Gettin’ Attitude With the Ninjaz


by Cat Sparks

So one evening in early 2009, I went to the Landsdowne Hotel, Broadway with Kaaron Warren (the horror writer) to see an old friend’s band and catch up with some other folks. We sat up the front, sipped our gin and squashes, had a bit of a chinwag and watched Alastair’s band The Blindfolds do their stuff.  Other friends turned up and we moved away from the stage to talk as another band performed — a duo whose name I didn’t catch. They sounded good, but I complained to Monika about their boring clothes. I dunno, is it too much to ask for a bit of stylish costuming from performers? These two looked like they’d popped on some shorts for a dash to the supermarket when they realised they were out of milk…

Anyway, we were all sort of starting to work out where we might go next for some dinner when this dude walks up to the bar garbed from head to foot in black and red ninja gear, plus a velvet cape with a logo emblazoned centre back. He checks us out and says “You gonna come sit down the front or what?” in a snarky tone. So we did. And f**k me if Ninjaz with Attitude didn’t turn out to be the most entertaining thing I’ve seen for years.

Three hot guys in pseudo ninja getup, all crotch grabbing, groin thrusting, ax-posturing, leaping, cape twirling, strutting, screaming and dancing ego frenzy. Their songs — and banter inbetween — were all about the way of the Ninjaz, which, as we all know, is killing guys and getting it on with hot chicks. Their song titles include “I’m Awesome”, “Polygamy” and “Propensity for Violence”. The Ninjaz are: Shinoko (Vocals), Jintu “Hammermoto” Moto (Guitar/vocals), and Jubei Kibagami (Drums).

Kaaron and I agreed that for the first and only time in our lives we wished we were music industry executives so we could snap them up in an instant.

Instead, I got in touch and decided to do an interview with Shinoko.


Cat Sparks: Hello, Shinoko, and thanks for dropping by and for agreeing to be interviewed at Undead Backbrain today. Just a few questions as I know you’re very busy, the life of a Ninja being so hectic and fraught with danger, mystery and intrigue.

Shinoko: Thanks, Cat.

CS: So where are you from and how did you become a ninja? Were you abandoned at the temple door by black-robed strangers when storm clouds obscured the moon, the scandalous illegitimate progeny of a high priestess and the banished heir to a righteous throne? Or not? Tell us your origin story.

Shinoko: Well, I certainly wasn’t abandoned. You’d have to be out of your mind to abandon this perfectly designed piece of machinery that I so casually refer to as “my body”… No, I was born right here on Earth back in 1772. My father had migrated to Earth from planet Ninjitsu because the new Emperor was a dick, so he came to start a new life on Earth and found some Earth babes and had me and my two brothers Tadaki and Hammermoto a few years later. As for how I became a ninja, I was born a ninja. It’s a common misconception that ninja are trained to be ninja and then are thus ninja, no. Ninja are a race, the inhabitants of planet Ninjitsu. We’ve always dug the music from Earth though, so a lot of ninja have come here seeking awesomeness. Most ninja did migrate to Japan, or “Little Ninjitsu” as it was known before it became so heavily colonised. So yeah, I was born a ninja but my mother is full human, so I’m a halfy, I guess.


CS: About your war on Mediocrity. Mediocrity = white sliced bread, the colour beige, 4-wheel drives, cardigans… so what the hell have you got against this stuff? Without it, cool and rad would be invisible, don’t you think?

Shinoko: Well, to be honest beige, 4-wheel drives, etc. don’t bother me so much, not that they wouldn’t but I just think we have bigger fish to fry. Reality tv, poor text msg abbreviations, Australian Idol? We’ve got Johnny Rotten from the sex pistols judging a crap tv comp for bands and its just shit. Crap bands on myspace so desperate just to be noticed so they are spamming the hell out of every one instead of just making something awesome. It bothers me, pop music has never been so bad. Everyone is so terrified of standing out so they spend all their creative energy figuring out ways of blending in and being cool, trying to get on the door to Ivy pool bar drinking $10 peroni’s (beer) even though it tastes like shit and not enjoying themselves because they can’t relax! That’s mediocrity and I’m fixing to take a blade to its heart.

CS: Rumour has it you killed the band’s former bass player Machete. Was that in hand-to-hand combat, by stealth attack, unfortunate lawn mowing accident, a midnight duel? Details, please. Why did Machete have to die?

Shinoko: Machete, God love him. We were on a yacht moored off the coast of Thailand chilling with some babes over a few beers and I looked over him and I had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity. I realised that I just didn’t like him, or rather I just wasn’t terribly fond of him. He’s was boring so I just got up from my chair walked over to him and gently eased a small blade into his Cervical Vertebrae, which pretty much paralysed him and I rolled him off the boat. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Machete, I always will but sometimes you have to kill that which doesn’t excite you.

shinokoCS: Rock star, Ninja assassin, chick magnet… So how hard is it achieving that elusive work life balance? What sacrifices have you had to make for fame and how far are you prepared to go?

