Shonen Knife, written in Japanese as 少年ナイフ, which transliterates as Shōnen Naifu, literally “Boy Knife,” is an all-female Japanese pop-punk band formed in Osaka, Japan, in 1981.
Heavily influenced by 1960s girl groups, pop bands, The Beach Boys, and early punk rock bands, such as the Ramones, the trio crafts stripped-down songs expressing infectious melodies and simplistic, exuberant lyrics sung both in Japanese and English.
Theoretically, any band that writes songs with lyrics such as “Banana chips for you!/Banana chips for me!/ In the afternoon, banana chips and tea” should have a life span no longer than that of a grasshopper. But something oddly spellbinding occurs when deceivingly silly lyrics are sandwiched between a buoyant guitar and a rapid-fire, pop-punk drum kit. Which perhaps explains why the Japanese female alternative rock /pop punk trio Shonen Knife is still singing songs about cookies, sushi, jelly beans, and, of course, banana chips, nearly 25 years after its inception. - The Boston Globe
The trio performed with Fugazi at the Sun Hall in Shinsaibashi, Osaka on November 14. It was in 1991 that Shonen Knife came to find their biggest fan in the form of Kurt Cobain. Cobain had seen them play in LA and had come to deeply enjoy their music:
“When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a hysterical nine-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.”
Nirvana asked Shonen Knife to serve as their opening act for their UK tour, just prior to the release of their breakthrough album, Nevermind. Yamano later admitted that when Cobain asked them to open for his band, they had no idea what Nirvana was. “So I went to a record store, and I bought their CD. And when I saw their photograph, I thought they might be scary persons, because their hairstyles and their clothes were very grunge. But once the tour had started, I noticed that all the members were nice, good persons. And because this was our first experience of a long tour, the drummer Dave [Grohl] helped us with setting up the drum kit.”