Soundtrack Review – Sonic Generations: Blue Blur & Anniversary Releases

Soundtrack collectors have had their pockets rinsed dry over the last year with the release of a whole plethora of Sonic albums to sate the appetites of those looking for the sounds of the old and new.

Continue reading Soundtrack Review – Sonic Generations: Blue Blur & Anniversary Releases

Crush 40 Currently Working on New Songs

Last year saw Crush 40 release a one-off single Song of Hope dedicated to the Japanese Tsunami disaster victims, which was the first new non-Sonic themed track since those that featured on  Super Sonic Songs back in 2009. Many fans have been keen to see Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli team up once more in order to produce a full-blown Crush 40 album, the likes of which have not been seen since their self-titled album back in 2003 (which was a re-working of their album Thrill of the Feel from way back in 2000 when they went by the name ‘Sons of Angels’).

However, it looks increasingly like a new Crush 40 album may be in the works, with Senoue posting a teasing image on facebook and twitter with the statement:

“Just want to let you know the name of the songs we are currently working on. Yes, new Crush 40 songs! “

The new tracks look set to be titled Rise Again, One of Those Days, and Sonic Youth – the latter appears to give a nod to the Sonic Adventure title tracks, with the opening verses of “I’ve opened my heart, I’ve lived and learned”.

Hopefully we will have more information on any potential future releases very soon!

Crush 40 “Song of Hope” Single Now Available on iTunes

From today, you can now download Crush 40‘s latest track “Song of Hope” which is dedicated to the victims and affected families of the mega-earthquake and tsunami which devestated parts of Japan’s east coast earlier this year. The track is now available on iTunes and can be downloaded for a meagre 79p ($0.99).

If you were unable or could not afford to pick up the Best of Crush 40 album “Super Sonic Songs” , the entire album is also now available to download electronically for £7.99 – less than half the price of buying the physical copy.

Link to download “Song of Hope” single from iTunes

Link to download “Super Sonic Songs” – Best of Crush 40 from iTunes

 

Sonic CD 20th Anniversary Soundtrack Hitting in November

Well this is a surprise – continuing the trend for Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack re-releases in Japan, it has been confirmed that Sonic CD will also be getting the 20th Anniversary OST treatment.

It follows the re-release of Sonic Adventure Digi-Log Conversation, multi-dimensional: Sonic Adventure 2 Original Soundtrack and the Sonic Heroes Complete Trinity soundtrack earlier this year.

The difference here is that Sonic CD was never officially graced with an OST release. The closest anyone came was Alfa Music’s Sonic the Hedgehog REMIX in 1994. Which isn’t really an original soundtrack at all. And also, super rare.

Naturally, the reason for the OST is the incoming launch of Sonic CD on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. It will be released in Japanese music stores on the 23rd November for ¥2,400 (about £20), and will feature brand new artwork and the Crush 40 cover of Sonic Boom first heard at SEGA of America’s anniversary celebration in Los Angeles. HMV Japan has more information on the CD… in Japanese.

CDJapan are offering preorders at the same price of ¥2,400, and ship internationally. You will, however, have to deal with shipping costs and potential import duties.

Crush 40 Live in Japan – “What I’m Made Of” Full Video


Another video from Crush 40’s shows in Japan has been posted online from the Crush40 official youtube channel, this time it’s the climactic track from Sonic Heroes “What I’m Made Of”.

If you didn’t catch the full version of Live and Learn, you can also check this out on the Crush 40 youtube channel as well!

Videos From Japan: Crush 40 Live In Tokyo

For those not in the know, Crush 40 have been playing a couple of gigs in Tokyo the past few nights to two delighted crowds, where the band played a whole host of Crush 40 hits from the past decade and beyond; event goers were even treated to some classic Hardline tracks including Hot Cherie. The two shows are the first Crush 40 live performances to have a full ensemble including Takeshi Taneda on bass and Toru Kawamura on drums.

Only a few videos have cropped up so far, but the one above is of high audio and visual quality – let’s hope more pop up in the future!

So now that Crush 40 have rocked Japan…who would be up for some gigs in the west? Let us know in the comments where you’d like to see Crush 40 play in the future!

Sonic Boom: Behind the Scenes

One of the most frequent questions we get asked every year is whether or not Summer of Sonic would ever be held in the United States, but due to many reasons “SoSUS” never come to fruition. Unsurprisingly though there has been a huge demand for a Sonic convention state-side, and it was really only a matter of time before one materialised.

With the Sonic’s 20th anniversary around the corner, SEGA of America spearheaded plans to create their own official convention, the appropriately named Sonic Boom. Aaron Webber, the newly appointed Sonic Brand Manager took on the role of chief coordinator for Sonic Boom and got in touch with Dreadknux and myself a few weeks back, and cordially invited us both to the event.

We didn’t need to be asked twice!

The convention had been carefully timed to coincide with the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles’ downtown convention centre venue. Sonic Boom was scheduled to take place in the moody and ambient environment of Club Nokia, a versatile bar come night club within walking distance of E3; a perfect site to celebrate twenty years of Sonic the Hedgehog.

I arrived at the venue early in the afternoon with Aaron, and before we’d even made our way upstairs we were greeted by fans queuing outside Club Nokia; some of them had been camped out since 6am that morning in order to score a place inside the venue as they had not been able to acquire a ticket. If that’s not dedication, I really don’t know what is! Kellie and Julian from the American community team (who you will know from the Free Stuff Friday videos!) were running around upstairs in the venue coordinating the setup of stands, pods and making sure everything was in place – a familiar scene to anyone who has been involved in the organisation of Summer of Sonic!

Even more familiar faces were up on stage as Jun Senoue, Johnny Gioeli and Alex Makhlouf (from Cash Cash, the band involved with the Sonic Colors soundtrack) were performing a dry run of the tracks they were going to be playing later on that evening. After a warm reunion with the guys I sat back to take some snaps and enjoy the privileged position of being an invited guest backstage at an event. I must have looked pretty dumb, but nevertheless I could not get rid of the huge grin on my face as the guys blistered through their fresh new set list, which included a brand new version of Sonic CD’s “Sonic Boom” and Sonic R’s “Super Sonic Racing”. What’s more, Alex’s accompaniment on synthesiser added another layer of ecstasy to the already monstrous set, and took the lead on the funky fresh new version of “Escape from the City” which will be gracing the in-game soundtrack for Sonic Generations!

I got an opportunity to briefly catch up with Johnny after rehearsals, and as always was up for a bit of laugh, as you can see from the picture (although I don’t think SEGA will be taking him on as their new mascot – stick to your day job, Johnny!). Another act rehearsing on stage before the doors opened was the cast of Needlemouse the musical. American fans will remember this bunch as the winners of the 19th anniversary competition last year, and were the lucky recipients of a trip to Japan to play Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode One. These guys were fantastic and incredibly animated on stage, so much so most of us assisting set up had to pause to watch and laugh at the jokes they were cracking. AJ and the bunch came to talk to me after their run-through, and were even kind enough to let me have my picture taken with them – an absolutely great bunch of guys and gals and well-deserving of the incredible ovation they received later in the evening (watch their performance here!).

By 5 o’clock the venue was taking shape, with the merchandise stands set up (each entrant received a Sonic hat, a special edition Sonic Generations T-Shirt and badge set) and nearly twenty gaming stations were primed and ready to give the throng of rabid Sonic fans outside a chance to play the demo of Sonic Generations. A number of photo booths had also been established to allow fans to record photographic postcards and video messages for Sonic’s birthday (you can check out Aaron and my postcard here, Dread’s postcard here and Yuji Naka’s here). Outside a huge queue of fans had formed, eagerly awaiting entry into the venue. Aaron and I went outside to rattle the crowd up a bit, and got to shake the hands of a few fans that had recognised Aaron and me.

At 6 o’clock sharp the doors opened and the mass of fans piled in. I took a brief trip upstairs to the VIP lounge, where the likes of Iizuka-san, Oshima-san and Naka-san were meeting other industry members at an exclusive VIP event. Unfortunately I was not introduced to Naka-san, but I was reintroduced to Iizuka-san, who smiled courteously as we had already met that week! Dreadknux appeared at the venue after his busy day at E3 (and was fashionably late as always!) and we proceeded downstairs to the main event floor.

