UPDATE: Sunday, November 6, 2005
Fatal Van Accident
With both shock
and sadness as I inform you that Tokyo psych-rock outfit DMBQ, along
with their tour manager Michell Panache, were involved in a fatal
automobile accident at approximately 12:51 PM on Friday, November
4. On I-95 N in south New Jersey, in route from a gig at Baltimore's
Talking Head to a Todd P show in Brooklyn, their van hit a Ford
Econoline - tumbling several times into a clearing on the side of
the turnpike. Drummer Mana "China" Nishiura did not survive
the wreck. The rest of the group are in varying conditions and currently
hospitalized in Delaware and New Jersey.
I'm in a state
of utter disbelief. You rarely hear of incidents like this . This
has been one of my biggest fears for over a decade - not as much
involving my own death, but, driving through a weary night, how
it would only take a second for the entire band to be killed - a
wrong turn of the wheel, a moment of slumber, something in the way,...
something totally beyond the driver's control. I've imagined it
again and again and again. It's the worst thing that could possibly
happen - but it almost never happens.
amazed at how thousands of bands criss-cross the country, through
rain and sleet and snow, in vehicles of various states of disrepair,
at all times of the day and night, often in a rush or in various
levels of consciousness, and yet, things like this almost never
happen. But Friday it did happen - and in the middle of the day
on the New Jersey Turnpike. And while I wish this fate on no one,
I am particularly distressed that it happened to DMBQ.
I saw DMBQ
at a Todd P show at Greenpoint's Club Exit earlier this year. Wild-haired
and flamboyantly costumed, the Japanese rockers immediately won
over Lightning Bolt's crowd with their noisy psychedelic rock and
larger-than-life arena-rock performance style. Weird, wild, and
fun, the members were all over and around the stage - and in the
audience. It's impossible to imagine such a fate meeting this positive,
physical, and very lively bunch.
For those who
who don't know much about DMBQ, here's a hasty overview of the band
and their prolific career:
DMBQ was founded
by acrobatic front-man Shinji Masukoin in Sapporo in 1988 . After
moving to Tokyo in 1990, Masukoin proceeded to assemble an all-star
group: guitarist Touru Matsui from Maria Kannon and Tatsuya Yoshida's
of the Ruin's project Koenji Hyakkei, bassist Ryuichi Watanabe from
UFO, and drummer Yuka Yoshimura from Yoshimi's of Boredoms' band
OOIOO, Ringo Shiina's Hatsuiku Status, and Sugar Yoshinaga 's (Buffalo
Daughter) Metaltics. Masuko and Yoshimura also had a side project
called Hydro Guru. Mana "China" Nishiura, known for her
work with acts such as Shonen Knife, Boredom's Rashinban, Music
Start Against Young Assault, and Jesus Fever, came into the fold
"DMBQ" have no fixed meaning and the band has claimed
the acronym stands for different things - depending on what year
they are asked. Masukoin claims that "Dynamite Masters Blues
Quartet," which lasted the longest, was picked because the
name sounded like that of a "trifling blues band from the countryside."
can be stylistically defined as riff-driven psychedelic hard rock,
DMBQ's music is also informed by a number of styles that range from
heavy noise rock to free jazz to garage rock to various experimental
sub-genres. The music is structured but has tendencies to drift
deep into improvisation.
On Estrus Records
and playing underground venues stateside, DMBQ are bono fide rock
stars back home - performing at major festivals such as Fuji Rock
and Summer Sonic and releasing their recordings on Parco/Columbia,
and most recently, Japan's biggest label, Avex Trax. They have eleven
albums to their credit in the last decade - including their most
recent, this year's The Essential Sounds From The Far East.
Their recorded work thus far has involved collaboration with Buffalo
Daughter, EYE from the Boredoms, and a variety of other notable
figures in underground music.
I wish I could
find more to say right now - and I'm aware that this is one of those
situations when words just won't cut it. The loss of Mana "China"
Nishiura will certainly devastate not only the Japanese music community
in general but the international music underground as well. As for
the remainder of DMBQ, their condition remains uncertain. I will
try to post more updates as they come in - as well as anything regarding
benefits or other ways that you can help. In the meantime perhaps
the best thing you can do is learn more about this important band
and their music.
donate to help pay the medical and travel expenses for the surviving
members of DMBQ and their tour manager Michelle Panache.
Send PayPal donations to:
site is here.
You can find China's personal web site
The news report about the accident from the Gloucester County Times
Brooklyn promoter Todd P has already put on one benefit for the
band's medical expenses. I'm sure there will be more. His web site
NYNT's Mana "China" Nishiura obituary is here
NYNT's Mana "China" Nishiura discography
© New York
Night Train , 2005