Mops, The

Also known as ザ・モップス, モップス, モップス'72, Mops
Members of Mops, The: Hiromitsu Suzuki, Karo Murakami, Masaru Hoshi, Mikiharu Suzuki, Taro Miyuki

Discography of Mops, The:

# Release title Total tracks Type of release is Imprint date Label
1 Psychedelic Sounds In Japan 11 Audio 1995-07-05 Victor
2 モップスと16人の仲間 12 Audio 1992-06-24 Express
3 Rock 'N' Roll Jam '70 20 Audio 2002-08-25
4 Psychedelic Sounds In Japan + 6 Rare Singles 18 Audio 2002 Shagadelic
5 Psychedelic Sounds In Japan 11 Audio 1996-12-25
6 月光仮面 4 Audio 1971-03-25 Liberty
7 Psychedelic Sounds In Japan 13 Audio 2000 Synton
8 Psychedelic Sounds In Japan 20 Audio 2006 World Psychedelia Ltd.
9 Psychedelic Sounds In Japan 14 Audio Perfect Sound (4)
10 10 Audio 1972 Liberty
11 1969 - 1973 11 Audio 1973 Liberty
12 Exit 18 Audio 2012 Phoenix Records (2)
13 Psychedelic Sounds In Japan 13 Audio 1989-06-07 Victor
14 Rock Live! 10 Audio 1971 Liberty
15 Psychedelic Sounds In Japan 13 Audio 2005-09-22 Victor
16 月光仮面 2 Audio 1981 Express
17 モップスと16人の仲間 12 Audio 1972 Liberty
18 モップスと16人の仲間 12 Audio 1972 Eastworld
19 Iijanaika 9 Audio 2010 Flawed Gems
20 御意見無用 Iijanaika 9 Audio 2003-06-27 Express
21 Iijanaika 9 Audio 1971 Liberty
22 Big Artist Best Collection モップス 16 Audio 1989 Express
23 Psychedelic Sounds In Japan 15 Audio 2010
24 モップスと16人の仲間 +2 15 Audio 2014-04-30 Express

The Mops are one of Japan’s best know “group sounds” bands, particularly noted for their psychedelic period. The group was founded in 1966 by high school friends Mikiharu Suzuki (drums), Taro Miyuki (guitar), Masaru Hoshi (lead guitar) and Kaoru Murakami (bass), playing mostly instrumental rock ala the fabulously popular Ventures. Suzuki’s older brother Hiromitsu joined in later and became the group’s main vocalist, sharing the job with Hoshi.

The Mops started playing clubs and discos early on, but did not immediately distinguish themselves. In the summer of 1967 their manager visited San Francisco, and was very excited about the hippie movement that was booming there. He brought a copy of a Jefferson Airplane album back with him to Japan, which he impressed the Mops with. The band became enthusiastic about the new sounds, and singer Hiromitsu Suzuki especially became a big fan of Animals singer Eric Burdon. In what seems a fairly commercially driven decision, the Mops, prodded by their manager, became a “psychedelic band”, and signed with JVC Records. In November 1967 they released “Asamade Matenai”, which went to #38.

The Mops album of April 1968 Psychedelic Sound in Japan, was full of flower power flourishes, including cosmic artwork, ethnic clothing, fuzz guitars and sitar playing. It included covers of the Airplane’s hits “Someone To Love” and “White Rabbit”, the Doors' “Light My Fire”, the Animals' “San Franciscan Nights” and “Inside Looking Out”, as well as the Mops theme song “I Am Just A Mops” (which later became a cult favorite after being included on the obscurities album Nuggets 2). To complete the band’s hippie vibe, at their album release party they passed out banana peels to journalists.

Much was made of the band being Japan’s first psychedelic band, and they are sometimes credited as pioneering new studio effects, or at least introducing them to Japan. The band also performed with lighting effects, and sometimes blindfolded, supposedly to simulate the influence of drugs. Despite being widely considered a psychedelic band, their original songs were more garage band sounding. Also while most GS bands were playing love songs, the Mops had a song called “Blind Bird”, which contained the lyrics “please kill me”, which led to the song being left off some re-issues (but included on the obscurities collection Boulders #7). In 1969 Murakami quit the band and Miyuki took over bass duties.

After just one album with JVC, the group switched to Toshiba/EMI, where they changed their sound to more of a blues rock sound, it seems trying to change with the times. While not as warmly recalled, the band did moderately well after their psychedelic period. Their biggest hit was in 1971, “Gekko Kamen (Moonlight Mask)", which they recorded as a joke, but which became a novelty hit. Their hard rock number “Goiken Muyo (No Excuse)" charted in 1971, and the following year they did well with “Tadoritsuitara Itsumo Amefuri”, which was written for them by popular folk singer Takuro Yoshida. Before finally breaking up in May 1974, the Mops released a total of eight albums on Toshiba/EMI, a long career compared to most of the GS bands. Hoshi continued in the music business as an arranger, and Hiromitsu Suzuki became a TV “talento”. Mikiharu Suzuki today runs a major artist management company.

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