Live Adventures Of Shig And Buzz
(Addison Avenue)


Long time exponents of the big instrumental surf-rock beat, Shig And Buzz are given the live treatment with the 2009 CD release of The Live Adventures Of Shig And Buzz. Still featuring drummer Shig Komiyama, backed by Roger Rocha (guitar), Johnny Hamiltone (bass) and Yoon-ki Chai (keys, violin). Understated with determined drive, Shig and company blast their way through a number of original rockers along with select favorites from the Ventures and other instro favorites. Shig’s drumming is always tasteful while the combination of Rocha’s guitar and Yoon-ki’s sinewy violin makes for a unique musical combination rarely heard in the surf-rock or the instro genre overall. During 2006, Shig And Buzz released their Sonic Traveler and the recordings on the Live Adventures CD are taken from their 2006 tour with the Mermen and Violent Femmes. On the Live Adventures CD, a touch of the far east merges with the time honored instrumental guitar rock sound, making for an all around live instro rock winner.


MWE3: Can you tell us about the story behind the Live Adventures Of Shig & Buzz CD. When and where it was recorded how you think it compares with the earlier Shig & Buzz CDs?

SHIG: The album was recorded at the Mt. Winery in Saratoga, CA, when we were supporting the Violent Femmes, and at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz, California, in 2006. The live band was a totally differently approach to the music. The studio albums consist of layered guitar, bass and drums, as opposed to the live band which only has one guitar and violin or keyboards going on.

MWE3: Who plays with you on the Live Adventures CD and how would you describe the chemistry of this lineup of the Shig & Buzz band?

SHIG: Johnny Hamiltone plays bass, Yoon-Ki Chai plays keyboard/violin and Roger Rocha plays guitar. The chemistry of the band is great. I was friends with each of them before they joined the band and we all get along very well.

MWE3: Can you also say something about recording with guitarist Roger Rocha compared to Peter Miller?

SHIG: They’re both very skilled players and good people, too. They come from very different influences, so it’s difficult to compare them. The recording process was very enjoyable with both.

MWE3: How did you choose the lineup of songs featured on the new CD?

SHIG: It was difficult to narrow down the song list to just 14 songs. In the end, we went with the best performances for those few shows on the CD.

MWE3: How did you get started in the music world and can you give a background on your love of the drums and what bands you've played in over the years?

SHIG: I was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan. Growing up, although I loved all kinds of music, my favorite bands were instrumental, especially The Shadows and The Ventures. From the time I was a teenager, I played drums, bass and guitar in a succession of working bands around Yokohama. In the mid-70s, I moved to San Francisco, to continue my music career. I started attending regular jam sessions, all over the city, and played with many talented artists, including guitarist Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. A couple years later, I joined Hot Tuna with Jorma and Jack Cassidy for their reunion our of the east coast. This was followed by a nationwide tour, the following year. After almost 2 years, I left Hot Tuna and played in a number of bands, based in San Francisco, as well as recording session work. During this period, I met Peter Miller, of Big Boy Pete fame and began recording original material at his recording studio. Eventually, with the help of Peter on lead guitar, I recorded two studio albums as Shig And Buzz. Over the years, I’ve played in many other bands, including Thriller, Fun Addicts, Noh Buddies, Shi-tones, Mermen, Mach IV and the Aqua-velvets. I’ve been playing less in the last couple years, since opening a yakitori restaurant, named HALU, in San Francisco.

MWE3: What drummers and bands are among your big musical influences?

SHIG: Mel Taylor, Brian Bennett. Buddy Rich and Mitch Mitchell have had the most influence on me.

MWE3: What brand of drums do you favor and how long have you been playing your current kit?

SHIG: Ludwig and Gretsch. My 60’s Ludwig kit, I’ve been playing for about ten years, now. The Gretsch kit only about three years.

MWE3: Can you say something about some of your favorite albums and recordings?

SHIG: Of my own recordings, I really like Shig and Buzz: Sonic Traveler, which Pipeline Magazine named “Best Instrumental Album of 2006" and Shi-tones ’99, which I recorded with Jim Thomas of the Mermen. They’re both really good sonic recordings.

MWE: Current and past favorite recordings?

SHIG: Shadows. Beatles.

MWE3: What are some of your future plans for Shig & Buzz...Are there any new recordings and touring plans?

SHIG: Right now, the band is on hiatus. Roger is very busy with his own band now, and I’d like to play bass guitar in the next band lineup, so I need a guitarist and drummer to make it work. I’m staying busy gigging with the Aqua-Velvets and Shi-tones and maybe The Shock Waves beside running a restaurant.


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