The Dynamites

The Dynamites first 45, “Tunnel to Heaven”.
– scanned from an original sleeve

The Dynamites were Segawa Hiroshi vocals, guitar and leader of the group (that’s him in the chair), Oki Keizo slide guitar (unusual for a Japanese band), Yamaguchi Fujio lead guitar, Yoshida Hiroji bass and vocals, and Nomura Mitsuro (“Tako”) on drums. The ripping guitar and driving rhythm of their best music make them one of the top Japanese garage bands.

They came out of the Tokyo club scene, calling themselves the Monsters before having to change their name when signed to Victor.

Their first single from November, 1967 (pictured above) contains different versions of two songs that would show up on their album, Young Sound R&B. “Tunnel to Heaven” is a fine number on the 45, but compare it to the LP and what a difference! Much heavier drums and the guitar is forward in the mix instead of the vocals dominating. Both versions have fantastic solos and plenty of shouts and screams.

The Dynamites – Tunnel to Heaven (45 version)
The Dynamites – Tunnel to Heaven (LP fuzz version)

The opening chords of “Koi Wa Mo Takusan” (That’s Enough Love), very reminiscent of Paint It Black, segue into a heavy fuzz intro on the LP. On the 45 strings carry the melody instead of the guitar, though once again the solo blazes away. The LP version retains the strings but they’re flat buried in the mix. The song itself is fairly bland and wouldn’t appeal to non-Group Sounds fans, but that opening and the ferocious guitar solo make it worthwhile.

The Dynamites – Koi Wa Mo Takusan (45 version)
The Dynamites – Koi Wa Mo Takusan (LP fuzz version)

The Dynamites great second 45, “Otona no Senso”
– this one is scanned from a reissue sleeve
The flip of their second 45 from March of 1968 was “Otona no Senso”, which translates as Adult War, and I don’t really know what that’s supposed to mean. This one repeats the unique Dynamites formula: strings, insistant rhythm, screams and shouts, and plenty of fuzz. Japanese 45s and LPs from this time are in stereo with excellent recording quality; when the music is this good it’s a rare treat.

The Dynamites – Otona no Senso

A clip of the Dynamites performing the A-side of their second 45, “Yume Ga Hoshii” in a movie (not sure which) has been taken down from yotube.
Like most GS bands, their LP is chock full of poorly chosen cover songs like “My Girl” and the Bee Gees’ “Massachusetts”. though there’s also an LP-only original “Nobosecha Ikenai” that’s good. It was released in April of 1968 and was followed by three more singles that I haven’t heard:

“Manatsu No Yoru No Dobutsuen (On Midsummer’s Night)” / “Kegawa Ni Natta Shimauma (The Zebra Who Became Fur)”

“Koi Wa Question (Love Is Question)” / “Sekaiju Ni Hohoemi O (Smile At The Whole World)”

“Bara To Akuma” / “Yume-Demo Lisa”

There’s also a CD Live at the Go Go ACB 1969, which is supposed to be OK, but with poor sound quality. I haven’t heard that either.

from left: Oki Keizo, Yamaguchi Fujio, Segawa Hiroshi, Yoshida Hiroji, and Nomura Mitsuro

0 thoughts on “The Dynamites”

  1. “Otona no Sensou” means the happy confusion of Anti-war and sexy exipricits.

    Fujio Yamaguchi, the “Half” Japanese —as same as “Carlie” Kousei Chei(ex-The Helpful Soul), or Masayoshi “Loisruis” Kabe(ex-The Golden Cups) — later formed punk-oriented band “Murahachibu”, in 70’s.

  2. I ran with these boys in the mid-60’s when they played Tokyo area clubs as ‘The Monsters’ (before signing with RCA as The Dynamites). Fujio was an exceptional guitarist AND vocalist, and Hiroshi Segawa had a keen business and musical sense that kept the band moving forward. I watched Hiroji Yoshida play a complete set with only one string on his bass after breaking three and not having any replacements handy…incredible! Mitsuro Nomura (nicknamed ‘Tako’ for his ruddy complexion) was a solid drummer. These guys just had a good time wherever they went…

  3. tunnel tengoku is one of my favorite GS songs! the other song should be romanized “koi wa mou takusan” (that’s enough love).

    absolutely loving the site.

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