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Thee Michelle Gun Elephant

Thee Michelle Gun Elephant

HistoryThe band was formed in 1991, while Chiba, Ueno, and Kuhara were students at Tokyo's Meiji Gakuin University. They later drew influence from The Roosters. Their unusual name originated when a friend mispronounced the title of an early jam session recording; featuring cover songs of Thee Headcoats (one of the band's main influences) and from The Damned's album, Machine Gun Etiquette. Some years later Futoshi Abe joined the band. After an independently-released EP in 1995, they signed to Nippon Columbia's Triad label, releasing the album Cult Grass Stars in 1996, followed later that year by High Time, the band enjoying chart success in their home country. Chicken Zombies (1997) gave them a top five hit. The band's 1998 album Gear Blues was the first to be released in the US (in 2000).The band announced that they would break up on October 11, 2003, after their Last Heaven tour of Japan. On July 22, 2009, the guitarist Futoshi Abe died of an acute hematoma.Song titles and lyricsThe majority of the band's songs have English titles, which often appear to be a random selection of words cobbled together - 'Pinhead Cranberry Dance', for example.The lyrics are almost entirely Japanese, with the odd English phrase or word thrown in.Musical instrumentsNone of them used any effect pedals at all. They used to perform with coiled guitar cables as Dr. Feelgood did.Yusuke ChibaFender Jaguar, Fender Jazzmaster, Gretsch Tennessee RoseChiba did not play the guitar so much. Sometimes the sound of Chiba's guitar was not sent to PA's mixer, because he played the guitar not to make a sound but to keep himself a rhythm.Fender Hot Rod De VilleFutoshi AbeSeen (Japan's luthier) Telecaster, Telecaster Custom, Gretsch Silver JetSeen is a brand name of the guitar produced by Matsushita Guitar Factory, placed in Harajuku, Tokyo. Some details were changed in Abe's Telecaster Custom-modeled guitar. The toggle switch was replaced where the tone knob of the rear pickup should be, because the switch's setting could be changed easily by his heavy playing. Because of it the guitar had only 3 knobs, 2 volume knobs and a master tone knob. For the majority of TMGE's lifespan, Abe played a Fender "The Twin" - a master volume amplifier with pre-amp distortion. Later he used a Marshall JCM-900.Fender The Twin, Sunn Amplifier, Marshall AmplificationKoji UenoFender Precision BassThrough almost all the time of Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, he used only two units of Fender bass guitar. Two of them were completely same, one had 3-tone sunburst body and the other vintage white. Both of them had amber pickguards. Fender Jazz Bass and contrabass were used in some tracks. He always played the bass guitar with a Jim Dunlop's pick.Ampeg, Sunn AmplifierKazuyuki KuharaCanopus (Japanese drum company), Ludwig-MusserSide projectsAll four members have had other musical projects or played with other bands both while in TMGE and after its break-up. Some of these are as follows:Yusuke ChibaROSSO (Vocals, Guitar and Songwriting on all releases)The Birthday (Vocals, Guitars and Songwriting on all releases)The Midwest Vikings (Vocals, Guitars and Songwriting under the alias 'LACOSTE')Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (Vocals on one song on the album 'Stompin' On Down Beat Alley')RavenBugy CraxoneMidnight BankrobbersKazuyuki KuharaROSSO (Drums on some live appearances)The Birthday (Drums on all releases)The Midwest Vikings (Drums and Pianica under the alias 'HANG TEN')Yoko Utsumi's YOKOLOCO BAND (Drums on later releases)Shigeki Hamabe (Drums on first two albums)M.J.Q (drums on all releases)Koji UenoRadio Caroline (Bass on all releases)The Hiatus (Bass on all releases)Futoshi AbeKOOLOGI (Guitar on first album)BarebonesStrawberry Jean (Guitar - This was Futoshi Abe's pre-TMGE band - their one album is sometimes available via Japanese online auctions)


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