A heap of guys came to greet Dread and I (there are far too many of you to mention!) and it really made our day – so if you came up and said hi, thanks loads; it really a pleasure to meet you all! TSS staffer, Sonic Retro writer and Sonic Show star Brad Flick was down on the time trial competition station hastily jotting down top scores on Green Hill Zone – you will have to keep an eye out for some hilarious pictures of Brad and Dreadknux in their bronik poses! Similarly to Summer of Sonic, there were a massive variety of cosplayers at the event too, including SSMB’s own mikeblastdude who came in an awesome Metal Sonic getup, and an excellent Charmy the Bee cosplayer. We also caught up with Scarred Sun from Retro and Shayne representing TSSZ news. I’ve never met either in reality before so we got to have a good chinwag and posed for a few photos for posterity – both are fantastic people and I certainly hope we get to all meet again in the near future.

Aaron appeared on stage to welcome all of the guests to Sonic Boom, and it wasn’t long before Jun, Johnny and Alex were on stage blowing the socks off all those in attendance. A lucky few spotted Naka-san on the event floor and managed to grab his autograph and a photo before he disappeared backstage once more. Jun, not one for passing up the opportunity to meet fans, came down off stage with the legendary Sonic guitar to sign autos and pose for pictures with a handful of fortunate fans.

Following Needlemouse: the Musical, the best of the cosplayers were invited on stage to participate in the cosplay contest, and Iizuka-san, Miyamoto-san and Senoue-san were all invited up to wish Sonic a happy birthday and to sing him a happy birthday song…and of course, Sonic was present too, along with his birthday cake! It wasn’t long before Dread and I found ourselves up on stage, telling the Los Angeles crowd all about Summer of Sonic. I had been really nervous beforehand about how the crowd would receive us on stage (especially considering the acts we were following!) but the audience were really receptive, and cheered us on – thank you all for letting us talk to you briefly, and hopefully we’ve enticed some of you to come to Summer of Sonic!

Naka-san and Miyamoto-san, along with Oshima-san joined the cast on stage at the end of the show once again and were presented with the graffiti artist’s drawing of classic and modern Sonic which had been created over the course of the evening. I’m sure most will agree the evening past all too quickly, and before long it was time to close up the evenings proceedings.

Dread and I pitched in to assist with the clean up, and ended up collapsing in the dressing room to have a chin-wag with Alex (who is also a massive Sonic nerd by the way!) After moving a precious cargo of guitars, we emerged on the street next to the Nokia theatre and ran into our good friend Richard Jacques, who was just as surprised to see us as we were to see him! Exhausted, we crashed for a few drinks at a local bar as well as a few last photographs of the day, and toasted the success of Sonic Boom.

I’d like to end by applauding the fantastic job Aaron and the team at SoA did putting together an event of this magnitude in such a short period of time, and all those involved in the stage entertainment over the course of the evening. America has now had a taste of a Sonic convention, and I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear of Sonic Boom. I’d also like to thank Aaron on behalf of Dread and myself for sponsoring our trip to Sonic Boom; I’m sure I also speak for both of us by saying we are both honoured and flattered to have been considered during the creation of this event to represent Summer of Sonic; we’ve had the time of our lives, and I’m sure I speak for hundreds of other fans when I say…

SONIC BOOM ROCKS!!!

Details of Sonic Adventure 2 Anniversary Soundtrack Release

With the Sonic Adventure soundtrack released only a few weeks ago, details of the second anniversary soundtrack installment are now coming to light.

Sonic Scene have obtained a high quality image of the soundtrack cover, along with the full track listing on the album. Many of you will be pleased to know the abridged 30-song tracklist is the cream of the crop, featuring themes of all of the main characters along with Escape from the City, Metal Harbour and Pumpkin Hill to mention a few.

The album will be released on the 22nd of June, and will be the modest price of ¥2,400 (£19/$30) as stated on the Japanese Sonic 20th Anniversary page.

Thanks to Woun for the heads up!

New Crush 40 Live in Tokyo Concert Dates

Concert venue Guilty has revealed on their website that the Crush 40 Live in Tokyo 2011 concert, which was delayed due to the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Tokyo, will now take place on Saturday July 30th and Sunday July 31st. Crush 40 hasn’t announced anything via their website, Twitter or Facebook, but we expect they will soon.

Source: Guilty (via Sonic Scene)

Thanks to Woun for the heads up!

Crush 40 Japan Concerts Postponed Until Summer

Due to the current circumstances surrounding the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that has lead to the humanitarian distaster in Japan, Crush 40 have cancelled their two conert dates, which were set to go ahead on Saturday, 2nd of April and Sunday, 3rd of April in Tokyo and Osaka. I’ve been in touch with both Jonny Gioeli and Jun Senoue this week, and after careful consideration they have decided this is the most appropriate action to take at this time.

Wavemaster Entertainment and Crush 40 extend their sympathies to all of those affected by the events in the north east of Japan, and apologise to all of those who had bought tickets to the two sold-out shows.You can read the official statement on the Wavemaster Crush 40 Concert page.

We will keep you updated here at the Sonic Stadium when dates for the rescheduling of these dates is due.

Sonic Adventure Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition To Be Released

Quick on the heels of news that SEGA and Wavemaster Entertainment have things in the pipeline for Sonic’s 20th Birthday celebrations, a number of websites across the internet have already begun advertising a Sonic Adventure Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition album.

Those who have been despirate to own  a copy of this seminal soundtrack will be pleased, as the original Sonic Adventure “Digi-LOG Conversation” CD double album has been out of print for many years, and now fetches in excess of $150 on ebay auctions.

The album is tipped for a April 20th release this year in Japan, at the rather modest price of ¥2,400 ($30/£20). Those with keen eyes may have noticed this is currently tipped as a single CD release, and as no track list is available at present it is unknown what portion of the entire soundtrack will be included, along with any possibilities of remixed or reworked material.

Relieved you can now get an official copy of the soundtrack? Let us known in the comments section!

Props to Woun on SSMB and SoA at JunSenoue.com for the heads up!

Sonic 20th Anniversary Music: Gigs And Albums To Come

A double whammy of music updates today!

First off, tickets for the Crush 40 Live In Tokyo gigs will be on sale tomorrow from 10am Japanese time (2am GMT). The band, consisting of Jun Senoue, Johnny Gioeli and the first live appearance of bassist Takeshi Taneda, will be playing two dates at the GUILTY LIVE STAGE on the 2nd and 3rd of April and will be playing a host of classic Crush 40 tracks…and possibly some surprises too! You can follow this link to the Japanese Wavemaster Site to book your tickets should you be lucky enough to live nearby! Tickets are priced at ¥5,500.

Secondly, it looks like the Wavemaster, the record label on which the majority of Sonic the hedgehog soundtracks are now released under, are gearing up for some serious 20th anniversary releases with a placeholder page now online. Although nothing has been announced yet, it is likely fans will be able to snap up some nifty OST releases this year!

Stay tuned for more details in the future!

Summer of Sonic Merchandise Suggestions Box Open

Fellow merch-hogs like myself love our Sonic themed merchandise, and Summer of Sonic has over the past few years been the source of exclusive items both sold and given away, including archie comic page originals, Crush 40 merchandise and goodie-bags. But from what we have heard from you guys is that you can’t get enough – we couldn’t believe how fast we were wiped out of nearly all of our merchandise this year!

So, we want to hear what you guys want to see at Summer of Sonic next year! But please guys, realistic ideas are much more helpful! In order to submit your ideas, head over to the Summer of Sonic website and let Mr. AAUK know!

Listen to Sample of Crush 40’s Cover of Free @ JunSenoue.com

Ok, ok, bad puns aside – if you want to hear a small clip of Crush 40‘s version of “Free”, the title track to Sonic Free Riders, pop over and see our friends at JunSenoue.com and have a little goosey. Its very good.

Follow the link to have a listen!

The track will be available on the Sonic Free Riders Album, “Break Free”, due for release on the 8th of December 2010, for the handsome sum of ¥1800.

Sonic Free Riders Soundtrack “Break Free” Confirmed for December

Beating the Sonic Colors soundtrack to its release is the official Sonic Free Riders Soundtrack, Break Free, which will be hitting Japanese shelves on the 8th of December.  Standing at a modest 12 tracks long, the soundtrack will also feature unsurprisingly a cover of the main theme tune to Sonic Free Riders, “Free”, performed by Crush 40, as well as the original version performed by Chris Madlin.

