. According to reports, Cobain was wearing a Half Japanese t-shirt when he died.
The band's history and influence are chronicled in the 1993 documentary Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King. We Are They Who Ache with Amorous Love is their 1990 album which was also listened in Kurt Cobain's list of favorite albums.
8."Up And Down"
9."All Of Me"
10."Hand Without A Body"
13."How Did You Know?"
14."Then We Walk"
17."The House I Live In"