An Inquiry As to The Nature of Lemon Candy (From Exile Osaka #3)

An Inquiry As to The Nature of Lemon Candy

by Jonathan Rubin

This article is about, ostensibly, lemon candy: tart, yet sweet, both hard and soft, and hopefully sour enough to pucker your face for minutes, if not hours. But what can we really say when we talk about lemon candy? Is it about ourselves, our loves, our universe? For me lemon candy represents that unattainable ideal, a goal: ultimate insane sourness, pure acid hell. For that my friends is good lemon candy.

When the editor of this esteemed journal sent me a selection of six lemon candies from Japan-all previously unseen by me here in the U.S.-I could not withhold my glee. Here before me lay a half-dozen untasted treats. Over the past weeks I have gradually consumed each and every one, noting the flavor, the texture and, ultimately, the acidulousness of each. What follows are my results.

Fujiya Lemon Squash ( 不二家 レモンスカッシュキャンディ)


Surely the winner of the judges choice award. this candy offered a multitude of taste treats. It began with a rather tasty lemon shell, and then, just as my interest began to wane, filled my mouth with a Zotz-like acid power explosion-what tasted like a combination of lemon, sugar and vanilla. Although not the most sour of the samples, Fujiya Lemon Squash was certainly the best overall.

[Sourness Factor: 5]

The Lemon C-3000


This was a basic, generic barrel-shaped lemon hard candy, not very sour but pleasantly sweet. It’s name implied a high vitamin C content, but could it really have 3000mg? It seems like a lot. An old standby, this candy was nuttin’ special.

[Sourness Factor: 3]

VC 3000 (VC-3000のど飴)


What really struck me about VC-3000 was it’s unusual texture. Very hard and somewhat chalkish, it was a far cry from the standard, mundane hard candy (see The LemonC-3000). It had a pleasant taste and good overall sourness.

[Sourness Factor 5]

Ribon Nama Shio(リボン 生塩飴)


Arriving in its cool glassine package, Ribon also had a surprise concealed within: a gummy sticky mess. However, I did enjoy the general taste of this candy and perhaps found the stickiness of it more intriguing than annoying. This also appeared to have some vitamin C, as there was a large “C” nestled amidst the small Japanese text on the package.

[Sourness Factor: 3]

HiChew Super Lemon (ハイチュウ スーパーレモン)


An interesting and enjoyable little candy, chewy like a Starburst or Mambo. HiChew had a lovely smooth texture and a good taste. Like all chewy candy, I found it to be rather addictive and was very tempted to eat the whole package at once. However, I did manage to control my impulses.

[Sourness Factor: 4]

Shige Kix (シゲキックス)


Small pellet-like and viciously sour, these little devils seemed to coated with pure uncut acetic acid. They were extremely chewy (not recommended for denture wearers). However, as the acid quickly wore off I was left with a tasteless nugget to gnaw on for nearly a minute.

[Sourness Factor: 10]



A.C. Live in Osaka Japan 1995 (from Exile Osaka #4)

I Interviewed A.C. and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

by Matt Exile


[A.C. with Fans outside of Fandango]

From Exile Osaka #4 (1996)

BEARS JUNE w/ Punku Boi, Hard Core Dude. 6/23/95

This show was advertised as a “big present” from Bears. A.C. have a very strong following here, and their first tour of Japan had been highly anticipated. Needless to say, it was packed. I met with the band members briefly before the show but they didn’t seem to be in a very good mood.

Punku Boi opened the show and you can read all about him elsewhere in this issue. The second band up was Hard Core Dude and they’re a crowd favorite at Bears and they play a highly energetic style of guess what type of music (duh!). Very similar to bands such as Concrete Octopus, Korean Buddhist God, and Spasmom.

A.C. drummer Tim Morse appeared briefly and announced that since the Japanese Government was kind enough to allow him into the country on an “Entertainer Visa”, he felt obligated to give the audience a more conventional form of entertainment. So he danced onstage for a couple of minutes while the rest of the band was setting up. If members of the Immigration Bureau had been in the audience that night, they would have revoked his visa and deported him immediately.

