Keeping Punk Alive: Interview with Shonen Knife

Shonen Knife have been around, in one form or another since 1981, always fronted by leader Naoko and always keeping the origins of punk alive in their music. The simple beats and even simpler lyrics are what keep the mass appeal of the band going after all these years. Many of their songs are about food, animals and some of the most random topics that you might think of. And rarely do you hear a single lyric about love, (Naoko attributes this to her being shy) but I think that works in their favor. If you hear one love song, you’ve pretty much heard them all, but when are you going to hear a punk song about rubber bands? Or lunch buffets? It’s these quirky songs that keep fans coming back for more – and of course, the lovely ladies that make up Shonen Knife.

Shonen Knife aka: the Osaka Ramones are back touring the State again this summer, this time accompanied by CJ Ramome, formally of the Ramones. It’s great to see the ladies back doing what they do best, rocking the stage with their songs about the simple things in life. I was able to sit down with the trio before their show here in Minneapolis and ask a few questions. All questions were answered by leader and guitarist, Naoko.

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Hi – could you introduce the line up for this tour? We know there have been some changes for this tour. 

I’m Naoko, the original member, and I play the guitar. For this tour this is Emi, our drummer, sometimes she is singing. And this is Atsuko, the bassist and she sings some songs too. And she is an original member, and my younger sister. She was a drummer when Shonen Knife had started.

You’ve been touring & playing for over 30 years now, what is the best part about touring?

The best part is I could see many audiences happy face.

What is the hardest part? 

For me, the long drives are very hard.

How do you stay healthy during your tours? 

I’m trying not to over-eat.


Part-time student, full-time media whore, fan of all things Asian.

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