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Guitar Wolf

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Tokyo's Guitar Wolf plays loud, fast, dirty punk rock. The trio — which consists of guitarist Seiji, bassist Billy, and drummer Toru — formed in the late '80s. Though the group's first two albums were released only in Japan, imports of the records and word of mouth about Guitar Wolf's incendiary live shows secured U.S. distribution for their next two releases, Wolf Rock and Kung Fu Ramone. An in-store performance at a New York record store impressed Matador Records enough to offer them a contract; 1996's Missile Me! was their first release for the prestigious indie imprint. In 2003, Guitar Wolf took their high-octane punk-a-billy to the punk-friendly Narnak label for the American release of 2003's UFO Romantics; Loverock followed in 2004. The busy noise-mongers managed to drop a second album by the end of 2004, the manic Rock 'n' Roll Etiquette. After completing a U.S. tour in early 2005, Guitar Wolf returned to Japan and Billy suffered a fatal heart attack on March 30 at the age of 38. The band soldiered on with new bassist, Ug.

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