Tetsuo Shadow

Fritz was from Dresden and had become rich installing gold teeth into the mouths of the old lords of Little Odessa, and a couple rappers.

Story by John Donau -

Still from "Tetsuo the Iron Man". Shinya Tsukamoto, Japan 1989


Roaming down Lafayette, Johnny found himself with a small pebble inside his mouth. Where was he going? The pattern of the NYC manhole caught his attention, he wondered who designed them…

Right, he had to take a left at some point, the party was right down there toward the East River. He entered the club, the Karasho.

Still from "Tetsuo the Iron Man", Shinya Tsukamoto, Japan 1989.


The needle was running in the groove, but Johnny knew that one day it wouldn’t and not even his friends could help him then. Johnny had become an expert. He got a drink, and than ordered another one and gave a dap to a couple friends of Fred. Fred spun records and loved vinyl, he was old school. He was worked at his grandfather’s Italian restaurant because his father had eloped to California with a young waitress of Ukrainian origin, to the dismay of his mother and himself.

Takashi. Still from "Megaloman". Tetsu Kariya, Japan 1979.


Johnny quarreled with the bar tender. Gin and tonic was trickling down his hand because the glass had been brutally thrown onto the counter and it didn’t please Johnny all that much. At that very moment, Fred arrived on the scene, and, not wanting any trouble, payed for the drink.

Ken Ishii and Jeff Mills. Courtesy from Sublime Rec.


Johnny went down the road holding a gin flavored napkin with an address written on it and jumped on the subway. He had just reached the corner and went down there out of habit. One stop later he had lost the fatigue of remembering his past. Johnny searched his pockets; a curled up bunch of bills, some coins, and some expired credit cards… and the piece of paper with the address. It was drizzling as he walked down Grand Street, overwhelmed by the scent of fried chicken. He saw Jeff at the corner.

Ken Ishii. Cover of "Jelly tones"- EXTRA-. Animation by Koji Morimoto 1995.


Jeff’s cutlet was burnt out. Jeff had been burnt out since the time of Franky Bones. During that time, the rave parties were flourishing in the old factory halls and they were rockin’ out. Bones was also running Sonic Grooves, and it was there where you could find the last vinyl gem, the underground promo, cover-less, only the inner paper, a felt-tipped paper, with a stamp, a circulation of two hundred; five hundred copies signed with the most strange nicknames. They mainly catered to the illegal party scene. That stuff wasn’t cool for the clubs that needed more commercial projects. He was playing wonderfully in the fog ridden hangars where faces were covered by hats and hoods, and figures adorned in baggy sweat suits were jamming like beetles, radio-controlled by the beat.

Takkyu Ishino. Still from "Polynasia" clip 1999.


Johnny went straight on Lafayette, putting on his hood in remembrance of the old times, or, more simply, to protect himself from humidity… And by lowering his head he stared into the gutter…

But what the hell was in the mouth?! It wasn’t a pebble, it was… “Phua!” Johnny spit it out.

On Johnny’s palm appeared, clearly, a small black pepper corn that shined like metal. Yes, it was his dental plumbing. The tongue went down to evaluate the damage. He reached a parked motorbike, and, with some help from the mirror, tried to look at his mouth, to no avail. Johnny held the pebble with two fingers: it was surely his fucking filling. Oh yes, it had lasted for years and finally collapsed just then. The pain was probably numbed by the gin.

DJ Kentaro 2002 DMC world champion.


Johnny really had to get to the party. He thought of his unpaid medical insurance and friend Fritz, who did good work, even on credit. Fritz was from Dresden and had become rich installing gold teeth into the mouths of the old lords of Little Odessa, and a couple rappers.

Takkyu Ishino. "Galactic Pizza Delivery Vol. 1", 1999.


Johnny thought that it might be easier to have all metal teeth, but then he would have to pay to have them polished. And the iron beard? And the metal cock? Johnny had entered a biomorphic futuristic trip and when he was about to turn the corner towards the East River, with the lunar stone in his hand, he heard a call from behind…

“Please Mister, could you tell us where this address is? Our GPS would let us go into the river…”

“What the fuck, you guys using Apple maps? “

Ken Ishii Official Photo 2008 by Junpei Fukushi


The Japanese giggled, absorbed in this situation of technical difficulty. Being used to moving in the digital jungle, they end up asking for information like prehistoric men of the XX century. They wore super new sneakers, colorful sweatshirts, and mysterious technical purses bearing geiger counters, laser spades, and who knows what other kinds of unseen devilish technological tools.

Johnny was holding the comet in his fingers. After all, it used to be a part of his body and sentiment was making it hard for him to let go… Johnny had been on the moon, quite a few times, no doubt about that.


Johnny checked the address, it seemed familiar.

The Japanese watched Johnny’s hand shade his eyes as he tried to read the screen. Curious about what sort of seizure was making him perform an okay sign with his hand

“What am I holding? Wanna know what it is? I am Tetsuo, the iron man, and this is my tooth!”


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