For a full track listing, head to the Video Game Music Database.

If you’ve got a spare ¥1800 and you’re mad on your Sonic music, you’ll want to ask for this in your stocking this christmas!

If you’re like Bob Cratchit, and are too poor to purchase a copy this year, tune in to T-TIME on Sunday the 5th of December during Project 24 on SEGASonic:Radio (4:00PM GMT), to be in for an opportunity to win yourself a copy of the soundtrack (along with loads of other goodies!).

What Happened to Getting Crush 40 on the Rock Band Network?

For those of you in attendance at Summer of Sonic this year, you’ll all remember the first question I posed to Jun in the Q&A session regarded Crush 40 songs on Rock Band Network. Some of you may also remember a little while ago that Ozone Entertainment had mentioned via many sources that they would be bringing a selection of classic Crush 40 tracks to RBN. You will probably also remember that after these announcements were made we heard nothing more.

Now, in an article by the Examiner.com, Owen Douglass, owner of Ozone, speaks about about what happened. According to Douglass, things had been going well with the organisation and he was in contact with Jun Senoue; three tracks had been chosen (Live & Learn, Open Your Heart and Knight of the Wind). Apparently a snag had been hit when it came to distribution rights, as these are owned by Wavemaster entertainment. In the wake of this, several comments were made on Douglass’ Twitter regarding unprofessionalism on Sega and Senoue’s behalf, with the comment that “Sega has their heads up their asses.”

Douglass claims that these comments were made due to a complete cut-off in communication with SEGA and Senoue, and that he was frustrated in the fact that so many fans were requesting Crush 40 tracks for RBN, and there was nothing he could do about it.

“No, I really don’t (feel that I mishandled the situation). When you disrespectfully leave a potential business partner who is trying to benefit you more than themselves (they wanted all the profits from the sales of the tracks, I wouldn’t have made a single penny) waiting for half a year with no explanation or contact at all, I believe I have the right to be ticked off. It was at the half year mark I publicly gave up on them. The reason I held on for the second half of the year was because of the fans. They wanted the music in the game, I didn’t care anymore. I had ill feelings about Sega and all involved, but I’d swallow it for the sake of getting the deal done.

Yeah, in a previous article you quoted me saying that Sega has ‘their heads up their asses.’ I stand behind that statement 100%. That’s how I feel, and if it hurt the feelings of a multi-billion dollar company, that’s their fault for making business choices based on that. I will always put my personal feelings aside for the sake of making deals to give the public what they want. That’s the only reason I’ve still tried to get the situation figured out all this time. And it’s why I’m relieved this is over and now off my shoulders. Now I can go and work with people who actually care about what we’re working on.”

It also transpires that since then Douglass’ statements SEGA have made it clear that they have no interest in working with Douglass or Ozone after these comments, to which Douglass responded:

“And now finally they claim they were hurt by what I said and don’t want to work with me. Which is great, because the feeling is mutual. They wasted my time, and I feel they just don’t care what the public wants. Why do you think they haven’t made the a good Sonic game in over a decade, despite their very vocal fanbase continually laying out a near-perfect blueprint? I don’t know, that’s just my opinion. I bet I’ll get another email from them. Or maybe a letter soaked with their tears. But probably not, since I’m not even worth 2 seconds of their time.”

Douglass released this final statement after the publishing of the examiner.com article:

Over the past couple days there’s been a whirl of controversy that surrounded Ozone Entertainment. It stems from an article in which I was quoted giving out details regarding contacting an artist for involvement in the Rock Band Network. I would prefer not to link to it here, but I would like to address this here.

Ozone Entertainment has never used conventional methods in our operations. As you may know, I am very open regarding what I do to the public. This is because I believe this builds trust between the consumers and the company, and eliminates any fears of shady practices and deceit.

Unfortunately, a year-long frustration on my part directed my answers to the questions posed in the article. Looking back, I may have crossed some lines and I apolgize to Martin [webmaster of junsenoue.com – T] and Jun personally. I did not intend to offend you personally by any comments made.

However, I do not take back the main focus of the article. The situation was handled poorly with a lack of communication and I knew this partnership would not work out six months ago. I never signed a non-disclosure agreement when entering talks, so I believe there is nothing wrong with sharing any details now that the deal is officially closed.

I have also received comments personally attacking me. To those people, that is your opinion and I respect your right to say it. Just know that even if I am a horrible as you make me out to be, I will continue to attempt to entertain you and provide people with quality products and services to the best of my ability. If I fail, as I have done here and likely will again many more times, I will simply get up and try again.

Thank you very much for your time, and I hope you guys continue to enjoy at least some of the things Ozone Entertainment produces.

So, although it looks like there won’t be any Crush 40 tracks released through Ozone, it does not rule out the possibility that there may be tracks released on the Rock Band Network sometime in the future through another publisher.

To read the full article on the examiner.com follow this link.

If you didn’t catch the Q&A session at Summer of Sonic, watch it here!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgDlssQs0WM

So, do you have an opinion on these matters? Sound off in the comments section!

Pictures from Summer of Sonic 2010

Welcome to my pictorial roundup of Summer of Sonic 2010! Here are a collection of photos from the day, taken by my sister, who was there as official Summer of Sonic photographer (do go check out her website!) If you stopped and posed for a photo thank you; being busy on stage meant I didn’t get an opportunity to take photos for myself, so these are all fantastic captured moments of what was a fantastic day for all.

Over breakfast the day before, Johnny Gioeli leaned over the table and asked me how many people were coming to this little shindig he would be performing at tomorrow. I proceeded to explain that we were expecting between eight-hundred and a thousand people to show up, travelling from all corners of the world, and he was simply staggered. Although I knew the numbers myself, the reality of it all didn’t sink in until the countdown began on stage, and looked down onto the vast throng of people. It still seems like another lifetime to me when Dreaknux, AAUK and myself were huddled around a little table in a Nottingham café fantasising about the prospect of a Sonic convention, yet not four years later we have accomplished a third successful Sonic event.

First off I want to thank all of you guys; you all showed up for starters, supported the event, and behaved impeccably. I didn’t hear one complaint on the day that you had to wait an extra half an hour outside of the venue (an unfortunate setback because of the thefts of electronics), You all waited patiently in queues for Sonic 4, Sonic Colours and the Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing tournament, in some cases for over an hour. Although we managed to get over twelve pods on the day, more than twice the number we had last year, we could have done with more – the popularity of the games available was incredible! I also didn’t hear one moan about the heat during the Crush 40 performance either, even from those of you who aren’t used to attending hot and sweaty rock gigs; everyone was far too busy enjoying the rare opportunity to watch Jun and Johnny perform live. I also want to thank you all for treating our guests with respect and politeness throughout the day.

Although I was pretty much running from point to point for the entirety of the event, what really made my day was the brief pauses I had in between my dashes, chatting to you guys. Even if it was only for a few minutes it was awesome to catch up with you lot, have my photo taken with you…or even signing things! I had a few minutes to catch up with Aaron “RubyEclipse” Webber, the community manager at SEGA of America, who is a fantastic and pleasant fellow, and is probably just as busy when he’s away from his (now Green Hill Zone themed!) desk. It was also marvellous to catch up with folks from the SSMB, Junsenoue.com, SonicWrecks.com, NiGHTSintoDreams.com and EmeraldCoast.co.uk amongst many sites, and to finally put some names to faces! Thanks to everyone who has sent the staff and I a thank you via PM, email or facebook, and a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who bought me a drink or a bottle of my favourite poison – my whiskey cabinet is now well stocked!

I want to also convey my heartfelt thanks to our guests Nigel Dobbyn, Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli. For starters these guys are incredibly busy folk, and yet they took time out to come along and perform, draw, talk and sign items for you, for free. I’m always stunned that at the end of every event our guests always ask if they can come back next year, sometimes with their kids because they love coming out to meet you lot, and because the atmosphere is always so friendly. A huge cheer for the guys and gals at Archie Comics and First4Figures too for their extremely kind donation of literally hundreds of comics and action figures! I must also extend my thanks to Richard Elson of STC fame for donating some fantastic artwork to give away as well – all very much appreciated!

