Monday, September 29, 2008

Puffy on Yowavinalaaaafincha? - also, Enazou, Poni-Camp, Lolita No. 18 and more!

So! Maybe you're wondering if that new Snuff tribute album is worth buying. Maybe this will help you decide:

Honestly, it's not my favorite song on the CD. What is? Maybe this one!

Don't know Poni-Camp? You should! Maybe you recognize this ludicrously cute girl in front:

That's ENAPOu aka ENAZOu aka just plain Ena, former guitarist for all-girl punk band Lolita No. 18, current guitarist and lead singer for Poni-Camp and now semi-permanent "as seen on TV" guitarist for Puffy. I've never seen her do a real live concert as their regular guitarist, but she's always there these days backing up Ami and Yumi on TV, standing around pretending to play along to the pre-recorded instrumental track being pumped in from tape somewhere. Hey, it's a paycheck, I guess.

Actually, the first time I saw her was on this video for Nantettatte Idol - the one time I've ever seen her actually play with Puffy, and she is so totally awesome. I was interested to learn (today, actually) that that's actually Puffy covering Lolita No. 18 covering Kyoko Koizumi! I've never heard Lolita No. 18's version, but it was out a bit before this video was shot.

Enazou left Lolita No. 18 in 2001, seems to have basically taken four years off, then formed Poni-Camp in 2005 and changed her name. She's been around for close to 20 years now. Poni-Camp stuff is kind of hard to find, but - and I can't believe I'm saying this - thank god for MySpace, which has five songs you can listen to. All of them rock! She sings in English, and she does it really well.

Lolita No. 18, on the other hand, is all over the net. Here are a couple of my favorite videos:


Rockaway Beach

That is actually Joey Ramone in the video for "Rockaway Beach" - he produced that album for them, shortly before his death.

Incidentally, Lolita No. 18 reformed with a new lineup and is still around, still led by their founder Masayo Ishizaka but otherwise totally different. But Puffy obviously are still friendly with them, as Yumi's side band CQA shares drummer To-Bu with "new" Lolita No. 18. The bands seem to be joined at the hip.


  1. Thanks for this update on Lolita No. 18, Jeff. The group's links to Puffy were totally unexpected and kinda fun (as was the "Nantettatte Idol" video).

    I'm afraid I was never a huge fan of the band, but generally enjoyed all of the girl groups that recorded for Audrey Kimura's Benten and Sister labels. While Petty Booka was my favorite, Lolita No. 18 was clearly one of the best and most popular worldwide. I'm very glad to cross paths with Ena again, and now wonder what bassist Kim Rin and drummer Aya-who-loves-the-turtle are doing these days.

    Lolita No. 18 and Petty Booka also shared a producer in Hiroshi Asada. Besides producing and leading his own Western Swing band, Hiroshi is the promoter of choice for a lot of the roots musicians I love. (Tooting my own horn shamelessly for one second, I was recently involved in putting together a rarities CD to be sold during Geoff Muldaur's Spring '08 Japan tour, and Hiroshi is selling the leftover copies on his website. He and Audrey are, indirectly, how I came to be involved in doing several projects for Geoff.)

    But back to relevant musings... Have you heard Lolita No. 18's cover of "Nantettatte Idol" yet? The song was on their 1999 album Yalitamin, where it was titled "I Am The Idol". This was a mostly covers affair, I think, with one of the highlights being a version of Shonen Knife's "Riding On The Rocket", with the incandescent Knife backing Masayo's strangulated vocals.

    If you'd like to hear an mp3 of "I Am The Idol" from Yalitamin let me know.

  2. Thanks - I found it on imeem. I never knew it existed before because of the English-ized title. I gotta say I do like Puffy's version better. Masayo's voice is definitely an acquired taste, but I like it in most of their own songs that I've heard. It doesn't totally work for that song, though. (I actually like Ena's voice better than Masayo's, generally.)

    It's funny hearing Enazou yell out "you're an idol!" just like she does with Puffy, though. I feel like I've been completely without a frame of reference for Puffy's version of that song until now! I'm actually a little disappointed, because I liked thinking that they came up with that punkified version of it themselves (with Enazou).

    I also have to say that I feel like at this point, what Poni-Camp sounds like is probably what I secretly wish the current iteration of Puffy sounded like. I feel like they may actually be trying for that sometimes lately, but something's usually a little off.

    I didn't know that you were actually "in the biz"!

  3. Masayo has what's probably best referred to as a 'trick voice'... sort of like Froggy in the Little Rascals shorts. It can be very effective, especially on her own material, and it's kind of fun to hear her ravaging something like "Hang On Snoopy" (sic). But some songs don't work. I think if YouTube had been around ten years ago, I might have gotten into Lolita No. 18 in a bigger way. They're definitely fun to watch.

    I obviously need to look into Poni-Camp.

    As for being "in the biz"... not really, Jeff. These days, if you're a dedicated music fan, and have a computer and an Internet connection, there are many ways to help out artists you like. As you obviously know. It took me a long time to discover the fact, but many musicians are eager to communicate with 'lay' people who show an interest, and they'll often put you to work (if you aren't careful). Up till now, the projects I've gotten involved with have been at my own expense, pretty much, but I seem to be losing a little less money lately. If that ever turns into an actual profit, then I'll maybe consider myself in the biz. In the meantime... just having fun!