Official Report
BUCK-TICK’s 35th Debut Anniversary 2-Day Concert at Yokohama Arena

Spice
27 September 2022

Text=Yuka Okubo
Photos=Seitaro Tanaka

 

We have received the official concert report of BUCK-TICK’s 35th debut anniversary concert, BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~ which was held on two days on the Friday and Saturday, 23rd and 24th of September 2022 at Yokohama Arena.

 

 

BUCK-TICK celebrated their 35th debut anniversary with no change in member line-up on 21 September 2022. On the 23rd and 24th, the held their 35th debut anniversary concert, BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~ at Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa.

There were two main special characteristics for this 35th anniversary show. 

The first was dynamic light and video production which made use of 12 lasers and a large LED screen. Past anniversary concerts, named “PARADE” which came before were all held on outdoor stage like the special outdoor stage created at Yokohama Minato Mirai Shinko Pier in 2007, at Chiba Port Park in 2012, and Odaiba Yagai Tokusetsu Kaijo in 2017, making this the first anniversary concert being held in an arena. At an outdoor venue, lighting and visual effects don’t come into play until the sun sets, so this time, the band was able to construct their world right from the very start.

There is one fixed screen on each side of the stage, plus one giant screen at the back of the stage and one more large screen in front of the stage. The screen in front of the stage could be moved which meant that while there were some sets there the screen remained in front of the stage like a faded filter over the band members, there were also sets when it would be raised up, removed to create a three-dimensional effect with the depth of the screen in the background. 

If I were to pick the most impactful scene among the songs performed on both days as an example, it would be the second song they performed, BABEL, which has a story which pulls you in its euphoria and deep heavy groove. The Tower of Babel was shown against a bright red background on the screen behind, while the screen in front which previously concealed the band slowly rose up as if illustrating the disquieting building of the Tower of Babel.

What left a truly strong impression on me was the performance of Aikawarazu no `Are’ no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari (2022MIX) around the middle of the show that had a languid jungle beat and saw Imai Hisashi (on guitar) taking on the role of lead singer. The sight of Sakurai Atsushi’s (singer) face on the back screen coalescing with the numerous writhing hands on the bright red screen towards the front of the stage inspired the same creepiness you would get in a horror movie.  

During the mid-tempo Guernica no Yoru which tells of the tragedies of war, we saw an amusement park under the stars, crumbling with the passage of time. At Aku no Hana during the encore, red, blue and green lasers were shot from the stage into the audience. During Yume Miru Uchuu in the second encore, the screen in front of the stage rose almost to the ceiling to combine with the back screen and create what felt like the endless void of outer space.

The visuals and lighting used to further develop the world of the songs sometimes drowned out or silhouetted the members, and if one were to say that live performances are about enjoying the playing style and facial expressions live, then this choice of production might have seemed rather bold. But when we consider the fact that BUCK-TICK made their video debut 35 years ago as “visual artists”, one can also say that this time, they were being conscious of their “origins” on stage.

And the second special characteristic was how the set list wasn’t comprehensive of their 35-year career or brimming with a festive mood even though these concerts were in celebration of their 35th anniversary. 

This year, the first show was named “FLY SIDE” and the second was named “HIGH SIDE”, just like their shows at Odaiba in 2017. But while the Odaiba setlist looked back over their 30 years with a collection of songs that covers a relatively complete range of eras, from the indie era and early numbers such as Fly High, this year’s set list seemed to focus on where the band is now and where they’re headed towards in the future while incorporating the messages they want to convey at this point in time. 

That said, BUCK-TICK thus far tends to decide on their set list based on the songs that each band member suggests. But the set list this time around appears to centre around CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv., their best-of album collection that was recently released on 21 September.

They also appear to have worked with the stage production team to focus it all around Sakurai too. As a result, the show’s content was saturated with his message. Which was especially conspicuous when they performed Rakuen, REVOLVER, Guernica no Yoru and, live for the first time, their new song Sayonara Shelter on both days.

Shrouded in a black veil from his head, Sakurai sounded the tingsha in his hands during Rakuen’s cutting narration of a war-torn country looking upon a conflagration on the opposite shore as an opportunity.  During the highly aggressive and fast-paced REVOLVER, he puts his finger to his temple, shouting, “Shoot the child’s future!”¹. In the last part of Guernica no Yoru, a song where he sings from the perspective of a young protagonist about the devastation of air strikes, a brief respite came after he sang “After seeing such a dream, I woke up”². But brief it was, before they dove into a song inspired by the current state of the world, Sayonara Shelter which illustrates the madness of reality amidst a gentle melody.

Another thing I want to highlight is their performance of Kinjirareta Asobi -ADULT CHILDREN- on the first day. This song tells of traumatised grown-up children (adult children) who have closed themselves off going through the process of stepping outside and saying “I’m leaving of this room”³. During the performance, a large white wall appeared on the screen in front of the stage with a black, gaping exit painted right where Sakurai was standing and at the end of the song, Sakurai said, “This is dedicated to all the adult children.” All of it left a deep impression on me. 

It would appear that Sakurai, who channels his thoughts and feelings into stories and puts them into his lyrical world, was very determined to strongly lay bare his message through this set list. For his gaze was sharp, his singing was strong and powerful, and filled with compassion too.

Of the 21 songs performed on each of the two days, ten of them, or half were fixed songs but the eleven alternated songs added to the set list provided different sides of the band.

The first day started with the industrial-sounding EDM track ICONOCLASM. Hard hammer beats, edgy guitar riffs and a deep mechanical-sounding voice are unleashed with lasers from behind a screen that remains down in front of the stage. The glorious BABEL came next, followed by Uta which started with Yagami Toll’s (on drums) tight drum intro that led into a robust groove which then flowed into the melancholic Gekka Reijin

“Welcome. Do enjoy yourself,” was Sakurai’s short coquettish MC that served as a lead into Maimu Mime. In a video which moves from a street which looks like Jiufen, Taiwan to a close-up shot in a room, Sakurai makes use of his black wide-brimmed hat, a chair, and glimpses of his thighs as puts on a one-man performance of the bewitching games between men and women. 

During Kyoki no Dead Heat, which feels like running at hyper speed, cameramen with movie cameras went on stage to capture the aggressive members strutting up and down the stage extensions on both the left and right side. 

To close off the main set were three songs brimming with hope. Go-Go B-T TRAIN’s performance was spectacular with light shining on the large mirror balls on either side of the stage. The colourful graphics reminiscent of CD jackets, smoke billowing like steam from a steam locomotive, and a lively ensemble that nimbly runs through the heavy, creaking locomotive adds to the electricity in the arena. 

The stage lit up with flames for the next song, Memento Mori with tribal rhythms, Okinawan-sound scales, and shouts of “Wooha!” echoing. And finally, they ended with New World, leading us out of darkness and into a bright future.

The encore began with Django!!! -Genwaku no Django-. A rich groove was produced by Imai’s exotic guitar sounds coupled with Hoshino Hidehiko’s (on guitar) light acoustic guitar and the bass notes of Higuchi Yutaka (on bass), who came to the front of the stage during the bridge. As for Sakurai, he wore a silk hat on his head, had black feathers around his neck, and hot shorts and knee-high stockings, essentially dressing burlesque-style as he showed off his thighs and sways his hips as he sang.

Following the heaviness of Aku no Hana, Sakurai said, “Please have a listen to a nostalgic song from the album we debuted with 35 years ago.” With that, they proceeded into ILLUSION. The oldest of the songs performed over these two days, it evokes nostalgia with its lyrics that seem to bring up old memories.

In the second encore, they performed a graceful rendition of Koi, a requiem that combines fragility and strength. After that came Yume Miru Uchuu which was performed on a stage with the cosmos unfolding before it. Then, the big finale, Solaris. The macrocosmic cosmos and the microcosmic cells of a random person. The beautiful soundscapes created by the band and Sakurai’s enchanting falsetto, set to a moving visual image that evokes this connection, left a lasting impression.

Opening the second day the straight rock song Elise no Tame ni created a sense of unity from the start. The band was less tense with their singing and playing than the first day, and they looked relaxed on stage. With Sakurai’s slow swaying rope-crossing performance of TIGHT ROPE created a floating sensation, followed by the chunky bass riffs and the guitar’s rigid cutting in Mienai Mono wo Miyou to Suru Gokai  Subete Gokai da, and finally MOONLIGHT ESCAPE’s singing so carefree that it feels like we’re flying over the moon, there was even an emotional moment where we saw Imai strumming his guitar while lying on the floor in the outro.

Sakurai seemed to mimic David Bowie’s voice as he said, “Let’s Dance〜” before they dove into Dance Tengoku. Then, starting with an interlude from Imai’s guitar was BOY septem peccata mortalia where the members of the band were freely roaming all over the stage, being chased by the camera crew or staring into a camera while crawling on stage; so much was going on that we could barely keep up with our eyes.

The stage was set aglow by the flames in ROMANCE, where we got to hear Sakurai’s beautiful falsetto and after that, came the last song, same as the first day’s; New World. Powerful vocals pushed forward with clean-toned riffs that seemed to burst with light and the powerful 4/4 rhythm. It’s a song fit to end the set for these five who are taking a new step forward.

The first encore featured the newly remixed ANGELIC CONVERSATION (2022MIX) from their best-of album, Aku no Hana, and the dramatic pop ballad HEAVEN. In the second encore were the heartfelt ballad Boukyaku, Yume Miru Uchuu, and finally, Kodou (2022MIX). BUCK-TICK’s magnificent paean to humanity, dedicated to all life was sung in high spirits, bringing the two-day festivities to a close.

Despite celebrating their 35th anniversary on the big stage, BUCK-TICK had already entered a new phase. Furthermore, it looks like they’re already headed in a certain direction. 

“Since our 35th anniversary year has just begun, there’s a lot for us to do, and a lot for us to be happy about. After we’re done with today, Anii and Yuta will begin rehearsing for the tour tomorrow. And Imai-san and Hide will compose new songs. And I…… will sleep (smiles).”

While listening to this MC by Sakurai, I recalled a time in their early days of exhausting work where they were going on tour for their second album right after they concluded recording work for their third album. Finding out that there were some things that still haven’t changed since those days made me laugh a little. 

I’ve been hearing that the new release slated for the coming spring will be based on a new, never-before-seen concept. Expectations are high for the future of BUCK-TICK, who continues to avariciously evolve even past their 35th anniversary.

<Set List>

■BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~ FLY SIDE
Friday, 23 September 2022 | Yokohama Arena

SE. THEME OF B-T

M1. ICONOCLASM
M2. BABEL
M3. 唄 [Uta]
M4. 月下麗人 [Gekka Reijin]
M5. 舞夢マイム [Maimu Mime]
M6. 狂気のデッドヒート [Kyoki no Dead Heat]
M7. 禁じられた遊び -ADULT CHILDREN- [Kinjirareta Asobi -ADULT CHILDREN-]
M8. 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマリがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり (2022MIX)
[Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari (2022MIX)]
M9. 楽園 [Rakuen]
M10. REVOLVER
M11. ゲルニカの夜 [Guernica no Yoru]
M12. さよならシェルター (新曲) [Sayonara Shelter (New song)]
M13. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
M14. Memento mori
M15. New World

EN1-1. Django!!!-眩惑のジャンゴ- [Django!!!-Genwaku no Django-]
EN1-2. 惡の華 [Aku no Hana]
EN1-3. ILLUSION

EN2-1. 恋 [Koi]
EN2-2. 夢見る宇宙 [Yume Miru Uchuu]
EN2-3. Solaris

 

■BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” 〜35th anniversary〜 HIGH SIDE
Saturday, 24 September 2022 | Yokohama Arena

SE. THEME OF B-T

M1. エリーゼのために [Elise no Tame ni]
M2. BABEL
M3. Tight Rope
M4. 見えない物を見ようとする誤解 全て誤解だ [Mienai Mono wo Miyou to Suru Gokai  Subete Gokai da]
M5. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE
M6. ダンス天国 [Dance Tengoku]
M7. BOY septem peccata mortalia
M8. 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマリがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり (2022MIX)
[Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari (2022MIX)]
M9. 楽園 [Rakuen]
M10. REVOLVER
M11. ゲルニカの夜 [Guernica no Yoru]
M12. さよならシェルター (新曲) [Sayonara Shelter (New song)]
M13. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
M14. ROMANCE
M15. New World

EN1-1. ANGELIC CONVERSATION (2022MIX)
EN1-2. 惡の華 [Aku no Hana]
EN1-3. HEAVEN

EN2-1. 忘却 [Boukyaku]
EN2-2. 夢見る宇宙 [Yume Miru Uchuu]
EN2-3. 鼓動 (2022MIX) [Kodou (2022MIX)]

 

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ あの子の未来を  撃て / Ano ko no mirai wo   ute

² そんな夢見て  目覚めた / Sonna yume mite   mezameta

³ この部屋を  出て行くよ / Kono heya wo   dete iku yo

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Spice, JVC Music

 

 

HIROSHI & BUCK-TICK

HIROSHI talks about how his fascination with BUCK-TICK changed his life
From nostalgic songs to the behind-the-scenes of his conversation with Sakurai Atsushi

Real Sound
20 September 2022

Interview/Text = Imai Tomoko, Photos = Takahashi Keisuke

BUCK-TICK is celebrating their 35th anniversary They have released 22 original albums since debuting with a major label. The beautiful worldview they construct by uniquely sublimating influences from punk, new wave, and popular songs, along with the bewitching and solid aura they exude as a rock band continue to attract many listeners while the power of their songwriting and live performances shows no sign of abating.

