I spotted Koji (and his GF, Yoshimi who battles the Pink Robots) on the streets of Shimokita. He had just scored this 1980 New Wave classic of Channel Good by Sheena & the Rokkets from Disc Union. I didn’t know the album but it looked really intriguing and just quite good. After photographing Koji I went home and immediately listened to this record, for the first time (follow link in bio), and as I had expected, it absolutely slays (with a killer version of Creedence’s Suzie Q). While listening to it, I learned about the Mentai Rock scene, the name given to the collection of Japanese artists who gained popularity during the late 70s and early 80s, the collective apparently, had little in common other than their origin – the Hakata ward of Fukuoka City, and included bands like SONHOUSE, The Roosters, and THE MODS. Among the bands who are considered Post-Mentai are Blankey Jet City, and Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, who were two of the first Japanese bands I ever knew.

Sheena & the Rokkets were formed after SONHOUSE broke up, and guitarist Makoto Ayukawa recruited his wife Etsuko for his new project. Forming the word Rokkets from “Rock” and “Etsu”, and with Etsuko adopting the name Sheena after the Ramones’ song “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker”, the band christened themselves Sheena & The Rokkets. COOL! They opened for Elvis Costello’s Japan Tour, played with the Ramones in Tokyo, and, in 1979, Haruomi Hosono produced their 2nd Album “Vacuum Pack” which is listed in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time.

Koji plays in a band called Karma and if I can track down the link, I’ll add it here. Thanks Koji for looking so cool for Tokyo Record Style!

Sheena & The Rokkets – Channel Good
Label: Alfa – ALR-28005
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Japan
Released: 1980
Genre: Rock
Style: New Wave

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