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.!!!

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

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

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.

Link

Crush 40 gets an Official Myspace

For those of you who have spent several years frustrated because you just can’t get updates on what the band Crush 40 are doing, rejoice! Crush 40 are the definitive Sonic Soundtrack band, who blasted their way into the Sonic Universe with incredible riffs and powerful vocals way back in the day on Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast.

The front men of the band, Johnny Gioeli (Vocals, most of the time!) and Jun Senoue (Guitarist extraodinare) have finally put together a Myspace page, on which you can go and listen to a selection of their tracks, look at pictures of the band, and even leave a message for them should you be signed up yourself! Continue reading Crush 40 gets an Official Myspace

Remix of ‘Open Your Heart’ Imminent

Remix Factory, the producers of the E.G.G.M.A.N. and Boss remixes in Shadow the Hedgehog, are to release an exclusive remix of Crush 40’s ‘Open Your Heart’ for Sonic’s 15th Anniversary.

Jun Senoue and LB have been working together for the last month or two on some collaborations, and ‘K-Klub vs Crush 40’ appears to be only one of these projects surfacing. The remix will be promoted during the Summer, as Sonic turns 15.

The decision to use the legendary ‘Open Your Heart’ perhaps has more to do with the fact that this track is the defining theme of not only Sonic Adventure, but the turning point in Sonic the Hedgehog and a firm announcement of the blue blur’s console return in 1999. If anything, it has become part of the soundtrack to a generation of Sonic fans, old and new. Continue reading Remix of ‘Open Your Heart’ Imminent