I think I speak for the majority of attendees when I say the Crush 40 performance totally blew everyone away. Organising all of the pieces that went towards creating the performance involved many sleepless nights on my behalf – I had nightmares of cabs blowing and microphones failing, but yet in the end it all came together miraculously. I give my infinite gratitude to AAUK, Dreadknux, Jun Senoue and SEGA for assisting me in putting it all together. I don’t think even in my wildest dreams I’d ever imagined introducing Crush 40 on stage…so Summer of Sonic really has become a place in which even my dreams have become reality.

Before I conclude, I think thanks are in order to all the members of staff this year, some of whom have, for a third year running, have given up their time to provide a fun-filled day for everyone. Not only that, some of these folks have donated substantial quantities of money towards the running of these events, and so I’d like to end with a few words of thanks to a few of them:

The DJs; FastFeet, Turbo, BlitzChris and Gavvie: The boys kept the turntables hot all day. This was the first year I haven’t commanded the DJ booth, so I tip my hat to Mr. Graham “FastFeet” Seward who took up the reigns and kept the wheels turning, and who also provided a spot-on job with backing tracks for Jun and Johnny’s performances – simply amazing dude.

The Store Staff: Flyboy, WayPastCool, Speedknux, Char & Nemain – My NiGHTS in shining armour! These guys manned the stores selling all those of wonderful bits of merchandise that no doubt grace many of your shelves and wardrobes. From Jun, Johnny, Tracey Yardley and myself, thank you all so much! A special thanks to Nemain who is probably the person responsible for propping me up the past few months!

The Tech Guys: B’man, Discoponies & Roareye – Even with a massive blow to their arsenal with the theft of equipment the night before, they provided excellent on stage support with feeds and visual magic for the third year running. I honestly don’t think there are any limits to what these guys can achieve on the day!

The Doors and the Games: Urtheart, Vger, Jay Zeach, Shadzter & Blake Draco – The ever present Urtheart once again resided over the doors flanked by his cronies, allowing us all to have another safe day at Summer of Sonic, while Shadz and Blake both kept the crowds moving on the pods. Cheers guys!

Sonic the Hedgehog: He always shows up year in year out with no complaint. And year in year out SonicYoda is nowhere to be seen…we thank him for staying in touch with him and getting him along every year!

…and the Rest: SoA, bcdcdude, Iceman, Rachael, ENVY, Gnasher & SonicMark – I still maintain Iceman is the coolest bloke on the Earth, doubly so as he jumped in when the going got tough and was a huge help setting up the day before. I also tip my hat to the dudes from junsenoue.com who also pitched in, especially in bringing me much needed sustenance in the form of a cheese burger. Rach was also running around much like my sis taking loads of snaps during the day as well. ENVY is the very tallented young chap who provided the fantastic art for the Buzzbombers quiz, and Gnasher for once again running the show. SonicMark has become affectionately known as my caddy as he ends up lugging my stuff around – I just need to find him an appropriate hat. Thanks loads fellas, you all helped make my life easier throughout the organisation of the event.

The Dynamic Duo: AAUK & Dreadknux – Let’s face it, Summer of Sonic only happens because these two guys have the drive to propel it forward. Kevin has once again gone so far beyond the call of duty that we’ve had to send out a search party for him. Svend somehow manages to coordinate a fantastic website every year and continues to be our shining standard bearer. Even though this event is nothing short of an organisational nightmare, they keep coming back year after year to entertain you lot, and I hope your remember that.

So, Summer of Sonic is done for another year, but we’ve already got a date in our diaries for 2011 (25th of June, folks!). Who knows what will be going down on the day, but with it Sonic’s 20th birthday racing towards us, anything could happen!

Thank you all for an awesome SoS ’10.

T

Ask YOUR Crush 40 Questions At Summer of Sonic!

I know many of you “Crushers” out there can’t make it to Summer of Sonic this year, and that some of you have burning questions to ask Jun and Johnny…well, here’s your opportunity! During the Q&A session that we’ll have in the afternoon, I’m giving you all an opportunity to have your questions put to the dynamic duo!

Due to the limited time we have on stage to ask questions, and because we’ll also have questions being pitched by the crowd on the day, I will only be able to ask a selection of questions – so make your questions interesting and unique to increase their chances of being asked!

If you have a question you would like to be asked, please send them in an email entitled “Crush 40 Questions”, to tbird [at] sonicstadium.org. I’ll see if i can rustle up some C40 goodies for what I think is the best question as well!

Please submit all your questions by Thursday at 9:00am BST, so I have sufficient time to prepare them.

Crush 40 Merchandise Available at Summer of Sonic

Those of you fortunate enough to be attending the Summer of Sonic this year will be the first to be able to get their hands on some Official Crush 40 merchandise! As well as a selection of  T-Shirts, there will also be badges and guitar picks available for purchase!

Not only that, there will be a whole host of other Sonic the hedgehog related merchandise including plush toys and comics up for grabs – stocks will be strictly limited though, so if you want to snag yourself some bits and pieces, better do it early on the day!

You’d better bring your pennies with you!

EDIT: All C40 merchandise prices TBC

EDIT 2: I’ve also just been informed by Jun there will also be a selection of CDs available for purchase as well!

Live Acoustic Performance from Jun Senoue at Summer of Sonic

Because AAUK won’t have already stuffed enough goodies into your free bag of goodnesss upon entry, and because you’ll not know whether you want to play Sonic 4 or Sonic Colours first, we know Summer of Sonic is going to be exhausting, what with all this excitement.

So, if you’re already nackered by the afternoon then don’t worry – you’ll be able to sit down, relax, and not miss out on any of the action, as there is a treat in store for you Summer of Sonic attendees! If you’re around the stage in the afternoon, you’ll have an opportunity to mellow out in the presence of Jun Senoue, who will be playing a selection of acoustic tracks from the Sonic the Hedgehog universe.

What will Jun play? I’m not going to tell you…it’s a surprise!

If you haven’t already registered for a ticket, I suggest you do so today – with over 700 guests already attending, you’ll want to get your skates on to avoid missing out!

CONFIRMED: CRUSH 40 To Attend Summer of Sonic

It’s time to go crazy kids!

It is our utmost pleasure to announce that the Summer of Sonic will play host to the legendary rock group CRUSH 40 at this years’ convention!

Both Johnny Gioeli and Jun Senoue will be joining our already incredible roster for the day, and you, the fans will have the rare opportunity to come along and meet the band members!

Johnny Gioeli is no stranger to the world of rock, and has blown away audiences for nearly twenty years with his incredible vocals, fronting acts such as Hardline and Axel Rudi Pell. Teaming up with Jun Senoue to form Sons of Angels, they later became Crush 40. Gioeli’s powering voice has become synonymous, with a huge number of Sonic the Hedgehog title tracks including Open Your Heart (Sonic Adventure), Live & Learn (Sonic Adventure 2) and I Am…All Of Me (Shadow the Hedgehog).

Jun Senoue is one of the most influential composers in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe, having worked on Sonic titles as early as 1993. Sound directing some of the most prolific soundtracks to date including the Sonic Adventure series, Sonic Heroes and Sonic & the Black Knight to mention but a few, Senoue has become infamous for his musical direction as well as his musical prowess, with his trademark guitar work becoming the staple of countless Sonic the Hedgehog titles. Not only this, Senoue is the composer for the soon-to-be-released title Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. The double threat of Gioeli and Senoue as Crush 40 has literally redefined the music to Sonic the Hedgehog games as we know it.

Jun and Johnny will also be answering any questions you might have in a Crush 40 Q&A event on stage. They will also be available for a quick chat in the afternoon in a meet and greet session, where you can bring along your Crush 40 memorabilia to have signed!

Not only this, but we are delighted that Crush 40 will be treating Summer of Sonic fans to a very special Summer of Sonic Crush 40 performance on stage at the end of the show, playing a selection of fan-favourites that will rock you to your core!

You’re not going to want to miss this year’s convention…it truly will be way past cool!

