Sunday, May 27, 2012
ARTIST PROFILE - THE STALIN
When you think Japan you don’t typically think of Hardcore Punk, but in the not so distant past there was a band that was the epitome of Hardcore in Japan. The STALIN was the brainchild of the 29 year old Socialist and social activist; Michiro Endo in 1980 who just a year earlier after returning from Vietnam created Jieitai, named after the Japanese Self Defense Force whose songs went on to become STALIN hits.
Michiro decided to name the band The STALIN because at the time STALIN was the most hated name in the world and it worked perfectly with the band’s image. The band started with Michiro on vocals, Atsushi on guitar and Jun on drums with Shintaro joining on bass later the same month, but by that time their first single Dendo Kakeshi (Electric Dildo) had already been recorded and released in September.
In April of ‘81 The STALIN released their first EP appropriately titled Stalinism and would be the first of many successful releases over the next 4 years. In November of the same year The STALIN became infamous for their live performances when performing at Kanto Gakuin High School; Michiro was arrested for indecent exposure. One month later they released their first album which was a mixture of recorded and live songs entitled Trash.
In March of the next year The STALIN starred in a film by famous director Sogo Ishii called Burst City along with The Rockers and The Roosters and in July released their first major label album called Stop Jap and their most famous song Romantist on the same day on a single. They would release only a single after Stop Jap came out that year, but came back with Go Go Stalin in February and in April of the next year with Mushi (The Insect). They then released one more single in April, but disappeared yet again until all the way until November of 84 with their final album Fish Inn.
Michiro ended The STALIN in February of 1985 and everyone at the time believed Michiro was done with music at the age of 33, ending the band with a two disc live album in May called For Never - Last Live. The STALIN however weren’t done just yet when in 1986 they re-released Fish Inn in December. And that was it, The STALIN were no more aside from a few compilation albums and Michiro remained hidden for 3 years, but what was he waiting for? What happened next no one could have predicted.
In May of '87, Michiro appeared again with a new group called Video Stalin, which was mostly a video production team that released three videos and one album, one however was called Your Order! The History of The Stalin, which featured nothing but live and promo footage of the band and in 1988 Michiro was gone yet again. However, in 1989 the Soviet Union fell and that inspired Michiro to yet again start a band in the form of simple Stalin and performed for the first time live in newly free Warsaw, Poland with Polish Punk band Dezerter and released a video of the excursion called Saigo no Akai Natsu - Stalin Call in East Europe video. The band released 6 singles and 5 albums including 1 live album before ending in 1993.
So it was over. The STALIN, Video Stalin and Stalin, all of Michiro’s projects were finished, but that doesn’t mean anything because in 2001 The STALIN came back for one final performance and released a video of the performance called Hakike Gasuruhodo Romanchikku Daze!! in June and a Tribute album for the band was released called 365 - A Tribute to The STALIN.
Of course if you know Michiro that wasn’t the end and in early 2011, 10 years after the one night reunion show he re-invented the band as The STALIN Z and featured Michiro on vocals, Tatsuya Nakamura (ex. The STALIN) on drums, KenKen (RIZE/KenKen of INVADERS) on Bass and Kazuhiro Hyaku (Mo’Some Tonebenders) on guitar.
The STALIN were the most influential and infamous Hardcore Punk band to come out of Japan in a time when the world was in chaos and their image and sound were par for the course and even though they haven’t been around for 20 years, The STALIN are still as alive as ever in the form of a ever young 61 year old Michiro Endo who will never let punk die in Japan, a country that some say is far too apathetic and complacent in a world full of chaos. Michiro even started a band called M.J.Q. who plays unplugged punk and has released 2 albums.
In 2007 they released Stop Jap Naked in 2007 and I Was The STALIN a 2 disc compilation CD in March of this year as well as a Michiro Endo Tribute album which featured covers of The STALIN songs as well as Michiro’s solo works called Romantist - The Michiro Endo Tribute Album-.
The STALIN do not have an official site, but Michiro himself has a twitter and an official site.
Seeing as Michiro is from Fukushima he feels greatly about the disaster that occurred last year and has started PROJECT FUKUSHIMA! A non-profit organization to help with the recovery.
http://www.pj-fukushima.jp/index.php - PROJECT FUKUSHIMA! Official Site
http://www.apia-net.com/michiro/index.html - Michiro Endo Official Site
https://twitter.com/#!/michiro60 - Michiro Endo Official Twitter