of you anime fans would undoubtedly know JAM from "Sobakasu", the opening
song for the first season of the popular anime Rurouni Kenshin, but
I've been a fan of theirs long before I ever heard of the show. This
offbeat band made their debut in 1993 and have since become among the
most popular alternative rock bands in Japan. Their music is very punky,
very spunky and really catchy. It's a mixture of styles from British
punk-rock to Shibuya pop and with Yuki's influence it's a little bit
"girly rock" too. I'm not to knowledgeable about specific names of rock
n' roll punk bands of the late 70's and early 80's but I can say that
this is very much the type of music you'll find in this band. Musically
quite close to groups like the Ramones (bassist Onda does say his favorite
movie is the Ramone's movie "Rock n' Roll High School"). The
music is often fast and fun. It's all about having a good time and when
you're watching JAM, you can't help but be happy. Their live shows are
and among the most fun you can possibly have in paid seats. Their videos
are equally interesting to watch. Never boring unlike most other music
stars. Why is it so entertaining to watch JAM? Well, partly for the
improvised musical antics, adience involvement, individual energy of
each member, and even for the fashions.
I like all of the members a lot. But I especially love Yuki who's quite an interesting vocalist. Often her high pitched singing is reminiscent of a little girl's screaming and hollering, but at the same time her voice can be quite melodic and beautiful as well. It's quite a mysterious thing that she can combine two completely opposite singing styles into one. Like I said, their music is very fun and full of spunk but it's also really well written rock music underneath the whimsical style. I like bands that don't take themselves too seriously and it's because of JAM's lively and humorous style that they've become one of my favorite bands. As long as you're someone who believes rock should be fun, you too may become a Judy and Mary fan.
- Apart from what the name might lead you to believe, there's no one named Judy or Mary in the band. It's just the band name which is sort of a metaphor for yin and yang. Judy is meant to have a positive connotation while Mary is supposedly a negative one.
- JAM guitarist Takuya was the singer for a band called Robots before joining Judy and Mary. However in 1996 he started up Robots again and now divides his attentions between the band and his solo project. Takuya has said that down the road he'd prefer to be in Robots full time since it is his own band, but stays with JAM because the money's good.
- Recently after releasing their double live CD, Judy and Mary have gone on hiatus for an undetermined amount of time. Right now Yuki is apparently joined with a new band called NiNa which Yuki does vocals along with former B-52's singer Kate Pierson. They recently released their first single with an album on the way. I think it's just a temporary thing though. I know Onda has been producing a band called White Berry, but I'm not sure who else. I believe Takuya is as always playing with his band Robots, but I haven't been aware of any new singles yet. I still don't know what Kohta is up to. Does anyone know?
TAKUYA YUKI ONDA KOHTA