Meet the maker band

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meet the maker band

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They speak some broken English and hand the band a marker and some paper. Night after night, the Makers play like underdogs with something to prove. And they do have something to prove, since these shows will determine whether the foursome is welcome back in this country.

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Before their first appearance, a different Makers - an out-of-sync version - turns up at the Shelter, a west-side Tokyo pub, for their sound check. At all five shows, the promoters and club managers are prompt and precise, which surprises the Makers camp.

Sound checks start at 4 p. Each band gets 15 minutes to test equipment and adjust the mix. Shows start at 7 p. The first two bands play for 20 minutes, the third 30 minutes and the headline band 45 minutes or more.

Most bands share the same drum kits and amplifiers, supplied by the club, eliminating time-consuming switches between each set. Only five minutes separate the end of one set from the beginning of the next. The Makers save their best performances for Osaka and the final Tokyo show. Then without warning, the crowd of meets their Makers. Seconds after the Makers dive into their set, the crowd erupts, pogoing, slamming, bobbing and dancing for the duration.

When the churning pit spits some girls out, they spend the rest of the evening dancing on the wings of the stage.

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Six days later the Makers show signs of exhaustion, but still manage to crank out their best show of the tour. Pounding like brass knuckles on the skull, the Makers put forth as much adrenaline, guts and bravado as they can muster - and the crowd goes nuts.

Japan is a haven for underground rock bands. The music scene brims with fertile talent, and the Makers witness it first-hand. Joining the group on stage Oct. Jet Boys, Tonight and Gasoline. Singing mostly in English, they sound like American or English punk bands circa Their sets boast heaping amounts of savvy, snot and vinegar, tension and youthful spirit.

They watch the Japanese bands, most of which they like. Before the trip, the singer received a demo from the band in the mail, and he quickly became a fan.

meet the maker band

Of all the opening bands on the tour, the singer - who goes by the moniker Gun - has the best schtick: He slicks his grease-laced black mane back with a switch-comb and fires a toy ray gun into his guitar pickups.

As the band discovers, gimmicks are effective ploys for gaining fans. Japanese bands are extremely competitive and feel they have to supplement the music. The one-upmanship makes for inspired performances, forcing the Makers to boost their shows a notch.

I totally have respect for these Japanese bands. And they have respect for us. Two years ago, after singer Joe Morimoto started corresponding with his American idols, both bands decided to release a joint 7-inch vinyl EP. Yet each reflects the personality of its respective city.

Much like the colorful Osaka, Fandango is a wild place. With its chaotic graffiti-saturated interior, grimy floors and industrial fixtures, Fandango resembles a crusty American joint - the perfect ambience for a trash-rock band like the Makers.

Of all the stops, the Makers favor this club the most.

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Whoopees does resemble a hotel lounge, from the s - mirrors, leather couches, marble floors, disco ball. For the first and last shows, the Makers make noise at a tiny, cave-like, subterranean club in Tokyo called the Shelter.

Bomb Shelter is more like it.

meet the maker band

The bar is shoved off in a corner, and the stage is almost as big as the black-and-white-checked floor. Supposedly, this place can handle people, but would probably feel crowded with half that.

meet the maker band

One week later the audience doubles in size, converting the club into a claustrophobic sweat box. An even larger crowd turns out at Diamond Hall in Nagoya, but that venue can handle 1, people. Diamond Hall is easily the biggest place the Makers have ever played, with a monster sound system and an even more monstrous stage.

Unused to so much room, the Makers feel like the stage might swallow them whole. Here it has to go through more stuffit sounds computerized. The chic Osaka youth hang out here and spend their allowances on a slice of Americana.

meet the maker band

This is its resting ground because there is nowhere to go from here. In the States, the jacket would hang in a museum. The band saves its money for some heavy-duty toy shopping, visiting several stores in Nagoya. But they have fun playing with the Japanese sci-fi toys.

What really catches the band by surprise is the amount of money kids spend to see an unproven band.

Meet the Maker – Fun by Music

But the band worries it will deter potential fans from attending. Advance ticket sales had been slow. The band also raises the price of their merchandise, as advised by Miyake. In Japan, the prices for the stuff rise a few dollars. The punk-rock ethic encourages cheap prices, but once the band realizes that people are willing to pay 3, yen for a show and another 2, yen for a T-shirt, they grow more comfortable.

A day off in the U. A day off in Japan is killer. Tomorrow, the band flies home, and a sinking feeling sets in among all four musicians. The Makers hope to return as soon as possible. Fink from Teengenerate is there. So are members of Supersnazz and Jackie and the Cedrics.

The Makers make their final stand at 9: Ninety minutes later, a small crowd of fans and members of opening band Gasoline gather on the sidewalk to say good-bye.

The rest of the Makers are quiet. The next day, Sunday, Vic, Kevin and all the Makers except Jay whose passport was stolen in Nagoya, forcing him to stay another day prepare to fly back to America. Miyake and Nakase see everyone off at the airport. They exchange thank-yous and embraces. Miyake, who hopes to bring the Makers back next spring, gets a little misty-eyed. The good-byes echo in the terminal as the musicians and their tiny entourage turn away and walk silently to their gate.

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