Not long before Brooklyn based, genre-bending band Shinobi Ninja was to perform at Webster Hall, The Walls Street Journal published an article narrating how Run DMC approached Aerosmith to do a remix of their hit song “Walk This Way.” In the article, highlighted was the moment in the music video when Steven Tyler bashed in the wall that separated Aerosmith and Run DMC, and how it was symbolic of the walls coming down between rock and hip-hip. To put that in context, the larger space Steven Tyler’s belligerence created explains Shinobi Ninja’s existence.
“I guess for us there was never really a wall to begin with. You know, we love all of this music. We do all of this music. That’s it! No genre! No walls! No rules! That’s what this band is all about.” explains guitarist Maniak Mike. The band consists of lead vocalist D.A. aka Duke Sims, vocalist Edara Johnson aka Baby G, drummer Terminator Dave, Maniak Mike, bass player Alien Lex and DJ Axis Powers. Shinobi Ninja has been active since 2008.
For a band with this many moving pieces and disparate elements, it’s a bit of a wonder they meld so well together, and have done so for this long. A secret to their success could lie in that they came together organically. As Maniak Mike said “we were all working at a recording studio in Hell’s Kitchen… we all started making records, playing in each others bands, making each others records, and all of a sudden one day we just became a band, and that was it. We are much more suited to be working together than apart.”
Another aspect that contributes to Shinobi Ninja’s success, and may not be immediately apparent is the presence of Baby G. A “strong woman,” who doesn’t hesitate to scold or affirm the other members when they quite literarily, stray or are doubtful.
After their performance at Webster Hall on September 21, 2014, as we prepared to interview the whole band, the bass player Alien Lex wondered away from the band, and came late to the interview. Baby G didn’t hesitate to scold him, as all the other guys fell silent. Once the reproach was done, she nicely introduced him to the camera with a smile. Alien Lex took it all in with a smile, and the other members then enthusiastically welcomed him.
Again, just before the interview started, we overheard Baby G saying to DJ Axis Powers “you’re part of the band.” It seems the DJ wasn’t sure if he should participate or not.
In a way, consider it female energy. Adam and The Creator figured it out at the beginning of time, and Shinobi Ninja is making it work. The popular “Humans of New York blog” once published a picture of a man and his young daughter, regarding “female energy,”
“… I’ve needed the female energy in my life. It’s good energy. I mean, when things go wrong, another man can tell you that everything is going to be OK. But not like a woman can.”
Another intrinsic element to Shinobi Ninja’s success is that the band includes a pair of twin brothers, Terminator Dave and Maniak Mike.
Even when he’s talking, Maniak Mike has an energy level that’s through the roof, in contrast to his more low key and measured twin brother Terminator Dave. As such, the brothers complement each other, rather than compete or offset the other.
A couple of times during the interview, sensing his brother slight agitation, Terminator Dave would pass Mike the mic. Hand -offs like this show that Dave looks out for Mike, while Mike helps look out for the band. So, the other band members probably only ever have to convince one of them in order to get both to acquiesce. It’s pretty much two for the price of one.
The members of Shinobi Ninja are hardcore believers of their brand. The band’s name with its iconic colors of torquoisey-blue and some kind of hot-pink, adorns and covers everything from microphones to sneakers. Both Alien Alex and Duke Sims have their guitars entirely covered in their name and colors. As Duke Sims puts it, and with enthusiastic approval from Maniak Mike “ We are about that other life, that fifth dimension… we are into positive attitudes, and we have a lot of love for everybody… and we want to be the embodiment of the positive message going into the future.”