KICK BIG ASS
Released in summer 2017 (Bed Head Disks)
I must confess that Tokyo Spandixxx‘s fantastic four-song debut EP Kick Big Ass released back in 2017 flew under Sleaze Roxx‘s radar and if it wasn’t for the band’s lead vocalist Pete Lixxx relocating from Japan to Canada and joining Striker (as a bassist under presumably his real name Pete Klassen) earlier this year, it is likely that the Japanese group would continue in that vein. Even when I found out about Tokyo Spandixxx, I (wrongly) assumed that the band was over given that Klassen was no longer in Japan and had joined a rather active heavy metal band in Striker. Eventually, I ended up seeing Striker play live with Klassen in the line-up when the band was opening for Steel Panther (more on the latter later in this review). I was scheduled to interview the Striker band members and was looking forward to finding out more about Klassen‘s background but due to some “real work” obligations, Sleaze Roxx writer Metal Mike ended up doing the interview. As it turns out, Metal Mike interviewed two other Striker members (guitarists Tim Brown and Chris Segger) so I wouldn’t have had the chance to interview Klassen at that time. After Steel Panther finished their set, I spoke to Klassen briefly at Striker‘s merchandise booth and I mentioned to him that I had hoped to speak to him about Tokyo Spandixxx.
I still didn’t realize at that time that Tokyo Spandixxx were alive and well until the group’s bassist YOU contacted me about reviewing the band’s debut EP Kick Big Ass. Eventually, I realized that Tokyo Spandixxx had a new EP Give A Loud F*ck pretty much ready to go. While we all wait for the new Tokyo Spandixxx EP to be released (I am assuming that you will be digging Tokyo Spandixxx‘s debut EP as much as I have), YOU was kind enough to arrange for a really cool package to be sent to the Sleaze Roxx headquarters. There seems no question that Tokyo Spandixxx are taking all the necessary steps to present themselves as a professional operation despite the obvious sexually charged (and some will say infantile) lyrics. Let’s start off with the EP cover. Wow! If that cover doesn’t make you want to listen to the EP Kick Big Ass right off the bat, I don’t know what will. The Kick Big Ass EP is truly one of the best covers that I have seen in a long time. You pretty know right off the bat what you should be getting song wise just from seeing the cover and the EP title. Tokyo Spandixxx have definitely mastered Marketing 101 when it comes to album covers. Accompanying the Kick Big Ass EP that I received was also two smaller cloth bags (I’ll call them grocery bags for the sake of describing them) with the group’s logo on each one. The bags seem perfect for carrying whatever merchandise that you would purchase from the group at one of its shows.
A band can have the best marketing in the world but if the music sucks, that group likely won’t make it or at least not make it in the long run. Well, it is apparent that Tokyo Spandixxx have the total package with great visuals and some fantastic songs as well. Funny enough, I view Tokyo Spandixxx as the Japanese version of Steel Panther. There is no question that Tokyo Spandixxx have borrowed a lot of ideas from Steel Panther and particularly with their fun sexually charged lyrics and titles. In addition and similar to Steel Panther, they write killer songs with fantastic melodies, cool guitar riffs and easy to sing along to songs. In other words, if you love Steel Panther, the odds are very high that you are going to love Tokyo Spandixxx. And let me tell you, Steel Panther are a hard act to follow. Many bands are trying to follow their lead and many fall short such as Turbo Shokk who did everything that Steel Panther did from comedy filled interviews, to sexually charged lyrics and song titles but the music on the group’s debut album Get Radical fell quite short of what Steel Panther offer.
That simply is not an issue for Tokyo Spandixxx as their music more than hold its own against what the mighty Steel Panther have to offer. A band’s success often starts and ends with the vocals and Tokyo Spandixxx lead vocalist Pete Lixxx is simply a fantastic singer who seemingly can hit all the notes including the high pitch screams. Guitarist Axxxe‘s guitar playing is absolutely stupendous and very similar to what Steel Panther guitarist Satchel offers, which is some great guitar riffs during the songs and some fantastic memorable solos when the time comes. The rhythm section of bassist YOU and drummer Dr. Himaxxx (where do they get these names?) provides a great foundation for Lixxx, Axxxe and most importantly the songs to shine. Alright, as you can gather, I am very impressed with the musicianship displayed by the Tokyo Spandixxx band members.
