Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King

Jeff Feuerzeig’s Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King
Tuesday, August 31st
Exhibit viewing, light snacks, DJs, & speaking at 4pm.
Film screening at 9pm.
Freud’s Bathhouse & Diner
42 Albert St

Freud’s Bathhouse & Diner presents a film whose heart closely parallels the ideals of the exhibit I Know What My Weaknesses Are, Probably Better Than You Do (featuring illustration by William Schaff (Rhode Island), Beth Frey (Toronto), Ramsey Beyer (Chicago) & Ryan Trudeau (Winnipeg), zines by Robert Pasternak, Syphilitic Mermaids Magazine, IT³, S. Arden Hill, Three Syllable Words, Junto).

In 1993, Jeff Feuerzeig emerged with his fan letter of a documentary Half Japanese, the Band that Would be King. The film back-tracks the career of the obscure-o, underground creation of brothers Jad and David Fair from their bedroom self-distro days, to their ripened struggles against crooked distributors, MTV, and oppressive (and oblivious) major label tyranny.

One interviewee in the film describes efforts to broadcast seconds of a Half Japanese video on MTV. Moe Tucker (the Velvet Underground) appears distressed and confused about the state of the music industry. Byron Coley (Forced Exposure Magazine) passionately laments Half Japanese’s continued toil in undeserved obscurity.

Yet the Fair brothers themselves want to talk about the band’s history, ideals, and music, rather than state of affairs in the industry, with stories of the first time they picked up instruments (also the moment they formed the band, it seems), lyrical inspiration (the boys are famous for stating they only write “love songs and monster songs”), or their early days of bedroom distribution – sending recordings, artwork, and pieces of guitars no one asked for to a mailing list no one asked to be on.

Half Japanese is a band who simultaneously have, and have not, made it. They are known and respected, if not always enjoyed, by members of underground circles. Yet, despite Jad’s dream of writing the most popular song in the world, they remain relatively unknown. Though at some moments this appears to bother even the resilient and child-like Jad, this is not a film which preaches to the viewer the disastrous and unfair state of the major label reality. It is a film about the supreme devotion of these artists to their vision – being the best band they can be – and to creating the work they believe in, no matter how small the circles of appreciation, and no matter how little, or how non-existant, the financial pay-off.

– Kristel Jax

~ by cineflyer on August 27, 2010.

One Response to “Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King”

  1. […] Closing Gala Image by 'Lil This Tuesday. More here: cineflyer.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/half-japanese-the-band… and here: imtrying.net/ikwmwa Share and […]

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