Saturday, May 24, 2008

The 5678s...

Courtesy of some helpful soul on YouTube, it's the band Quentin Tarantino featured in the first Kill Bill movie, the 5678s. They're a Japanese garage rock/rockabilly/surf trio with a stripped-down sound and they've been on the scene since 1986.

I wish I could say I was into them ahead of the Kill Bill wave, but no. Not that cool. But I wasn't even thinking that much of them until one day back in 2004 when I was upstairs in a now-defunct punk cd and vinyl shop here and found a compilation of theirs, Bomb the Rocks- Early Days Singles. It features essential tracks like their cover of "Woo Hoo," the awesome "Three Cool Chicks" (complete with spoken middle section), "Jet Coaster," "Guitar Date," "My Boyfriend From Outer Space" and the stunningly titled-and-performed "I Was a Teenage Cave Woman." Just about the only track you don't get is "I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield," a singular omission.

On look at the cartoony cover, with the band smilingly facing off against zombie motorcyclists in WWI German helmets and I knew I had to have it, Kill Bill and Vonage commercials be damned!

If you like high energy, retro styling, raw screaming and twangy surf-style guitar, then you'll probably love this. Even if you're (like me) not particularly a Quentin Tarantino fan.

It's a boring, rainy Saturday in Hamamatsu. Today's tasks included ripping the door off my closet while trying to prepare a workspace so I can get back into drawing in my spare time. What does the closet door have to do with drawing, and why did I destroy it? I'm still trying to figure that one out.

But it's fixed now, and I managed not to crush any of my bare toes while doing it. And my drawing area is all set up and ready to go. I really need an angled drawing table with an incandescent light, but that's not going to happen in this tiny apartment. So I'm making do with a kidney-shaped coffee table and a pillow on the floor. If the rain ever stops, I'll go buy a tracing light that'll provide the angle I need to keep distortions out of my work.

Other than the ones my own incompetence creates.

I'm learning how to draw some of John Kricfalusi's characters. Not that I have a chance of working for him, but he's been putting up a lot of turn-arounds and story sketches and challenging talented young artists and professionals to audition for the new cartoons he's producing. Lemme tell ya- it ain't easy. I've seen some of the submissions and there are some talented cats and kittens out there and even most of those don't have what it takes to function in the rarefied Kricfalusisphere where the Sputniks beep.

So for me, it's just a personal exercise. I'm also doing some illustrations of my own and piddling with ideas for a couple of comics. I'm really thinking I'd rather just design the characters, write the scripts, provide some rough layouts, maybe draw the covers then let someone else more capable do the actual finished story artwork. I'd have to find a person with a similar set of aesthetics as mine, who's willing to actually put out the pages. I'm not sure how the rights and all that stuff are supposed to be split. I've got scripts for the initial 2 issues written already, outlines for several more and the first 5 pages of the first roughed out pretty solidly... one more pass and the pencils are done... but not enough steampower to write and draw everything myself.

So I don't know how that'll work out.

Also, now that I have a workspace I can get back to editing the 6 short stories I've written. To this end, I had to kill one of my blogs, and I'm not certain how regularly I'll be updating this one. Hope it was worth it.

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