The Sonic Stadium Soundtrack Squad Review: Crush 40 – The Works


Jun Senoue – The Works
by T-Bird

Released last November, “The Works” is as much a collection of Senoue’s best pieces , as it is a real celebration of some of the masterful work Jun has produced not only during his long reign working for SEGA, but with his many unique side-projects as well. What really puts this compilation on a pedestal over the similar releases last year (True Colours, Best of C40) was the quantity of material that wa previously unheard of on western shores. I think the first thing that becomes apparent with this album is the incredible range of talent Senoue has worked with over the years. I’m sure many would kill to have worked with the likes of Eric Martin (of Mr. Big) and Ted Poley (Danger Danger), as well as to have produced some memorable power anthems of this calibre in the process.

The album blasts off with three such fine examples including “American Dream”, “Sons of Angels” and “Batter Up!” which ooze that definitive Senoue guitar, thunderously supported in vocals by Martin. Again the frustrating matter for me regarding these these tracks is that  (particularly with the tracks taken from the Japanese Baseball  title Pro Team Yakyu wo Tsukuro! 2) there are more of these tracks out there that have not yet made it to print on any CD. As well as these examples of collaborative work, the album plays host to a selection of acoustic and instrumental pieces. What is most notable here particularly during the absence of guitar-heavy tunes is the sheer diversity of what Senoue can produce – from the gorgeously plinky-plonk piano piece in “Afternoon Tea”, to the ambience of “Dusk of the stadium”.

Although I don’t particularly judge this to be a negative, the album does not contain a large number of Sonic related tracks. Personally, this is refreshing considering the hardened music collector would find this simply a repetition of material they have heard time and again. Even in this case however, those tracks we have come to know and love have been totally revamped and reworked. “After the Adventure”, as the name insinuates is a reworking of material from Sonic Adventure, the emphasis here being the Station Square theme composed a-la 70’s lounge stylee. Not only this, “Cheerleaders A-Go-Go” mashes up Space Channel 5’s theme with the likes of “Open Your Heart” and (again as the name suggests) “Skydeck A-Go-Go” from Sonic Adventure to create an incandescent harmony of favourites.  If you were lucky enough to pick up the JXJ album a few years back, you’ll recognise “Where I want to be” , with Junko’s vocals replaced by Sweetnam. I must admit this is the only track I remain polarised on, as I think the English lyrics sound more forced than their Japanese counterparts.

There seems to be no loss of steam as you plough through the track listing, with the up-tempo Daytona USA and SEGA Rally tracks keeping the pace all the way through to the end, before ending on “My Own Destiny”, a beautiful mid-paced , ambling-lead finisher.

In my opinion this collection blows the winter 2009 competition out of the water, speaking purely from the standpoint of someone who has heard a lot of Senoue’s previous work. If you desire something more Sonic-filled, I’d suggest you might be better off going for a Sonic soundtrack, but if you’re half the Senoue fan I am, you’ll find it very hard to fault this near-perfect array of tunes. One can only hope there is more of this to come… [9]

EXTATICUS
From the AC/DC-influenced guitar licks of the stylish rock version of “The Star Spangled Banner” to the serene and sublime solos of “My Own Destiny”, The Works is yet another classy compilation from SEGA’s favourite – hell, everyone’s favourite – axe-wielding guitar god, Jun Senoue. Featuring a massive spectrum of styles and sounds, this awesome album will have even the most ardent and experienced rock fanatic slavering and salivating over its powerful melodies and captivating riffs; it truly is a wonderful display of what real rock should sound like, and is also a prime example of why the guitar (however non-mainstream it may be) remains a force to be reckoned with.

The Works is another work of genius from this guitar prodigy, and should be regarded as one of the best (if not THE best) SEGA-related compilations ever to have been produced. It’s a magnificent mix of styles and emotions and creates a first-rate blend of both calm and adrenaline-fuelled rock, whilst managing to retain all of its freshness and originality throughout the entirety of its highly enjoyable duration. Make no mistake: this is Japanese guitar-based music at its absolute finest; bereft of nigh-on nothing and filled to the absolute brim with truly timeless classics, The Works is an exceptionally excellent compilation that just “works” – it’s work that Jun should be well and truly proud of. Aside from the marginal (and, indeed, ignorable) low-point, The Works is – to be as blunt as possible – perfect. What else is there left to say? [10]

Thumbs Up!: The nigh-on orgasmic guitar solos in Dreams of an Absolution; as Admiral Ackbar would have said it: “Your ears can’t repel guitar-power of THAT magnitude!”
Thumbs Down: Hearing Where I Want to Be, and truly wanting to be somewhere else. God only knows what was going on in Senoue-San’s head when he ousted Junko Noda and replaced her with a sickly-sweet-sounding Miley Cyrus clone…
Killer Track: Open Your Heart

BLITZCHRIS
Jun Senoue. No matter how you pronounce his name, you have to respect all that he has done for Sonic. His latest solo album features some of that Sonic you love, but would be more accurately described as a pallet of his work over the years. From sports games (J League Pro Soccer) to driving simulators (Daytona USA), you’re likely to find a song on the disc from a genre close to your heart. Being a Sonic remix lover, “Cheerleaders A-Go-Go” and “After The Adventure” do stand out as two of my favourite tracks. The first is a remix of Space Channel 5 with the “Live & Learn” riff, which strangely grows on you, while “After The Adventure” is a relaxing, more acoustic sounding rendition of “It Doesn’t Matter”. The JS vs LB remix of “Dreams of an Absolution” is there too if you haven’t heard it on any of the other Sonic albums it was released on. Not being very familiar with the rest of the games, I found “Soul on Desert” to be the most exciting track on the album; it really does have a desert racing feel to it that is hard too describe.

I’ll agree it is not the dream album for every sonic fan, and probably not what most fans were expecting. It is however a solid album full of juicy guitar goodness, and any fans of Jun will enjoy it. The tracks do grow on you, so before you criticise, give the album a shot. Lastly – Jun, if you’re listening, we NEED an instrumental of Cheerleaders! [8]

Thumbs Up!: The first time listening to “Cheerleaders A-Go-Go” and wondering if I was going mental. Then squealing like a little girl when I realised the riff was intentional!
Thumbs Down:
I would have loved more representation from the Sonic franchise, you can never have enough remixes.
Killer Track: Soul on Desert

JEZMM:
Similar to Crush 40’s recent compilation, I found myself phasing in and out of this because a good deal of the songs are very similar in style. However at the same time, despite this there were still certain songs that really jumped out at me and I loved from start to finish. “Lift You Up!”“Road to Win” really reminded me of some of the stuff he came up with for SA2; really energetic and uplifting (as the name suggests!). also grabbed me with its almost magical and nostalgic quality to it, another fantastic cheerful track with some lovely piano work too. As another bonus to Sonic fans, there are neat lounge remixes of Station Square and It Doesn’t Matter within “After The Adventure”, and the surreal “Cheerleaders A-Go-Go” features a few sneaks of memorable Sonic tunes. I also found myself loving the short acoustic guitar instrumentals of “Afternoon Tea” and “British Rain”, and “My Own Destiny” was a brilliant ending.

Overall this is a fantastic album – there are just a few tracks I found so similar in vibe, a couple could have been cut for a more concise listening experience. Having said that, if you’re not familiar with where the songs came from, reaching track 11 and suddenly realising “hang on… the last 6 tracks were ALL about baseball” is certainly a unique experience to get from an album. [7]

Thumbs Up:
The fantastic selection that really shows off Jun’s versatility – from his classic rock stylings to relaxing acoustic and catchy techno mixes.
Thumbs Down: Track order can be a little uninspiring as an overall album experience, with many similar songs grouped together too.
Favourite Track: Lift You Up!/Road To Win (I can’t choose!)


A fantastic collection of pieces, including some wonderful reworkings of old classics and huge selection of new and unheard material. Don’t be put off by the lack of Sonic tunes if you are a Senoue fan!

The Works is still available for purchase from play-asia, and CD-Japan.

Got your own opinions on the album? Think we’ve got it all wrong? Let us know in the comments!

The Jun Senoue Interview – Part 3

My busy schedule (which has included scoping out potential locations for Summer of Sonic) has meant this has been heavily delayed, but here it is! The illusive final part of the Jun Senoue Interview! Because there were so many questions asked by the fans, Jun agreed to answer some more of the other frequently asked questions:

T-Bird: BlueHedgehog25 asks are you planning on having any Crush 40 or similar songs featuring on the Rock Band Network?

Jun: I’m hoping that we can have some Crush 40 songs on Rock Band in the near future.