A.C. put on a very entertaining show that included unbelievable cover versions of “Staying Alive (Oi version)” and Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” Tim Morse told me that he had absolutely no idea that the band was so popular in Japan. He said that he went record shopping earlier in the day and was psyched to pick up the copy of G-Scope in which Yoshimi wore an A.C. t-shirt on the cover. He also told me the band was severely pissed because the airline misrouted their bag that contained about 70 t-shirts. I told them that if they wrote the A.C. logo on a plain t-shirt they could sell them as handmade since Caroliner sold a ton of handmade t-shirts when they came over.

Fandango w/ Masonna, Solmania and Corrupted. 6/24/95

I waited outside of Fandango until Kawai from Ultra F*ckers showed up. The members of A.C. came by a half hour later and had picked up about ten t-shirts at a very low price. We went upstairs and I interviewed Seth, John and Tim while they designed t-shirts. I asked Kawai how much they could get for the t-shirts and he thought they would go for at least ¥3000 ($30). But Seth Putnam insisted that they weren’t out to make a profit and the shirts would be priced at ¥500 ($5) each. (All of the shirts were sold out in less than a minute.) Corrupted, an incredibly loud and grinding hardcore band, is led by Hasegawa Chu, who quit both Omoide Hatoba and Concrete Octopus to concentrate on this band exclusively.

My ears were still ringing from the show at Bears so I waited outside with Seth, John and Tim, who were constantly approached for autographs and asked to pose for photographs. A few overzealous fans asked them to sign articles of clothing and the rock god treatment seemed to amuse them.

Tim went inside to see Masonna’s set which he thought was incredible. Solmania put on another intense performance.

When A.C. took the stage it was like something out of a rock and roll movie. I’ve been to tons of shows but I’ve never witnessed anything as out of control as what happened next. As soon as they started playing dozens of fans rushed the stage and went absolutely nuts. Swarms of people embraced Seth Putnam as if he was some long lost older brother. Several parasites latched on to John and Tim and it was somewhat of a challenge to play their instruments under such adulation from the crowd. No one would leave the stage and if everyone wasn’t having such a good time you would have thought that the crowd was about to riot.

The Interview

Backstage at Fandango…

*I don’t know if this qualifies as a proper interview or not. It’s really just a transcription of what was said backstage as the band was making t-shirts to sell at the show. I thought about transcribing this in the style of a one act play since some of the insults thrown back and forth seem as though they were written by David Mamet or someone (Ha!—No, it’s true, dammit).

Exile Osaka: How do you feel that you’re officially “Big in Japan….”

Seth: Does that mean overweight?

E: …joining the ranks of Deep Purple, Mr. Big, and The Michael Schenker Group?

Tim: I feel very proud. I’m very happy with myself. I feel naked. I feel like Naked Aggression. I feel myself. I feel good. Seth, what do you think?

S: Uh…….groovy.

Tim: It’s cool. Japan is the best place we played ever.

S: It’s the first time we’ve been treated like a real band.

E: What did you do last night, after the show?

T: I drank some sake and got a little tipsy and walked around with our manager and I almost knocked over a bunch of bicycles. Seth did secret things..

S: I went to a [unintelligible] high on booze…

John: Tell him about the body manipulation thing with the chopsticks.

Tim: Oh yeah, we were at this restaurant. We were taking chopsticks and like putting them on our tongues and up our noses, and closing our eyelids with them. We were being stupid.

E: Favorite Japanese food?

J: Chicken

S: The pizza buffet at Shakeys.

E: What are your favorite Japanese bands besides Loudness?

S: I don’t really like any Japanese bands…

T: Plug the Ruins…

S: The Ruins are good. I like the second Hanatarash album….

T: The Boredoms are a good live band, but I don’t like their records.

S: …Loudness.

E: Have you heard their new album, Heavy Metal Hippies? They’re all like wearing flowers in their hair. There’s a shot of them standing in a forest. Peace signs and glitter on the cover

T: Get out of here!


S: We should tour with Aretha Franklin.

T: Geezus, listen to that downstairs!

E: What has been the reaction to A.C. in the USA?

T: Most people don’t understand what we’re doing. They get really confused. They think we go around and kill people. Someone asked Seth one time if we go around and break stuff in the studio. We’re like mellow guys. They don’t get it.

S: What are we talking about?

