Formation and Thrill of the Feel
Crush 40's origin began with guitarist Jun Senoue and his employment with SEGA. After graduating from college in 1993, Jun Senoue was employed by Sega to be a music composer for video games. His first project was creating two songs for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Later, he worked on other games such as Dark Wizard, Sonic 3D Blast (Sega Mega Drive version), Sega Rally 2, and Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition.
In 1998, Senoue contacted the singer from Hardline, Johnny Gioeli, and recorded their first song as a group, Open Your Heart. After making the track, which would later be on the video game Sonic Adventure, the two stayed in contact. Eventually from this relationship spawned a project band to make the soundtrack for another game Senoue worked on, NASCAR Arcade. The band was formed under the name "Sons of Angels", the same as a song that Senoue performed with Eric Martin on the Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition soundtrack.
The original band included Senoue as the guitarist, Gioeli singing, and Naoto Shibata and Hirotsugu Homma from Anthem playing the bass and drums, respectively. In 2000, the band released their album Thrill of the Feel through Victor Entertainment. The album contained all of the tracks which they had written for NASCAR Arcade.
Several changes and Crush 40
The band resurfaced during the development of Sonic Adventure 2. Naoto Shibata and Hirotsugu Homma could not take part because they were performing with Loudness and later Anthem, so Katsuji and Takeshi Taneda were brought in to play the songs for the game. The resulting track was "Live and Learn", the main theme of Sonic Adventure 2.
When the Norwegian band "Sons of Angels" reunited under this alias that they had before, Gioeli and Senoue decided to change their band's name to Crush 40. When Senoue was asked why he picked "Crush 40" as the name, he responded, "When we had to find another good one, we picked up the word we like…“Crush” is one of them, and Johnny added the number on it. Crush is the name of the soda too…that's my favorite!"
Two years after the release of Sonic Adventure 2, the album Crush 40, a European cover version of "Thrill of the Feel", was released by Frontiers Records. The album contained the same music as their previous album with the same racing theme of the songs written for NASCAR Arcade, but without the previous album's instrumental tracks. Senoue claimed that Crush 40 was the project of himself and Gioeli, which is why the instrumental tracks were removed. There were, however, both prior Sonic theme songs "Open Your Heart" and "Live and Learn", as well as two bonus tracks: "It Doesn't Matter" featuring vocalist Tony Harnell, and "Escape From The City" featuring Ted Poley and Tony Harnell. Senoue's rationale for including these two songs was that he wanted to introduce some of his favorite songs featuring other singers to the fans.
Continued work with Sega
Crush 40 has not released any albums since 2003. However, the band has performed original music for several video games. The songs the band performed for these games were released on the soundtracks of each game, under Sega's Wave Master Entertainment label.
In 2003, Sega announced the first multiplatform Sonic game, Sonic Heroes, which featured two new Crush 40 songs: the theme tune "Sonic Heroes", a "bright, melodic song", and "What I'm Made Of...", a "distinctly dark hard rock song with metal sensibilities". The music itself was also released on the Triple Threat: Sonic Heroes Vocal Trax soundtrack. In the booklet for Triple Threat: Sonic Heroes Vocal Trax, Katsuji is credited as the drummer for "Sonic Heroes", but Mark Schulman is credited as the drummer for "What I'm Made Of...".
When Sega announced Shadow the Hedgehog in 2005, Crush 40 returned to perform the game's theme song, "I Am...All of Me". There is a second song by Crush 40 in the game, the ending theme named "Never Turn Back". Both of these songs also appear on the soundtrack called Lost and Found: Shadow the Hedgehog Vocal Trax. For Crush 40's contributions to this soundtrack, the drumming duties were passed on to Toru Kawamura.
Crush 40 also made contributions to Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. The band created its own rendition of "All Hail Shadow", previously performed by Magna-Fi in the game Shadow the Hedgehog. Crush 40 also recorded a version of "His World", the main theme of Sonic the Hedgehog in 2006. The latter of these two did not appear in the game, but both of these songs are on this game's soundtrack, Sonic the Hedgehog Vocal Traxx: Several Wills. Kawamura was also the drummer for this soundtrack.
