Few of punk rock's founding fathers could have anticipated the extreme to which Half Japanese took the music's do-it-yourself ethos. Founded by brothers Jad and David Fair, Half Japanese was quite probably the most amateurish rock band to make a record since the Shaggs, all but ignoring musical basics like chords, rhythms, and melody. However, the brothers made that approach into a guiding aesthetic, steadfastly refusing to progress in their primitive musicianship over a career that lasted decades. David Fair's article "How to Play Guitar" outlined the Half Japanese philosophy: if you rejected conventional ideas about fingering, tuning, and even stringing a guitar, there were no limits on how you could express yourself on what was, after all, your instrument. The band's proponents (who included Kurt Cobain) saw them as the epitome of a pure, unbridled enthusiasm for rock & roll, the ultimate expression of punk's dictum that rock should be accessible to anyone who wanted to pick up an instrument and play.
Produced by Moe Tucker.
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