T: Why people in America don’t understand us. I was referring to that 15 year old kid in Florida who was like, “How do you guys do what you do?” He had a Nine Inch Nails shirt on so you could understand why he felt that way. He thinks Nine Inch Nails are industrial…


E: What do you think of Japan, so far?

T: Everyone’s treating us with a lot of respect. I had no idea that we were this big here.

S: Everyone’s always raving how cool Japan is and I was always skeptical, like yeah, whatever. But it turned out to be way better than I thought it would be.

T: I’m all done making shirts. I’ve done enough shirts.

S: You want to do a split shirt?

T: Yeah, I’ll do a split shirt with you.

S: No. I want to do it myself.

T: You just said you wanted to do a split shirt!

S: I just wanted to see your reaction. I was lying.

T: All right. We gotta do this interview.

E: This is the interview. This is what’s happening backstage with A.C.. Besides, I’m no Lester Bangs. I’m not going to come up with any brilliant questions.

J: He’s not like Geraldo or anything.

E: I’m getting it all on tape. Just feel free to throw out any comments…

(Tim glances over at a shirt that Greg, their manager is making)

T: Greg is being dumb! ( *All joking aside, the band was grateful to their manager for the fine job he did setting up the tour.)

Greg: You’re getting really blown out of proportion about the shirts…

T: I don’t give a shit! I honestly don’t give a shit..

J: (joking, sarcastic) Dude, it represents our band. So-rry!

G: Then I’ll take it out of the ones for sale. I’m not getting upset with it. It’s my shirt.

S: You’ll pay us ¥500. (The band starts singing “¥500—Give us the money” to the intro to the Addams Family Theme.)

S: (singing to the Addams Family Theme): “The jerk was really stupid…”

E: Well, now you have some song titles for the next album. It can be all about shirts.

S: It’s gonna be called..what’s your name?

E: Matt.

S: The next album is going to be called Matt is Gay.

T: No, no….He’s gonna write the introduction to this interview as ‘I interviewed A.C….

E: …And all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

T: Stop throwing stuff! Come on! You know I mean, you know…

S: I saw A.C. and all I got was a lousy microphone stuck in my face. I’ll throw the mike stand into the crowd.

T: (sarcastic) That’ll be a good idea, Seth.

S: I wanna get arrested in Japan.

T: That’ll be good. You should do that. That’ll be real quality entertainment.

S: I’ll go play yahtzee with myself (Burps).

E: What did you do this morning?

T: I got up, watched Sesame Street, went for a walk…

S: Then he had sex with a fork,

T: No, I didn’t, there’s no forks here.

S: Well, then chopsticks.

G: What’s your favorite bands?

S: Negative Approach

J: Of all time? Right now I’m on a Frankie Valli kick.

E: How did you find the reaction of the Japanese fans last night?

T: It was great. People were crazy. Jumping up and down having a good time. No ventilation in the place. I was gonna die onstage but it didn’t matter, It was great.

S: Buuuuuurp!

T: You’re going to detention young man!

S: I’m gonna smack you in the urethra if you don’t shut up.

T: You can’t even try, I have nipples.

S: I like you.

T: I like you, too.

S: Normally I’m the most lethargic person ever, but for some reason today I’m hyper….Tree sucks! Don’t ever listen to them.

J: They’re probably not even known. There CD’s are not even here.

G: You’ll probably give them exposure by mentioning them.

S: Maybe some loser with a Biohazard shirt will go buy a Tree CD.

T: You know, if you say they’re scum, people will buy it because they’ll think it’s scum rock.

S: I liked the record store I went to yesterday [Time Bomb]. It had cool sections like a Scum/Junk section (John talks about how much he wants to go bowling in Japan)

T: We’re gonna tour with Danzig and we’re gonna have a mud wrestling match with him.

S: The tentative title for our next album is Diary of an Alcoholic. It’s gonna have A.C. and an Ozzy logo. It’s gonna have a picture of Ted Kennedy on the cover.

E: As long as the cover isn’t a painting by John Wayne Gacy. That’s become a dumb hipster cliche…

T: Oh he’s an idiot! There was this girl who was at one of our shows. A fat moron. She was like doing this documentary on John Wayne Gacy, and she’s like ‘He was my father figure.’ She was the dumbest human being…

S: She came up to me and said what do you think of Gacy. And I said he was a loser.