T-Bird: Exciting! Sure the fans will be please to hear that! Waaurufu asks who was the designer of your Sonic the hedgehog guitar?

Jun: Yuji Uekawa Sonic Team illustrator and character designer provided me with the artwork. Hiroki Hayashi, one of the people who is in charge over at ESP guitars took care of the rest!

T-Bird: Here’s a good question from SuperStingray: Where did the name Crush 40 come from, and what happened to Crushes 1-39?

Jun: I picked the word “Crush” up because of my favorite soda drink and Johnny added “40” onto the end. You will have to ask Johnny about other numbers!

T-Bird: A less Sonical pair of questions now! Pelon13 asks what is your favourite food, and what is your favourite colour?

Jun: Mexican food is my favourite, but it is very hard to find really good Mexican restuarants in Japan. Talking about colors, my favorites are Red, Purple, Black.

T-Bird: Moving back to technical preferences, Kasey asks what your favourite guitar is and what amplifier set-up do you preferentially use?

Jun: I like the combination of ESP guitar with Schecter pick-ups and Soldano amplifier with Soldano or Bogner cabinets. I only have small ones from Bogner at this moment though. With regards to “Knight Of The Wind” on “The Best Of Crush 40 – Super Sonic Songs”, I tracked all backing guitars once again with Soldano amplifier and Soldano cabinet.

T-Bird: Gwiz210 wants to know if Bubblicious Blvd. are planning on recording an album or an EP in the near future?

Jun: Nope! Bubblicious Blvd. is not a serious project at all. We [Jun, Mike etc…] just try to have play any dates we can in our spare time at the moment. Jan. 9th was the first day we were introduced to each other and we played the gig without any rehearsals! We’ve only met twice since then back on February the 20th to rehearse and to play another show a day later on February 21st.

We have played just three times, two shows and one rehearsal!

T-Bird: With regards to that gig, how did it go?

Jun: Talking about the show on Feb. 21st, it went much better than 1st gig since we’ve learned the songs 🙂 I was really surprised that a singer I used to work with back in the early 90’s came to the show to say hi to me! We had a dinner the other day, discussed several things and we will have a show on May 16th in Shibuya, Tokyo. The band was not famous but we had some good memories!

We will have a show with my drummer and bass player this time but I hope all four members from that era can share the stage in the near future.

T-Bird: Sounds like a very busy schedule! Nozwhompolton asks are there any plans to give Blaze the cat a theme? If so, will it be similar to the Sir Percival theme or something different like the Vela-Nova track from Sonic Rush?

Jun: When I worked for “Sonic And The Black Knight”, I had a plan to make her theme song and yes, my idea was to make a full-length version of “Sir Percival Theme”. I could not make it for several reasons…. the main reason being the short instrumental I composed for “Sir Percival” was good enough for the scene, and we didn’t need the longer one for use elsewhere in the game.

And that’s all folks! Hopefully we will be speaking to Jun again in the summer with regards to the Sonic the Hedgehog 4 soundtrack…and maybe some other things too!

Crush 40 Fanclub Germany’s Button Giveaway

We love our friends in the Sonic community, and even more so if they cover the works of Sonic musical legend Jun Senoue. News has just hit us that for the first 50 members who register to the Official German Crush 40 Fanclub (which means its legit, yo), there’s a special badge up for grabs.

You can see a picture of the badge above. I’ve seen it myself, touched it with my own hands. It’s a nice little badge, don’t you think? If you want one of these, then register at the site and it may well be on its way to your house.

Then you can wear it with pride and be forever strengthened by the rock harmony of Jun and Johnny. Gang of thugs looking at you funny? No problem. Embrace the power of the badge and rock in their faces until they melt. It’d be like a Sonic themed version of Brutal Legend. Maybe.

Go to the damn site already! Schnell!

The Jun Senoue Interview – Part Two

9:00PM on Sunday, 7th of February 2010. Shibuya, Tokyo. Jun Senoue, Jeriaska from Gamasutra and myself have just enjoyed a couple of really good pizzas, and had finished discussing video game music as well as music remix projects (see my other post regarding the Game Music 4 All project!). Jun had answered my questions regarding Crush 40 and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, but thanks to you guys, I still had a heap of questions for him…

T-Bird: Ok Jun, I’ve got some questions from the fans here! First off is from ibbod0; how did you meet Johnny and the rest of Crush 40?

Jun: Wow, good question…actually, I was a huge fan of Hardline. Usually when I compose the songs and write the melody, I think about who would make a suitable singer for the song or a good singer for the melody or something like that. With the song “It Doesn’t Matter”, the original version for Sonic Adventure, it has a very high note-melody. When I was writing it I thought Tony Harnell would be the ideal singer, and in the end he performed on that song; this in now my way of composing. Talking about “Open Your Heart”, I had Johnny in mind, but I did not have any direct contact with him. Actually my friend who lives in Los Angeles knows Doug Aldrich [The guitarist for Whitesnake these days! – T] . For a short time Doug played in one of Johnny’s previous bands, Brunette, and I knew they still had a good relationship and that Johnny had appeared on Doug’s first solo release [on a track called “Face Down” on the album Alter Ego – T]. That meant maybe Doug could get in contact with Johnny, and so I asked my friend to get in contact with Doug, then Dough got in contact with Johnny…and that’s how I first got in touch with him.

T-Bird: Ok, so SoA, Admin for the js.com forums asks, if say you had to replace Johnny, and of course that would be an impossible task, who would you ideally want as your dream replacement?

Jun: Replacement?

T-Bird: Yes…if you had to.

Jun: That would mean Crush 40 would be disbanded, seeing as Crush 40 is the teaming of Johnny and myself, in which case you would need to find a replacement for both of us! The lack of me or lack of Johnny would mean…yeah (laughs).

T-Bird: Great answer – I honestly don’t think you could replace him either! Thirdly, Sonic1991 asks how did the collaboration with Emma Gelotte, Tinna Karlsdotter and the legend that is Marty Friedman [Legendary because he was the guitarist on my favourite Megadeth album! – T] come around for the track “With Me”?

Jun: I wrote that song for the final boss in the Sonic and the Black Knight, and I so first I tried to find the female singers for that song. One of my friends in a Japanese record company takes care of dealings with All Ends [Tinna & Emma’s band – T], and so that’s how I got in touch with them. With Marty, although he was now living in Japan, I didn’t know him personally. I didn’t know his manager or any of the other business guys who dealt with him, so I asked him directly. Originally I planned to ask him to play all of the guitar stuff, but when he came into the studio, he said “hey, we should just keep these backing tracks!” We booked the studio here in Tokyo to record the lyrics and Marty’s guitar solo, but then the other guys came into the studio and wanted me to change the key, so I said “please give me one hour!” Since we use Pro-Tools, it was easy enough to raise the track one note, but it did not have very good clarity. We changed the key digitally anyway, then tracked the vocals, then Marty tracked his guitar. I went back later on and tracked all of the backing guitar in the correct key.

Originally my idea was to have that song in a lower key, and in fact we [Crush 40] did the demo in that much lower key, and that was featured on the Sonic and the Black Knight “Face to Faith” album and it is much heavier.

T-Bird: I think a lot of fans liked hearing a heavier version…and thanks for sharing the story! Short question: BlueLightning asks, what was your first guitar?

Jun: He wants to know my first electric guitar? Actually, before I started playing electric guitars, I got an electric bass, since I was into Duran Duran at the time.

T-Bird: Haha! That’s awesome!

Jun: Andy Taylor the guitar player didn’t play any solos with Duran Duran or anything and the bass player was so much more…

T-Bird: …Interesting?

Jun: Yeah! Originally I played the keyboard, but the drummers and the keyboard players were always at the back of the stage, and I always wanted to be one of the guys in front of the stage. I’m not good at singing, and I was not interested in singing, so I picked up the bass. However, after watching some MTV videos by the band called Ratt [Rock history lesson right here kids! – T] and Night Ranger, I got really into those bands, and so my very first guitar was a duplicate of the guitar the Ratt guitarist had…and I still have it.

T-Bird: Do you remember what make it was?

Jun: I think it was Fernandes, but these days I’ve replaced the neck with a performance neck…I will post a picture of it sometime!