Shinoko: We do whatever we want, whenever we want. If you are a ninja, that is all that is required. Over the past couple of hundred years we’ve made enough cash to live on for as long as we like and we’ve been the worlds highest grossing band for 10 years now. I still call Australia home so we’ve made a strict point of keeping our Australian crowd intimate. It’s great doing stadium shows in Europe and America but when we come back to Australia we just want to reconnect with friends, have a few beers and pork a few babes — not come off stage to have 30 guys with clipboards shouting at you about where you need to be.

CS: Do Ninjaz fight crime in their down time? Who scores highest on your arch nemesis list? Are superpowers involved or are your limbs swift blades of death, etc?

Shinoko: Sure, we love to fight and the most fun is in rescuing people from dickheads. Generally we prefer to save girls if at all possible — it’s just that little bit more awesome. But if there’s no one to rescue and we want to fight, we’ll find someone. Bolivia is a great place to go because they’ve always got a bunch of renegade armies good to go. As for weapons, the guys and I barely use them anymore because it means the fight is over too quick and there’s less sensory stimulation, I like to feel what I’m doing and that experience is lost with a blade for example. However those of the bloodline of the ninja are able to generate energy balls in our hands which are sometimes fun if you want to take out a helicopter though.

hammermotoCS: What is the best method for getting blood stains out of a velvet cape?

Shinoko: No idea, I have an amazing dry cleaner in Haymarket who’s very reasonable and doesn’t ask too many questions.

CS: Where does the inspiration for your music come from? Who writes the songs? Do the Ninjaz ever fight over lyrics?

Shinoko: Generally inspiration comes during a big battle, I’ll be fighting away and all of a sudden a chorus will come into my head for example “you wanna fight?” came from a time when I was sleeping under a tree in Spain with a few babes in the early 1800’s and this militia group tried to take me by surprise while I was asleep. I ended up having a great time, there was so many of them! They kept coming and I kept whooping them, they were so passionate! Anyway, the chorus popped into my head so when I was done I got together with the boys and we put some music to it. The song has changed over the years and in the early 90’s when streetfighter came out I liked some of the sound bytes so I sampled some and put them into the song.

CS: Which bands have influenced NWA so far?

Shinoko: Well, I think the real question is which bands have WE influenced the most. A few of the bands that have us listed as influences in their bio include Faith No More, Judas Priest, Ludacris, Jay Z, Dungeon, Ynwie Malmsteen, Metallica, Public Enemy and Devo. However, I consider them all great artists in their own right and we are honoured to be such an inspiration to them. Except for Jay Z who’s kind of lost his way over the past few years.

CS: Which is the most important element for success: cool threads, smooth moves or a powerful shriek?

tadakiShinoko: The most important element for success is awesomeness. Some people have it, some don’t. I think many people have it buried within them but never find it because they’ve wasted their time trying to sound like someone else… Like “Indy Bands”. Holy shit, one day I am going to head down to Oxford Art Factory and murder anyone and everyone inside.

CS: If Godzilla attached Sydney, would the Ninjaz defend it?

Shinoko: Absolutely, but in fairness we’re not going to be thinking about valour and honour or what not, that’s just going to be an awesome fight! If Godzilla is real and I pray to god that he or she is, I dare you… Attack Sydney, or attack somewhere, we’ll come to you and you will squeal like Paris Hilton in a Datsun.

CS: And finally, what advice would you give aspiring Ninjaz who might be reading this blog?

Shinoko: Stay true to your heart. This world will try to judge you, tell you that killing is wrong. That if you kill a man in cold blood then that makes you a murderer. Stay true. There will come a time when Ninjaz can coexist with human kind in peace and social killing will no longer be such a taboo. Until then my brothers, keep the faith.

You can hear complete and completely awesome songs by the Ninjaz on their MySpace page, which is, of course, totally awesome.

For those in the Sydney area (or those compelled to undertake a spiritual journey from distant parts), upcoming gigs by Ninjaz with Attitude are:

11 March 2009 @ The Annandale Hotel
17 Parramatta Rd, Annandale, Sydney, New South Wales
8pm. Cost: $5.

19 March 2009 @ The Landsdowne Hotel
2-6 City Rd, Chippendale, Sydney, New South Wales
Free! 8pm

28 March 2009 @ The Landsdowne Hotel
2-6 City Rd, Chippendale, Sydney, New South Wales
Free! 8pm




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4 Responses to Gettin’ Attitude With the Ninjaz

  1. Pingback: Gettin’ Attitude With the Ninjaz

  2. Kaaron says:

    That is so awesome! I wish they would rescue me so I can come to the next gig. Perhaps if I squeal like I’m in danger?

  3. Avery says:

    Fantastic interview Cat! Great job. Very funny indeed. They sound like a really cool band too.

  4. Cat Sparks says:

    Thanks Avery. And yes, Kaaron, you should definitely try squealing. Never know your luck…

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