[NINJA ROCK] From a city with enough ninja-inspired rock outfits to lay siege on a small village (or a rock concert, à la Satyricon's Ninja Rock Festival last November) comes a mysterious band. A band that does the shtick right. A band that writes songs about the ninja lifestyle and battles colorfully costumed opponents on a blue tumbling mat at the front of the stage. A band called Fist of Dishonor.
A recent Fist of Dishonor show at Ash Street Saloon had everything but (someone getting hit over the head with) the kitchen sink—Mexican wrestlers, MC battles, costume changes, slow-motion fight sequences and singer Missy Jitsu playing guitar with a vibrator for a pick. During FOD's opening song, Jitsu sang, "You either know what to do with a katana/ Or you're a grown man dressed up in pajamas" and defeated two attacking ninjas during the bridge.
Jitsu wasn't willing to talk candidly about her band, though she graciously directed WW to her (ahem) personal assistant, Tera Nova Zarra, who looks strangely like Jitsu clad in normal clothes. (What, you got disbelief? Suspend it!) Zarra explained that Fist of Dishonor started out as a collection of handpicked bandmates who didn't know how to play their instruments.
"The plan was to recruit fantastic people, and then teach them how to play," Zarra said. Jitsu and second guitarist Shigeru Nakano were the only members of the five-piece band who knew how to play their instruments a month before the first show. But Jitsu's a teacher at the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls, and didn't see the band's inexperience as a problem. "I hate to blow the top off rock 'n' roll," Zarra elaborated, "but it's actually quite easy to learn."
Fist of Dishonor's members had a clear idea of what they wanted the band to be: "Insects singing love songs," said Zarra. But a California band named Insecto was already doing that, so they started brainstorming. Someone said "ninjas." Because the band's high-kicking frontwoman used to teach aikido and has a history with Portland Organic Wrestling, Zarra said it was a no-brainer. And Jitsu eventually called on P.O.W. to produce costumed antagonists for Fist of Dishonor to spar with at shows.
"I love ninjas, I love training in the martial arts, I love rock 'n' roll," Zarra says, breaking character for a moment. "It felt like everything I'd done in my life so far was adding up." The onstage marriage of those elements is what makes Fist of Dishonor—even in a town with plenty of ninja-centric acts (14 Ninjas, Ninjas with Syringes, Surrounded by Ninjas, etc.)—one of the best shows in town.