T-Bird: Haha! Definitely! So, Sinister Swiss asks after the remixing of the Angel Island Zone track for Super Smash Brothers: Brawl, have you considered going back and reworking any other classic songs from those classic titles?

Jun: Interesting! It  was very fun to do the remix for Angel Island, and also I made another arrangement of Sky Sanctuary from Sonic & Knuckles for the Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, and if I get a chance I want to try to do more of those kind of remixes.

T-Bird: Any particular tracks?

Jun: Ummm…talking about Sonic the hedgehog 3 and Knuckles music…*starts humming*

T-Bird: HAHAHA! YEAH! Death Egg Zone from Sonic & Knuckles! I think that would make a lot of the fans would love that!  I know we’ve covered this in the previous half of the interview, but Michelle Palmer asks if you are considering any tour dates?

Jun: As I was saying, I am going to try and organise some Crush 40 dates around August time. [As a side note kiddos, Jun has a new band Bubbilicious Blvd. And is playing shows in Tokyo! Check out the TSS article on them! – T].

T-Bird: Ok, last question…Hawkz asks, what would you say has been the defining moment of your career?

Jun: Hmmm…I’d have to say there are several. The first one is back in ’96, the moment I teamed up with Eric Martin. It was a very special moment for me. From that point I started trying to find direct connection with the artists, and that’s the way I’ve been doing it for years now.

Both Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 are very important games for me and very important titles for me, since Sonic Adventure was the very first time I was the sound director for a Sonic title, and I changed the sound of Sonic music drastically. With Sonic Adventure 2, some of us moved to the States, which changed our lives, and this time around we tried to make the music for the American market. It was very fun, and a very special time for not only me, but for the team too.

Finally, with Super Smash Bros: Brawl We provided several pieces of Sonic music to be used in the game, and lots of new fans – by new fans I mean the players who did not have any experience playing Sonic games – listened to the music for the first time while playing the Smash Brothers game…to me that was a great experience.

T-Bird: Lots of fond memories, and I’m sure a lot of fans hold some of those moments close to their heart too! Thanks loads for taking our questions Jun…hopefully we can talk to you again soon with more burning questions!

And we will have more questions answered very soon! Stay tuned for Part 3…but before you do, a quick message to someone…

The Jun Senoue Interview – Part One

Shibuya, Tokyo, 7:30PM on a Sunday evening. Night time means nothing in this city, as the streets are still rammed full of shoppers going in and out of the many music, entertainment and fashion stores that line every main street and side alleyway. A sign and a menu is all that marks the rather uninteresting entrance to a well-known Italian restaurant, and three floors down, I’m sitting with the legendary Jun Senoue. Jun has been at the forefront of Sonic the Hedgehog music since 1993 and has since redefined the face of Sonic music with the formation of Crush 40 and their soundtrack to Sonic Adventure. TSS and junsenoue.com have been lucky enough to grab Jun for an exclusive interview

T-Bird: So Jun, how are you, and what projects have been keeping you busy?

Jun: I’m working on several projects, at this moment I can only tell you that I’m working on Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll which was released this month. I was not the composer; I took care of finding the singers and talent in a similar way I did for Sonic Unleashed and Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. The composers were Tomoya Ohtani and Mariko Nanba. There are eight vocal songs which meant I had to find eight singers; In the end these were two Japanese singers, three North Americans and three from Europe, with the genres of the tracks focusing on dance and club tunes.

T-Bird: To sort of follow on, can we expect any new material from you this year? I think “The Works” went down exceptionally well last year, and the burning question on everybody’s lips is when is the second Crush 40 album due out?

Jun: Yeah…we [Jun and Johnny Gioeli] are discussing when we should start work on the next album, or the next show. Originally I had a plan to do other Crush 40 shows here in Tokyo in early May, but Johnny is quite busy with Axel Rudi Pell [the German rock act Johnny performs with] so maybe we will get around to doing some shows. We had a TGS (Tokyo Game Show) performance in 2008, and a lot of kids wanted to be there. Unfortunately they could not attend as the event was during school time, so the aim is to do some shows during the summer or spring vacations.

T-Bird: Wow, that’d be very cool for the Japanese audiences! I think one of the most impressive soundtracks from last year was the Sonic and the Black Knight OST on the principle it was so musically diverse – how did you go about getting in touch with Tommy Tallerico, and what was it like working with him and Richard Jacques amongst others?

Jun: Talking about Sonic and the Black Knight, I ideally wanted to work with the guys who provided the songs to previous Sonic titles instead of teaming up with the SEGA composers I usually team up with. I asked Richard Jacques, then spoke to Howard Drossin. Talking about Tommy though, he was not an original Sonic composer. I’ve known him for years and we are good friends, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to team up with him and have him as a composer on this title.

Tommy provided us with ten ideas for tracks, and basically I selected three ideas from his list. He composed one of them from the start to the finish, and then the other two tracks I used the ideas and took care of them, arranged them and tracked the music with my band. It was a very fun experience!

T-Bird: I bet! Ok…(laughs) I guess this would be a good time to bring up Sonic the hedgehog 4: Episode 1 which has just been announced this week. Any thoughts? Anything you can tell us like, are you involved with the soundtrack?

Jun: Uhh…Ok. My answer is this; I hope I can tell you all the details in late spring or early summer!

T-Bird: Haha! Ok, I guess we will just have to wait then! As we mentioned before, you’ve heard of the Summer of Sonic. In 2008 we had TJ Davis and Richard Jacques, last year we had Bentley Jones return to perform…any chance in the near future for a Crush 40 appearance?

Jun: Talking about the shows we’ve done so far: with had a TGS performance back in 2008, and for that we played along with some backing tracks. For our next shows in Japan (more later!) we plan to have full band. If we come over to the UK, we will probably do something similar to what we did at TGS, but yes, we [Jun and Johnny] will be talking about it!

Don’t miss the second part of the Jun Senoue interview tomorrow, where Jun has answered some of the burning questions posed to him by you, the fans!

A massive thank you to Jeriaska from Gamasutra for the excellent photos!

Jun Senoue’s All-new band – Bubblicious Blvd.!!!

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=102488414

Ok, ok, so I’m taking my sweet time to sort out the Senoue interview…I apologise I’m quite busy this week! So, to tide you over until then, here’s some nice juicy Senoue-related news, in the form of Jun’s brand new band, Bubblicious Blvd. They’re a Tokyo based band at the moment, and they’ve only played one gig back in January, but here’s hoping we see more from them!

Jun descrbied them as his “fun” band, and you may actually already know some of the members of the band…in fact the singer is none other than CJ Szuter, the All-Hailer Shadower himself, from the band Magna-fi. If you’re lucky enough to be around the Meguro Ward of Tokyo next Sunday, the 21st (it had to be the day after I fly back to the UK, didn’t it?), you can head down to the Live Station and watch Jun and Mike at work in the flesh!!!

If you can’t, well, then you’ll have to make do with the videos on their Myspace for the time being – keep an eye on it for more material in the near future!

If anyone figures out what Bubblicious means…let me know…in the mean time. If you can beat this with something else Bubblicious, let us know!

Shortest competition ever: The Result!

Yeah, I’m not good at the whole mystery game, but there you go. Anyway, earlier (or yesterday in my case) I caught up with legendary Sonic soundtrack composer, director and performer extrodinaire Jun Senoue in Shibuya, Tokyo. Needless to say I had a long chat with Jun about many things…things like the possibility of a second Crush 40 album…things about what he’s working on currently…and yes, even Sonic the Hedgehog 4 came up in conversation. So, keep an eye out on both Sonic Stadium and junsenoue.com for the interview on what’s going down over the next few days!

As well as the questions I had lined up, I also got Jun to answer what I thought were the seven best fan questions going, and so I asked both TSS and js.com readers to submit! I also said I would hand out a prize to the best question propped, but I had so many, I’m having to give out two prizes – one for a member of each site!

So first off, congratulations to both Michelle Palmer and Hawkz from TSS, who’s questions both made it into the final cut of the “Chaos Questions” as I’ve come to name them (there’s seven, see!), but, the my favourite question proposed was from….

Sinister Swiss!

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a Exclusive Japan-only COSPA Sonic the Hedgehog T-Shirt!

