Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: The Mops - Psychedelic Sound In Japan (PSYCHEDELIC 60s GARAGE JAPAN 1968)

11 March 2009

The Mops - Psychedelic Sound In Japan (PSYCHEDELIC 60s GARAGE JAPAN 1968)

mops,psychedelic_sound_in_japan,Group_Sounds,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,front_cover"THE MOPS - PSYCHEDELIC SOUND IN JAPAN" (PSYCHEDELIC 60s GARAGE JAPAN 1968)

"The Mops" were formed in 1966 by a group of high schoolers: "Mikiharu Suzuki" (drums), "Taro Miyuki" (guitar), "Masaru Hoshi" (guitar), and "Kaoru Murakami" (bass guitar).
They began as an instrumental Rock group similar to "The Ventures", but soon after forming, "Mikiharu Suzuki"'s brother Hiromitsu joined on lead vocals.
Although the musicians themselves were mainly influenced by "The Yardbirds" and "The Rolling Stones", the new singer's obsessions with "Eric Burdon" and "Steve Winwood" soon re-shaped their sound, as "The Mops" played more and more shows in the Tokyo area. Moreover.

When they played Tokyo's "Go-Go-Kissa Club" in early 1967, "The Mops" were approached by a management team who agreed to look after their interests, but only on condition that they become a Psychedelic band.
In April 1968 they released their first album "Psychedelic Sound In Japan" (Victor SJV-356, Japan 1968).
The title may sound silly, but they did faithful Psychedelic covers, yet their original songs were REAL 60s Garage in nature. The word of "Group Sounds" songs were mainly simple love songs. But they sung more serious.
In "Blind Bird (Please Kill Me)", "The Mops" sung about terrible dark world and said "Please Kill Me".
Indeed, even Western bands rarely managed lyrics as raw as "Please Kill Me" as Suzuki beseeched on their Fuzz epic 6/8 "Blind Bird (Please Kill Me)".
It's clear from their get up and instrumental styling that "The Mops" wanted to reach "The Misunderstood"'s braying stratospheric delivery and the mushied-3 a.m.-in-a-city-under-smog production that "The Gonn" achieved on "The Blackout Of Gretely", but the record company and their own inexperience denied them those options.

"The Mops" were signed to JVC Records, the Japanese wing of "Victor Records", and released a single (VP-1) in November 1967 called "Asamade Matenai" (I Can't Wait), which hit #38 on the Japanese charts.

the_mops,psychedelic_sound_in_japan,Group_Sounds,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,Blind_Bird,Asa_made_Matenai,Victor_VP_1,frontThe Mops: "Asamade Matenai" / "Blind Bird (Please Kill Me)", Side A Victor VP-1, Japan 1967

In April 1968, the full-length debut, "Psychedelic Sound" in Japan, followed; the album included covers of "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love" by "Jefferson Airplane", as well as "Light My Fire" by "The Doors" and two songs by "The Animals".

the_mops,psychedelic_sound_in_japan,Group_Sounds,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,Blind_Bird,Asa_made_Matenai,Victor_VP_1,backThe Mops: "Asamade Matenai" / "Blind Bird (Please Kill Me)", Side B Victor VP-1, Japan 1967

They received much press for being the 'first Psychedelic band' in Japan, and performed with elaborate light shows.

mops,psychedelic_sound_in_japan,Group_Sounds,gibson,epiphone,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,liveLive, "The Mops" used Psychedelic lighting effects and played blindfolded to stimulate themselves to hallucinogenic heights (obtaining LSD was next to impossible in Japan at the time).
Flanging, phasing and other studio techniques were also introduced to Japan by "The Mops" who experimented in various ways to achieve their Psychedelic Sounds.

mops,psychedelic_sound_in_japan,Group_Sounds,gibson,epiphone,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,promo_shotHowever, by the time their first single "Asamade Matenai" had charted at the lower end of the Japanese Top 40, other bands had caught up with their Psychedelic stylings, pushing "The Mops" to all kinds of ruses in order to substantiate their claim as Japan's premier psychedelicians – and in drug free Japan, this was not an easy task.

the_mops,psychedelic_sound_in_japan,Group_Sounds,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,BELA_YO_ISOGE,KIENAI_OMOI,Victor_VP_5The Mops: "Bela Yo Isoge" / "Kienai Omoi", Victor VP-5, Japan 1968

Huge lighting rigs began to appear at Mops shows, and flangeing, Wah-Wah pedals and Fuzz boxes saturated their live sounds, while the band themselves grew their hair even longer, adopted granny glasses, and played blind-folded in order to disorientate themselves and stimulate natural Psychedelic effects.
"The Mops" not only displayed an amazing adeptness at copying Psychedelia but also 60s American Garage Punk.

mops,psychedelic_sound_in_japan,Group_Sounds,gibson,epiphone,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,1968When bassist "Kaori Murakami" quit for a place in university in Spring 1969, rhythm guitarist "Tarou Miyuki" swapped to bass, the lack of two guitars considerably opening up the sound and making for a spaciousness, allowing "Masaru Hoshi"'s excellent leads to cut right through.

mops,psychedelic_sound_in_japan,Group_Sounds,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,Omae_No_Subete_O,Atsuku_Narenai,vp_10The Mops: "Omae No Subete O" / "Atsuku Narenai", Victor VP-10, Japan 1968
But the "Group Sounds" era was already coming to a close and, after three singles and the aforementioned LP, the band was dropped from the "Victor Records" roster.


Anonymous said...

The first album is awesome---at the risk of being unpolitically correct, who can resist Japanese guys turning "Light My Fire" into "Right My Fire"?