Thursday, 28 March 2019
The Comedy of Errors: Half Japanese - UFO Expert (9 May 1992)
70 seconds of thrashy Invasion of the Bodysnatchers style paranoia from the “day job” group of one of American rock music’s great gadflys, Jad Fair. The oeuvre of Half Japanese has been described, not least by the band themselves, as either love songs or monster songs. UFO Expert belongs to the latter category. In Jad’s view, the aliens walk among us already. It’s a question of who will be next? Given its cinematic antecedents and the fact that Invasion of the Bodysnatchers was believed to be based on American paranoia over communism infiltrating the minds, thoughts and behaviour of the American people, it’s possible to see the track as a mocking take on these concerns especially given the fact that by 1992 communism seemed an irrelevance. We could laugh about it then, but given the way that new “baddies” have been found in subsequent years, I would be surprised if no modern group hadn’t picked up on this track either to try and spread fear over modern aliens or to mock the 21st Century paranoia that clouds so much discourse today.
UFO Expert was the opening track on Half Japanese’s latest album, Fire in the Sky and this led me into this blog’s occasional pastime of researching whether concomitant films may have used the track on their soundtracks. In this instance, I had to check the soundtrack to the 1993 film, Fire in the Sky which dramatised an alledged UFO abduction on Bonfire Night, 1975, in Arizona. Considering that Jad Fair formed Half Japanese with his brother, David, in 1975 then it was an open goal. But alas, the producers were too po-faced to see it. Abel Ferrara missed the same trick with his 1993 take on Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.
Video courtesy of pont.