T: I’m glad he’s dead. I hope he dies a hundred more times. Everyone in America is like ‘Woooow, look at this serial killer. He only killed people with cleft pallets. He’s really cool.’ f*ck that shit. Dumb asses.

E: G.G. Allin?

T: He was a rock and roll superstar, I guess. I don’t know, I never paid much attention to him.

S: I thought I lot of the stuff he did was dumb, but I liked a lot of stuff that he did. The best live shows that I saw was G.G. Allin’s.

E: What was the last movie that you saw?

T: On the plane? It was Little Giants.

J: It was the worst movie ever made.

E: It couldn’t be worse than that movie Swing Kids , about those Nazi kids who got into swing music.

T: Oh, that was f*cking stupid! Who the hell thought up that movie!?

E: They’re Nazis but they’re into swing music so that makes them okay.

T: They’re Nazis but they also talk perfect English.

S: I’m starting a new side project called “Kermit the Stormtrooper.” It’s gonna be a cross between Liberace and Sodom.

E: What bands would you like to tour with?

J: If we could tour with any band? We’d wait until a Beatles reunion.

E: A Beatles reunion with ….?

J: Buddy Hackett.

E: Worst album of all time, not including albums by Don Johnson and Bruce Willis.

S: Hey, You got something against The Return of Bruno? Well, f*ck You!

J: I can tell you the worst song of all time, that Pearl Jam cover of “Proud Mary”or whatever they called it. We sit around all day talking about the worst song of all time, and that has to be the worst.

[The band breaks into a rendition of “In a Gada Da Vi Da”.]

S: Don’t you think the Swans should do “California Dreaming?” All…the…leaves…are…brown…and…the…sky…is gray….

(Loud Crashing Sound)

S: I hate Assuck. They’re boring and they suck. I want to write a T.V. show called The Mean Guys. All they do is make fun of people the whole time.

T: George Thorougood rocks!

E: Any major label offers?

T: Yeah right!

J: Every single one of them.

E: Does that mean you’re having a Thai dinner with David Geffen…

T: David Geffen came to suck my f*cking ass! (laughs)

S: I’ll tell you how Madonna is in bed.

T: You couldn’t get Madonna if you tried.

E: There’s a picture of Mr. T on the CD insert…

T: Seth and John met Mr. T and they went up to him to get his autograph. And there were people lined up in front of him going, ‘Let me have your autograph.’ And Mr. T was like, ‘What’s your name?’ The guy said ‘Bob,’ and Mr. T. was like, ‘How do you spell that?

J: We should give thanks to the cool airplane for losing our shirts.

S: Northwest Airlines sucks. F*ck You!

T: Great, now we’re gonna crash on the way back.








Punku Boi

Japan Noise: CCCC, Masonna, Solmania, Jojo Hiroshige etc.

CCCC with Yamamoto Seiichi (Omoide Hatoba) image



Jojo Hiroshige (Hijo Kaidan) with AV star Miki Sawaguchi at Bears. I have more photos from this show somewhere.


Masonna and Fusao (Angel N Heavy Syrup).


Masonna live at Bearsimage

I’ll add more noise photos as I find them.  All photos by Matt Kaufman.

Damo Suzuki and Michael Karoli of Can: Live in Osaka

Damo Suzuki and Michael Karoli of Can played Muse Hall in Osaka in 1997.

This may be the only photo of Damo Suzuki and Yamataka Eye of The Boredoms.

All photos (c.) Matt Kaufman.


Flier for Damo’s Network

Letters to Faxed Head (From Exile Osaka #4, 1996)

Letters to FAXED HEAD
From Seventh Graders (age 12-13) at Osakabou Chugakko J.H.S.


Text/Photos (c.) Exile Osaka

Everyone is intrigued by Faxed Head — the mysterious band from Coalinga, California. When I heard they were coming to Japan, I almost burst a nut. I had purchased their debut CD a while back, and found myself putting it on whenever I had a dose of the blues or was feeling homesick. It is the one album that has never failed to uplift by sagging spirit.