On 21 September, they will be releasing both CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv., a consolidation of their 35-year career in a 5-disc best-of album collection, and the concert film production Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜 in Nippon Budokan. One would assume that both releases are no doubt considered as must-haves with new discoveries to be made for both long-time fans and new listeners who are just getting into BUCK-TICK.

Here on Real Sound, we have started a project where we invite celebrities to talk about BUCK-TICK’s charms. In this installment, we have HIROSHI, who gained popularity as a comedian with his “I’m HIROSHI” skits and has recently garnered attention for his solo camping video uploads to talk about his love for BUCK-TICK.

BUCK-TICK left an impact on HIROSHI when he first came across them in high school and in the 35 years since then, BUCK-TICK has continued to be part of his life. With a youthful twinkle in his eyes and sometimes emotional tears, HIROSHI talks about how he still continues to look up to them today.

We hope you’ll enjoy this BUCK-TICK-filled conversation that covers topics from how HIROSHI first came across them, to his favourite songs, and of course, behind-the-scenes stories from his conversation with Sakurai Atsushi on NHK Educational TV’s SWITCH Interview Tatsujin-tachi. (Editorial department) 

 

Debut 35th Anniversary Concept Best Album『CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.』Preview Trailer

 

 

BUCK-TICK shocked me with their dyed hair standing high

ーーFirst, start by telling us about how you came across BUCK-TICK.

HIROSHI (H): I was already a child who was very fascinated by bands ever since I was in elementary school to begin with. The very first band I saw [playing live] was a cover band of high schoolers from a neighbouring town who was performing THE MODS’ Hageshii Ame ga at an outdoor event. That got me thinking, “Bands are so cool!” I became very focused on being popular in my later years of elementary school but I always thought that bands were the equivalent of popularity, so when I started middle school, I tried to start my own band. But it didn’t go very well. I had no money, and there were no cheap second-hand music stores like what we have now, so acquiring instruments itself was an uphill battle. Nevertheless, I did manage to start a band in high school.

ーーWhat part of the band did you play?H: Bass. At the time when I started the band, music like heavy metal and hard rock were popular among the band-playing people so we initially decided to cover EARTHSHAKER, but it didn’t really fit fashion-wise. Then BOØWY appeared and I intuitively thought, “They’re cool!” Probably because I loved how they wore their hair up. In BUCK-TICK’s case, they made their hair stand high and they even dyed it, so that really shocked me the first time I saw them. But while reflecting on why I seemed attracted by hair styled like that, along the way, I came to the realisation that I liked punk music. When I told those around me who only wanted to play hard rock that I wanted to play punk music though, I was immediately shot down.

ーーDo you remember the first BUCK-TICK song you ever heard?

H: At this point, I’m not sure what was the actual first song, but I still remember watching their performance of FUTURE FOR FUTURE on TV like it was yesterday (※probably their performance on the January 1987 broadcast of the NHK music program Young Studio 101). I recorded that on VHS and watched it numerous times over. It’d be weird to say that it felt like they were giving their all, but there was this very strong spirit like, “We’re the coolest!”, “Watch us make our way to the top”. Sakurai (Atsushi)-san never stopped moving anyway. I think at the time, he was at war with the pressure from the idea that he had to stand out and that there’s no backing out for him since he was the person who asked to be given the position of vocalist. It’s as if all of that was being conveyed through the screen. Another one I remember very clearly was their performance of …IN HEAVEN… on a white stage set with BUCK-TICK written on it (※probably their performance on the January 1989 broadcast of the NHK music program Just Pop Up).

ーーWhat was the first BUCK-TICK thing HIROSHI-san bought?

H: The period when I started listening to BUCK-TICK was right when we were transitioning from vinyl records to CDs. I’m the type of person who feels sad that we were moving towards the CD format, so even though they released CD versions, I listened to BUCK-TICK on vinyl records. I was really broke, so that was already quite the hurdle to purchase the vinyls I wanted, but even if I went to the local rental stores in my area, all they had stocked were pop music so vinyl records for rock music were hard to find. Being in the suburbs meant that information was hard to come by too, so I felt that the only way for me to listen to them was to buy their records which led me to ordering them at record stores for purchase. I only bought a few records, but they consisted of BUCK-TICK and BOØWY, and also Honda Minako-san’s along with an idol by the name of CoCo. I bought BUCK-TICK’s SEXUAL×××××! (1987) and ROMANESQUE (1988). They came with stickers that were pre-order gifts. My friends would ask me to give it to them, but I would never.

BUCK-TICK has too many famous songs!

ーーWhat songs do you particularly love?

H: Off the top of my head, HEARTS (from ROMANESQUE). When it comes to “songs”, you take the liberty to relate it to your own life when you listen to it, right? At the time, I was a freshman in high school and I was thinking to myself, “I absolutely must become popular when I’m in high school,” so I spent the whole of that time looking like a delinquent. Even though I really am not one at all. And when I did that, I became super popular, a pretty girl from school confessed to me in school and we even hung out for a few days, but the truth is, I’m not that kind of person so I was soon busted as a fraud and got dumped. That girl came to mind when I heard HEARTS and that got me feeling heartbroken.

ーーAh, youth. Are there other songs that evoke such memories?

H: There are lots, but I definitely started to dream of becoming an entertainer the moment I heard FUTURE FOR FUTURE. The lyrics “The TV screen captivated my mind on some day / Making me feel my thoughts running wild just as they are¹” were definitely something that gave me the push as someone who admired the world of entertainers and television.

ーーSo, the power you felt from their music and performances along with their aforementioned hairstyles and fashion sense were all rolled into one big influence on HIROSHI.

H: Yes. Sakurai-san was touching Imai (Hisashi)-san’s butt on the back of the ROMANESQUE jacket that had the five of them posing and all I thought was, “So sexy!!! So stylish!!!”

ーーBecause punk/new wave bands like BUCK-TICK were more neutral sounding as compared to hard rock and heavy metal bands, right?

H: Right, and that’s what I admired. What I thought was really amazing was how their vibe changed starting around their Aku no Hana (1990) period, right? Honestly speaking, I did think that they changed a little too much (lol) but when I went back and listened to it again as an adult, there was a kind of realisation, like, “Now I get it, this is great!” I’m gradually getting the idea that [some of their songs are] as good as pop on occasion, but even then, they still end up sounding like BUCK-TICK, don’t they? A recent song I love, Maimu Mime (ABRACADABRA) sounds like popular music from the Showa era, doesn’t it? But there is no doubt that it belongs in BUCK-TICK’s world view. I love those types of songs too. When I got my chance to speak with Sakurai-san on SWITCH Interview Tatsujin-tachi, he had mentioned that the roots of his music came from Yamamoto Linda-san too, so I guessed BUCK-TICK might have also been influenced by pop music too.

BUCK-TICK/Maimu Mime (TOUR2020 ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN)

ーーOther than Showa-era pop songs, BUCK-TICK also incorporates influences from other genres like jazz and chanson. In addition to that, Sakurai-san also sings with his unique perspective, doesn’t he? That’s a big part of what makes them unique, and also what attracts HIROSHI-san to them, right?

H: Yes, that’s right. I rarely get to attend their concerts, but I’ve watched all their DVDs and videos, and [what I find is] BUCK-TICK’s stage sets would’ve been considered cringey if other bands used them, but when it’s them, it’s cool. Also, Imai-san plays his guitar in an oddly strange way, in a good sense. And because he plays left-handed, he pairs well with Hoshino (Hidehiko)-san in concert, doesn’t it? That’s another really cool aspect to me.

ーーImai-san’s music and arrangement, Sakurai-san’s lyrics and singing, and Hoshino-san’s music respectively have different shades. And the way the band members perform creates yet another unique shade, doesn’t it?

H: Honestly, they just have too many famous songs, don’t they? They’re releasing a 5-disc best-of album collection for their 35th anniversary this time around, and when I looked at the track list, I was shocked that FUTURE FOR FUTURE and SILENT NIGHT weren’t in any of the lists. Like, even with five best-of discs, we’ve got so many famous songs that are missing. BUCK-TICK has far too many famous songs!

ーー35 years, that’s how many years HIROSHI-san has spent with BUCK-TICK in your thoughts.

H: I’m now 50 years old, but BUCK-TICK has been active since I was a freshman in high school. I’ve also formed duos and trios [for comedy] before, and obviously I’ve formed a band before too, so I think it’s really amazing that they have been able to keep at it with the same band members for 35 years and that they’re still a leading band who draws a solid crowd for concerts. I can’t imagine doing anything like that because I’ve fought and broken up with my partners even with just two or three people in a duo or trio.

Intense admiration for Sakurai Atsushi; “I want to meet him, but I don’t want to!”

ーーDo you listen to BUCK-TICK as a form of inspiration or emotional support for yourself?

H: That happens a lot. Because I probably wouldn’t have thought of becoming an entertainer if I didn’t hear FUTURE FOR FUTURE. I’m someone with average grades who doesn’t have any talents like, I’m bad at sports too, and yet I wanted to become an entertainer anyway. That’s when I heard FUTURE FOR FUTURE and felt motivated. That’s where it all started. Even now, I’d listen to it from time to time and I’d be reminded of the feelings I had back then.

ーーAfter you had a breakthrough with your “I’m HIROSHI” skits and you published your first book (I’m HIROSHI. 1 [ヒロシです。1]), I believe you made “HIROSHI Phenomenon (ヒロシ現象 / HIROSHI Genshou)” stickers reminiscent of the “BUCK-TICK Phenomenon (バクチク現象 / BUCK-TICK Genshou)” ones.

H: That’s right! We have to talk about that! When I published my first book, we had a discussion about putting stickers in the appendix so I got to include “HIROSHI Phenomenon” with the stickers that came with my story. And just like you said, I copied that from “BUCK-TICK Phenomenon”.

ーーThis came up in our earlier conversation, but you managed to have a conversation with Sakurai-san on a program, right?

H: As an entertainer, I often get work revolving around promoting local businesses so I actually happened to bump into the band when we were travelling on the same bullet train just a short period before we went on the program. I was like, “Whoaa!” and I wanted to talk to them out of excitement, but I didn’t want them to think I was just some poseur, so I bit my tongue and didn’t talk in the end. Then on yet another day, I bumped into them again at another airport.

ーーYou might’ve been travelling the same route as BUCK-TICK’s tour.

H: Maybe that’s why. With these coming one after another, I started thinking, “Could it be a sign that something’s about to happen!?” And then, I received an offer from NHK about this dialogue program and they asked me, “Is there anyone you’re interested in meeting?” …… If that’s what you’re asking, then Sakurai-san is who I want to meet! But I admire him so much that I wouldn’t know what to say if I actually do meet him, so I decided to hold on giving them a reply. But then, my manager knew that I loved BUCK-TICK because I kept listening to them on the car, and he sent NHK the reply, “I believe HIROSHI wants to meet BUCK-TICK’s Sakurai-san” without my knowledge. And they surprisingly said OK, but it wasn’t until the schedule had been set that I first came to know that this had been decided. Seriously, at that point, I was all, “Aaaaargh!!” I was all nervous on the day of the event like, “I want to meet him, but I don’t want to. God help me!”

ーーYou showed us how flustered you were right at the start of the program (lol), but it was very interesting to see both of your personalities and the similarities you share. It’s so rare to see Sakurai-san laughing like that, so I think he really enjoyed talking to HIROSHI-san.

H: …… Hearing that makes me feel like crying. There were two days of filming and he shared a whole lot of interesting things in the parts that weren’t broadcast too. I’m also an entertainer so I do make a distinction between enjoyable and boring conversations, and whatever Sakurai-san says is really so interesting that I’m like, “Ahh, he’s actually such an interesting person.” The first day was at Sakurai-san’s go-to bar while the second day saw us filming while camping outdoors. I initially thought, “Wait, I shouldn’t make Sakurai-san go outside,” but he gave the OK despite that…… I honestly wondered whether it was really okay. We talked about all sorts of things there and he’s really charming as a person too so you really just can’t help but end up falling for him. After our 2 days of filming ended, I started thinking that I’d probably never get the chance to meet him again and I was overcome with this incredibly deep hollow sense of loss. It was the exact same feeling I’d get from breaking up with a girl I loved and it was the first time that this feeling dragged out for about two to three months.