By this time, you might be wondering — ‘What about the songs?’ Well, as I previously stated, Tokyo Spandixxx more than deliver the goods. The intro to the title track starts off heavy making you almost think that this will be quite a heavy album throughout before Lixxx launches into a piercing high pitched scream and you realize that Tokyo Spandixxx have a lot of melodies to their songs and plenty of sing along opportunities. Axxxe‘s guitar solo on that song reminds me of a mixture of Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen, and I love the David Lee Roth “Yankee Rose” like exchange between Lixxx and Axxxe towards the end of the song. The intro verse to “Big Tits Rockin'” will make you think that Michael Starr might be singing the song before Lixxx‘s higher pitched delivery kicks in. The song is fantastic from start to finish, will have you singing along and no one would be surprised if that track was on a Steel Panther record.
Next up is probably my favourite song off the four-track EP — “Crap Your Hands.” The track has a real fun boogie feeling to it, some fun lyrics from Lixxx, another killer guitar solo from Axxxe and once again, an easy fun chorus to sing along to. I did get confused at first thinking that the chorus was “Clap Your Hands” but it’s the wittier “Crap Your Hands” instead. The Kick Big Ass EP ends off surprisingly with the ballad “Summer Time Lovers” which I find to be the weakest track on the record. It’s not bad by any means but I am puzzled why a video was shot for that track when the other three songs are so good. Perhaps the band thought that the Japanese market would appreciate a ballad more than a faster rocker? Whatever the case, had I heard one of the first three faster songs when I first found out about Tokyo Spandixxx earlier this year, I would have “looked into” what the band had to offer way more than I initially did. All this to say that a band often only gets one chance to make a first impression and even though the ballad “Summer Time Lovers” is a good one that I have warmed up to the more I hear it, it didn’t make that much of an impression on me the first time I heard it and certainly compared to when I first heard the first three songs on the EP.
How much am I liking Tokyo Spandixxx‘s debut EP Kick Big Ass? If I had to rewrite the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2017, it would definitely make the top 10 for that year. In addition, when the Kick Big Ass EP arrived at the Sleaze Roxx headquarters, there was a stack of other CDs that arrived at the same time. I gave each CD one listen and have been playing Tokyo Spandixxx‘s EP ever since and for the last ten days or so. The Kick Big Ass EP is kind of hard to find outside of Japan so I suggest that you contact Tokyo Spandixxx directly via Facebook if you are interested in getting a physical copy of the EP. The great news of course is that Tokyo Spandixxx are about to unleash their new EP Give A Loud F*ck so there will be some new music coming from the group very soon. In closing, and like I said before, if you love Steel Panther, the odds are very high that you’re going to love Tokyo Spandixxx!
01. Kick Big Ass
02. Big Tits Rockin’
03. Crap Your Hands
04. Summer Time Lovers
Pete Lixxx – vocals
Axxxe – guitar
YOU – bass
Dr. Himaxxx – drums
Produced by Tokyo Spandixxx
Recorded and mixed by Shun Gotoh
Engineered by Yuuma
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, August 2019
Tokyo Spandixxx‘s “Summer Time Lovers” video:
Band: TOKYO SPANDIXXXSong: Summer Time LoversAlbum: Kick Big AssRelease: Sept. 2017Country: JapanVideo Director: ATSUSHI ISHIZAKATOKYO SPANDIXXX Online:Offic…
Tokyo Spandixxx‘s “Big Tits Rockin'” lyric video:
Band: TOKYO SPANDIXXXSong: Big Tits Rockin’Album: Kick Big AssRelease: Sept. 2017Country: JapanVideo Director: ATSUSHI ISHIZAKATOKYO SPANDIXXX Online:Officia…
Tokyo Spandixxx‘s Kick Big Ass album trailer:
Debut Mini Album from Japan’s Sleaze Rock bad boys!TOKYO SPANDIXXX – Kick Big Ass東京SPANDIXXX デビューミニアルバム東京スパンディックス ｜ キック・ビッグ・アス定価￥2,000（税込）Bed Head Disks 001 …