Not much is known about Faxed Head other than the members were involved in some sort of accident that left them horribly disfigured. After seeing the Mel Gibson movie The Man Without a Face, in which a disfigured man is shunned by society, they decided that there was only one option: suicide. Fortunately, a stroke of good luck at the last minute prevented these lost souls from taking their lives. Having failed at suicide, they came to the conclusion that the next best thing was to form a rock band. In what USA Today has described as “a moving testament to the power of the human spirit,” Faxed Head have inspired legions of disaffected youths to run away from home, sniff glue and drink themselves into a mind-numbing stupor — anything to escape the pain and mundacity of daily life.

I was seriously bogged down with planning lessons at my junior high school, so I never got around to coming up with questions for the band. I thought that it might be a really good experience to have the seventh graders write letters to Faxed Head because each one of the members seemed to have a great deal of interest in Japan. I was hesitant at first to suggest the idea to the Japanese teacher I work with, but to my surprise she was very enthusiastic about having the students write letters to a “famous rock band from America.” The students also were very excited and worked hard coming up with questions and drawing pictures of themselves.

The seventh graders also were preparing for the annual school cultural festival, so they were pressed for time. But some of them stayed after school to finish their questions. Keep in mind that the seventh graders (most of them only 13 years old) have only been studying English for about six months, so the majority of these questions were translated into English by one of their teachers. Most of the students wanted autographs (“Please give us your sign”). In one class, some of the students got greedy and requested free CDs, T-shirts, shoes, and one naughty young lad even asked that the band send a guitar to the school. (Another boy wrote, “Where do you SEX?” on the questionnaire. I didn’t want him to experience the evils of censorship at such an early age, so I left it alone.)

As the school day came to an end, I discovered that one of the groups had not handed in its questionnaires. I told the homeroom teacher, and (to my surprise) she reprimanded a girl who she thought was responsible. The poor girl looked all over for it but came up empty-handed. She came into the teacher’s room and burst into tears because she clearly remembered handing it to me. To make a long story short, it turned out that she did hand it in and the teacher made a mistake. The real culprit had already gone home, so we had to call up her house and wait until she brought it to school.

The members of Faxed Head were happy to oblige most of the students’ requests for autographs, CDs, stickers, and T-shirts. McPatrick Head was kind enough to donate his costume … Uh, I mean, his skin and hair, which he metamorphosed out of just for the occasion. And now, here is the Faxed Head interview, as done by seventh graders at Osakabou Junior High School. Hopefully, this will lead to some sort of cultural exchange program between our school and the city of Coalinga, California.

Do you live in America?

Fifth Head: What do you think?

Do you have lovers?

Fifth Head: Our music is love.

When did you start Faxed Head?

La Brea Tar Pits Head: When we were in elementary school — we drank milk and spit it into fans and created “milk metal tension core.” That was back in ‘82.

Fifth Head: When our last band, Brown Fjord, died in a plane crash while touring Scandinavia in late August 1985. (I was the only survivor.)

When did you start singing?

Fifth Head: Shortly after my vocal cords were removed — I had throat cancer due to inhaling the ashes, still burning of deceased band members.

Who decided on the band name?

La Brea Tar Pits Head: M.C. Patrick Head had a rap act in ‘87 called the I5 crew, a highway in California. It was right after he shot himself …

What does “Faxed Head” mean?

Neck Head: Self-replicas take over all of space.

Do your mothers play the concert, too?

McPatrick Head: No, they are home sick.

Did you buy your masks or did you make them?

Fifth Head: We do not wear masks. We never have and we never will; these are our true faces and bodies. We are the victims of an unsuccessful suicide pact—we tried to kill ourselves by filling an abandoned gas station bathroom with airplane glue fume, but unfortunately I opened the door by mistake, moments before all of the other members lapsed into unconsciousness. (I seem to be the miscreant in the “band” …)

Please send us T-shirts.

Fifth Head: Why should we? (Don’t you know we are homeless?)

Why did you begin music?

Fifth Head: Life was too painful. We needed a way of blotting out the agony of daily life.

Aren’t you shy singing in front of the audience?

McPatrick Head: No, because I am on medication.

Do you like Pop music or classical music?

Yes, I like pop music if the vocals are good, like The Four Freshman.