ーー Is that the loss of Sakurai Atsushi?

H: Precisely. Also, Sakurai-san is a cat lover, isn’t he? Now I’m also considering owning a cat so I’m looking around.

Band musicians and entertainers aren’t the same, but BUCK-TICK is “the ideal image of adulthood”

ーーSince you’ve spent two days together, didn’t you exchange contact details or anything?

H: I can’t do that! If I suggested exchanging contact details to Sakurai-san, he would say yes, but I just can’t bring myself to say it! Even if I did manage to exchange details with him, Sakurai-san is someone who enjoys spending time alone so I think I probably won’t be able to bring myself to contact him anyway. But one day, I saw that I received a “like” from Imai-san on one of my posts on  Instagram. I was like, “Oh shit!” Since then, he’s sent me their new releases and tour tees when they could, so I can comfort myself with the idea that I’m kind of with BUCK-TICK like that. I don’t really have anything I can gift them, so even if I think they probably find it useless, I’d just send them camping cups anyway.

ーー (Lol) So what do you think of how BUCK-TICK is like these days?

H: Sakurai-san and Imai-san often get mentioned when we talk about BUCK-TICK, but everyone’s still cool even now. Hoshino-san is super cool too, and personally, I think that’s especially the case for the big brother on drums (Yagami Toll). He still styles his hair up evne now, doesn’t he! For bands who do that when they were young, the day will always come when they decide not to style their hair like that anymore, but he’s kept that hair for decades and honestly, I think it’s probably troublesome to do that. Because hairspray doesn’t come off easily even when you shampoo your hair. But the fact that he’s carried on with it all this time is just so cool. Furthermore, the whole band putting their hair up will ruin the vibe of them being a mature band, but with only one of them doing it like a representative of sorts…… Do you understand how great this is!?

ーーYes. It becomes obvious where BUCK-TICK’s origin is, right?

H: That’s right〜. And I played the bass too, so the coolest of them all is definitely U-TA-san (Higuchi Yutaka) for me. His image changed when he let his hair down and he seems even younger than before. In the past, rock bands have the image of being cool by being taciturn and stoic, but U-TA-san plays the bass with a big smile on his face. This balance he creates is great.

ーーAnd lastly, what is BUCK-TICK to HIROSHI-san?

H: I’d say, probably “the ideal image of adulthood”. I’m a middle-aged man through and through, and the members of BUCK-TICK are no longer young either. But they’re the specimen of how cool you can be as an adult. The things that band musicians and celebrities do aren’t the same at all, but I’m definitely still hopeful. Even as they age, their image remains cool and they’re still producing masterpieces one after another. I’ll always admire and look up to them.

In truth, I’ve been thinking that I want to play in a band again and in recent times, I’ve started moving towards that. Maybe I’ll let my hair grow out long and I’ll make myself look like what Sakurai-san did in the past. Having turned 50, I think I’ve experienced all the things I want to do to a certain extent, but I think the one thing I want to do is to play in a band. But I think I would need stamina when the time comes to actually do it, so I started running. And then I thought I’ll need to be a little more popular, so I started doing sit ups and all that to reduce my belly. Whether or not this comes to fruition, life is enriched by aspiration, isn’t it? That’s why I think it’s something to treasure.

HIROSHI’s official YouTube Channel “HIROSHI CHANNEL”

 

 

■ Releases info — 1

『CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.』

『CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.』

BUCK-TICK Debut 35th Anniversary Concept Best Album
『CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.』

Releases Wednesday, 21 September 2022

・Special edition (5SHM-CD+BD)
¥11,000 (w/ tax)

・Regular edition (5SHM-CD)
¥6,600 (w/ tax)

・Limited quantity edition (5SHM-CD+BD+GOODS)
¥15,400 (w/ tax)
※Exclusive to VICTOR ONLINE STORE

 

  • DISC1 : RIBELO

1. ICONOCLASM 2. NATIONAL MEDIA BOYS  (2015MIX) 3. ANGELIC CONVERSATION  (2022MIX)
4. 唄 5. 楽園 6. 見えない物を見ようとする誤解 全て誤解だ
7. 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマリがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり  (21022MIX) 8. 無知の涙 9. CHECK UP
10. 極東より愛を込めて 11. BUSTER  12. 天使は誰だ
13. エリーゼのために 14. REVOLVER 15. ゲルニカの夜 16. さよならシェルター
Mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound  (USA)

  • DISC2 : GOTIKA

1. BABEL 2. Mr.Darkness & Mrs.Moonlight 3. masQue 4. 月蝕 5. SABBAT  (2015MIX) 6. MISTY BLUE 7. 誘惑 8. Lullaby-III
9. ROMANCE 10. 凍える 11. 月下麗人 12. Django!!! -眩惑のジャンゴ- 13. Alice in Wonder Underground 14. DIABOLO 15. 夢魔 -The Nightmare 16. 愛の葬列
Mastered by John Davis at Metropolis Studios  (UK) 

  • DISC3 : ELEKTRIZO

1. DADA DISCO -G J T H B K H T D- 2. ケセラセラ エレジー 3. GUSTAVE 4. Baby, I want you. 5. Devil’N Angel 6. BOY septem peccata mortalia
7. 美 NEO Universe 8. メランコリア -ELECTRIA- 9. Villain 10. 獣たちの夜 YOW-ROW ver. 11. 独壇場Beauty -R.I.P.- 12. 羽虫のように
13. 光の帝国 14. 狂気のデッドヒート 15. PINOA ICCHIO -躍るアトム- 16. MY FUCKIN’ VALENTINE 17. BRAN-NEW LOVER 18. タナトス
Mastered by Clemens Schleiwies at SCHLEIWIES STUDIO  (Germany) 

  • DISC4 : FANTAZIO

1. JUPITER 2. ドレス 3. 密室 4. さくら 5. Long Distance Call
6. 無題 7. 形而上 流星 8. RAIN9. 禁じられた遊び -ADULT CHILDREN- 10. Moon さよならを教えて
11. 舞夢マイム 12. Cuba Libre 13. LOVE PARADE 14. 夢見る宇宙 -cosmix- 15. 忘却
Mastered by Alexis Bardinet at GLOBE AUDIO MASTERING  (France) 

  • DISC5 : ESPERO

1. 疾風のブレードランナー 2. RENDEZVOUS 〜ランデヴー〜 3. 鼓動  (2022MIX) 4. 世界は闇で満ちている 5. GIRL
6. 幻想の花 7. RHAPSODY 8. Memento mori 9. FUTURE SONG -未来が通る- 10. STEPPERS -PARADE-
11. セレナーデ -愛しのアンブレラ- 12. JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver. 2021 13. ONCE UPON A TIME 14. ユリイカ 15. New World
Mastered by Takahiro Uchida at FLAIR MASTERING WORKS  (Japan) 

  • DISC6 : VIDA<Blu-ray>

1. JUST ONE MORE KISS 2. 惡の華 3. スピード 4. M・A・D 5. JUPITER 6. ドレス 7. die 8. 唄
9. 鼓動 10. 見えない物を見ようとする誤解 全て誤解だ 11. キャンディ 12. ヒロイン 13. 囁き 14. 月世界 15. BRAN-NEW LOVER
16. ミウ 17. GLAMOROUS 18. 21st Cherry Boy 19. 極東より愛を込めて 20. 残骸 21. 幻想の花 22. ROMANCE
23. 蜉蝣 -かげろう- 24. RENDEZVOUS 〜ランデヴー〜 25. Alice in Wonder Underground 26. HEAVEN 27. GALAXY
28. 独壇場Beauty 29. くちづけ 30. エリーゼのために 31. MISS TAKE 〜僕はミス・テイク〜 32. 形而上 流星 33. New World
34. BABEL 35. Moon さよならを教えて 36. 獣たちの夜 37. RONDO 38. 堕天使 39. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE 40. 凍える 41. Go-Go B-T TRAIN

 

Official review of the Best-Of Album Collection: https://www.jvcmusic.co.jp/linguasounda/b-t35th/disc_review.html

 

■ Releases info — 2

Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara 〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜 in Nippon Budokan
BUCK-TICK LIVE Blu-ray&DVD
Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara 〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜 in Nippon Budokan

Releases Wednesday, 21 September 2022

・Special edition Blu-ray (BD+2SHM-CD+PHOTOBOOK)
¥12,100 (w/ tax)

・Special edition DVD (2DVD+2SHM-CD+PHOTOBOOK)
¥12,100 (w/ tax)

※LIVE TRACKS CD (2-set) ・Includes 64-page photobook, special packaging

・Regular edition Blu-ray (BD)
¥7,700 (w/ tax)

・Regular edition DVD (2DVD)
¥7,700 (w/ tax)

 

<Blu-ray Track List>

SE. THE DUSK 〜start〜 01. DIABOLO 02. 夢魔 -The Nightmare 03. 楽園 04. 謝肉祭 -カーニバル- 05. Lullaby-III 06. 絶界 07. Living on the Net -Acoustic Ver.- 08. 光の帝国 09. ユリイカ 10. 忘却 11. BABEL 12. 獣たちの夜 13. 堕天使 YOW-ROW ver. 14. Villain 15. 舞夢マイム 16. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE 17. 形而上 流星 -Acoustic Ver.- 18. JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver.2021 19. 唄 Ver.2021 20. ICONOCLASM Ver.2021 21. Alice in Wonder Underground 22. 恋 23. Go-Go B-T TRAIN 24. 独壇場Beauty -R.I.P.-

<DVD Track List>

DISC1

SE. THE DUSK 〜start〜 01. DIABOLO 02. 夢魔 -The Nightmare 03. 楽園 04. 謝肉祭 -カーニバル- 05. Lullaby-III 06. 絶界 07. Living on the Net -Acoustic Ver.- 08. 光の帝国 09. ユリイカ 10. 忘却

DISC2

1. BABEL 02. 獣たちの夜 03. 堕天使 YOW-ROW ver. 04. Villain 05. 舞夢マイム 06. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE 07. 形而上 流星 -Acoustic Ver.- 08. JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver.2021 09. 唄 Ver.2021 10. ICONOCLASM Ver.2021 11. Alice in Wonder Underground 12. 恋 13. Go-Go B-T TRAIN 14. 独壇場Beauty -R.I.P.-

 

■Concert information

BUCK-TICK Debut 35th Anniversary LIVE
『BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”〜35th anniversary〜』
Kanagawa: Yokohama Arena

『BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”〜35th anniversary〜 FLY SIDE』
23 September 2022 (Fri / PH) Doors open: 17:00, show starts:18:00

『BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”〜35th anniversary〜 HIGH SIDE』
24 September 2022 (Sat) Doors open: 16:00, show starts: 17:00

Ticket price: All designated seats ¥12,000 (w/ tax)
Special website: https://buck-tick.com/feature/specialsite_2022parade

 

『BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv.』

13 October (Thu) Tokyo: Tachikawa Stage Garden
Doors open: 17:30 , show starts: 18:30

15 October (Sat) Kanagawa: Pacifico Yokohama — National Convention Hall
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

18 October (Tue) Saitama: Kawaguchi Sogo Bunka Center — Lilia Main Hall
Doors open: 17:30 , show starts: 18:30

21 October (Fri) Nagamo: Hokuto Culture Hall — Large Hall
Doors open: 17:30 , show starts: 18:30

22 October (Sat) Ishikawa: Hondanomori Hall
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

29 October (Sat) Hyogo: Kobe Kokusai Kaikankokusai Hall
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

30 October(Sun) Okayama: Kurashiki City Auditorium
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

4 November (Fri) Tokyo: Tokyo International Forum — Hall A
Doors open: 17:30 , show starts: 18: 30

6 November (Sun) Gunma: Takasaki City Theatre — Grand Theatre
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

12 November (Sat) Hokkaido: Sapporo Kanamoto Hall
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

19 November (Sat) Miyagi: Sendai Sunplaza Hall
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

20 November (Sun) Tochigi: Utsunomiya City Cultural Center — Large Hall
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

26 November (Sat) Hiroshima: Ueno Gakuen Hall (Hiroshima Prefectural Culture & Arts Hall)
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

27 November (Sun) Fukuoka: Fukuoka Sun Palace Hotel & Hall
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

3 December (Sat) Kyoto: ROHM Theatre Kyoto — Main Hall
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

4 December (Sun) Kagawa: Rexxam Hall — Large Hall (Kagawa Prefectural Hall)
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

10 December (Sat) Aichi: NTK Hall — Forest
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

11 December (Sun) Shizuoka: Shizuoka Culture Hall — Large Hall
Doors open: 17:00 , show starts: 18: 00

15 December (Thu) Chiba:  Chiba Prefecture Cultural Hall — Large Hall
Doors open: 17:30 , show starts: 18: 30

19 December (Mon) Osaka:  Osaka Festival Hall
Doors open: 17:30 , show starts: 18: 30

20 December (Tue) Osaka:  Osaka Festival Hall
Doors open: 17:30 , show starts: 18: 30

Ticket price: ¥9,900 (w/ tax)

General ticketing sales: Starts 10AM, Saturday, 24 September 2022

 

BUCK-TICK Debut 35th Anniversary SITE

 

 

Notes:

¹ テレビの画面に いつかの心を奪われて/高鳴る想いは そのまま 感じたままで
Terebi no gamen ni itsuka no kokoro wo ubararete / takanaru omoi wa sono mama kanjita mama de

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Real Sound

 

BUCK-TICK Holds 35th Anniversary Concert
“We’re still moving forward. Wishing blessings upon everyone too.”

