Jad estimates he’s sung on 2000 songs and released over 180 albums between his band, solo, and collaborative work. He started Half Japanese as an improvisational punk band with his brother David in 1975, and its style evolved through jazz, rock, and alternative; they opened for Nirvana on one of their biggest tours. The band was based in Maryland for most of its existence, though Jad has relocated to Austin.
We discuss “Fate Is On Our Side” by Jad with Samuel Locke Ward from Happy Hearts (2023), “Hold On” by Half Japanese from Perfect (2016), “Frankenstein Must Die” (a solo tune recorded in 1977), “Do It To It” from Now It’s Back (recorded in 2021), and conclude by listening to “Cupid” by Teenage Fanclub and Jad from Words of Wisdom and Hope (2002). Intro: “Said and Done” by Half Japanese from Charmed Life (1988). For more see jadfair.net. For the results of Jad’s 150 albums in one year experiment, see jadfair1.bandcamp.com.
Hear all of “Said and Done.” Hear Half Japanese’s first release “Calling All Girls” (1977). Watch the band live in 1987, doing their big hit 1 Million Kisses, and in 2015. You can watch all of the documentary on the band The Band that Would Be King on YouTube, starting here.
Heres Jad live solo with his rubber-band guitar, and here’s part of a live set where he plays classic Half Japanese tracks backed by a melodic guitar-and-drums combo while his own guitar is mixed almost inaudibly.
A fun, Residents-esque early solo Jad album is Monarchs. At one point I referred to his Short Songs album with intentionally hyper-mundane lyrics. Here’s yet another Frankenstein song, this time a collaboration with Daniel Johnston. Hear some of Jad’s collaborations with Kramer, Jason Willett (the Half Japanese bassist), and his brother David. A particularly nice collaboration is the one with Japanese band Tenniscoats and Teenage Fanclub guitarist Norman Blake.