THE ZOOBOMBS were formed by DON Matsuo (vocals/guitar), Matta (keyboards), and Moostop (bass) in Tokyo in September 1994 and -- together with various drummers -- have been amazing rock audiences in Japan, North America and Australia ever since. The Zoobombs brand of rock and roll is unique: hardcore-punk blues spiked with explorations of funk, rap, prog-rock and even traditional Japanese folk.
"The first time we played together, it was a full moon -- our music style has been crazy from the start," says Matsuo. The Zoobombs incendiary live performances quickly shot them to the top of Japan's indie-rock scene and opening concert performances for The Flaming Lips and Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion.
Signed by the Quattro/Ricetone label in 1996, the band swiftly unleashed three albums -- "Super Funcy of Zoobombs"(1997), "Welcome Back Zoobombs"(1997) and "Let It Bomb"(1998) -- and introduced themselves to the U.S.A with a headlining slot on Japan's official SxSW festival showcase in 1998. Like the press in Japan -- several magazines called "Let It Bomb" the best Japanese rock album ever -- American media (including The New York Times and Rolling Stone) took notice of The Zoobombs, inspiring Emperor-Norton Records to release two of the albums internationally, "Welcomeback, Zoobombs!" chosen as Amazon.com's best album of 1998.
That same year, while in Toronto on a full North American tour, the band so impressed legendary Canadian promoter Dan Burke that he flew them back from Tokyo in June 1999 to play his "Neon Palm Festival" at the El Mocambo.
"Flew them in for one show -- their 'one night in North America' tour," laughs Burke. "They were that good when I first saw them."
During the band's Virgin/EMI years -- "Bomb Freak Express"(1999), "Dirty Bomb"(2000), "Bomb You LIve (2000)" and "Love Is Funky"(2002) -- Australian audiences loved the Zoobombs so much that the band moved there for a year.
But where The Zoobombs have truly soared is in Canada, having once headlined five shows in eight days in Toronto, where their "triple-heading" of The Silver Dollar Room's Canadian Music Week showcases in 2005 earned them a place in The Toronto Sun's "Best Club Shows of The Year."
"The Zoobombs are just about the greatest live indie-rock club act in world -- on an off-day!" says promoter Burke. "Put them on stage one night and people will be back the next with more friends to see them. Few bands -- very, very few! -- are capable of that."
Now in 2010, The Zoobombs are using their ever-growing popularity in eastern Canada to launch a new assault on America on a summer tour which includes dates in New York, Philadelphia, Rochester, Toledo, Montreal, Toronto and Quebec City.
"It's time we returned to America," says Matsuo. "I'd like to develop a relationship with the U.S. indie-rock scene and next year bring an American band to tour with us in Japan -- help them break into the Japanese indie-rock world.
"It would be great to develop an alliance like that which bridges the two countries and cultures and builds the future for us all."
Adds Toronto's Burke: "The Zoobombs are an international-touring act waiting to happen. They've been blowing minds live in Canada for 11 years now. The rest of the world deserves to find out how great they are."
PRESS and INTERNET CLIPS:
The supersonic Tokyo band somehow morphed from Stonesy punk-rock maniacs to freaky jazz-rock jammers without missing a beat, or losing a tad of their record-breaking intensity. Band leader Don Matsuo repeatedly risked everything, pushing the audience to the brink with
endless jams before dissolving into a gloriously noisy release.
Zoobombs (Tokyo, Japan) @ Velvet Underground, Saturday, as part of the Next showcase: This spacey Japanese quartet accumulated so much buzz over the weekend that people crammed into the Velvet Underground on Saturday like there was a meteor shower outside and it was the last bomb shelter on earth. The Zoobombs lived up to the hype with a spacey psych-jazz meltdown akin to Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Rich, and the Mars Volta having a barroom brawl...on shrooms.
I was up in Toronto this past week and caught a bunch of bands at the NXNE music festival, Canada's answer to Austin's SXSW. Saw some good stuff, including Dillinger Four, but the best by far was a Tokyo band called
Zoobombs. Sick performance. I'm not good at the intricacies of genre specifications (I tend to like "music"), and these guys make it really difficult. I heard old soul and blues influence, some funk bits...live it felt like some odd psych garage experiment or something. Call it whatever you want, they were sick.
Dutch and I went out for the NXNE (North by Northeast) festival last night and the best band we saw, by far, was Zoobombs at the Velvet Underground.Zoobombs was described to us as a Japanese punk band but their music was more like a tight, extended Jimi Hendrix-flavoure d
electric rock. The lead singer, Don Matsuo, seemed to have a punk sensibility, though: during one of the rare moments when I could see him, I saw a massive, wide stream of spit (or some other liquid) fly through the air. Matsuo's vocals were raw and I couldn't understand a word of what he was singing but it was great. From what I could see of him, Matsuo is energetic and charismatic. (Teo web mag,Ca, June, 2009)
SUPER FUNCY OF ZOOBOMBS (Ricetone,JP,1997)
WELCOME BACK, ZOOBOMBS (Ricetone,JP,1997)
WELCOME BACK, ZOOBOMBS (Emperor-Notron, US,1998)
LET IT BOMB (Ricetone,JP,1998)
LET IT BOMB (Emperor-Notron, US,1999)
BOMB FREAKS EXPRESS (Virgin EMI,JP,1999)
BOMB FREAKS EXPRESS (EMI,AU,2000)
DIRTY BOMB (Virgin EMI,JP,2000)
DIRTY BOMB (EMI,AU,2001)
BOMB YOU LIVE (Virgin EMI,JP,2001)
BOMB YOU LIVE (Teenage USA,CA,2001)
LOVE IS FUNKY (Virgin EMI,JP,2002)
NEW SAN FRANCISCO (P Vine,JP,2004)
VAMOS A BAILAR(2005)--For Fanclub only
WAY IN/WAY OUT(Valve,AU,2006)
B*B*B (Ultra Vybe,JP,2006)
BEAR'S BANQUET-LIVE FROM DEEP NIGHT IN TORONTO- (Ultra Vybe,JP,2007)
Nightfriend of ZOOBOMBS(Donuts Worm,Ultra Vybe,JP,2009)
Singles & EP
BOMB THE BOMB (Ricetone,JP,1998)
HOT LOVE (Virgin EMI,JP,1999)
DOO BEE (Virgin EMI,JP,2000)
FUNKY MOVIN'(Virgin EMI,JP,2002)
FEEL UR SEX FROM FUNKY,FUNKY MUSIC (Virgin EMI,JP,2002)
Highway A Go-Go(WE ARE BUSY BODIES,CA,2008)