Sports Hochi
23 September 2022

 

 

 

5-piece rock band BUCK-TICK held their 35th major debut anniversary concert, The Parade on the 23rd at Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa.

They performed 21 songs like their signature Aku no Hana and for the first time, Sayonara Shelter, their new song that was included in their best-of collection CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. which was recently released on the 21st. They also mesmerised fans with light performances that made use of 12 laser machines, and a giant LED screen.

“We’ve been doing this for 35 years. I would like to express my gratitude to all of you; thank you. We have more new recordings too. We’re still moving forward. Wishing blessings upon everyone too,” thanked Sakurai Atsushi who wore beguiling outfits, like jet black shorts and black knee-high socks that show off his “absolute territory¹”.

They’ll perform on the 24th at the same venue too. They will then kick off their first national tour in 3 years on 13 October, starting with a show at Tachikawa Stage Garden in Tokyo to play a total off 21 shows in 20 locations. Sakurai rallied, “You all still can’t take your masks off and scream for us, but we hope you’ll come and join us on tour too in good health.”

 

 

Notes:

¹ Absolute Territory (絶対領域 / zettai ryouiki) describes the amount of bare thigh skin between the shorts or skirt and stockings or socks.

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Sports Hochi

 

 

BUCK-TICK 35th Major Debut Anniversary Concert
Sakurai Atsushi: “We’re still going!!”

Sanspo
23 September 2022

 

 

 

5-piece rock band BUCK-TICK who celebrated the 35th anniversary of their major debut on the 21st of September has begun their two consecutive nights of concerts at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama’s Kohoku Ward to celebrate this milestone on the 23rd.

This is the 9th time they are performing at Yokohama Arena and 6 years since their last. With a 12,000-strong audience in attendance, they started off the show with ICONOCLASM from their album TABOO which became their first number one ranking album on the Oricon Chart in 1989. Vocalist Sakurai Atsushi (56) greeted the crowd with a, “Welcome. Do enjoy yourself,” turning them into a bubbling pot of excitement.

It has been 35 years since they debut in 1987. Their ingenious brand of music which blends a variety of genres started the “BUCK-TICK Phenomenon”, and these five long-standing members of the band have been at the forefront of Japan’s rock music scene with successes like performances at Nippon Budokan and Tokyo Dome in 1989 to back them.

On tonight’s stage, they performed 21 songs from their entire career’s discography including their signature song Aku no Hana, their first number one on the Oricon singles chart in 1990, and for the first time, Sayonara Shelter, their new song that was included in their best-of collection CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. which was recently released on the 21st. They also delighted fans with flashy performances that saw 12 laser machines, and giant LED screens and lighting.

Their concert DVD of last year-end’s Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara~SHOW AFTER DARK~in Nippon Budokan was also released on the 21st. They will also be kicking off their first national tour (21-show run) in three years on 13 October.

Sakurai thanked the audience, saying, “We’ve been doing this for 35 years. I would like to express my gratitude to all of you; thank you.” Then, he declared, “We’ve got our tour in October, and another show tomorrow. There are still more new recordings to work on. We’re still going!!” Unstoppable is the momentum of legends who are celebrating their anniversary year.

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Sanspo

 

 

 

Sakurai Atsushi
BUCK-TICK

Of Timid Bravery

text by Ishii Eriko
photographs by Nakano Hirohisa
hair & make-up by Yamaji Chihiro_Fat’s Berry
styling by Shimizu Kenichi

outfits by
kiryuyrik_03-5728-4048
LAD MUSICIAN SHINJUKU_03-6457-7957

 

This armada gets moving once again ahead of their 35th anniversary year. It starts with the long-awaited fan-club exclusive tour kicking off in the beginning of summer, then Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday bash in August, and the release of their conceptual 5-CD best-of collection CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. this month. In this same period, they will also be holding their 2-day concert event THE PARADE at Yokohama Arena, followed by their first national tour in three years that starts next month.

Closing off the celebration of their anniversary year naturally brings us to an upcoming new album, but for now, we want to hear from Sakurai Atsushi ahead of it. Sayonara Shelter is the one and only new, unreleased song that has been included in the best-of collection. The way it captures an unfiltered reality with its straightforward language is filled with will-power and determination unlike any before. It was reported last month that he was tested positive for COVID-19 and had made a full recovery after the resulting quarantine, but this interview was held sometime in July, before any of that happened.

I thought it would be more strenuous initially
But I was surprisingly okay. I think the audience probably have it tougher than us

―― It’s late July now and you’re right in the middle of your fan club & mobile members-only tour.

Sakurai (S): That’s right. Well, finally…… I can breathe a sigh of relief. Because we haven’t been able to hold a concert, much less a fan club-exclusive one in about two years.

―― How did you deal with the physical and mental challenges from these concerts?

S: We’ve been busy with recording work for our new album. I had to wrap up all my work about three days ago, so the switch [from recording mode to concert mode] was difficult. Because I can’t effectively work on more than one thing at the same time. So because I was having a hard time with it, I left (song selection and all the other preparations) to everyone to handle. They were old songs so I didn’t have all that much difficulty there. Whatever else, I wouldn’t know until I’m standing on stage anyway. Since things will always be different in rehearsals.

―― My body’s undergone changes too after the past two years and when I attended concerts in recent times, I found myself wondering, “Is it really this tiring to stand for two hours straight?” (lol). How do you find it as a performer?

S: Ah…… I actually thought it would be more strenuous initially. But somehow, my body was surprisingly okay. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been keeping myself on my toes with recording work, and that’s kept my mind busy. It’s surprisingly taken a weight off my shoulders.

―― That’s a good thing then.

S: Yes. I did wonder whether or not I’d be able to do it okay before it started, but my voice sounded better than I expected. I just feel kind of bad for the audience, though. They have to keep their masks on throughout the event, and have to stand in designated spots, and can’t even respond with their voices. I know it can’t be helped because that’s the situation that we’re in now but…… I think the audience probably have it tougher than we performers do in all these different areas.

―― But being able to see you is enough of a something to be happy about.

S: That’s true. But because they can’t respond vocally. There’s this unnerving intensity. Since everyone’s wearing masks, there’s a superabundant, concentration from their eyes (lol).

―― Concentration from the eyes (lol). Are your band mates enjoying it too?

S: It allows us to vent out our energy in a setting completely different from recording after all, so everyone does seem to be enjoying themselves. Yeah.

―― Also, just confirming, you’ve already plunged into the actual recording work for the new album and it’s no longer in its conception stage, right?

S: That’s right. Yes.

―― So, although It was impossible for you to go on a proper national tour for ABRACADABRA, you’re already moving on to your next album.

S: Because first of all is our 35th anniversary celebration year. We’ve got our best-of collection, the fan club concert during [the anniversary year]. And later comes the release of our new album next year to end it. That’s the series of events we’ve got laid out.

―― In recent years, I believe you’ve generally followed the cycle of closing off an album’s chapter only after you’ve had a tour for it. But now that this has changed, did it affect anything? Like the songwriting vibe, or the themes that Imai-san comes up with?

S: Right…… While I was having a discussion with Director Tanaka, about things like, “Is this format going to work?”, though, well, I can’t really go into detail yet, but something like a vague, overarching theme resulted from that. Although…… I’m already doing whatever I want anyway.

―― Eh, what do you mean?

S: Well, in terms of general themes, hope, despair, that kind of a world. Although, that might just be a narrative I imposed on myself. But even then, anything else just goes in one ear and out the other for me, so. …… Despair is all I can write about!

―― Fuhahahahaha.

S: That’s all I have to say.

―― Even so, do you feel fulfilled in your day-to-day life?

S: Yeah. I’m very much fulfilled with how I approach what I produce and what I do. With the exception of these, there are a lot of things I don’t want to think about so I make it such that I don’t. Now, I just want to hurry up and move on to recording my part for the next song.

――Excuse me for saying this, but you’re very motivated, aren’t you?

S: That’s right. Not in a desperate way, though. It’s strange, but it could be because I’ve been working at things as if it’ll be the last time ever.

 

In the past, I think I would play it cool, avoid being clear, kind of sidestep things and use another escape route though
I can’t bring myself to do that anymore these days. Because I’m not that eloquent in the first place.

―― I think I said this a year ago as well, around the time of Go-Go B-T TRAIN’s release, but I’m getting the impression that the present version of Sakurai-san has picked up a defiant stance, in a good way.

S: That’s right. I’ve been able to focus on music, the things I want to do. You could say that I don’t want to think about anything else.

―― Can you think of anything that might’ve caused this?

S: Hmーm, well, part of it is growing older, and that I’d start wondering vaguely about things like, “How many more years can I do this?” I’m not feeling pessimistic to that extent, though. But also, all the recent…… incidents, accidents, ah, well, frankly speaking, wars, and all that. Witnessing all of it, it’s like, I don’t feel like it’s just someone else’s problem. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. It might sound like an exaggeration, but I’ve come to feel that I wouldn’t even think it odd if tomorrow something happens to this Japan we live in. And since that’s the case, I feel that I can push ahead with whatever I can do and want to do.

―― A world in decline inspires Sakurai-san.

S: Right…… Putting it like that makes it sound shrewd, doesn’t it? As if I won’t do anything unless something like that happens. But in the end…… it seems like it’s in my character to turn these kinds of negative events into fuel. Anger and sadness, I’ve come to realise recently that these are sources of energy for me.

―― Actually, just 10 years ago we could never have imagined that things like epidemics and wars would actually be happening in such close proximity to us in the 21st century.

S: That’s definitely true. That’s really what it is. People might say that we can’t really help that infectious diseases occur and that may be so, but on the other hand, wars are essentially a man-made disaster, and I think it’s something that can be stopped if person A and B and C and D decide to say “stop”, right? Whenever I see the news, I find myself wondering how such a thing can happen in the 21st century…… It’s shocking. Just heart-wrenching, isn’t it? That all the children and ordinary people…… It just makes me wonder “why?”.

―― This exact frame of mind is depicted in Sayonara Shelter, the new song which you’ve included in DISC1 of your upcoming best-of collection, right?

S: That’s right, yes.

―― The music is quintessentially Hide-san, with how beautiful it is. Writing about such a concrete subject for this melody pulls your emotions right into it from the very beginning.

S: Yes. I think the past me would likely play it cool, avoid being clear [about the subject matter], kind of sidestep things and use another escape route though. I can’t bring myself to do that anymore these days. Because I’m not that eloquent in the first place. And the best thing I can now is to do things as I see them, as I feel them. No matter what, this…… When I’m shown videos of children and all those…… There’s no other outlet (for my emotions).

―― The lyrics are written in the perspective of both parties involved with the very first line going, “Someone is coming to kill us (誰かが僕らを殺しに来るよ)”, followed by the next, with, “Am I going out to kill someone (わたしは誰かを殺しに行くの)”.

S: That’s right. Like, what if it was you in that position and you can’t remain a bystander, what would you do? If those who fled to Poland were asked whether they could leave their families behind and go back to Ukraine…… If I was in their position, what would I do? That’s something I thought about too.

―― What would you do? Do you think you’d go back and take up arms?

S: Ah…… Well, if I wanted to sound cool, I’d probably say yes. But I don’t know what I’d actually do if that really happened to me.

―― No matter the choice, we’re all still human after all. And no matter the choice, I think you’ll always have people around you saying, “That’s it, that’s the right path.”

S: That’s true. Really…… because they’re going at each other, brandishing ideals, right? Actually, even now, I still can’t believe it, like, “Is this really happening?”

―― Was there any hint of reservations or expressions of bewilderment from your band mates at lyrics written in such a disambiguous manner?

S: None at all. Um…… I created an atmosphere that didn’t allow them to say anything.
―― When you say this with that look in your eyes, the only thing to do is to shut up (lol).

S: Fufufu. There actually were opinions for and against this within the band, but ultimately, the desire to make people listen to it won out. After I recorded my part for the song, even Director Tanaka-san said, “This is probably something that needs to be announced now.” And so, we decided to include it in the best-of collection.

