Oct 26, 2011

R.I.P Joe Yamanaka

 "Akira Yamanaka ( September 2, 1946 – August 7, 2011), better known as Joe Yamanaka, was a half Japanese and half American(black) singer, known both for his work with Flower Travellin' Band and as a solo musician. He was also close friends with Bob Marley, and later became the lead singer for The Wailers for around 5 years after Marley died. In March 2010 it was announced that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died from his cancer on August 7, 2011 less than a month before his 65th birthday."wikipedia

 I just knew about this awful news last night. I knew the Flower Travellin' Band's reunion activity had been put on halt because of Joe's condition-I thought it was throat cancer- the last time I googled them on the 'Net. Well i just wished him all the best and quite frankly forgotten all about him. It was last night when i wondered what happened to old Joe, and then was quite devastated after my first search result on Google-the wikipedia page- revealed that grim date in the bracket ...

 To be frank, I only familiar with his FTBs material. And I only know about FTB after watching that crazy Miike's movie Deadly Outlaw Rekka, which used FTB's epic 1971's album Satori as the entire soundtracks. Joe also acted in that movie as a cameo, and at the ending, both Joe and Yuya Uchida(founder, ex-FTB) watched at the camera and said


 Fucking sweet..

Joe was also a real life badass. There is this story of how FTB  went and charge for the ticket, something that is never happen in Japan at that time, early 70's I guessed. In other word, FTB was among the first band that charge for their show in the free-concert era Japan. Hell broke loose, and there was a little riot on the concert. Hideki Ishima(FTB guitarist) said in an interview that Joe quite single handedly shut the rioters up when he KOd one, a bit aggressive rioter-who was carrying a fucking spear, as the story goes- with a mean right straight. Seemed no one forgot to mention that Joe was an amateur boxer at that time, and he did went professional for quite some time.

All the while rocking a mean afro

So, in behalf of of untold millions that had the good fortune of being touched by your music, I thank you, and bid you a good farewell, Mr Akira "Joe" Yamanaka. A musician, an actor, a boxer, the original afro samurai, and most importantly, a friend.


And fuck you cancer.

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