Crush 40

Crush 40
Crush 40

Jun Senoue (left) and Johnny Gioeli (right) performing at Summer of Sonic 2010
Background information
Also known as Sons Of Angels
Origin Japan and United States
Genres Hard Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Alternative Rock, Punk Rock
Years active 1997–present
Labels Victor Entertainment, Frontiers Records, Wave Master Entertainment
Associated acts Anthem, Axel Rudi Pell, Hardline, Jun Senoue, Loudness Alex Makhlouf Jean Paul Makhlouf
Jun Senoue
Johnny Gioeli
Takeshi Taneda
Toru Kawamura
Past members
Naoto Shibata
Hirotsugu Homma
Mark Schulman

Crush 40, formerly known as Sons of Angels, is a Japanese-American hard rock band formed in 1997 that is best known for their contributions to the soundtracks of several video games, predominantly the Sonic the Hedgehog series. The core of the group is the hard rock guitarist and video game composer Jun Senoue and vocalist Johnny Gioeli, who is also the vocalist for the bands Hardline and Axel Rudi Pell.

Since forming, Crush 40 has released two studio albums, Thrill of the Feel, Crush 40 and recently a compilation, Super Sonic Songs, which includes remastered versions of many of their originals. They have also contributed songs to several video games that do not appear on these albums.



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.[1] 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.[1]

In 1997, Senoue contacted the singer from Hardline, Johnny Gioeli, and recorded their first song as a group, Open Your Heart.[2] 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.[3] 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.[2]

The original band included Senoue as the guitarist, Gioeli singing, and Naoto Shibata and Hirotsugu Homma from Anthem playing the bass and drums, respectively.[3] In 2000, the band released their album Thrill of the Feel through Victor Entertainment.[3][4] The album contained all of the tracks which they had written for NASCAR Arcade.[3]

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.[3]

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.[5] 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!"[6]

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.[7] The album contained the same music as their previous album with the same racing theme of the songs written for NASCAR Arcade,[7] 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.[8] 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.[3] 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.[8]

Continued work with Sega

Crush 40 did not release any new albums between 2003 and 2009, instead, the band wrote and recorded 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.[9][10][11]

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".[3] The music itself was also released on the Triple Threat: Sonic Heroes Vocal Trax soundtrack.[9] 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..."[12][13]

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.[10]

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.[11]

The band also contributed several of its songs, including "Live and Learn", to the video game Super Smash Bros. Brawl.[14] The song was also featured in an episode of the Japanese version of Sonic X.

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).[15] The band record several songs for Sonic and the Black Knight, including the game's main theme, Knight of the Wind.

In 2010, Johnny Gioeli confirmed that Crush 40 was collaborating with Sega once again for the upcoming Sonic Generations, due for release in 2011 to coincide with the series 20th Anniversary. One of the confirmed tracks is a 'Classic' rendition of "Escape from the City".

Recent releases and appearances

On October 12, 2008, Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli performed their first ever 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 "Knight of the Wind" and the full version of "Live and Learn". A live recording of this concert has been uploaded on Youtube and is linked from Crush 40's website.

In November 2009 the band released a compilation album, The Best of Crush 40 – Super Sonic Songs, covering the band's 11-year history. It featured a new Crush 40 song, "Is It You", and two new cover songs: "Fire Woman" (originally by The Cult) and "Un-gravitify" (originally from Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity).

In August 2010, Crush 40 performed live at the third Summer of Sonic convention, held at the Shepherd's Bush Pavilion in London. It was the band's first ever concert outside of Japan, and also their first full-length concert. Senoue and Gioeli also hosted a live Q&A session at the event, where they answered fan questions from the audience and questions submitted online.

At the Summer of Sonic Q&A session, Jun Senoue confirmed that Crush 40's second studio album of new material is currently being worked on, with an aim to possibly release it before the end of 2011. Johnny Gioeli also announced that Crush 40 are planning a tour of Japan in 2011. This was supposed to happen on April 2, 2011, but has been postponed to July 30 and 31, due to the recent earthquake and tsunami.

