“It’s outrageously hot on stage inside our ninja outfits,” says keyboardist Matt Liebowitz, one half of “karate-rock” duo Ninja Love. “Black pants, black shoes, black T-shirts, black hoodies with the hood up at all times, and black masks. It gets so hot, I keep extra ninja masks in my glove box.”
Neither Liebowitz nor singer/guitarist Mike Villemaire has been trained in martial arts. “All the technique is cribbed from kung fu films and how we believe ninjas act. I mean, who’s ever seen a real ninja, right?”
The band’s stage props do include authentic martial arts gear. “We actually use nunchucks in songs,” says Liebowitz, “and Mike is incredibly adept with them, though not trained. He has a tambourine mounted on the mike stand, and he hits it with the nunchucks.
“Our samurai sword is definitely real, and I assume it’s illegal. It’s certainly sharp. We keep that one in a guitar case until it’s on stage.” Liebowitz admits his hard-rock duo was worried about the sword when playing O’Connell’s so soon after the January 11 shooting near the club. “We figured tensions were high…if they saw us take a sword out on stage, someone might freak out. Especially if they didn’t like our music,” ’70s-style hard rock with a karate kick.
Liebowitz hopes actual martial artists aren’t offended by their act, especially since they hope to shoot a CD cover (“and maybe a video”) at a local dojo. “I guess they might be bothered by us but hopefully not enough to fight us. If real ninjas find out about us, though, we’re screwed. I’m sure we’ll be quickly and expertly disposed of.”
Ninja Love appears at Brick by Brick tomorrow night, Friday, January 30.