Whilst still at school in Osaka, Akihito Morimoto, also known as 'Aki' (guitar and vocals) and Kazuto Maekawa (bass) were brought together by a mutual love of Black Sabbath. They learned English from the bands they read about in Burrn Magazine, and played together in several bands that often played the songs of their Western idols, including Black Sabbath, Twisted Sister, Van Halen, Rainbow, MSG, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Queensrÿche, W.A.S.P., Ratt, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne, Motörhead, Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe.
Morimoto and Maekawa first tasted commercial success after moving to Tokyo and playing as guitarist and bassist in a five-piece pop rock band. Morimoto later said that one of the main reasons for this band's demise was that they acted on everything that they were told and as a result soon became directionless. It was this lesson that helped form the attitude of Electric Eel Shock – that musicians should listen to the views of others, but that learn from their own mistakes.
After the demise of this band, Morimoto and Maekawa stayed in Tokyo. Morimoto followed his passion of fishing and became a competition angler (he still writes for Japan's largest fishing magazine, Basser Magazine) and Maekawa joined The Apollos (a well-known Japanese funk band) as session bassist. Maekawa's low-slung bass and unkempt appearance was at odds with The Apollos' suited and polished image, and meant that his time in this role was short lived. However, Maekawa left a lasting impression on their drummer, Tomoharu Ito (known as Gian, due to his similar appearance to a well-known Japanese comedian of that name). Gian, who had a day job making false teeth, was soon introduced to Morimoto and the three started practicing together shortly afterwards.
The first incarnation of Electric Eel Shock was not quite as they are known today. In fact, the band's first public performances were actually as an 11-piece group with keyboards, female vocals and horns. It was not until the logistics of getting all of these members together on the same day to practise became unworkable that the band stripped down to a three-piece. Gian took up playing with four drumsticks, and also gained a reputation for playing naked.
Electric Eel Shock decided against making demos and sending them to record companies. Instead, they quickly set up the Micro Music label with their friends, releasing their first full-length album, Maybe I Think We Can Beat Nirvana. They followed this with Live Punctured and set about making a major impact on the independent rock scene of Tokyo.
Around this time they befriended a character on the Tokyo underground rock scene: Bob Slayer who was an Englishman in Japan. A veteran of the music industry in the West – having toured with many bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix - Bob Slayer had become the first Westerner to be crowned Karaoke Champion of Japan. He was to become Electric Eel Shock's tour manager, manager, video producer, set up their record label and a bunch of other things - none of which he has ever done properly. According to the band's website Bob Slayer has been fired as the Tour manager but has stayed on as the official tour drunk.
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