Do you sometimes quarrel in your group?

Fifth Head: Only when Graph Head tries to pass of his solo project as “Faxed Head solo project …”

What type of women do you like?

La Brea Tar Pits Head: Smart girls and pretty girls.

Neck Head: Living women — the kind who have heads.

Is Japanese rice tasty?

Fifth Head: We like Spanish rice much better.

Do you like Japanese food?

McPatrick Head: Zaru Soba! We love zaru soba and zaru udon and Vitamin CC Lemon drink.

Neck Head: I like things that are not squirming.

Fifth Head: Okonomiyake (Kansai Pancake), Takoyaki, sushi, sukiyaki, unagiyaki…

Do you like American food?

McPatrick Head: No.

Please give us your mask and shoes.

Fifth Head: Please give us hair, sweat, toes, sembei (Japanese cracker), and eyelashes. Domo Arigato.

Please give us some signed tapes of songs that you recorded, and your masks, and signed t-shirts, plus ten locks of your hair.

Graph Head: NO!

Do you speak Japanese?

Neck Head: I speak all possible tongues.

Is your band interesting?

Fifth Head: Your decision.

Is the record selling well?

Fifth Head: No.

What kind of animation is popular in America?

McPatrick Head: Bad animation, like the Flintstones.

What is the best thing about Japan?

La Brea Tar Pits Head: “The lights and the trains, the lice and the mice, we like it all, we’ll be back twice…” We like Kyoto and the Temples and we love Buddha.

McPatrick Head: It is very friendly to the handicapped.

Fifth Head: It’s especially good for spending $$$ on Norwegian Death metal bootleg CD’s.

How is San Francisco different from Japan?

Fifth Head: Not as many Japanese people.

How many Countries have you been to?

La Brea Tar Pits Head: Oslo, Norway (Hardcore Black Snow Metal); India, Bombay (Near Death Papadom Metal); Tokyo/Osaka Japan (Sake-Rake-Snake Metal); Amarillo, Texas USA (Armadillo Road-Kill Tequila Metal); Saturn, Space (Sun-Ra Astro-afro Metal).

Do you like fishing?

Neck Head: No. It hurts the fish and my hair gets tangled in my line.

What are your hobbies?

Fifth Head: Mime, break-dancing, streaking, wig sculpture (art form), nose picking (difficult choice), painting tire logos on the back of rusty Burma Shave signs (when no one is looking).

Who is the most favorite baseball player?

Neck Head: Vin Pint.

Do you like Japanese Tires or American tires?

La Brea Tar Pits: Both.

Who is the most popular singer in America?

Neck Head: McPatrick Head.

Do you like President Clinton?

McPatrick Head: Yes, he likes rock and roll.


The students were really excited when I told them that I had obtained McPatrick Head’s skin and hair. I think a few of them thought I was pulling their legs because it seemed too good to be true. But then disaster struck. I thought that I had left McPatrick’s Head at Japan Overseas headquarters but when I showed up to pick up the mask, Sam told me that it wasn’t there. The next day I had to tell all of my students that the head was gone. They were really disappointed. A few weeks later I went to Bears to see a show and Yamamoto informed me that I had left the mask backstage. Now, McPatrick’s Head is made of flannel and real hair, and after Faxed Head’s tour of Japan it reeked of McPatrick Head sweat. It was also filed with dried spit and other fluids. I had to lug the damn thing home on a crowded train without a bag and the other passengers looked at me with horror. I felt like the elephant man. But the upside of the story is that McPatrick’s Head made it safely to Osakabou Junior High School and my students enjoyed trying it on, although several complained about the putrid smell. Then we played Simon Says and the winners received handmade Faxed Head stickers. Since there weren’t enough CD’s to go around we donated the ones we had to the school library. The students sang songs for Faxed Head and we captured the whole thing on video to send to them. McPatrick’s Head was also donated to the school and it is still there today. Some of the students said that they would wear it at the next cultural festival. Domo Arigato, Faxed Head!


Faxed Head in Osaka Japan. I have more photos. Will add them soon

BONUS MATERIAL: Handwritten questions and drawings from students.



Hideo Nomo was big at the time.


Above (illustration by student) Below: Message from Faxed Head.