By Tom Smith.
I’ll always remember the first time I saw Electric Eel Shock live. It was around five years ago, relatively late in their career considering their UK tour last year celebrated 21 years of the garage rock trio. I had heard so many stories about the band, mostly relating to their crazy live performances, and how one such performance led to the drummer being banned from China. I’d also seen their image frequently in magazines and on various cable music channels (mostly thanks to this cameo in a Bloodhound Gang video), so I was expecting proper rock’n roll hijinks. They delivered exactly that.
It was an event sponsored by Bebo. I didn’t know that Electric Eel Shock had a Bebo account (or, for that matter, anyone that did), or even if they knew what it was. Either way, someone fronted free beer for all, which only added to the ensuing chaos.
They entered the stage; guitarist Aki, clutching a Flying-V guitar in one hand, a bottle of red wine in the other, bass player Kazuto with a beer and one fist in the air, and drummer Gian, holding (and wearing) nothing but an extra long sports sock, with has man-parts wedged in one end and what I can only image is a tennis ball in the other. I’m starting to see why Chinese authorities think their country is safer Gian-free.
That’s far from the only quirky thing about Gian. There’s also his face. It remains hilariously gormless throughout the entire set, akin to a Japanese Karl Pilkington, but with a head less like an orange. He also plays with two drum sticks in each hand, matching the band’s “double peace” logo, iconised with the two fingered peace sign, multiplied. The sock also has much more to it than keeping him warm on stage, it also becomes part of the drum kit! At certain points he’d swing it around his head and then crash it down on the cymbals like some kind of crazed-yet-nonchalant-mad-man.
Aki, though fully clothed (thank goodness) is just as eccentric. “I noticed something is wrong with the Flying-V guitar shape” he tells the audience while holding his instrument in the air. “That’s not a V shape – that’s a Y!”. Then he tosses the guitar behind an amplifier and pulled out his own custom made “proper V” guitar, “See. This is the first real Flying V! The V-part was upside down for all the years” he triumphantly claims while clutching his inverted creation.
Their loud, fun and extreme take on rovk also remains intact on their records. Their song Rock & Roll Can Save the World sounds exactly the same on their album as it does live (1:24 burp and all), as do most of their tracks.
The band were most recently selected to take part in the Ninja Slyer soundtrack, with their song of the same name supplying the series’ ending song for the sixth episode.
Tom Smith only wears sports socks in pairs.