Please send me your name and address (and shirt size!) by either PM on SSMB or at tbird [at] sonicstadium.org. Also many congratulations to Ibbod0, Bluelightning, SoA and Sonic1991 (winner of the Sonic Heroes Triple Threat album!) on the JunSenoue.com forums – your questions have also made the cut too!

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions; there were many good ideas, and I hope in some way or another I will have asked a question you would like to know the answer too! Anyway, stay tuned for the full Jun Senoue Interview!

??? Shortest competition ever – T-Bird’s Mystery contest ???

*Spooky noise* Yes, this is all shrouded in a fog, but I want to keep this a little bit vague as to not give to0 much away! As from making this post, you have 20 hours (Until Midnight 0:00GMT Sunday Morning) to come up with an answer. In fact this competition is so mysterious, I haven’t even thought of a prize yet…maybe I’ll find it when I go shopping today…

ANYWAY: here’s your question, and the best answer will receive a MYSTERY prize:

If you could ask any question to a certain Crush 40 guitarist, what would it be?

Creative and thoughtful questions will be considered the most! To enter, simply post your question below in the comment box.

Right, off for some shopping!

The Sonic Stadium Soundtrack Squad Review: Crush 40 – Super Sonic Songs

Dec 09 Title

The SSSS (that’s the Sonic Stadium Soundtrack Squad) launch their regular soundtrack review program; to kick off we take a look at the recent Crush 40 Best of album, Super Sonic Songs

Continue reading The Sonic Stadium Soundtrack Squad Review: Crush 40 – Super Sonic Songs

Win a signed copy of Jun Senoue’s The Works on Project 24!

signed works

Yup! Be sure to tune into the 24-hour radio livecast on SEGASonic:Radio on Sunday to have a chance of winning yourself a very snazzy CD!

Continue reading Win a signed copy of Jun Senoue’s The Works on Project 24!

Personalised Copies of Jun Senoue’s “The Works” on Sale!

worksJun Senoue is a man who needs little introduction. He’s had his hands in the Sonic pie since way back when, working alongside others such as Howard Drossin on the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 soundtrack. Mr Senoue really stepped into the spotlight with the launch of Sonic Adventure back in 1999, when Jun’s band Crush 40, fronted by Johnny Gioeli, blew most of the community away with its blistering soundtrack of fast-paced rock and epic power anthems. He’s just as awesome in real life too!

Well as most of you know Jun has been busy then, and not just with Sonic stuff. “The Works is a selection of tracks from other games such as the NASCAR and Daytona USA racing titles, along with music from the only-released-in-Japan titles, Managing Baseball Team Game / Managing J-League Football Team Game. Those of you who are fans of Ted Poley and Eric Martin will be pleased to know they both feature heavily on the album providing more awesome-sauce vocals.

Anyway, for a limited time Jun Senoue will be personally autographing copies of the soundtrack, which can be purchased on the official Jun Senoue fansite for the meagre price of $30 plus a small postage charge (works out at about £22 in total for UK peoples). Not bad eh? It also looks like Jun will be doing a similar thing with the Best of Crush 40 album “Super Sonic Songs” that will be released next month. The full track listings for both of the albums are listed on the website should you wish to examine them before purchase.

Head over to the Official Jun Senoue Site and follow the instructions to buy

If you’re feeling a little tight fisted, or you simply haven’t got enough pocket money to blow on a copy, then don’t fret! There will be a chance to win yourself a copy of the album over the SEGASonic:Radio Project 24 livecast on the 15th of November! Keep your eyes peeled for more info!

Props to Martin aka SOA, webmaster of junsenoue.com, for helping sort out this amazing offer for us lucky, lucky fans!

Senoue Working On Three New CD Projects

In a news blast to his fan community website, Jun ‘Parfect’ Senoue has followed up on our last story by revealing that he’s actually working on three CDs, with the intention of them being released this year. The brand new Crush 40 album that was announced previously is no longer to be released within the September – November window, but the musician promises that work will continue once he and singer Johnny Gioeli have some spare time.

The three CDs include a new compilation of Sonic themes to compliment the recent ‘True Blue’ release, a Crush 40 Best-Of collection and a profile of Senoue’s works in non-Sonic games and other soundtracks. Sayeth the guitarist:

Crush 40 : The Best of Crush 40 – Super Sonic Songs
– Sep.16, 2009
– The previous one we released through Frontiers Records had been out of print for years and also we have released several songs since then. This CD will have most of our songs we did for Sega video games.

JUN SENOUE : The Works
– Oct. 21, 2009
– I have worked on several non-Sonic related games like ‘Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition’, ‘Sega Rally 2’ and some others. Also there are some rare tracks I provided for soundtrack releases as well. This is the compilation of my works from mid of 90’s through 2009.

The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog Part2 : True Colors
– Sometime in November
– ‘True Blue’ was the collection of music of world famous blue hedgehog, Sonic. And ‘True Colors’ will be the compilation CD featuring theme songs for characters of the world of Sonic the Hedgehog.

When asked if there would be any unique or special material included on any of these projects, Senoue seemed optimistic about throwing in some rare, unreleased tracks and alternate versions to popular songs. But so far, nothing has been confirmed on that front.

Even without the long-awaited sequel to Crush 40, it looks like fans of Jun are going to be treated well this year.

Thanks to bcdcdude for the tip!

Crush 40 To Release Two CDs This Autumn

Beautiful Sound Produce Team Unite!
Beautiful Sound Produce Team Unite!

Fans of Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli’s rock band Crush 40 will be delighted to hear that, confirming hints Senoue made on his website, there will two new records hitting Japan this Autumn.

An interview with Famitsu online has revealed the nature of the two CDs – one will be a sequel to their self-titled album with new non-Sonic material, while another will be a 10th Anniversary compilation of modern Sonic themes.

Additionally, Senoue has hinted that the Anniversary CD release may be released on multiple discs – although Deviantart user manaita translated the Japanese interview and suggests that there will be multiple releases over the course of three months, which leaves the possibility of a two-disc collection being sold in ‘parts’.

Jun Senoue has been trying to release his domestic works to the Western market, but so far success has been limited. If you’re after a copy of these CDs when they hit Japan, your best bet as always is to import.

Cheers to Snatcher2047 for the heads up!

Source: Famitsu Jun Senoue Interview

Crush 40 Rock Tokyo Game Show

Junny Baby!

This has been coming for a long, long time.

Finally! the mighty guitar skills of the legendary Jun Senoue, and the vocal tenacity of Axel Rudi Pell lead singer Johnny Gioeli have reunited to perform what can only be described as an electrifying medley of classic Crush 40 tracks at the Tokyo Game Show on the 12th of October. I had been talking to Jun about a month ago, and although he told me to keep it all very hush hush, he said there would be a little surprise for those in attendance; that being a live performance of the new title track for the upcoming Wii title Sonic and the Black Knight, “Knight of the Wind”.

Johnny and Jun crash onto stage with an extra long opening version of “I am…All of Me”, before burning rubber into their version of “His World” (which we all know rocks the hardest, sorry Zebrahead). Other performed tracks include the “Sonic Heroes Theme”, “What I’m Made of” and of course, the obligatory “Live and Learn” theme from SA2. Continue reading Crush 40 Rock Tokyo Game Show

Jun Senoue, Johnny Gioeli to appear at Tokyo Game Show

Who’s looking forward to the Tokyo Game Show this year? We certainly are now, because it looks like Johnny Giolei & Jun Senoue will be making live appearances at Sega’s booth for TGS. There are rumours of a possible performance due to the fact that both men are involved in the band Crush 40. For those who don’t know, Crush 40 have performed many different theme songs to Sonic the Hedgehog games since Sonic Adventure, but has recently been on hiatus while Jun and Johnny pursue other interests. Seeing them together again would be pretty awesome for fans of Open Your Heart and Live & Learn.

Apparently, the best of British will be present at the Tokyo Game Show too, as Sonic plushies from our British Isles are also said to be appearing. Here’s a translation from one of todays updates over at official Japanese Sonic site Sonic Channel:

<物販booth> COSPA: “The reversible T-shirt, Sonic Adventure World”, “Sonic” Goodies, TGS announced in advance! Three British trade: “Sonic stuffed toys” selling all five points!

Quite. I hope they give us some of those reversible t-shirts in exchange for our exclusive stuffed toys. Greedy buggers.

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