 

I’m definitely one of the weak human beings
A helpless person who cowers in the dark
I’m just like the children shaking in fear in the basement

―― This might be a bit of a reach, but I think there will be cases where people hear this song and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Isn’t this an anti-war song?” How does Sakurai-san feel about that?

S: Ahh, I had that conversation with Victor’s staff and Tanaka-san about the order of the tracklist in DISC 1, the last three songs in it (REVOLVER, Guernica no Yoru, Sayonara Shelter). While we did think that people might not like for us to shine the focus on this area alone…… I think we should even if they hate it.

ーー Fufufufu.

S: Because I feel that sooner or later, the day when we have to talk about these things will come. But…… I think it’s strange to use the word “anti-war”, isn’t it? Because I think war is not something that we need to begin with. Although, it would be good if people would just take it as, “I guess that’s what they’re doing,” when I put these things into song. But that’s not going to happen, is it? I expect that there will likely be people who will want to say, “You guys are hypocrites!”

ーー That’s precisely why most people avoid anything and everything related to topics on war or politics. I think it’s a sensitive thing for celebrities and artists alike.

S: That’s true. But I think that’s good too. To speak nothing of these things at all, to spend more time making people laugh and smile in other ways, to sing songs that inspire people to look forward to tomorrow. I think they’re awe-inspiring if someone is able to express themself like that. But that’s not something I’m capable of. I suppose that’s because I’m not mature enough as a person, though.

―― No, that’s not true.

S: Of course, I have all kinds of dilemmas. While I’d be concerned if people didn’t get the message at all [when they listen to the song], there are also times when I’d feel disappointed when I start to wonder whether we’d be able to make money with such music. But that said, it’s not as if there are all that many other things that inspire me anyway. It’s all now very unstable, isn’t it? Both the world at large, and for the individual person too. But the real problem is that proper adults are killing people. Simply put, they’re getting children all wrapped up in this as collateral damage. To that, I wanted to say, “Why?” from the children’s perspective. And I said it earlier too, but [other people] misrepresenting that, changing [some part of its meaning], implying [something else]…… “I can’t be bothered!” That’s how I feel.

―― Don’t you think that you’ll need to have crossed a certain boundary to be able to say this as the person who wrote these words and sings it?

S: Yes. That did happen. Well, you could also say it’s being mentally prepared on the inside. Sort of like a, “This was what you said at that time, right? Since that’s the case, you should turn what you felt into something that strikes other people even harder.” For me, whatever strikes my heart deeply gets turned into the flesh and blood that forms my words. Since this is the line of work I am in, as long as I have a choice, my first consideration wouldn’t be whether this is a good idea or not, but rather my desire to stir up strong emotions in other people. That’s the kind of premeditated transgression it’s come to. Because in these past few years, we’ve had war, and COVID-19, and in all of that, I’ve been wondering, “What should I sing about?”

―― So that’s what it’s been like for you.

S: Yeah. If I’m making my move, I might as well go all out and take the plunge. Kind of like the idea of kicking the spring board as hard as you can and flying off.

―― Signs of the times are certainly all around us, aren’t they? Ever since COVID-19, I would think that it’s difficult to write melancholic, despairing songs……

S: No? I’m doing that right now.

―― Ah, really (lol).

S: I’m getting critical acclaim for doing that. Somehow, I’m really excited about this. For my insidious ways!

―― Fuhahahahaha!

S: Perhaps…… This might just be my life’s purpose.

―― Kukuku. Insidiousness and despair are what “Demon King¹ Sakurai” is really made of, right? But if that’s true, then I wonder what disposition and personality Sayonara Shelter’s Sakurai-san will be categorised under?

S: Mm…… But I’m definitely one of the weak human beings, you know? I’m really a helpless person who cowers in the dark. I always say this, but I’m just like the children shaking in fear in the basement.

―― You’ve portrayed the “shelter” in this song as a safe rendezvous, yet, where does the “farewell (sayonara)” in the song title come from?

S: Ah, that’s because I thought of working in a little drama. [The protagonist] won’t be able to come back anymore but…… Something like that. It’s the same with the “I’m going out to kill (殺しに行く / koroshi ni iku)” that comes in at the end; [the protagonist] is lying. In the song Andalusia ni Akogarete (アンダルシアに憧れて / Longing for Andalusia) by Maashii-san (Mashima Masatoshi), there’s that sense of waiting at station platform for [the protagonist] to come back. Although we won’t be able to see each other, wait for me. …… Ah, you don’t have to keep this in the interview.

―― It’s interesting, so I’ll publish it anyway (lol). But that would make this a song with a tragic ending, wouldn’t it?

S: That’s right. I think I was also writing [these lyrics] with the feeling of how soldiers like me who aren’t all that young, who haven’t even been trained would be the very first to go down. Although the hope that whatever we do helps the children who are waiting back home is of course there.

―― Hope and despair are intertwined. It’s just like what “shadow play” is; the one and only modest form of entertainment that one can create in a shelter that is lit up by only moon or candle light.

S: Yeah. It’s exactly as you said. I think everyone has seen the little girl singing Frozen songs in the underground shelter on the news. Even in these devastating circumstances, such a vibrant individuals and personalities exist. This hope…… If we don’t even have a single candle flame, it would be unbearable, wouldn’t it?

―― Did you feel a sense of clarity after you finished writing the lyrics to this song?

S: ……No, although I would feel relieved after it’s turned into a song and released as a work. The next step after that would include wondering about whether there’d be people who would get upset by this. Those who won’t get it won’t get it anyway. But that’s, well, the freedom of the listener anyway, so they can take it however they want, right? Hm…… And then, there’s also doubt revolving around whether it’s okay for me to earn money with something like this too. I think those are the kind of thoughts I’m always dwelling on in my head.

―― But you’ve never made the decision that you won’t release it.

S: That’s right. Because the story has already been written  in my head. A number of such stories have also been written for other new songs that are going into our next album. At this point, I don’t think anyone can avoid it anymore.

―― The strength to step into this and not allow anyone to say otherwise about it. The Sakurai-san of today is truly incredible.

S: If I held back…… it’s the end of the road for me. That’s what it feels like. I’m a coward, you see. Besides, I’ve fallen very ill before and it’s not as if my family’s all that healthy either. I keep telling myself, “It’s time to take the plunge or it’s going to all be over for you.” Because I really don’t know if or when something will happen.

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ We often see Sakurai being nicknamed 魔王 (maou), often translated as Demon King, or Prince of Darkness, or even Satan. But what I found interesting was the fact that Franz Schubert’s Erlkönig is called 魔王 in Japanese. The equivalent of Erlkönig in English appears to be Alder King, king of the elves. 

 

 

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Anii’s 60th!

Yagami Toll 60th Birthday Live
IT’S A NOW 2022
2022.08.18 (FRI) CLUB CITTA’

text by Hirabayashi Michiko
photographs by Tanaka Seitari (LIVE), Masa (BACKSTAGE)

 

Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday celebration. Numerous musicians who love and admire him congratulated him on this memorable day. Mentors, juniors, sworn friends, admirers, and his long-time band mates. Such is proof that his yet ongoing drumming career is a happy and blessed one. The 19th of August. This is the report of that one special day.

D’ERLANGER

  1. BABY
  2. Angelic Poetry
  3. Romeo & Juliet
  4. LULLABY
  5. CRAZY4YOU
  6. Oh! My God! (Yagami Toll & Blue Sky cover)
  7. SADISTIC EMOTION

 

Yagami Toll & Blue Sky (1/2)

  1. Mandom—Lovers Of The World
  2. WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind- / with Miyako Keiichi
  3. SODA ROCK!! / with Miyako Keiichi
  4. Fire Girl / with Miyako Keiichi
  5. ROCK’N ROLL STAR / with Miyako Keiichi
  6. Oh! My God! / with Miyako Keiichi
  7. Top Of The Mountain Bar (SHIME cover) / with Miyako Keiichi

Yagami Toll & Blue Sky (2/2)

8. Funky Monkey Baby (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
9. Good Old Rock’n’Roll (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
10. Slow Down (THE BEATLES cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
11. DREAMIN’ (BOØWY cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
12. 時よ [Toki yo] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
13. 夢で逢えたら [Yume de Aetara] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
14. Blow wind  / with Miyako Keiichi

 

BUCK-TICK

  1. THEME OF B-T
  2. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
  3. GUSTAVE
  4. Baby, I want you.
  5. 愛しのロック・スター [Itoshi no Rock Star] / with ISSAY
  6. 恋 [Koi]
  7. ユリイカ [Eureka]
  8. SEXUAL×××××!

With his caring and loving personality, and his sincerity
Life as a loved and admired drummer is bound to continue on

Yagami Toll’s birthday concert IT’S A NOW! has become an annual event that happens every August since celebrating his 50th birthday at the very same CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki in 2012. This special edition 60th anniversary show was a celebration filled with love and respect for Anii.

The first batter of the night, D’ERLANGER started the show with all four members facing each other as they began performing BABY. It was confusing to suddenly see the band with their backs to the audience with the exception of drummer Tetsu, but by choosing to start with this song in a way that focuses on the drummer shows their respect for Yagami. During their segment, Tetsu expressed his joy at being able to take part in this celebration with D’ERLANGER, and performed with more power and spirit than usual with their love for their respected senior.

Up next was 5-piece band Yagami Toll & Blue Sky taking the stage with familiar band members Kenta Harada, KANAME, Yagi Masato, and Miyako Keiichi (SOPHIA/rayflower) joining in as the guest keyboardist. A huge round of applause rose from the audience as Yagami, the star of the day, ascended the drum stage which was decorated with 60 bright red roses. The first half of the show which featured a series of songs from their 2019 mini-album had an intimate atmosphere, as if enjoying a performance with a group of friends who were at ease with each other. Closing off this first half, they covered songs by singer-songwriter SHIME who passed away this March, expressing in music their gratitude and condolences for his indispensable presence in IT’S A NOW!.

The second half was a special segment filled with guest performers. First was a twin drums session with ex-DEAD END drummer Minato Masafumi and ex-BOOWY drummer Takahashi Makoto. The powerful drumming in DREAMIN’ by one drummer celebrating his 60th birthday and the other who was nearing 70 was nothing short of astonishing. After that, Yoshida MInako, who Yagami had always admired, joined them on stage to perform Toki yo and Yume de Aetara at his request. Then, switching places with her were his younger brother Higuchi Yutaka carrying in a bright red silk hat-shaped cake and sworn brother Tetsu (D’ERLANGER) holding a bouquet of flowers on stage to congratulate and celebrate Yagami’s 60th birthday.

During the set change, congratulatory messages were shown on a screen. Familiar faces from the Ayanokoji Sho-led band Kishidan, Carol’s guitarist Uchiumi Toshikatsu who was a huge influence on Yagami’s life, to his junior drummers DIR EN GREY’s Shinya, Spitz’s Sakiyama Tatsuo, BRAHMAN and OAU’s RONZI, POLYSICS’ YANO and many others made comment videos for him, illustrating just how large Yagami’s circle of friends is.

Finally, given the honour of the closing set was, of course, BUCK-TICK. While the members who made up ~Blue Sky from earlier were friends to feel at ease with, BUCK-TICK is the group who will spend the rest of their lives with each other to Yagami. In other words, they are bound together by a common destiny. Today’s show starts with Go-Go B-T TRAIN

“We are Yagami Toll and his trusted associates,” Sakurai greets. Following which, he says, “I’m straying into personal matters, but I fell sick with COVID-19.”

That’s right. Today happened to be the very first show that Sakurai Atsushi performed following his recuperation period, but throughout their set, Sakurai drew close to the drum stage numerous times to revere Anii and to reiterate that the star of today’s show was Yagami.

Then, midway, Sakurai announced, “Let’s call on our lovely guest,” ISSAY, who accepted an invitation from Yagami himself came onstage. Together with Sakurai, they performed Itoshi no Rock Star for the first time in 27 years! The sultry singing voices of the aristocrat of darkness and the Demon King. Just as Sakurai went behind ISSAY and put his hands on the other’s hips, ISSAY puts his arm around Sakurai’s shoulders and brings his face close. Faces were blank before this scene, playing dumb as if thinking, “Oh, goodness gracious, what on earth are they trying to show us here?”

Into the hall which had been enveloped in a bizarre exhilaration, the beautiful yearning melody that is Koi gently descended on us before leading into Eureka that had everyone shouting “LOVE” in their hearts and putting up peace signs. 

Then, Sakurai began a humour-filled introduction, saying, “Upon request by our Anii-san from Tokyo.” 

Yagami came after, declaring, “We’ll be performing the title track from our debut album!” and with the loud signal of a countdown, they jumped into SEXUAL xxxxx! as the grand finale of the night.

