Budokan Boys

About

Budokan Boys is the weird, adventurous pop project of multi-instrumentalist Jeff T Byrd and vocalist Michael Jeffrey Lee — two Americans in Berlin. Formed in New Orleans in 2014, they've released three albums. Their fierce and darkly-comic live shows combine off-kilter electronics, bizarre narratives, seedy saxophones and squealing slide guitar. They are part of SHAPE Platform's 2021-2022 roster.

Budokan Boys — composer Jeff T Byrd and fiction writer Michael Jeffrey Lee — are a mercurial American duo currently based in Berlin. Iterations of the ever-evolving project have included a psychotic vaudeville phase (2018’s That’s How You Become A Clown), a wry and mischievous prankster phase (2019’s DAD IS BAD), and a mystical grief and trauma phase, as heard on 2020’s horrific and heartfelt So Broken Up About You Dying. They are now busy writing their next opus, a space opera.

It is the band’s goal to make their own weirdness and instability as accessible and enjoyable as possible. Their fierce and darkly-comic live shows combine off-kilter electronics, sad/weird stories from unstable narrators, blaring saxophones and squealing slide guitar.

When not making trouble for themselves as a duo, both labor in their respective fields. Jeff T Byrd composes music for film and radio, most recently NPR’s investigative podcast White Lies. Michael Jeffrey Lee writes and publishes short fiction, and is the author of Something in My Eye.

Albums

So Broken Up About You Dying

(Ever/Never)

Dad is Bad

(Baba Vanga)

That's How You Become a Clown

(Tymbal Tapes)

JOE: Live in New Orleans

(Self-released)

Press Quotes

"As they explore the darker, more mysterious corners of modern pop music, they keep producing more and more disarming and exciting results."

— Pop Matters

"Their 2018 tape That’s How You Become A Clown marked them out as Ween progeny of terrific standing, combining synthesizer skew with odd tales of abandoned dogs, delivered just slightly wild-eyed."

— The Wire

"An impressively non-categorisable, mordantly funny avant-pop delight."

— The Quietus

"So Broken Up About You Dying is at once confounding, grating and exhilarating, but most of all, it’s a thoroughly impressive record."

— Auxiliary Out

"They’re sending up society’s inherent weirdness and tragedy by chucking on a cheeky smile, playing a digi-honky-tonk, and wielding rubber knives in gun country. Now that’s how you become a clown."

— Spool's Out

Photos

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Live shows

  • 24 Sept, 2022, Ghent @ Kinky Star
  • 23 Sept, 2022, Brussels @ Brasserie Illegaal
  • 26 Aug, 2022, Vienna @ Central Garden
  • 14 July, 2022, Prague @ Nultý Bod Festival
  • 24 June, 2022, Paris @ Plateforme
  • 8 June, 2022, Berlin @ Loophole
  • 8 May, 2022, Geneva @ cave12
  • 13 Nov, 2021, Vienna @ rhiz
  • 11 Nov, 2021, Prague @ Punctum
  • 27 Oct, 2021, Poznań @ Pawilon
  • 8 Oct, 2021, Budapest @ UH Fest
  • 25 Sept, 2021, Bari @ Time Zones Festival
  • 12 Sept, 2020, Berlin @ Mauerpark
  • 4 July, 2019, Budapest @ Aurora
  • 28 June, 2019, Vienna @ AU
  • 12 June, 2019, Prague @ Petrohradská Kolektiv
  • 8 June, 2019, Vienna @ Kramladen
  • 31 May, 2019, Gorzów Wielkopolski @ Dym Fest
  • 23 Oct, 2018, Vienna @ AU
  • 4 Oct, 2018, Poznan @ Domie
  • 2 Oct, 2018, Warsaw @ Klubojadalnia Młodsza Siostra
  • 29 Sept, 2018, Gorzów Weilkopolski @ SEJF
  • 28 Sept, 2018, Wroclaw @ Uczulenie
  • 27 Sept, 2018, Kraków @ Teatr Barakah
  • 5 Jan, 2018, Las Cruces @ Eyeconik
  • 18 Jan, 2017, Vienna @ rhiz
  • 14 Jan, 2017, Linz @ Kapu
  • 13 Jan, 2017, Wels @ Alter Schlachthof
  • 12 Jan, 2017, Regensburg @ Alte Mälzerei
  • 24 May, 2014, New Orleans @ Thank Tank
  • 18 May, 2014, New Orleans @ Circle Bar

Videos