Penicillin, a Top Group In Japan, Will Return to Seoul This Month

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Penicillin, a Top Group In Japan, Will Return to Seoul This Month

Penicillin, Japan's most popular rock group, which made its debut in Korea last July, is coming back later this month.

The band will perform at Mesa Pop Con Hall in downtown Seoul on Nov. 18 and 19, according to Hwang Hong-chul of Tears Music Korea, Penicillin's concert agent here. Mr. Hwang said the band was taking advantage of the government's recent relaxation of restrictions on importing Japanese culture into Korea. "Penicillin's first performances in Seoul served to introduce the band to a Korean audience," he said. "These concerts will allow it to build on its new fan base in Korea."

The members of Penicillin are Hakuei on vocals; Chisato, who is the songwriter and guitarist; Gisho on bass, and O-Jiro on drums. The group was formed in 1992 and spent its first four years performing in underground venues without making any albums. It credits this hard work as live performers for the success it enjoys in Japan today.

After honing their skills in live performance, the band released in first album "Vibe," in 1996. Since then the group has enjoyed steady success with the albums "Limelight" (1997), "Ultimate Velocity" (1998) and "Union Jap" (2000) and 12 singles, including "Blue Moon" and "Imitation Love" (both 1996), "Dead or Alive" (1997) and "Japanese Industrial Students" (2000).

"Penicillin is an unusual group as its members were all famous as individuals before they formed the band," Mr. Hwang said.

The members are still active outside the band. Hakuei is a cartoonist for Machine magazine, among others. He also performs solo and has starred in movies. Chisato has also carved out a solo career and enjoys a following in Japan and abroad. He is also a music producer. Gisho dabbles in pop music under his solo name Otaki Jun and also plays in Star Man, another Japanese rock band. His good looks have also won him starring roles in movies and in television soap operas. Penicillin's youngest member, O-Jiro, experiments with techno in the band 808 and works as a producer for Star Man.

Each of the two performances will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets cost 50,000 won and are available at Ticketlink (02-1588-7890) and Ticketpark (02-538-3200). For more information, call Tears Music Korea at 02-333-3162.

by Kim Jae-seon

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