by Chris MaGee
Back in the post-grunge, post-Nirvana days in the mid to late-90's it seemed like every guitar driven faux punk and underground college rock band was getting signed by major labels in a bid by cash-hungry record execs to find the next Kurt Cobain. The net got cast pretty darn far in their search with Sweden's The Hives getting signed to Warner Music and Australia's "The Hives" getting tagged by BMG. One band that was ripe to join these bands on the North American charts was Japan's "Thee Michelle Gun Elephant", but somehow their brand of ferocious garage punk never joined that major label feeding frenzy. It probably had something to do with the fact that lead singer Yusuke Chiba sang in Japanese, but TMGE, as they're often referred to has remained an underground band in North America, and with the band splitting up in 2003 and then the tragic death of guitarist Futoshi Abe of a brain hemorrhage this past summer it doesn't look like this mighty band will make a second bid for worldwide fame... at least not themselves.
Kevin Ouellette at Nippon Cinema is reporting that the band will be the subject of a posthumous concert documentary titled "Thee Scene - Last Heaven 031011" that will screen at various theatres in Japan in late December. The footage for the film has been culled from TMGE's last live show that took place at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba City on October 11th, 2003. This release of this concert documentary will also coincide with the release of a best of CD/DVD in Japan (one that I have to pre-order now!) as well as a deluxe 10-disc box set.
If you follow the link above to Nippon Cinema you can check out some footage from that fateful last show that's been captured in "Thee Scene - Last Heaven 031011", but one of my favorite moments from Thee Michelle Gun Elephant is this live performance of their hit "Revolver Junkies" filmed live at MOTORBONES 2002. Turn it up, up, way up!