When I first came across the band BUCK-TICK, I never could have imagined what people from my grandparents’ generation would have been like when they plated in a rock band. However, the band’s drummer stood on stage this day wearing a bright red outfit, still looking the same as the day I first saw him with his hair standing high, drumming a tight beat. Loved and adored by many for his caring, loving personality and sincere attitude as a musician, Yagami’s life as a drummer continues from here. With his caring and loving personality, and his sincerity as a musician, life as a drummer for Yagami who is loved and admired by many is nowhere near finished, and bound to continue on into the future.

 

 

 

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AFTERSHOW

2021.08.17 Sakurai Atsushi BUCK-TICK

After the cover and feature photoshoot for the special publication PHY Vol.22, this magazine’s photoshoot was done on the terrace of the same studio. Although we knew that we should refrain from putting too much pressure on Sakurai-san who had just recovered from illness, what we wanted in this shoot was Acchan’s smile.  As I stood behind photographer Nakano-san who held the camera, I spoke about how my daughter was aspiring to be a YouTuber and how she was trying to come up with an opening introduction for her channel. And thus, we were graced by the presence of the smiling Demon King. Even though Sakurai said, “Kanemitsu-san, it’s not fair of you to talk about your daughter,” he was beaming all the way until the end of the shoot. By the way, PHY Vol.22 goes on sale on 21 September. The warm, laid-back Hide-san’s book (expanded and revised version) is also slated to be published on the same date. Look forward to it!

 

 

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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Pictures: Yoshiyuki

35/60
Interview with Yagami Toll

ROCK AND READ
September 2022

Interview/Text Okubo Yuka

 

I never thought I’d be making music with them for 35 years, much less imagine that I’d still be drumming into my 60s. If I were a working adult I’d already be retiring from the workforce (lol).

BUCK-TICK, who had their major debut in 1987 will be celebrating their 35th anniversary this year on 21st September.

And Yagami Toll, the big brother who was half-forced, half-dragged into the band by Higuchi Yutaka, his biological younger brother, will be celebrating his 60th birthday this year on 19th August.

Stories from BUCK-TICK’s 35 years together and Yagami Toll’s 60 years of life like how he joined the band, what he thinks of his fellow bandmates, the 2 times he wanted to quit, the pros of the drums coming last in the recording process, his current perspective of the instrument, and even about his solo project Blue Sky are all squeezed into this 12,000-character summary of an interview.

 

Yagami Toll

BUCK-TICK

profile & information

Born on 19 August 1962. Blood type A. Drummer of BUCK-TICK which was formed in 1985. Other members of the band are Sakurai Atsushi on vocals, Imai Hisashi on guitar, Hoshino Hidehiko on guitar, and Higuchi Yutaka on bass. They will be releasing both their 35th anniversary special best-of concept album CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. and the Blu-ray & DVD of Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜 in Nippon Budokan on the same day, 21st September. They will be performing at Yokohama Arena on Friday, the 23rd and Saturday, the 24th of September at their BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~ concert. Additionally, they will also be celebrating Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday on Friday, 19th August with the show Yagami Toll~60th Birthday Live~IT’S A NOW ! 2022 at CLUB CITTA’ KAWASAKI.

buck-tick.com

 

 

 

―― Since this year marks the 35th anniversary of BUCK-TICK’s major debut and Yagami-san will be celebrating your 60th birthday this year too, let’s have a look back at the journey so far. Yagami-san was the last person to join BUCK-TICK and is also the eldest, so I wonder if there’s some part of you that sees the band and your band mates from an outside perspective.

Toll (T): That’s true. Because I was in a different band, and I’ve been watching over them since the days of Hinan GO-GO (lol).

―― The band before what eventually became BUCK-TICK, right. What kind of impression did you have of Hinan GO-GO?

T: Imai (Hisashi) stripped the colour from his hair with hydrogen peroxide or something so his hair had always been brown since high school, so I thought he was kind of different. Basically they came across as quiet and reserved people to me. I think I got to know Imai when he was in his third year of high school. I suppose it was around that time when they formed the band. The lead guitarist of the competition band that I was in was one grade Acchan (Sakurai Atsushi) and Imai’s senior. At Fujioka High. That person taught Imai and Hide (Hoshino Hidehiko) how to play the guitar, and the bassist of that same band taught Yuta (Higuchi Yutaka) bass guitar while I taught Acchan the drums. We were in the countryside, so we practised in my home. We still got complaints though (lol). And I think there were times when Hinan GO-GO practised at my place too.

―― While all that was going on, Yagami-san got forcefully dragged into joining BUCK-TICK. What was that actually like?

T: I didn’t like that (lol). Because I liked Gunma. My competition band split up in October of 1985, and about a month after that, Yuta said to me, “We changed our member lineup and we have no drummer so join us.” I told him, “I’m all burnt out and I’m not joking so no thanks.” I turned him down 5 or 6 times over the phone. But then Yuta travelled back to Gunma from Tokyo and started packing my things without asking me. So it felt like there wasn’t anything I could do about it so I’ll just help them out anyway. Even though I was living in a huge house back home with my parents, he suddenly took me to an apartment in Asagayakita that didn’t even have a bathroom and I was all, “What the hell is this, give me a break.” (Lol). After we had our first rehearsal, I said I’ll help them for 3 years and if there’s no reaction whatsoever, it could be a deal to debut as an indie band or just anything, if there’s nothing, I’m going back to Gunma. That was the limit that I decided for myself and that’s what I told them. In the end, after about a year and a half, we ended up getting offers from major labels to sign with them.

―― Would you have quit music altogether if you didn’t get the calls from Yuta-san?

T: Even if I continued, I would maybe just play with amateur bands? Because there aren’t many drummers around, are there? That’s why if someone asked me to help, I’d probably do it. I was originally a rebar worker in the first place so I was thinking of going back to that.

―― It sounds like you never even imagined what BUCK-TICK’s future could be at the time.

T: More than that, we were a bunch of people who had only started playing these instruments for 2-3 years. That’s why it’s actually amazing, isn’t it? That we managed to make our debut at the time. We were criticised for how bad we were at music when we debuted, but that’s of course, isn’t it (lol). They said my drumming was just about decent, but that’s also of course. It’s just that the band was aware of our own level and I believe that’s tied to our improvement in skill, you know?

BUCK-TICK isn’t a band that was already perfect at debut;
we’re a band who debuted and then subsequently made steady progress since.

―― This is a famous story, but it’s been said that not involving other musicians in your recordings was one of BUCK-TICK’s conditions for signing with a major label.

T: Correct. Those were the days of the band boom and people who did that were earning big bucks. But when we thought about it logically, that’s as good as strangling ourselves with our own hands. Even if we sound good on CD, anyone who comes to watch us live would end up going, “Huh?” But if a bunch of amateurs work on the recording, the CD would sound bad too so there would be no gap in expectations there. Because it’s exactly what you heard on CD in a way (lol).

―― And because you’ve always presented yourselves as you are all this time……

T: It’s like a live documentary to our fans, isn’t it? We’re actually evolving. BUCK-TICK isn’t a band that was already perfect at debut; we’re a band who debuted and then subsequently made steady progress since. That is sort of what makes us special. Thanks to everyone who patiently watched over us and supported us (lol).

―― When you transitioned from being an indies band to being signed with a major label, did anything change? Perhaps, musically or other conscious decisions?

T: Rather what we changed, I think the more significant difference was that professional engineers were now there for us to work and record properly with. That was something we could enjoy. Also, another thing I remember very well was after we made the decision to debut with Victor, all of us were brought to Victor Studio for a tour. There was a recording session going on for THE ROCK BAND, formerly ANARCHY, and since we belonged to the same production department, they let us watch them work. To us, we’re a generation who grew up listening to ANARCHY and when we actually got to see how they recorded their music, it somehow felt more like an after-school club activity. I think at the time, it’s been about seven years since they first made their debut and they were probably old friends too. Seeing those casual exchanges between them, I was like, “So it’s okay to be like this!” (lol). I do wonder if we were somehow influenced by seeing these people we looked up to work together in such a friendly manner back then.

―― In the four years since then, I believe you had some pretty tough days with recording work and tours and interviews day after day. And during that time, going to London to record your ⁎TABOO album was an experience which left quite an impact on Yagami-san’s sound design work, right?

T: The thing I remember the most about our recording in London was how the food just didn’t taste good at all. I was also shocked that the beer was warm when it came out of the taps in the pubs. I thought the best tasting thing in London was the Big Mac. But I guess that’s got the same standardised quality wherever you go.

―― I intended to ask you about the recording itself (lol).

T: Ah, about drums? (Lol). When we went to the studio for the first time and I did the tuning on my own, the producer stopped me right there and said, “You don’t know this studio.” The producer then proceeded to do all the tuning on his own. I was surprised because his way of doing it was completely different from mine. And another thing that struck me as a huge difference from what things were like in Japan was the voltage. Their voltage was high there so the speed at which they captured sound was quick. That was something I only understood after having been there. The reason behind why Ringo Starr sounded off tune even despite low tuning in the later part of The Beatles’ career.

―― It was a trip that brought new discoveries, wasn’t it? Are what you learnt still relevant even now?

T: I don’t know about that. But that was quite the training, for everyone. Because ⁎ICONOCLASM was the one and only song that was OK in one take, while every other song I drummed like hell. Because my rhythm was apparently off. Imai and Hide didn’t have it easy either. He could tell when they weren’t pressing the frets properly with this finger and that finger just from how the sound wavers, and their hands got all beat up (lol). Then again, it’s because he was already angry with us from the very beginning. The moment we first arrived at the studio, he was all, “You guys were supposed to practise beforehand.”

―― While going through those hectic days, you got struck with an incident out of the blue and ended up with a half year long probation. Yagami-san said before that this period of time allowed you to take a long, hard look at your time with the band.

T: To put it bluntly, it felt like I was under house arrest for three months. Because photographers from the press were everywhere outside. We spoke about this too at the time, but honestly, being there left me all weird on the inside. Because I couldn’t practise at all. During this house arrest was the first time I thought about retiring.

―― Because you couldn’t practise?

T: Exactly. I was on the decline because I couldn’t drum. At the time, I had just entered my late 20s and realising that I couldn’t produce the same impact and speed after just half a year of not drumming… That’s why I was quite worried. I never expected that six months of doing nothing would result in such a big change.

―― I see. Was there something that changed your mind after this period of abstinence?

T: I think Hiruma (Hitoshi)-san’s involvement in ⁎Kurutta Taiyou’s production as our recording engineer played a big part. I’ve known Hiruma-san before that. He even visited our bathroom-less apartment in Asagayakita before. It just so happened that ⁎HURRY UP MODE had just been released when he visited back then, and when he listened to it on the crappy stereo we had, he said, “Hm~m, there are no lows, huh.” (Lol)

―― Even though they subsequently called it, “An explosively deep heavy bass (重低音がBUCK-TICKする/ juu teion ga bakuchiku suru)” (lol).

T: Yes, exactly. There was no deep heavy bass at all (lol). Hiruma-san was originally a drummer, the sound of drums is huge [to him]. And that’s why, when he did the remastering, he dropped the tone of the drums even lower than the original. That makes me very happy as a drummer though.

I did actually say that I wanted to retire back then, but they wouldn’t let me.
Their reaction was, “What nonsense are you saying?”

―― Because of your work with Hiruma-san, the band began to explore your sound more deeply which resulted in the release of rather experimental works like ⁎darker than darkness -style 93- and ⁎Six/Nine. What is Yagami-san’s view on how things turned out during this time?

T: That we were steadily moving towards becoming more and more niche during a time when all our juniors were putting out million-dollar releases (lol)?

―― Yes (lol).

T: I don’t remember exactly what thoughts I had, but I guess that’s just how we wanted to do music.

―― For Yagami-san, did you personally change the way you drummed together with the changes in the band’s music direction?

T: It just so happened that around the time we worked on Kurutta Taiyou and ⁎Koroshi no Shirabe This is NOT Greatest Hits, I changed the brand of the drums that I use. I had always been using Pearl, a local brand, then I switched to the American brand Ludwig. And since then, I kept wanting to change my drums a lot. It turns out that the brands have tones specific to them. Almost all of the Western music I listened to as a child used Ludwig’s drums. That was something I was aware of. And until that point in time [when I changed brands], I kept trying to recreate that sound with Pearl drums but I could never do it. One day, when I was reading (Rhythm &) Drums Magazine, I saw an orthodox snare that John Bonham and Cozy Powell and everyone used. And I don’t know why but it was on sale, 50% off so I asked our staff to buy one for me. I still remember very clearly that I took it out of the box, set it up without any adjustments, and the moment I hit it, the sound I had been pursuing resounded. Right there and then, I knew that, “Ah, this is it.” That my idea of trying to create this sound using Japanese-made drums was wrong. I realised that it’s about the brand-specific tones. Since then, I have been buying more and more pieces. Instead of going for current productions, I’d go on buying sprees for vintages like models from the 70s and all that.

