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GNR, AC/DC, Queen, Whitesnake - every leopard-skin pantomime shrieker that ever put their foot on a monitor can take some credit for this band. Essentially, they're a tribute to all the dodgy managers, sated groupies and coke-toting dwarves that ever helped to prop up the myth. You can hear how much Toka love it too. From the swaggering metal glee of Sleepdog to the lachrymose stadium ballad that is 80s Rock ballad their nonsensical enthusiasm is completely infectious.
Many people are regarding the whole thing as a colossal joke, but the debate about whether Toka are some sort of freak accident or a cynical attempt to steal every worthy riff from metal's thunderous vaults is pretty immaterial. If so many of metal's pioneers hadn't died unseemly deaths, then Toka wouldn't exist, but they did - so someone had to resurrect the spirit of the 12-year-old Def Leppard fan and pump him back into hormonal life. The irony being that the same people who are slagging them off for their unashamed plundering would be paying through the nose for customised T-shirts with their logo on if they'd made this record 20 years ago.
And, anyway, even if it is a calculated exercise, it doesn't sound like one ・the old-timey Alabama twanging on Cuntry is just as much fun as anything ZZ Top ever did. If you've ever played air guitar in front of a mirror with a tennis racket, sang Kiss or Crazy Crazy Nights at the top of your lungs - and enjoyed it - or secretly admired the dress sense of Steven Tyler, then this will definitely push your buttons. It's bovine, utterly backward-looking and will probably be nothing more than an amusing footnote in musical history, but so what? Just because it's essentially heavy-metal karaoke, doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy it. Play Toka on 11.
In the land of the typhoon Toka have been creating a storm of their own. Journalists have put their whirlwind sucess down to the current 80s revival - heralded by British band The Darkness. Their stripped to the bones, thumping stadium rock has hit a chord with the Japanese - who it seems have finally grown weary of tired Beatles tunes and helium-powered J-POP. Some critics may claim that their popularity is largely down to their dashing good looks. But whilst it's true that with teen pin-up Kenichi behind the drums Toka have won the hearts of millions, their success is in their own words "all about the music."
So, with Japan conquered the band are looking to break into the UK market. But rather than promoting their sucess in Japan they are attempting to keep it a secret. As one band member explained ""Big in Japan" just means too shite to suceed anywhere else" So Toka will be returning to the pub circuit in London just days after a sold out Tokyo Dome concert. They don't plan on having to do that for too long though. "In five years we're gonna be the biggest band on the planet. We're gonna be bigger than God." Don't bet against it.
Toka are currently recording their second album due for release next year.