THEE MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT (also known as TMGE or in Japanese: ミッシェル・ガン・エレファント) was a garage rock band formed in Tokyo, Japan. Its music is known for the loud guitars of Abe Futoshi and lead singer Chiba Yusuke's loud, gravelly yet melodious vocals. Other members of the band include Kuhara Kazuyuki (drums) and Ueno Koji (bass). The band was formed in 1991, while the band members were students at Tokyo's Meiji Gakuin University. Their name came from a combination of the name of Billy Childish's offbeat band Thee Headcoats and a former bassist's mispronunciation of the name of The Damned's album, Machine Gun Etiquette.
Their first major label release, wonder style, was released in 1995, and produced in London, United Kingdom, by Chris Brown, who previously engineered albums and tracks for Radiohead and Pink Floyd. Their breakthrough album, however, was 1998's Gear Blues which sold more than 500,000 copies, a huge number in the Japanese recording industry. Gear Blues was released in the United States in 2000 by Alive Records, but the band's success in that country never reached the level that they had in Japan, although they had moderate success in Europe. With the release of Gear Blues, the band stopped using lowercase letters in their name, and became known as THEE MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT, with capitalized letters. The band announced that they would break up on October 11, 2003, after their Last Heaven tour of Japan.
After breaking up, the members have all continued activities in other bands. Chiba Yusuke recorded two albums and several smaller releases while in ROSSO, and has participated in projects of smaller scale, such as Midnight Bankrobbers, RAVEN and THE MIDWEST VIKINGS. In 2006, he and drummer Kuhara Kazuyuki got together again and formed The Birthday. As for the other TMGE members, bassist Ueno Koji was part of the three-piece rock band Radio Caroline for several years before suspending activities in 2009, and helped record the HIATUS' album Trash We'd Love. While not as active after the breakup as some of the other members, guitarist Abe Futoshi has among other things appeared in a band called KOOLOGI.
On July 22nd, 2009, it was announced on the band's official homepage that Abe Futoshi had passed away due to an acute epidural hematoma, a condition often caused by a blow to the side of the head. Abe was 43 years old.
Chiba Yusuke (チバユウスケ) – Vocal, guitar
Abe Futoshi (アベフトシ) – Guitar
Ueno Koji (ウエノコウジ) – Bass
Kuhara Kazuyuki (クハラカズユキ) – Drums
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