 

―― The band continued to evolve with the establishment of your independent management firm in 1996 where Yagami-san was appointed as CEO. Some time ago, D’ERLANGER’s Tetsu-san spoke to Yagami-san when he took on the role of CEO of his own firm, and he said that you told him, “Being president means being the one who protects the band.” Those words really struck a chord.

T: Isn’t that exactly what it is? The captain of a sinking ship is the last one to leave it, right? After he saves everyone. If the ship is going to sink, he’s got no choice but to sink with it. That’s the idea. Back then, I felt that I had to be responsible for everything. Except that I had the same equal share earnings as everyone (lol).

―― In that same year, you also broke away from Victor, your debut label. Looking at BUCK-TICK’s history of events, your activities gradually decreased and there was even a time when you had to postpone a tour because Sakurai-san suddenly fell ill. That was an exceptionally difficult time, wasn’t it?

T: Well, there was nothing we could do, was there? I quite enjoyed the work of negotiation on each occasion though. Deep down, I’m the kind of person who would continue to be defiant even when I’m down on my knees. But I can’t let Sakurai take on those things, can I? My father was a CEO so I’ve always been looking at someone who’s a CEO as an example to take after. There’s this TV show, a pretty old one, where Hana Hajime says to Ueki Hitoshi, “You’re fired!” Seeing that, I commented to my father, “Must be nice to fire whoever whenever.” And he scolded me, “You fool! Firing someone at a whim is dismissal without cause. I’ll get sued!” I was only an elementary school student at the time, but I really got the sense that it’s not easy being a CEO (lol).

―― So after your Mercury era, you switched labels to BMG Funhouse in 2000 where things started to slowly pick up again. Yagami-san was around 40 at the time. You’ve mentioned before that you considered retirement during this period of time because it  was physically demanding for you.

T: That’s right. There was a change in CEO at the time too, to Acchan. There’s a reason for that. It’s written in my autobiography, but I got divorced around that time. That was really tough to handle and my mental state was in ruins. Speaking of my physical form, interestingly, when a person is mentally unstable, they lose their motivation too, don’t they? That’s exactly how I felt back then. And that’s also why I kept making mistakes on stage. Even though rehearsals went perfectly well. It felt like I dug my own grave and went into it myself because of the pressure. That’s why Yuta was raging mad at me quite a lot. Like, “Why does Anii (Yagami) only make mistakes during the actual concert?” Back then, I was also nicknamed “Rehearsal King (Riha King / リハキング)”. To say that I’m only good at rehearsals. That’s how bad things got. That’s why I really was afraid of going up on stage. I didn’t want to be on stage. Because I’d keep thinking about whether I will make a mistake, whether I will fail, and all those kinds of things. Even though I’ve never once thought like that when we debuted, you know? Because, weirdly enough, I was so full of confidence (lol).

―― I suppose Yuta-san threw his honest opinion straight at you because he’s your biological sibling, but how did your other band mates treat Yagami-san in that situation?

T: Everyone knew what was going on so I guess they understood. I think that’s why they suggested Acchan take over as CEO, probably.

―― So that’s what happened. When your mental health is in jeopardy, it’s pretty difficult to break out of it, isn’t it?

T: It’s easier to give up, isn’t it? That’s for sure. I did actually say that I wanted to retire back then, but they wouldn’t let me. If, back then, they said, “Sure, go ahead,” then I’d probably have quit. I would’ve retired.

―― How did they react back then?

T: “What nonsense are you saying?”

―― Thank goodness your band mates are like that. How long did this difficult situation go on for?

T: Probably about 2, 3 years? That’s when I started going to the gym. To build up strength and to improve my mental health. What I train at the gym honestly isn’t the muscles that I use for drumming. But when I exercise, it’s like I forget about everything for a while. It helps to relieve me of all my different stresses.

―― Then, in 2004, individual members of the band started their own solo activities. Yagami-san also formed Blue Sky in which you play music by your musical inspirations. Did that turn out to be an emotional turning point for you?

T: In a way. BUCK-TICK might be as good as a business, but there’s a part of Blue Sky that you could say is a pursuit of amateurism. Even if we mess up, we just laugh it off. Something like that. Our bassist KANAME-san is a veteran too, while Harada Kenta-kun is someone I’ve known for a long time, and our guitarists Yagi (Masato)-san is someone I became acquainted with through Minato (Masafumi)-kun’s introduction, but I’ve known everyone for quite a while already so that’s what made it good. 

―― So the second retirement threat was avoided through fitness.

T: That’s right. First, right before ⁎Aku no Hana, and then before and after I turned 40. Exactly around the time of my climacteric years.

I just hope that we’ll be able to work together for a long time to come. But I’m just taking things a year at a time.
All I want is to make sure that I won’t have any regrets regardless of when my game is over.

―― Since then, it looks to me that the condition of the band and your activities have been soaring to where we are now at this point in time. Although, on the side of recording production, the band changed up its order of recording around the time of ⁎Yume Miru Uchuu to recording the drums last. How did this change affect Yagami-san?

T: Being the first to be recorded, I can’t predict Imai’s effector sounds that would come in later, can I? At best, I could base my guesses off the sample recordings and follow that, but then I’d end up tuning my drums according to a guitar part that isn’t complete yet. If I do this, there is a possibility that the drums could end up getting buried when Imai decides to make a lot of noise at certain parts later on. To this end, recording my part after getting the full complete data means that I can take all of that into consideration, and I can do my tuning and all that better too. So I actually thought that it’s good in that sense. And in fact, this was something that Murakami “Ponta” Shuichi-san did for Izumiya Shigeru’s recording back around 1990. When I went to the studio back when we started doing this, Ponta-san was there and he asked, “What happened?” So I told him, “I’m the last one to record.” When he heard that, he was surprised though. Ponta-san then said this was something they used to do way back in the day. But according to him, it’s not about the tuning but, “It’s good because you get a sense of what the song is supposed to feel like.” Maybe that’s something studio musicians have to think about there and then. So that’s probably why he finds that it’s better for the drum part to come in later after the arrangement is set in place.

―― September’s upcoming best-of concept album ⁎CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. is a collection of songs from your discography categorised into 5 genres that shows us once again how varied BUCK-TICK’s sound can be. While there’s an electronic era, there’s also an era when you went all out with an organic band sound. Was there anything that Yagami-san paid attention to through all the changes in BUCK-TICK’s music?

T: You know what’s funny? We wanted to do all sorts of things in our 20s and 30s. But now, instead, we’re not really doing anything (lol). Those periods come and go, don’t they? Wanting to bury something, but on the contrary, there’s no need to right now. Things like that. In the context of drums, I’ve started wondering about things like, if I hit the cymbals once, is it enough or not? Then there’s the dynamics. How strong or weak it should be. I wouldn’t consider these things in the past and I’d just be satisfied with drumming all out. Maybe I grew tired of that type of cadence or…… I’ve finally become emotionally stable. Because I used to be emotionally unstable (lol). When I had a dialogue session with Tsunoda☆Hiro-san, we spoke a little bit about this. There are people who drum as if they’re angry even though it’s a ballad. That’s because of emotional instability. You’ll gradually learn how to prepare yourself for it and drum. Simply put, with songs like ballads, just drum as if it’s okay for the drums to be inaudible. But it takes time for drummers to get their emotions to that stage, doesn’t it? What I think is that it’s important to learn control because the drum is an instrument that makes loud sounds. Frankly speaking, it’s a noisy instrument to begin with. Because it’s something you hit to play. It’s important to figure out how to make something like that sound musical. That’s all I think about these days. I can’t just focus on using a drum set that sounds good, or picking a cymbal that sounds nice. If Imai tells me, “I want a kind of cheap-sounding cymbal like in Misemono-goya,” then I’d deliberately use a cracked cymbal too.

―― BUCK-TICK’s sound has consistently been revolutionary, and I think that in playing the role of supporting its base, Yagami-san creates a unique groove as someone who emphasises the importance of basics.

T: Although we’re making music in all kinds of different styles, all of it still comes from the same human beings so no matter what we do, it’ll turn into BUCK-TICK in the end. Although, there are definitely times when I don’t have the energy as a drummer, so now, I just want to keep doing my best consistently so that I don’t become a burden. Because symptoms of ageing are bound to come up.  I don’t know how many more years I can keep doing this though.

―― Also, being the eldest in the band, I’ve always thought that your respect for your other band mates is something we can all learn from. I believe that one or two years’ difference in age when you’re younger would’ve been a big difference, but was there a point in time when your attitude towards your band mates changed?

T: This is basically something that has always been. Nothing happened, nothing changed. Besides, I’ve always felt like I’m sort of like a supporting musician (lol). That’s something I often joke about (lol). But it’s nice, isn’t’ it? We’re like the Soul Brothers. Staying together in that sense. I never thought I’d be making music with them for 35 years, much less imagine that I’d still be drumming into my 60s. If I were a working adult I’d already be retiring from the workforce (lol).

―― That’s true.

T: I wanted to be building model figurines of ships at home (lol).

―― Heading towards the band’s 35th anniversary, what do you think about your band mates?

T: I just hope that we’ll be able to work together for a long time to come. Staff members and fans have been telling me, “Please keep going until you’re 70!” But I don’t know about that, right? That’s 10 years later. Having come to this age, I’m just taking things a year at a time. All I want is to make sure that I won’t have any regrets regardless of when my game is over. Because I really don’t know when that will happen.

―― I won’t say “Please keep going until you’re 70!”, or anything specific like that, but I would very much like for Yagami-san to keep on drumming for as long as you enjoy it.

T: A song that Imawano Kiyoshiro-san sang comes to mind. Titled, “I want to be happy but I don’t want to work for it (幸せになりたいけど 頑張りたくない / Shiawase ni naritai kedo ganbaritakunai) (lol). Such a song existed.

―― “Let’s take it easy (ラクに行こうぜ / raku ni ikou ze)”, right?

T: I want to be happy but I don’t want to work for it. The essence of my personality is pretty much an unmotivated person. Or a lazy person. I’m someone who wants to live a life of fun and that’s how I’ve always been since I was a child. If I could, I’d hire someone who looks exactly like me and control them from home. Or maybe we should make a robot that looks exactly like me (lol).

―― No, no, no, anyway, you’re still keeping up with practice even now, playing jazz, expanding the breadth of your studies, right?

T: That’s because I’ve always enjoyed jazz. At one point, I kept buying a stupid amount of drum instructional videos and I watched them a lot. Seeing that, Yuta said, “Looks like Anii has a fetish for techniques.” (Lol) They’re professionals, so it’d be a good thing to remember their techniques, right? He’s just the kind of guy to say those kinds of things. Fetish for techniques. Really makes you wonder what he’s really trying to say to his big brother.

―― (Lol) Everyone, including Anii, has such great posture  when we see you on stage. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why you all still seem youthful to us.

T: It’s not been the same recently. There are some things I’ve noticed. Like, I’m good with BUCK-TICK’s characteristic four-on-the-floor beats, but when we move to faster songs, I start to hunch a little. What I refer to is a boxing methodology. It’s easier to throw punches when slouching your back. That’s what I noticed when I watched boxing matches, and Yamaki (Hideo) has that same, sort of similar kind of hunched posture. That’s something I’ve recently put into application.

―― You’re definitely enthusiastic about research and study. Have you ever thought about what’s next for BUCK-TICK? I recall that you’ve casually mentioned before that it would be better for BUCK-TICK to revisit the organic band sound.

T: Recording is all about creating something, isn’t it? Maybe I’ve been influenced by Blue Sky too. Because Blue Sky gets everything done in one go, more or less. When we record it all in one take, it’s as good as a studio concert, isn’t it? If that’s how it happens, I’d have to practice again, and I’d expect that these sorts of problems would crop up, but I think it’s also good to have songs that have that sense of approximation and ruggedness. It’s not a bad thing to include songs that were recorded in one take in the album. It’s just that…… I don’t think we [BUCK-TICK] would do that (lol). That’s how bands used to do it, right? There wouldn’t be any dubbing done after words. Everyone would just come together and start playing with a “5, 6, 7, 8!” Although, I think that’s only possible because everyone’s really really good at what they do. When I talk to the people I look up to, I think they’re all amazing. Because those people who have hit legend status are all superhuman to me.

―― I would think that Yagami-san is also in that sphere from the perspective of young drummers. Leaving aside whether or not BUCK-TICK is Visual-Kei, I think it’s an inspiration for up and coming musicians to see someone in this scene celebrating their 60th birthday.

T: We often joke about it though, right? That we’re “the pioneering Visual-Kei” (lol). There was no such categorisation in the past, but once it was coined, there were times when I saw our CDs in the Visual-Kei section when I visited record stores and those sorts of places. Whenever I see that, I’d remove them and move them back into the “Ha (ハ)” section¹.

―― I see (lol). Are you against being categorised there?

