Although Swordfish Trombone is a new band (started in June 2001), they are part of a very old family of underground musicians. It's a tight knit community focused mainly in Aomori and extending as far as Hachinohe and Hakodate. Bands frequently interchange musicians, and musicians often have more than one project going simultaneously.
Gasko, Swordfish drummer, also plays in an improvisational band called 'Mat Arrow T8 Shock' and a Samba group. This allows him to bring a wide range of styles to the Swordfish palate, namely a rolling, bouncy beat unusual to the hard rock genre.
Papa, Swordfish bass, also plays for Mat Arrow T8 Shock keeping him active on the live scene. His smooth, riff-laden style is welcomed into any impromptu combo. His pre-Swordfish project, 'Peter Smith', gave him the opportunity to show that he is just as adept on guitar as he is on bass. Gasko, also, switched instruments and got to show off his bass skill with 'Peter Smith'. Naoki Saitoh rounded out the three piece on drums. His heavy-handed, driving rhythms made 'Peter Smith' a promising band without rival in their genre. When Naoki couldn't deny the call of Tokyo any longer, his brother-in-law, Alex, stepped in to create 'Swordfish Trombone'. Gasko and Papa rotated back to drums and bass, and Alex took over guitar and vocals.
Alex, originally from Atlanta, brings a heavy, bluesy guitar with a touch of deep south and a healthy helping of smooth 'Big Muff' distortion. His vocals echo of Tom Waits and Joe Strummer in its graveled, urgent tone. Very early in the Swordfish project, everyone involved realized that they had hit on a good combination. Each of the elements fit together nicely in a tight package of anger, lust, and originality. Check out their website for more info and also music clips from other bands in the Northern Japan area.