Melt-Banana - Scratch Or Stitch
Scratch Or Stitch
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Notes / Reviews

Scratch or Stitch is an album by Melt-Banana. This album was the first breakthrough for the band, as well as their first actual U.S. release. LP versions of this album were limited to 2,600 copies, housed in rubber packaging with a poster lyric sheet and a special Melt-Banana temporary tattoo.

The album was recorded in July-August 1995 by Jim O'Rourke and produced by Steve Albini. This along with a US tour with Mr. Bungle helped establish Melt-Banana as one of the leading new Japanese punk rock bands. Melt-Banana have said in interviews how the audience would scream "we want to see Mr. Bungle", "free bird" and "go back to Japan" proving how unknown they were at that time.

The track list is filled with Melt-Banana live favorites such as "Plot in a Pot", "Scratch or Stitch", "Sick Zip Everywhere", "It's in the Pillcase", "His Name is Mickey" and "Iguana in Trouble". A promotional video was made for "Sick Zip Everywhere".

This text has been derived from Scratch or Stitch on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

Artist/Band Information

Melt-Banana is a Japanese band that is known for playing extremely fast noise music mixed with experimental electronica and pop-based song structures. They have worked with artists as diverse as Merzbow, John Zorn, Mike Patton, and Discordance Axis.

They have released nine albums and toured worldwide extensively.


In 1991, while attending Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Yasuko Onuki started a band called Mizu and, after a short period rehearsing with another guitarist, recruited Ichirou Agata to play guitar in the band.http Mizu's original drummer and bass player quit six months after Agata joined, leaving Yasuko to handle the bass and vocal duties until she found bassist Rika. They briefly performed shows around Tokyo without a drummer, then Toshiaki Sudoh joined on the drums in November 1992, and they changed their name to Melt-Banana.http

In May 1993, Melt-Banana played a show opening for K.K.NULL of Zeni Geva fame, who was impressed enough to immediately offer them a deal with his label, and would later introduce them to Mark Fischer of Skin Graft Records and Steve Albini.2001 archive of Melt-Banana official site: http

Melt-Banana have released ten full-length albums and 23 EPs (primarily split releases with other bands, most of which were compiled onto one disc in 2005). In 1997, they created their own recording company, A-Zap (formerly Iguana Coax), and re-issued most of their early albums. Around this time, drummer Toshiaki Sudoh quit. In more recent times, the band has had different drummers helping them on tours and in making albums. They do massive U.S. and U.K. tours yearly and smaller Japanese tours (the reason for this, according to them, is that travelling in Japan is quite expensive). In 2007 Melt-Banana recorded the song "Hair-Cat (Cause the Wolf Is a Cat!)" for Perfect Hair Forever on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup. The latest studio album, Bambi's Dilemma, was released on April 24, 2007. A new live album called "MELT-BANANA Lite LIVE:ver.0.0" came out on the 3rd of November 2009.http


*Yasuko Onuki – Vocals, Writing

*Ichirou Agata – Guitars, Effects

* Rika Hamamoto – Bass


Melt-Banana does not currently have an official drummer. There have been two drummers who were official

members, and a number of guest drummers, for studio recording as well as live performances.

*Sudoh Toshiaki – Official drummer from 1992 to December 1997. Appears on Speak Squeak Creak, Cactuses Come in Flocks, and Scratch or Stitch. Currently in Machine and the Synergetic Nuts.

*Kikuchi – Guest live drummer, one show, early 1998. Formerly in Assfort.

*Youichiro Natsume – Guest studio drummer, early 1998. Appears on Charlie. Formerly in Multiplex and Force.

*Oshima Watchman – Official drummer from February 1998 to 2000. Toured, and appears on MxBx 1998/13,000 Miles at Light Velocity and Teeny Shiny. Formerly in Satanic Hell Slaughter.Currently in Coaltar of the Deepers.

*Dave Witte – Guest touring drummer, US and Europe only, 2001 to 2005. (Although Witte hasn't toured with Melt-Banana since 2005, he could still be considered an available touring drummer.) Formerly in Discordance Axis and many others. Currently in Municipal Waste and many others.

*Obokata – Guest live drummer, Japan only.

*Masashi Sakata – Guest live drummer, Japan plus ATP UK 2002. Currently in 324.

*Takiya Terada – Guest live drummer, from 2002.

