'Frogleg Burning-X Comix Death'.

Yamatsuka Eye, also known as Yama(n)taka Eye, is a Japanese musician and graphic designer. He is most famous as the lead singer of the noise rock band Boredoms. The group is notable for their loud, experimental sound and spectacular concerts. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Boredoms gained cult status in Japan and abroad. Through exposure, touring and collaborating with U.S. musicians like John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Sonic Youth, Nirvana and Beck, their fame within the alternative music scene expanded. Eye has played in several other musical projects and is also active as a visual artist. He made numerous paintings, drawings and collages, several of which have been used as album covers. Eye made at least one known comic strip, 'Frogleg Burning-X Comix Death' (1991).

Early life and career
Eye was born as Tetsurō Yamatsuka in 1964 in Kobe, Japan. In his later career, he has performed under many names, with Yamataka Eye, Yamantaka Eye and Yamataka Eye being the most prominent. Also referred to as simply "Eye", his name has been written as eYe or EYヨ.

As a young adult, Yamatsuka Eye loved rock, punk and funk music. In 1984, he and fellow rock enthusiast Mitsuru Tabata managed to get a job as stagehands during an Osaka concert of the German avant-garde rock band Einstürzende Neubaten. The performance inspired the two youngsters to establish their own music group, Hanatarash. Hanatarash soon gained a reputation for the most destructive concerts since The Who in the 1960s. Yet while Pete Townshend merely smashed his guitar, Hanatarash went much further. One time, Eye strapped a circular saw to his back. Another concert had him drive an excavator through the back wall. The band thrived on shock. Eye once cut up the corpse of a cat with a machete. A 1985 gig had to be cut short when the outrageous musician wanted to throw a Molotov cocktail on the stage. Hanatarash's vandalism and unpredictable, dangerous behavior drew crowds, but at the same time also scared concert hall managers from booking them.

Boredoms
In 1986, Eye founded a new noise rock band, whose loud sound was comparable to his previous group, but with less demolishing stage tendencies. The group name Boredoms was a nod to the punk song 'Boredom' by the Buzzcocks. In terms of style, they modelled themselves after the Butthole Surfers. Over the years, Boredoms had many different musicians, frontman Eye being one of the few consistent members. Boredoms soon acquired a cult status. Their wild and iconoclastic music experimented with different styles and sounds. The musicians changed moods and genres when listeners least expected it. Each show was a unique event, with Eye screaming from the top of his lungs and performing impressive stunts. The musicians dressed up in goofy costumes and overall had a lot of fun.

Boredoms caught the attention of U.S. experimental artist John Zorn, whose own music was also wild, frenetic and unclassifiable. He let Eye sing, or better said "scream", in his own bands Naked City, Painkiller and Torture Garden. Eye also collaborated with Bill Laswell's experimental group Praxis. Through Zorn, Boredoms were able to sign a contract with U.S. record label Warner Bros. Records and release their discography outside Japan as well. While touring as an opening act for Sonic Youth and Nirvana, the band received more exposure in the alternative rock circuit. Sonic Youth dedicated their song 'Experimental Jet Set Trash & No Star' to them. Boredoms drummer Yoshimi played in Free Kitten, a side project of Sonic Youth's member Kim Gordon. Eye also performed on Sonic Youth's EP 'TV Shit' (1993), for which he also provided graphics. Nirvana's lead singer Kurt Cobain gave Boredoms more mainstream exposure by praising them in interviews. In 1994, the band performed at the Lollapalooza Festival. 'Simpsons' creator Matt Groening is also a fan of Boredoms. In the music documentary 'Music for Psychological Liberation' (1994), he can be seen backstage with the band, drawing Bart Simpson with a speech balloon: "I Love the Boredoms, man!". In 2003 and 2010, when Groening was guest curator of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in London, England, he booked the Boredoms twice at this venue. Despite different line-ups and a short hiatus in the early 2000s, the Boredoms keep performing to this day.


From: 'The Rock T', published in Switzerland by Nieves & Innen (2019).

Musical side projects
Over the years, Boredoms' musicians have been active in several musical side projects. Eye and drummer Yoshimi founded two other noise rock bands, UFO or Die (1992-1996) and Noise Ramones (1996-1997). In 1995, Eye and Shinro Ohtake (best known as a member of Juke/19) recorded two albums worth of sounds made with children's toys, under the band name Puzzle Punks. Eye also collaborated with Chew Hasegawa (from the band Corrupted) as the group Destroy 2. Eye has additionally been active as a DJ under the stage name DJ Pica Pica Pica (or DJ 光光光). Countless other musical projects, recorded under dozens of other names, have made his discography a veritable labyrinth for fans, collectors and music historians.


Artwork from 'This Bird Know Rabit' by EYƎ (2019).

Visual artist
Besides making music, Yamatsuka Eye is active as a graphic artist, known for his mixed-media style of art that utilises airbrush, marker pen and collage, amongst other materials. Some of his artwork has been featured on the covers of Boredoms albums or on releases by other artists he collaborated with. His best known graphic designs were done for U.S. alternative rock musician Beck. He livened up the cover of his single 'Sexx Laws' (1999), the album 'Midnite Vultures' (1999) and 'Stray Blues - A Collection of B-Sides' (2000).

In 1991, Eye drew a comic strip titled 'Frog Leg Burning-X Comix Death', which originally appeared in the public bath "zine" Show-Kai. In 1994. this story was reprinted in the sleeve of the EP 'Shock Shoppers' (1994) by UFO or Die, one of Eye's side projects. At this occasion, David Hopkins translated the dialogue in English. Though, since the story is presented in a non-chronological order, readers are invited to construct the narrative themselves and mail their "solutions" to SKiN GRAFT Records. Label owner Mark Fischer even wished them good luck in the liner notes: "We have included the translations, so you can make up your own story and arrange them yourself! Have fun... your guess is as good as mine!". Eye also designed the front and back cover of 'Shock Shoppers', which also contained comics drawn by Mark Fisher, Sears & Fish, Rob Syers and Maximillion Koons.

Artwork by Eye has been compiled in releases like 'Yamantaka Diary' (1995), 'Donkederico' (1996), 'This Bird Know Rabit' (Nieves & Innen, 2019) and 'The Rock T' (Nieves & Innen, 2019).


Cartoon for the sleeve of the OOIOO / Noise Ramones single 'Sister 001' (1997).

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