On June 8, Crush 40 appeared at Sonic Boom, alongside Alex Mahklouf of the band Cash Cash to perform a Sonic the Hedgehog 4 medley, Green Hill Zone, "Open Your Heart", "His World", "Sonic Heroes", "What I'm Made Of...", "Free", "Speak With Your Heart", a new mix of "Escape from the City", a new mix of "Super Sonic Racing", and a new mix of "Sonic Boom", the last of which has been confirmed to appear on their next studio album, and lastly "Live & Learn".

For the first time, Crush 40 performed live with bass player Takeshi Taneda and drummer Toru Kawamura on July 30st and 31st in Tokyo. They performed "Sonic Boom", "Free", "I Am...All of Me", "With Me", "Seven Rings in Hand", "Un-gravitify", "Love Leads the Way" (by Johnny's band Hardline), "Revvin' Up", "Fire Woman", "Song of Hope" (a new Crush 40 composition), "Everything" (Hardline), "All Hail Shadow", "Never Turn Back", "Into the Wind", "Watch Me Fly", "Open Your Heart", "Sonic Heroes", "His World", "Knight of the Wind", "Hot Cherie" (Hardline), "What I'm Made Of", and "Live & Learn".

Musical style

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[16] Among the songs of this album is "Live and Learn", a "cool in your face rocker", according to Michael of RevelationZ Magazine.[7] However, Crush 40 has also experimented with other forms of rock music. For example, "I Am (All of Me)" is a darker song with elements similar to heavy metal.[3]

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."[17]


Crush 40 has released three independent albums, as well as individual tracks for a number of video games.

Thrill of the Feel

Thrill of the Feel
Studio album by Sons of Angels
Released March 23, 2000
Genre Hard rock
Length 41:01
Label Victor Entertainment

Thrill of the Feel is the first album by Crush 40. 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.[3] This album was released by Victor Entertainment and was released for the Japanese market.[4] "Into the Wind" was later used on the soundrack for Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing on Nintendo DS, while "Watch Me Fly" was performed by the band at Summer of Sonic on August 7, 2010.

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "The Star-Spangled Banner"   1:22
2. "Dangerous Ground"   2:32
3. "Into the Wind"   4:28
4. "Fill It Up"   2:30
5. "Revvin' Up"   4:35
6. "Rush into the Crazy World"   0:48
7. "In the Lead"   4:03
8. "Watch Me Fly"   5:09
9. "On the Road Again"   1:40
10. "Fuel Me"   2:44
11. "When the Sun Goes Down"   1:50
12. "All the Way"   4:09
13. "Open Your Heart" (bonus track) 5:11

Crush 40

Crush 40
Studio album by Crush 40
Released February 18, 2003
Genre Hard rock
Length 44:13
Label Frontiers Records

Crush 40 is the self-titled second album of Crush 40, released in Europe by Frontiers Records.[7] The album contains all the same vocal tracks as Thrill of the Feel, but does not contain any instrumental tracks.[8] 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.

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Live and Learn"   4:30
2. "Revvin' Up"   4:34
3. "Into the Wind"   4:28
4. "In the Lead"   4:02
5. "Watch Me Fly"   5:08
6. "Fuel Me"   2:43
7. "Dangerous Ground"   2:10
8. "All the Way"   4:09
9. "Open Your Heart"   5:15
10. "It Doesn't Matter" (bonus track) 4:27
11. "Escape from the City" (bonus track) 2:20

The Best of Crush 40 – Super Sonic Songs

The Best of Crush 40 – Super Sonic Songs
Compilation album by Crush 40
Released November 18, 2009
Genre Hard rock
Length 70:21
Label Wave Master

The Best of Crush 40 – Super Sonic Songs is the third album by Crush 40, and is also their first compilation album. The album contains songs from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, from their past albums, and some newly recorded songs. A couple of the songs have also been given brand new mixes (although those of "Live & Learn" and "What I'm Made Of..." had been previously included on the True Blue compilation.)

