BIG IN JAPAN – Budgie i/v ('Rock Family Trees: The New MerseyBeat', S01 E06, BBC4, 05 Aug 1995)

  • 8 years ago
BIG IN JAPAN was a punk band that emerged from Liverpool, England in the late 1970s. They are better known for the later successes of their band members than for their own music. According to the Liverpool Echo: "BIG IN JAPAN were a supergroup with a difference - its members only became super after they left."
Coming from the same Merseyside scene as ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN, THE TEARDROP EXPLODES and OMD, BIG IN JAPAN started off playing gigs around Liverpool, most notably at the famous Eric's Club.
As an initial idea of guitarist Clive Langer, his friend Bill Drummond (guitar, vocals), Kevin Ward (bass, vocals) and Phil Allen (drums) formed the band in May 1977, playing only three gigs, the first of them at Bretton Hall College in Yorkshire.
In August, the line-up grew, joining Jayne Casey (vocals) and Ian Broudie (guitar) but Clive Langer quit in September, just after the band recorded their first song "Big In Japan" which was released in the 7" single compilation 'Brutality, Religion and a Dance Beat'.
In October, Ambrose Reynolds (bass) joined to replace Kevin Ward who then left that December, but shortly afterwards Reynolds also left and was replaced by Holly Johnson (bass, vocals).
In January 1978, Budgie (previously in THE SPITFIRE BOYS and later member of SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES) replaced Phil Allen on drums, and in early June, Holly Johnson was sacked and got replaced by ex-DEAF SCHOOL Steve Lindsey (bass), who was replaced in July by ex-DALEK I LOVE YOU Dave Balfe (bass, keyboards), the last member who joined.
During their time, BIG IN JAPAN recorded a four-track EP titled 'From Y to Z and Never Again', which was released (on Zoo Records label) after their split to pay off debts.
Although the band broke up after a last gig at Eric's on 26 August 1978, they resurfaced only to record a Peel Session on 12 February 1979 with a line-up of Casey, Broudie, Johnson and Budgie (broadcast on 6 March 1979) playing three as yet unreleased songs: "Suicide High Life", "Goodbye" and "Don't Bomb China".
As of 2005, the band’s only EP was commercially available on the compilation album 'The Zoo: Uncaged 1978-1982' along with their track "Society For Cutting Up Men".

[Note: This video is an edited version of Episode 06 titled 'The New MerseyBeat' first aired on 05 August 1995 for the BBC4 TV series 'Rock Family Trees' Season 01].