In 2008, the album True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog was released in Japan, and featured Crush 40's cover of the Sonic and the Secret Rings theme "Seven Rings in Hand", originally performed by Steve Conte. Also included on the album are Crush 40 songs "Live and Learn" (2007 Remastered Version)", "What I'm Made Of..." (2007 Remastered Version), "Sonic Heroes", two versions of "Open Your Heart", two versions of "It Doesn't Matter" (with Tony Harnell), and "Escape from the City" (with Ted Poley and Tony Harnell). The band recorded several songs for Sonic and the Black Knight, including the game's main theme, "Knight of the Wind."
Jun Senoue recently announced on his official site's message board that Crush 40 is currently working on two future album releases, one being the sequel to their self-titled album which will feature all original tracks (not Sonic/videogame related) and the other being a compilation album of their best work, tentatively titled "Crush 40 : Works 1998-2008". The latter will feature mostly Sonic The Hedgehog related music.
On October 12, 2008, Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli performed a live concert at the Tokyo Game Show. The songs they performed included shortened versions of "I Am... All Of Me", "His World", "Sonic Heroes", "What I'm Made Of" and the full version of "Live and Learn". Crush 40 also performed a shortened version of "Knight of the Wind". A live recording of this concert has been uploaded on Youtube and is linked from the Crush 40's website. This marked Crush 40's first live appearance with singer Johnny Gioeli.
In a review of their self-titled album, the band's style was referred to as "melodic hard rock, somewhere between XYZ and Burning Rain" by Bjørnar Bevolden of ProgressiveWorld.net. Among the songs of this album is "Live and Learn," a "cool in your face rocker", according to Michael of RevelationZ Magazine. However, Crush 40 has also experimented with other forms of rock music. For example, "What I'm Made Of..." is a darker song with elements similar to heavy metal.
When interviewed about his style and that of the band, Jun Senoue said, "I know what my style is, and I know what my favourite genres of music are. I listen to a lot of metal music, as well as other genres of music, and my inspiration is always there. The style of the music in the game does change, and it gives a great sense of progression... When we got together to write stuff for Shadow, we found that our fresh ideas were a lot different to the songs we’d written back in 2002 – our sound had changed."
Crush 40 has released two independent albums, as well as individual tracks for a number of video games.
Thrill of the Feel
Thrill of the Feel is Crush 40's first album. It is the only album released under their original name, Sons of Angels. The album contains all of the tracks that the band recorded for NASCAR Arcade. This album was released by Victor Entertainment and was released for the Japanese market.
|01||The Star-Spangled Banner|
|03||Into the Wind|
|04||Fill It Up|
|06||Rush into the Crazy World|
|07||In the Lead|
|08||Watch Me Fly|
|09||On the Road Again|
|11||When the Sun Goes Down|
|12||All the Way|
|13||Open Your Heart (bonus track)|
- Main article: Crush 40 (album)
Crush 40 is the self-titled second album of Crush 40, released in Europe by Frontiers Records. The album contains many of the same tracks as Thrill of the Feel, but does not contain any instrumental tracks. Added to the track listing are "Live and Learn" and the bonus tracks "It Doesn't Matter" featuring Tony Harnell and "Escape from the City" featuring Ted Poley and Tony Harnell.
|01||Live and Learn|
|03||Into the Wind|
|04||In the Lead|
|05||Watch Me Fly|
|08||All the Way|
|09||Open Your Heart|
|10||It Doesn't Matter (bonus track)|
|11||Escape from the City (bonus track)|
Crush 40's songs have all been included in numerous video games.
|Sonic Adventure||Dreamcast, Nintendo GameCube, PC||Sonic Team||1998|
|Sonic Adventure 2||Dreamcast, Nintendo GameCube||Sonic Team||2001|
|Sonic Heroes||Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2, PC||Sonic Team||2003|
|Shadow the Hedgehog||Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2||Sonic Team||2005|
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Xbox 360, PlayStation 3||Sonic Team||2006|
|Super Smash Bros. Brawl||Wii||Sora Ltd.||2008|
|Sonic and the Black Knight||Wii||Sonic Team||2009|
- Johnny Gioeli – vocals (1998-present)
- Jun Senoue – guitars (1998-present
- Takeshi Taneda – bass (2001-present)
- Act. – drums (2019-present)
- Naoto Shibata – bass (1998-2001)
- Hirotsugu Homma – drums (1998-2001)
- Katsuji – drums (2001-2005)
- Mark Schulman – drums (2003)
- Toru Kawamura – drums (2005-2016)
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