HistoryThis pioneering act has had many hard rock songs, but has also veered into j-Rock, pop and progressive territory at times. The act was Bow Wow from 1975 to 1983, Vow Wow from 1984 to 1990 and again Bow Wow from 1995. Most recently there have been one-off Vow Wow concerts, which have been immortalized on CD and DVD.
Bow Wow is a prime example of Japanese work ethics. The group was formed by producer Yoshimi Ueno in 1975. Singer/guitarist Mitsuhiro Saito and Toshihiro Niimi were the first recruits. In addition to the listed albums, there are solo albums recorded. Most full-length albums are interspersed by singles and EPs. The band was Japan's premiere heavy metal band of the '70s with a guitar orientation and only deteriorated in the '80s. The group’s debut performance was already sold out and a second concert had to be arranged in Tokyo. The band was offered opening slots for the likes of Aerosmith and Kiss in Japan in the '70s. Kumikyoku X Bomber was music contributed to the Japanese X-Bomber serial. The group appeared in Hong Kong, at Reading Festival in the UK and Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland in 1982. The band next toured England with Hanoi Rocks in 1983 and then disbanded.
The Tokyo-based band later changed its name to avoid confusion with the flash in the pan pop act Bow Wow Wow in 1984. There was also a kid act around the same time delivering awful poetry in the ‘90s. The band’s guitarist Yamamoto had already switched exclusively to the instrument by 1984 and the band had recruited Hitomi to sing. Best Of Metal Motion in 1984 was the first under the Vow Wow monicker. The band toured the UK including playing at the Marquee. This man and the band retired in 1990. The inevitable reunion was in 1995. Horie began with the band for the mid-'90s. Neil Murray of Gary Moore, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath fame was on bass (with the band using Vow Wow as a name) in 1987 replacing Kenji Sano. The members had indeed moved to London in 1986 seeking fame and worked on the Phenomena album of producer Tom Galley. The band played Tokyo Budokan and disbanded in 1990. The late '90s saw the band revert to the original monicker when the band released a couple of albums and EPs called Still On Fire and Bow Wow #0. A series of albums, compilations and DVDs followed with Yamamoto ending up on vocals again.
Kyoji Yamamoto was appearing in the U.S. for the first time since 1978 for a debut solo appearance in the USA on Saturday, September 24th of 2011. Kyoji would play two instrumental shows at Klub 45 in Manhattan. Playing with Kyoji would be Karl Wilcox, drummer for Diamond Head. The guitarist had an album called Voyager through City Boy Records. All About Vow (Act 1) and (Act2) were CD/DVDs recorded at a Vow Wow reunion in 2010. Vow Wow Majestic Live 1989 was recorded in England. Compilations kept a coming.
BOW WOW - SUPER BEST - VICTOR
What a disappointment. Waited years to hear the band properly after seeing them years ago on Channel 4’s The Tube as Wow Wow yet this compilation proved the band ineffectual and coy in its style. Still, it was about time the band was heard at Metallian Towers and a recent trip to Japan and a Shibuya record store allowed it to happen.
The cover is a take on the band’s third album, 1977’s Charge, and probably a good representation for this sampler. Bow Wow mixes Japanese and English lyrics. The Theme Of Bow Wow makes an appearance (recalling how compatriots Loudness also had a 'theme') as does an oldie, Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues, which is pegged at the end in a seemingly live version. The band’s biggest influence is '70s Scorpions, a band that toured Japan in that decade, and the songs take one back to the days of In Trance and Taken by Force. Bow Wow, however, does not have a Schenker, Roth or Meine in its ranks, and while guitarist Yamamoto displayed some firepower in Vow Wow in the '80s none of that is present in these songs. Only Get On Our Train hauls out the guitar prowess if merely momentarily.
One can only tip his hat at the persistence and service of a band like Bow Wow, but the wow factor is plainly not there. Let them remain a release-rich curiosity. - Ali “The Metallian”