Thee Michelle Gun Elephant (often abbreviated to TMGE) was a Japanese garage rock band formed in 1991.
The band was formed in 1991, while Chiba, Ueno, and Kuhara were students at Tokyo's Meiji Gakuin University. They later drew influence from The Roosters. Their unusual name originated when a friend mispronounced the title of an early jam session recording; featuring cover songs of Thee Headcoats (one of the band's main influences) and from The Damned's album, Machine Gun Etiquette. Some years later Futoshi Abe joined the band. After an independently released EP in 1995, they signed to Nippon Columbia's Triad label, releasing the album Cult Grass Stars in 1996, followed later that year by High Time, the band enjoying chart success in their home country.Chicken Zombies (1997) gave them a top five hit. The band's 1998 album Gear Blues was the first to be released in the US (in 2000).
The band announced that they would break up on October 11, 2003, after their Last Heaven tour of Japan. On July 22, 2009, the guitarist Futoshi Abe died of an acute hematoma.
Song titles and lyrics
The majority of the band's songs have English titles, which often appear to be a random selection of words cobbled together - 'Pinhead Cranberry Dance', for example.
The lyrics are almost entirely Japanese, with the odd English phrase or word thrown in.
All four members have had other musical projects or played with other bands both while in TMGE and after its break-up. Some of these are as follows:
- ROSSO (Vocals, Guitar and Songwriting on all releases)
- The Birthday (Vocals, Guitars and Songwriting on all releases)
- The Midwest Vikings (Vocals, Guitars and Songwriting under the alias 'LACOSTE')
- Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (Vocals on one song on the album 'Stompin' On Down Beat Alley')
- Bugy Craxone
- Midnight Bankrobbers
Futoshi Abe (died 2009)
- KOOLOGI (Guitar on first album)
- Strawberry Jean (Guitar - This was Futoshi Abe's pre-TMGE band)
- Casanova Said "Live or Die" (2000) Triad
- Last Heaven's Bootleg (2003) Island
- Sekai no Owari (1996) Triad
- Candy House (1996) Triad
- Lily (1996) Triad
- Culture (1997) Triad
- Get Up Lucy (1997) Triad
- The Birdmen (1997) Triad
- G.W.D (1998) Triad
- Out Blues (1998) Triad
- Smokin' Billy (1998) Triad
- GT400 (2000) Triad
- Baby Stardust (2000) Triad
- Abakareta-Sekai (2001) Triad
- Taiyou wo Tsukande Shimatta (2002) Island
- Girl Friend (2003) Trippin' Elephant
- Electric Circus (2003) Island
Best of compilations
- TMGE 106 (2000) Triad
- Collection (2001) Alive Records (US release)
- Grateful Triad Years (2002) Triad
- Thee Greatest Hits (2009) Columbia
- Wonder Style (1995) Trippin' Elephant
- Wonder Style (reissue) (1997) Triad
- Vibe On! (1998) Trippin' Elephant
- Kwacker (with Mick Green) (2001) Trippin' Elephant
TMGE have released a number of live and PV DVDs. A box set of some of these were due to be released by Universal in January 2010, consisting of 10 discs under the title of 'THEE LIVE'.