Often labelled as the Japanese Black Sabbath by blowhards and those who’ve not actually heard the music, the strangely named ‘Too Much’ hailed from the large city port of Kobe, where the band members grew up sucking in all kinds of western influences from the LPs and 7” singles that came in on the boats from the States and the UK. One member of the band – guitarist Junio Nakahara – had spent the late ‘60s in the blues group ‘The Helpful Soul’, whose sole LP features in this book’s Top 50 on account of its deeply inspired 10-minutes plus epic ‘Peace For Fools’. However, as its audience could never have perceived The Helpful Soul as anything more than another Group Sounds act, guitarist Nakahara decided to jump on the burgeoning New Rock bandwagon by forming the more appropriately named Too Much. Nakahara’s inspiration came from the Too Much concert that The Helpful Soul played with the newly-formed Blues Creation, in Kyoto at the end of February 1970.
The hippy phrase ‘too much’ was already utterly cliched in the West by this time, but it was iconic and easily pronounceable to Japanese. In the process, Nakahara hooked up with hard rock singer Juni Lush, changed his own name to the more substantially New Rock-sounding Tsomu Ogawa!, and dragged high school mates Hideya Kobayashi and Masayuki Aoki along as the rhythm section. They signed a deal with Atlantic Records in the summer of 1970, and wrote a whole slew of mindless proto-metal anthems, including the excellent ‘Grease It Out’, ‘Love Is You’ and ‘Gonna Take You’. These were duly recorded and sounded mindlessly, monolithically, perfectly suited to the lowbrow audience Too Much was aiming to please.
Unfortunately, the Atlantic businessmen saw in the be-afro’d Juni Rush another potential star in the mould of Flower Travellin’ Band’s Joe Yamanaka, and they pressured the band into adding several mawkishly sentimental ballads to the debut LP in order to widen their audience. The results were disastrous. No one needed yet another version of Bobby Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released’, particularly the Nipponashville abortion that Too Much delivered. Hey, but neither did they require ‘Song For My Lady’, the arduously phlegmatic 12-minute album closer which arrived replete with mega-string sections, Michel La Grande pianos, Moody Blues /Focus flute solos and not a six-string razor in sight. Too Much was just not enough, and they split soon after the album was released…
Yet another Japanese hard rock band with their only one album. It opens with monstrous “Grease It Out” with typical Sabbath’s riff and vocal style (but not with such voice) “like Plant”. The second track is so funny – “Love That Blinds Me” – free cover “Since I’ve Been Loving You” (begins with the words ““Working from early in the morning Till late at night everyday…”) with similar melody. But if not keep in mind this curiosity the rest of material is not bad – and tuff songs (“Love Is You ? Gonna Take You”) and power-ballads (“Reminiscence” ? “I Shall Be Released”). And the last composition that ends the album is brillant- a sympho-prog 12-minutes long “Song For My Lady (Now I Found)” with flute, acoustic and mellotron.
Juni Rush also released a 7″ single “Together” with b-side “She Is My lady” which produced by Miki Curtis of Samurai band fame (Mushroom Records – CD-147-Z. Picture Sleeve).
On bass guitar Mr. Curtis used Alan Merrill (future Vodka Collins founding member) and Yuji Harada (Samurai/PYG) on drums on both tracks as a rhythm section. The 45 rpm single was released on Kuni Murai’s new label Mushroom records, and they were distributed by Denon-Columbia. This is a freakingly rare single only release by former Helpful Soul and Too Much front man Juni Rush before he sunk away in a deep abyss of alcohol and drug abuse, eventually resulting in him living on the streets. It hardly ever turns up for sale and if so it is usually in the $100’s (extract from tiliqua records).

Tahsin Ünlü

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