We’ve known about this week’s weird band for a long time, but honestly, we’ve put off writing about them because they’re disgusting. But it’s been a slow week, so I’m finally gonna bite the bullet and tell you about the perverse world of The Gerogerigegege. If you’re not ready for the gay avant-garde Japanese version of GG Allin, stop reading now.
Still with me? Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. The Gerogeri (as I’ll start typing from here on out, because I’m a lazy American) was founded in 1985 as a punk/noise band by Juntaro Yamanouchi, the son of a classically trained Japanese pianist with a fondness for cross-dressing and live Ramones albums. Besides making music, Yamanouchi also sometimes performed in S&M shows at gay clubs, which is where he met fellow S&M performer Tetsuya Endoh, aka Gero 30 or Gero 56. I’ll let Yamanouchi himself, in a badly translated interview, pick up the story from here:
“The contents of the show was nothing but to eat each other the shit of GERO 30 and mine and twist about in our pee and shit. While we played such performances, the audience, mainly middle-aged people, was jacking off. Anyway, all we could hear in the darkened space was panting voices of such men and excited snorts. Such experiences, beyond all description I could give, has been made most of the time in the pieces and lives of THE GEROGERIGEGEGE.”
“Gerogerigegege,” by the way, roughly translates to “Vomitdiarrheackackack.” So yes, much of this band’s music (for lack of a better word) is based on bodily functions. Sometimes pretty overtly so.
So with Gero 30 and a rotating cast of additional bandmates in tow, Yamanouchi and The Gerogerigegege began playing the Japanese punk clubs, where they soon became famous for shows that sometimes included pissing, shitting and vomiting onstage, and nearly always included the spectacle of Gero 30 jerking off. And when I say he was jerking off, I don’t mean he was just quietly rubbing one out behind the drum riser. He was more likely to be standing on top of an amp with a vacuum cleaner hose attached to his naughty bits. In fact, the most notorious Gerogeri video in circulation depicts just that. (Don’t worry, the naughty bits are scrambled.)
Yamanouchi and co. churned out a ton of material during the 15-odd years of the band’s existence…everything from full-on industrial noise to more abstract, ambient stuff to Ramones-inspired proto-punk. (Yamanouchi counts off the start of nearly every Gerogeri song with a Dee Dee Ramone-like “1, 2, 3, 4!”) Their most famous album, 1990’s Tokyo Anal Dynamite, featured 75 songs delivered in just over 30 minutes—although pretty much the only way you can tell when one song ends and the next begins is when Yamanouchi yells “1, 2, 3, 4!”
In addition to traditional album and single releases, The Gerogeri were also famous for pulling prank releases like Art Is Over, which consisted of an octopus tentacle glued to the inside of a cassette case, and “Ai-Jin,” a flexi-disc single that was presented at a “Release Memorial Performance” at which all 2,000 copies were burned. (About 25 copies allegedly survived and are now worth a lot of money, if you’re into that sort of thing.)
There’s probably no way to age gracefully after jacking off onstage for 15 years, so it’s no surprise really that both Yamanouchi and Gero 30 mysteriously disappeared shortly after the release of the band’s last album, 2001’s Saturday Night Big Cock Salaryman. Rumors abound as to what became of them, but no one really knows for sure. Many have pointed out that Gero 30 would be pushing 70 by now, so he’s probably spanking his monkey to Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs in some old folks’ home. As for Yamanouchi, he’s either dead, in a mental institution, or living under an assumed name somewhere. Or maybe he’s in the Seychelles partying with Jim Morrison.
It used to be almost impossible for anyone who wasn’t a collector of “Japanoise” rare vinyl to hear what The Gerogerigegege sounded like, but thanks to the miracle of YouTube, a big chunk of their catalog is now there for the listening. (Video of their live shows is rarer, unfortunately.) This clip from Tokyo Anal Dynamite is only 23 seconds long, but it sums up what they were about pretty neatly. It’s called “Boys Don’t Cry,” but it’s not a Cure cover. At least we don’t think it is, but with this band, it’s hard to tell.
- the gerogerigegege: 56k performance (fan site, last updated in 2003)
- The Gerogerigegege on Facebook (fan page)
- The Gerogerigegege on MySpace (fan page)
- Some Gerogerigegege shit on Amazon.com (surprisingly, they have a lot, mostly from resellers)