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About Frank Chickens

The female duo Frank Chickens -- vocalist Kazuko Hohki and Kazumi Taguchi -- usually cover both sides of the spectrum: born in Japan but residents of London; respectful of classical Japanese culture but equally at home paying homage to cheap monster movies; as likely in their lyrics to launch into scathing feminist criticisms of Western society's view of Japanese women as they are to enjoy absurd, campy silliness for its own sake. Hohki and Taguchi met in 1978 in an organization called the Japanese-American Toy Theatre, which performed classic plays and stories using toy robots, action figures, and Godzilla dolls. The publicity given the endeavor by a BBC radio program eventually helped the two launch a recording career, whose first LP was 1984's We Are Frank Chickens. The record spawned a minor hit in "Blue Canary" and was produced by Steve Beresford and David Toop, both of whom helped write musical material; the style was a mixture of synth-pop, funk, jazz, dance, and Japanese traditional music. When Taguchi left the project, the Kaz label issued the Best of Frank Chickens compilation, which gathered album highlights and early non-LP singles. However, Hohki regrouped with Atsuko Kamura for 1987's more openly political Get Chickenized, returning again in 1989 as bizarre as ever with Club Monkey. In between musical ventures, Hohki made herself an important figure in introducing karaoke to Great Britain through her BBC television series The Karaoke Klub; she also continued to perform with Frank Chickens at clubs and theaters into the 1990s. ~ Steve Huey

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