*Uki Eiji – Guest live drummer, Japan plus 2007 US tours and 2008 Europe tour. Formerly in Acid Mothers Temple and Monghang.

*Inomata – Guest live drummer.


Yasuko Onuki-10.jpgthumbYasuko Onuki

Melt-Banana's music falls under what many call "noise rock." Agata plays highly unorthodox guitar with extended techniques. For instance, he overlaps two different guitar riffs, simulates lasers and sirens, and has an impressive arsenal of effects, almost all made through his guitar and large amount of (this link is current as of 1999; is a more recent picture from their 2005 "13 Hedgehogs" tour, and here's one from the 2010 tour). Yasuko O. belts out high-pitched screams and raps very quickly. Rika Hamamoto's bass lines aren't subdued like in most bands, but are given as much overt influence as Agata's guitar work. The sounds from the bass provide a distinct dimension to the music not found in many other bands. The drums are usually quite straightforward (however, in their recent albums, they have become more complex), especially on the faster songs, where they beat almost straight through with set cymbal crashes, adding a large amount of energy to the songs. The band describes their recent music (especially Teeny Shiny and Cell-Scape) as pop, but it is far from it, except more accessible when compared to their earlier albums, perhaps. Essentially, it could be argued that Melt Banana's output, (with special attention brought to their more recent songs) is more reminiscent of quirkier indie pop bands, with definite melodies hiding beneath the distortion, effects and sheer speed. Yasuko even sings, as opposed to barks parts of one of the tracks called 'If it is the Deep Sea, I can See You There' on their studio album 'Cell Scape'. Also of note, most of their albums (except the two just mentioned) are intentionally lo-fi, as that is Agata's feeling for the music; however, group members disliked how these recordings sounded on the radio, so they aimed to make their last two albums more hi-fi.

Cover Songs

Melt-Banana is known for doing an eclectic selection of cover songs.

*Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair (Nina Simone/traditional) - Studio - (comp)

*Faint Heart (The Birthday Party) - Studio - Release the Bats (comp)

*Fun House (The Stooges) - Live, with (Mike Watt)

*Government Flu (Dead Kennedys) - Live, with (Jello Biafra)

*GST 483 (The Dogs) - Studio - Doggy Style: The Dogs Tribute (Comp)

*Heart of Glass (Blondie) - Live - 2007. There were two different versions performed, one faster and upbeat, the other significantly slower.

*Love Song (The Damned) - Studio - アイノウタ EP - 2006

*Monkey Man (Toots & the Maytals) - Studio - split 7" and Live - 2008.

*My Generation (The Who) - Live - 2002

*Neat Neat Neat (The Damned) - Studio - Charlie

*Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones) - Live and allegedly recorded but not used for a compilation.

*Showroom Dummies (Kraftwerk) - Studio - Musique Non-Stop: A Tribute to Kraftwerk (comp)

*Surfin' USA/You're Welcome (The Beach Boys) - Studio - MxBx 1998/13,000 Miles at Light Velocity. Surfin' USA has also been played live, often with an intro of Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way"

*Tintarella di Luna (Mina) - Studio - split 7" and Live

*Uncontrollable Urge (Devo) - Live - 2005. A studio version was released on a split CD.

*We Will Rock You (Queen) - Studio - Dynamite With a Laser Beam (comp)

*White Christmas (Bing Crosby) - Studio - The Christmas Album (comp) The song "Here Comes Santa Claus" on the same CD is often attributed to Melt Banana, but is actually performed by (Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her), a somewhat similar band from Japan.

*Wordy Rappinghood (Tom Tom Club) - Studio - (comp)

As an Opening Act

Melt-Banana has toured as an opening act with many high-profile bands.

*Jim O'Rourke and Zeni Geva (1994) Japan

*Mr. Bungle (1995) US http

*Melvins (1999) Japan and US http

*Fantômas (2004) US http

*Tool (2007) US http


Main albums:

* 1994 Speak Squeak Creak

* 1994 Cactuses Come in Flocks

* 1995 Scratch or Stitch

* 1998 Charlie

* 1999 MxBx 1998/13,000 Miles at Light Velocity

* 2000 Teeny Shiny

* 2003 Cell-Scape

* 2005 13 Hedgehogs (MxBx Singles 1994–1999)

* 2007 Bambi's Dilemma

* 2009 Melt-Banana Lite Live Ver 0.0


This text has been derived from Melt-Banana on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

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