Guitar Wolf is a garage punk power trio founded in Nagasaki, Japan in 1987. The term Jet Rock ‘n’ Roll was coined by the band to describe their musical style; a conglomeration of punk, traditional rock, heavy distortion, feedback, and screamed vocals. The phrase is derived from the last name of musician Joan Jett, whom Guitar Wolf frontman Seiji considers his greatest influence. Guitar Wolf tout themselves as “The World’s Greatest Jet Rock ‘n’ Roll Band.”
After releasing two vinyl albums in Japan, the first of which, Wolf Rock!, was recorded in guitarist Seiji’s basement, the band started a tour of America. Guitar Wolf performed at the 2nd Garageshock festival in Memphis, Tennessee, where Memphis local Eric Friedl first saw the band.
Impressed with the band’s set, Friedl approached the band and received a demo tape which he decided to self-release, forming his own label, Goner Records, for the specific purpose of exposing Guitar Wolf to an American audience. After placing a call to the band in Japan in order to get permission to issue the album, Goner Records released Wolf Rock!, Guitar Wolf’s debut LP, in 1993. To date, Guitar Wolf have released nine studio albums internationally as well as a live album, numerous singles, and a retrospective compilation called Golden Black.
In 2000, Guitar Wolf starred in the Japanese rock ‘n’ roll “zombie horror” movie, Wild Zero, directed by Tetsuro Takeuchi. The band plays themselves as they take on crazed fans, zombies, and an alien invasion. Guitar Wolf recorded the soundtrack to the film as well, releasing it in 1999 under the title, Wild Zero. Guitar Wolf is currently looking for a sponsor for the sequel, Wild Zero 2. This was not the first time the band had appeared on screen, in 1997 all three original members of Guitar Wolf appeared in the John Michael McCarthy-directed The Sore Losers, appearing as the “mysterious strangers.”
In March 2005, bassist and founding member Billy, also known as Bass Wolf, died of a heart attack at the age of 38. His replacement in the band, bassist U.G., has become a permanent member of Guitar Wolf and now rounds out the trio which currently consist of band members Seiji (Guitar Wolf): U.G. (Bass Wolf); and Toru (Drum Wolf).