Tom Smith on another band with an unfortunate name
Right, before we go any further allow me to clear up that name. Porno Graffitti (or just Porno for short – don’t google it) are a hugely popular rock duo influenced by 1990s American glam group Extreme, who themselves were inspired by the likes of Van Halen, Queen and Aerosmith. Extreme’s second album Extreme II: Pornograffitti (A Funked Up Fairy Tale) was released in 1990 – along with the single Get The Funk Out, which briefly flirted with the UK charts – and although it didn’t do too well at home in the States, it managed to catch some attention overseas. Not least Japan, where Extreme would later conduct a brief Japan-only comeback tour. The album clearly had an impact on the soon-to-be Porno Graffitti twosome, too.
You’d never guess Porno Graffitti were influenced by Extreme. Their debut single ‘Apollo’, released in 1999, was typical of the J-rock released in that era, not sounding out of place besides GLAY, B’z and Mr.Children – there was none of the sleaze (or lycra!) associated with glam.
Catchy pop songs with a rocking guitar hook are also a good combination for anime. It didn’t take long for some company exec to realise they might be on to a winner by marrying the two. As such, Porno’s second single ‘Hitori no Yoru’ became the second closing theme to GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka, beginning a long affair with tie-in singles.
Anime fans would have to wait another three years for the group to return to the world of animation though, but the wait was worth it; ‘Melissa’, their 12th single became the very first opening (and closing!) song for a series called Fullmetal Alchemist. Suddenly Porno Graffitti music went global.
They’d later have another anime hit, this time with Bleach. The third movie Fade to Black placed Porno track ‘Koyoi, Tsuki wa Miesu tomo’ as its closing theme, once again propelling the band to anime fans across the globe. It proved popular, so much so that the band returned to Bleach for a second time with ‘Anima Rossa’ becoming the series’ 11th opening, and found on the franchise’s latest boxset from Manga Entertainment; Series 12 Part 2.
More recently they experienced success with the live action film Ace Attorney, based on popular (Objection!) video game series Phoenix Wright. Their 35th single ‘2012Spark’ was used as the film’s theme song.
Now celebrating their 15 years in music, Porno Graffitti has just released their 15th anniversary album ‘ALL TIME SINGLES’, a massive four CD behemoth of an album collating their vast singles catalogue that also includes their latest singles from this year. Unfortunately, this and the rest of their releases remain unavailable in the UK.
Bleach Series 12 Part 2 – Zanpakuto, featuring Porno Graffitti’s ‘Anima Rossa’ as its opening, is out 9 December on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.