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "I Am... All of Me" (New mix) 3:51
2. "His World" (New mix) 5:16
3. "Un-gravitify" (Cashell cover) 4:44
4. "All Hail Shadow" (Magna-Fi cover) 4:01
5. "Never Turn Back"   4:39
6. "Revvin’ Up"   4:35
7. "Into the Wind"   4:29
8. "Watch Me Fly..."   5:11
9. "Fire Woman" (The Cult cover) 5:16
10. "Sonic Heroes"   3:28
11. "What I’m Made of..."   3:44
12. "Live Life"   5:38
13. "Knight of the Wind" (New mix) 4:31
14. "Live & Learn"   4:29
15. "Open Your Heart" (New mix) 4:49
16. "Is It You"   4:58

Other tracks

Song title Soundtrack Video game Version Year
"Seven Rings in Hand" True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog[15] Sonic and the Secret Rings Cover 2008
"Through the Fire" Face to Faith Sonic and the Black Knight Original 2009
"Fight the Knight" Face to Faith Sonic and the Black Knight Original 2009
"With Me (Massive Power Mix)" Face to Faith Sonic and the Black Knight Cover 2009
"Free" Break Free Sonic Free Riders Cover 2010
"Song Of Hope" None, charity single None Original 2011
"Sonic Boom" Sonic the Hedgehog CD Original Soundtrack - 20th Anniversary Edition Sonic the Hedgehog CD Cover 2011


Many of Crush 40's songs have been included in video games.

Game Console Developer Year
Sonic Adventure[3] Dreamcast, Nintendo GameCube, PC Sonic Team 1998
NASCAR Arcade[3] Arcade Sega-AM3 2000
Sonic Adventure 2[3] Dreamcast, Nintendo GameCube Sonic Team 2001
Sonic Heroes[3][9] Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2, PC Sonic Team 2003
Shadow the Hedgehog[10] Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2 Sonic Team 2005
Sonic the Hedgehog[11] Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 Sonic Team 2006
Super Smash Bros. Brawl[14] Wii Sora Ltd. 2008
Sonic and the Black Knight Wii Sonic Team 2009
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Wii, Nintendo DS Sega Japan 2009
Sonic Generations Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, PC Sonic Team 2011

Band members

Current lineup

Previous members

  • Naoto Shibata – bass (1998–2000)
  • Hirotsugu Homma – drums (1998–2000)
  • Katsuji – drums (2001–2003)
  • Mark Schulman – drums (2003–2004)


  1. ^ a b "Style Factory interview with Jun Senoue". Archived from the original on January 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  2. ^ a b Parminder Gill (2005-04-10). "Jun Senoue's Biography". Archived from the original on December 30, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Crush 40 History". Archived from the original on January 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  4. ^ a b "JVC Music/Victor Album Information: Thrill of the Feel" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  5. ^ Andrea Bertamino (2003-01-31). "Review of "Crush 40"". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  6. ^ Parminder Gill (2004-02-07). " interview with Jun Senoue". Archived from the original on December 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  7. ^ a b c d Michael (2003-02-23). "RevelationZ's article on Crush 40". Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  8. ^ a b c Parminder Gill (2004-02-27). "Frequently Asked Questions to Jun Senoue". Archived from the original on February 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  9. ^ a b c Lucy Rzeminski. "Disc Information: Triple Threat Sonic Heroes Vocal Trax". Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  10. ^ a b c Lucy Rzeminski. "Disc Information: Shadow the Hedgehog Vocal Trax". Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  11. ^ a b c Lucy Rzeminski. "Disc Information: Sonic the Hedgehog Vocal Traxx Several Wills". Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  12. ^ Triple Threat: Sonic Heroes Vocal Trax booklet. Wave Master Entertainment. p. 3. 
  13. ^ Triple Threat: Sonic Heroes Vocal Trax booklet. Wave Master Entertainment. p. 8. 
  14. ^ a b Masahiro Sakurai (2007-12-25). "Smash Bros. Dojo Music Update 19". Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  15. ^ a b Dale Gennard (2008-01-18). "Sonic Stadium's Track List for True Blue". Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  16. ^ Bjørnar Bevolden (2003-04-01). "ProgressiveWorld's article on the album Crush 40". Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  17. ^ Adam Tuff (2006-08-14). "Q&A with Jun Senoue Part 1". Archived from the original on February 23, 2007. Retrieved 2006-08-14. 

External links

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