time exponents of the big instrumental surf-rock beat, Shig And Buzz
are given the live treatment with the 2009 CD release of The Live
Adventures Of Shig And Buzz. Still featuring drummer Shig Komiyama,
backed by Roger Rocha (guitar), Johnny Hamiltone (bass)
and Yoon-ki Chai (keys, violin). Understated with determined
drive, Shig and company blast their way through a number of original
rockers along with select favorites from the Ventures and other instro
favorites. Shigs drumming is always tasteful while the combination
of Rochas guitar and Yoon-kis sinewy violin makes for
a unique musical combination rarely heard in the surf-rock or the
instro genre overall. During 2006, Shig And Buzz released their Sonic
Traveler and the recordings on the Live Adventures CD are
taken from their 2006 tour with the Mermen and Violent Femmes. On
the Live Adventures CD, a touch of the far east merges with
the time honored instrumental guitar rock sound, making for an all
around live instro rock winner. www.ShigAndBuzz.com
SHIG KOMIYAMA SPEAKS WITH MWE3.COM
MWE3: Can you tell us about the story behind the Live Adventures
Of Shig & Buzz CD. When and where it was recorded how you
think it compares with the earlier Shig & Buzz CDs?
SHIG: The album was recorded at the Mt. Winery in Saratoga, CA, when
we were supporting the Violent Femmes, and at Moes Alley in
Santa Cruz, California, in 2006. The live band was a totally differently
approach to the music. The studio albums consist of layered guitar,
bass and drums, as opposed to the live band which only has one guitar
and violin or keyboards going on.
MWE3: Who plays with you on the Live Adventures CD and how
would you describe the chemistry of this lineup of the Shig &
SHIG: Johnny Hamiltone plays bass, Yoon-Ki Chai plays keyboard/violin
and Roger Rocha plays guitar. The chemistry of the band is great.
I was friends with each of them before they joined the band and we
all get along very well.
MWE3: Can you also say something about recording with guitarist Roger
Rocha compared to Peter Miller?
SHIG: Theyre both very skilled players and good people, too.
They come from very different influences, so its difficult to
compare them. The recording process was very enjoyable with both.
MWE3: How did you choose the lineup of songs featured on the new CD?
SHIG: It was difficult to narrow down the song list to just 14 songs.
In the end, we went with the best performances for those few shows
on the CD.
MWE3: How did you get started in the music world and can you give
a background on your love of the drums and what bands you've played
in over the years?
SHIG: I was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan. Growing up, although
I loved all kinds of music, my favorite bands were instrumental, especially
The Shadows and The Ventures. From the time I was a teenager, I played
drums, bass and guitar in a succession of working bands around Yokohama.
In the mid-70s, I moved to San Francisco, to continue my music career.
I started attending regular jam sessions, all over the city, and played
with many talented artists, including guitarist Jorma Kaukonen of
Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. A couple years later, I joined Hot
Tuna with Jorma and Jack Cassidy for their reunion our of the east
coast. This was followed by a nationwide tour, the following year.
After almost 2 years, I left Hot Tuna and played in a number of bands,
based in San Francisco, as well as recording session work. During
this period, I met Peter Miller, of Big Boy Pete fame and began recording
original material at his recording studio. Eventually, with the help
of Peter on lead guitar, I recorded two studio albums as Shig And
Buzz. Over the years, Ive played in many other bands, including
Thriller, Fun Addicts, Noh Buddies, Shi-tones, Mermen, Mach IV and
the Aqua-velvets. Ive been playing less in the last couple years,
since opening a yakitori restaurant, named HALU, in San Francisco.
MWE3: What drummers and bands are among your big musical influences?
SHIG: Mel Taylor, Brian Bennett. Buddy Rich and Mitch Mitchell have
had the most influence on me.
MWE3: What brand of drums do you favor and how long have you been
playing your current kit?
SHIG: Ludwig and Gretsch. My 60s Ludwig kit, Ive been
playing for about ten years, now. The Gretsch kit only about three
MWE3: Can you say something about some of your favorite albums and
SHIG: Of my own recordings, I really like Shig and Buzz: Sonic
Traveler, which Pipeline Magazine named Best Instrumental
Album of 2006" and Shi-tones 99, which I recorded
with Jim Thomas of the Mermen. Theyre both really good sonic
MWE: Current and past favorite recordings?
SHIG: Shadows. Beatles.
MWE3: What are some of your future plans for Shig & Buzz...Are
there any new recordings and touring plans?
SHIG: Right now, the band is on hiatus. Roger is very busy with his
own band now, and Id like to play bass guitar in the next band
lineup, so I need a guitarist and drummer to make it work. Im
staying busy gigging with the Aqua-Velvets and Shi-tones and maybe
The Shock Waves beside running a restaurant.