ZOOBOMBS performing as part of CMW at the Silver Dollar (486 Spadina), Thursday and Friday (March 3 and 4), 1 am; and at the Comfort Zone (480 Spadina), Saturday (March 5), 1 am. $10 each night. 416-763-9139, www.cmw.com. Rating: NNNNN
It's Canadian Music Week, yet one of the key points of interest in the showcase side of the annual music biz summit will be the Gamera vs. Mothra-style showdown between Japanese rock 'n' roll leviathans Guitar Wolf - at Lee's Palace tonight (Thursday, March 3) - and the Zoobombs, who play a three-night stand tonight and tomorrow at the Silver Dollar and Saturday at the Comfort Zone.
The motorcycle-jacketed punk thrashers of Guitar Wolf have a slight edge in experience; they were knocking around for seven years before the Zoobombs formed in 1994.
However, while Don Matsuo has continued to experiment with the Zoobombs' house-rocking formula, moving from straight-up Stonesy jams through funky Blues Explosion workouts, his axe-wielding counterpart, Seiji, in Guitar Wolf has made essentially the same album nine times over in an attempt to perfect his super-distorted approach to Link Wray-derived ripping.
"Until three years ago, the attitude toward making music was very similar between Guitar Wolf and the Zoobombs," explains Matsuo over the phone from his Tokyo home. "But now there's a really big difference.
"It used to be that only rock 'n' roll was fun for me, but now I like to listen to all different styles of music, like free jazz and the folkloric music of Japan, India and Bali. There's fun in every kind of music."
The growing expanse of Matsuo's home-listening library is reflected in the Zoobombs' latest and perhaps greatest work, New San Francisco (P-Vine). It's a percussion-heavy trip into hazy crazy Fillmore freakouts of the Miles Davis group circa 1970, complete with free-form horn riffing and jarring blasts of astrally projected guitar spew. You could call it jazz-rock - just don't use the "f" word. This music is a little too grandly demented to fit the fusion pigeonhole.
"I think everyone has the capacity to connect with the primitive races of the world, as if the information is stored in a database somewhere in our minds. Through this music I've been able to open a door to the past and pick things up unconsciously as I play.
"It's not something I think about; it comes from somewhere really deep inside when we're jamming. It's like magic. It was very unique, and I felt we should capture the living impression of the sound as it came from the speakers."
Get ready for loads of jamming from the Zoobombs during the three nights they're in town, which Matsuo hopes will draw like-minded local musicians into their swirling vortex of spontaneous creation.
"After we recorded New San Francisco, our sound changed again. It's very hard for me to describe it, even in Japanese. There is no shape, no weight and no smell. It's very different from what Zoobombs sounded like before.
"Onstage, we want to make every note special within each moment. Some people might like it, but others want the Zoobombs to stay the same, like Guitar Wolf - always hard and attacking. But I don't care, because this music is my life and I'll continue to make music how I feel it should sound."