The Japanese may not have invented rock n’ roll, but they damn sure perfected it. Outside of the British Invasion and the first wave of punk rock, I don’t know if one country, in a single era, has ever produced a greater trio of bands than Teengenerate, The Registrators, and Guitar Wolf. If you’ve followed punk and rock n’ roll music within the last 15 years, surely you bow down to the indubitable supremacy of all three groups. You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? It’s band battle time again, and since it’s the holiday season I figured I should take it to an epic level. So, then! If you had to pick one of the above, who would it be? Teengenerate, godheads of garage-punk? The Registrators, who took punk music a thousand years into the future? Or would it be the prolific and all-powerful Guitar Wolf? I know, I know: it seems almost cruel to make you choose. So I’ll play along.
You could make a strong case for The Registrators, who may have released the best two Japanese punk albums in Terminal Boredom and Sixteen Wires. You could make an equally strong case for Guitar Wolf, who’ve been criminally underrated in spite of a two-decade run of unceasing greatness. But I’m going with my gut here. Teengenerate demonstrated that the best rock n’ roll doesn’t necessarily come from sophisticated composition or technical proficiency. Instead, it comes from the heart and the soul. Rock n’ roll is freedom. It’s danger. It’s sex. In all those respects, Teengenerate “got” rock n’ roll. Hell, Teengenerate WAS rock n’ roll! With just three chords, crappy production values, and sloppy instrumentation, Teengenerate made some of the most exciting and inspired rock n’ roll music this world has ever known. If they weren’t the single best punk group of the 1990s, they were at least in the conversation. Guitar Wolf may have outlasted them, and The Registrators may for a time have surpassed them. But all things considered, Teengenerate was the greatest.
The floor is yours, dear reader.