T: More than that, it’s because we’re not a “kei (系 / genre)”. When BUCK-TICK first debuted, people from Victor’s music production department came to us, and the film department said, “We want to market you as a visual artist.” ‘VIsual’ here refers to film and video. That’s why we made our debut through film, with music videos for not only our singles but also a number of other songs too.

―― Like how all the songs in Aku no Hana and Six/Nine had music videos.

T: Yes, exactly. That was because of our work with the film department. That’s why we’re not a “kei”, we’re a Visual Artist (lol). That’s how Victor’s film department referred to us.

―― There are many of your drummer seniors who are still active in the industry, but does Yagami-san have your own ideal vision?

T: It would certainly be nice if I can continue doing this for a long time to come and finish the race.

―― As a band? Or as a drummer?

T: Band, because that’s fundamental to me. Be it BUCK-TICK or Blue Sky, being able to keep any one of them going would make me happy anyway. Wanting to continue with this for a long time to come is essentially my hope. If I were to do this until I’m 70, as mentioned earlier, then that’s another 10 years. There are times when I wonder whether I can, though. I joke about this a lot, but my drumsticks are getting lighter and lighter, you know? So I keep wondering whether they’d end up becoming as light as serving chopsticks at some point (lol). We’re really doing anything and everything to make things easier.  That said, amazing seniors like Takahashi Makoto-san and ARB’s KEITH-san have never changed the weight of their drumsticks from whatever they used in their 20s. Remarkable people like them are still going strong, so I’ll be doing my best and learning from them too.

 

 

Notes:

『TABOO』= Released January 1989. Their 3rd album.

「ICONOCLASM」= A track from TABOO.

『狂った太陽』= Kurutta Taiyou. Released February 1991. Their 5th album

『HURRY UP MODE』= Released April 1987. Their indies album.

A remixed version, HURRY UP MODE(1990MIX) was made and released as a major record label version in Febuary 1990.

『darker than darkness -styIe 93-』= Released June 1993. Their 7th album.

『Six/Nine』= Released May 1995. Their 8th album.

『殺シノ調べ This Is NOT Greatest HIts』= Released March 1992. A self-cover album.

『悪の華』= Aku no Hana. Released February 1990. Their 4th album.

『夢見る宇宙』= Yume Miru Uchuu. Released September 2012. Their 18th album.

『CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.』= To be released 21 September 2022. Their best-of concept album in celebration of their 35th anniversary.

 

¹ 90% of the CDs in music and record stores would be categorised based on the Japanese alphabetical order. In this case, as BUCK-TICK is バクチク (bakuchiku) when written in Japanese, they will belong to the ハ (ha) alphabet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki

Concert report of Yagami Toll’s (BUCK-TICK) star-studded 60th birthday celebration

OKMusic
20 August 2022

Text=Yuka Okubo
Photos=Seitaro Tanaka

 

The report covering Yagami Toll ~60th Birthday Live~ IT’S A NOW!2022, the birthday concert celebrating Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday which was held at CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki in Kanagawa on Friday, 19 August 2022 has arrived.

While Yagami Toll is drummer to the band BUCK-TICK, who will be celebrating 35 years together with no change in member line up in September later this year, he also carries out solo activities under the name Yagami Toll & Blue Sky and has released an EP, WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind- in 2019.

This event was in celebration of Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday, and was held on 19 August, the actual day of his birthday. Apart from the Yagami Toll-led band, Yagami Toll & Blue Sky, there also were performances by BUCK-TICK and D’ERLANGER, and he also shared a stage with guest musicians like his close friend Miyako Keiichi from SOPHIA/Rayflower, drummer Minato Masafumi, Der Zibet’s ISSAY, his mentor-figure Takahashi Makoto, and singer Yoshida Minako whom Yagami has admired since childhood.

 

 

On 19 August, stalwart drummer Yagami Toll of the band BUCK-TICK, who will be celebrating their 35th anniversary in September, celebrated his 60th birthday at CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki in Kanagawa with the show, Yagami Toll ~60th Birthday Live~IT’S A NOW!2022.

This birthday concert has become an annual event ever since the 2012 show at the very same CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki celebrating his 50th birthday. Subsequent shows were held at Shimokitazawa’s live house with the Yagami Toll-led Yagami Toll & Blue Sky as the main act performing their original compositions and covering Yagami’s favourite songs. But this year, they decided to throw a big celebration for Yagami hitting the big 60 and had performances by BUCK-TICK, D’ERLANGER, and special guests like Miyako Keiichi (SOPHIA/Rayflower), Takahashi Makoto, Minato Masafumi and Yoshida Minako joining Yagami Toll & Blue Sky, as well as ISSAY (Der Zibet) taking part in BUCK-TICK’s set. 

During transitions between sets, congratulatory video messages from musicians of all genres of bands were shown too, a testament to just how large Yagami’s circle of friends is. Even the audience’s faces burst into smiles as they watched all the sincere comment videos from stand-out individuals and groups, like the 5 members of Kishidan exclaiming “We knew Anii would be a-okay even at 60!” together, Nishikawa Takanori, fellow Gunma-ite Kanagawa Macoto, his musician seniors Uchiumi Toshikatsu and Nakano Shigeru (亜無亜危異 / ANARCHY), his drummer senior Tsunoda☆Hiro, drummer junior Shinya of DIR EN GREY, Sakiyama Tatsuo from Spitz, and BRAHMAN’s RONZI, just to name a few.

Actor Kuroda Takaya was the backstage announcer for this event, calling in the first batter of the night, D’ERLANGER. As all four members faced each other, they kicked things off with BABY. And Angelic Poetry followed, flaunting the way each and every note could be heard clearly while coming together in the satisfying explosive sound that is unique to D’ERLANGER. Waves alternating between quiet and intensity came and went in Romeo&Juliet, and after performing their hit songs LULLABY and CRAZY4YOU, drummer Tetsu who is Yagami’s close friend said, “I’m glad that we can throw a grand celebration for you in such a large venue today. May our friendship continue into tomorrow, and the day after, and even longer!” 

Singer kyo then said, “To commemorate this day, we’ll be performing a song that everyone is familiar with.” Following that, they performed Oh! My God!; a rock’n’roll song from Yagami Toll & Blue Sky’s discography with lyrics written by Yagami himself. It was a surprise for Yagami too, and when the excitement in the hall was at its peak, the band performed SADISTIC EMOTION, a fiery song that perfectly led back to what kyo said in his very first MC: “Do allow me to properly warm up the stage.” And with that, they departed from the stage.

Up next was Yagami Toll & Blue Sky. The drum stand on the stage took on a special look with a display covered in deep red roses. Once Yagami, Harada Kenta (guitar & vocals), KANAME (bass & vocals), Yagi Masato (guitar), and Miyako Keiichi (keyboard) took the stage wearing red t-shirts, they started their session with the instrumental track WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind-. After drawing the audience in with the mellow performance, they got the crowd going with upbeat rock ‘n roll songs SODA ROCK!! and ROCK’N ROLL STAR.

There’s one more person who is integral to these IT’S A NOW! birthday events and that is SHIME, who passed away in March this year. As a tribute to his memory, they covered SHIME’s own song, Top of The Mountain Bar. Footage of SHIME performing with the band was shown on screen, and at times, Yagami could be seen watching it as he drummed.

Next came a twin drums session where they were joined by guest drummer Minato Masafumi in performing CAROL’s Funky Monkey Baby and Good Old Rock’n’Roll, and then by Takahashi Makoto in their performance of Larry Williams’ SLOW DOWN which The Beatles once covered, and BOØWY’s DREAMIN’. Then, Yoshida Minako, who Yagami has professed to being a huge fan of, joined them on stage for a heartfelt rendition of Yagami’s song requests, Toki yo and Yume de Aetara

While still immersed in the afterglow of her groovy singing, Yagami’s biological younger brother, Higuchi Yutaka (bassist/BUCK-TICK) brought cake onto the stage with Tetsu (D’ERLANGER) who carried a large bouquet. All at once, the hall switched into a festive mood. With the celebratory mood in the air, the band then closed off their set with the mid-tempo Blow Wind, the one and only song that the sharp-tongued SHIME ever praised.

SE THEME OF B-T resounded through the hall as the final act of the night, BUCK-TICK took the stage. We departed from the lull with Go-Go B-T TRAIN, the up-tempo number that was a combination of speed and force. With a whine from guitarist Imai Hisashi’s instrument imitating the pressure of steam blowing out, Higuchi rocked backwards, lifting the neck of his bass guitar up high. Guitarist Hoshino Hidehiko’s strumming was sharp and cutting too as the band went in hard and heavy from their very first song.

Vocalist Sakurai Atsushi causally introduced the band as, “Yagami Toll and his trusted associates,” and then continued his MC with, “I’m straying into personal matters on this happy day, but I fell sick with COVID-19 despite everyone’s cautioning to be careful. Zero powers of persuasion there.” 

This day marks the very first show that Sakurai is having after his falling ill and recupertion last month. But not even a shred of evidence of that was left in his powerful yet delicate voice as the band went on to perform GUSTAVE and then, Baby, I want you.

“Let’s call on our lovely guest,” Sakurai said before singing, ♪‘Radio kara no Transmission〜’ from Der Zibet’s Shizumitai. A delightful scene followed when ISSAY came on stage singing the next part of the song. Then, Sakurai and ISSAY dueted in their first performance of Itoshi no Rock Star together after close to 27 years.

Following the emotional Koi and everyone throwing up peace signs in Eureka,  Sakurai began a humorous introduction with, “This [next one] is on request by our Anii-san from Tokyo.”

Yagami then announced, “We’ll be performing the title track from our debut album!” which led into their last song for the night, SEXUAL×××××!. Just as they jumped into the intro to Yagami’s count, red and silver streamers flew into the air and the audience went wild from this surprise that felt like a return gift from Yagami; a fitting, euphoric end to the night.

After the performance concluded, Yagami remained on stage to tell the audience, “Thank you for coming to celebrate my 60th birthday today.” And finally, to the rest of his bandmates who will in turn hit 60 in future, he added, “I hope we’ll be able [to celebrate like this] three and four years later too.”

The audience gave a rousing applause throughout the performance, and showered love on Yagami, the star of the evening from start to end. The hairstyle that he has kept upright throughout BUCK-TICK’s 35 years of activities is like a symbol of the determination he has had since day one and his love for the fans.

What especially struck me was how quickly they changed the angles of the cymbals for Yagami Toll & Blue Sky’s set. As the drum stand was higher up than usual, the audience wouldn’t be able to see Yagami from where they stood if the cymbals were set at certain angles. For this reason, the cymbals were almost horizontal. Such attention to detail is probably one of the reasons he is so loved by many. I hope that to continue seeing his reliable self as the supporting backbone of BUCK-TICK not just three or four years from now, but far into the future too.

 

<Set List>

■D’ERLANGER

  1. BABY
  2. Angelic Poetry
  3. Romeo & Juliet
  4. LULLABY
  5. CRAZY4YOU
  6. Oh! My God! (Yagami Toll & Blue Sky cover)
  7. SADISTIC EMOTION

■Yagami Toll & Blue Sky

  1. Mandom—Lovers Of The World
  2. WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind- / with Miyako Keiichi
  3. SODA ROCK!! / with Miyako Keiichi
  4. Fire Girl / with Miyako Keiichi
  5. ROCK’N ROLL STAR / with Miyako Keiichi
  6. Oh! My God! / with Miyako Keiichi
  7. Top Of The Mountain Bar (SHIME cover) / with Miyako Keiichi
  8. Funky Monkey Baby (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
  9. Good Old Rock’n’Roll (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
  10. Slow Down (THE BEATLES cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
  11. DREAMIN’ (BOØWY cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
  12. 時よ [Toki yo] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
  13. 夢で逢えたら [Yume de Aetara] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
  14. Blow wind  / with Miyako Keiichi

■BUCK-TICK

  1. THEME OF B-T
  2. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
  3. GUSTAVE
  4. Baby, I want you.
  5. 愛しのロック・スター [Itoshi no Rock Star] / with ISSAY
  6. 恋 [Koi]
  7. ユリイカ [Eureka]
  8. SEXUAL×××××!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: OKMusic, Lingua Sounda

 

 

The Poem of June ──
Interview with Hoshino Hidehiko

Ongaku to Hito
July 2021

Text=Kanemitsu Hifumi
Photos=Sasahara Kiyoaki_L Management

 

On his 55th June

Every year, our magazine will have an interview with this person in his birthday month of June without fail. The fans of BUCK-TICK have probably come to see this interview conducted by Ongaku to Hito with Hoshino Hidehiko as their seasonal Haiku of June. And this year, for the 21st iteration, we took a boat ride on Senzoku Pond (lol).

We had an idyllic time there, but the world has not changed; the COVID-19 pandemic continues and things are no different than one year ago. The interview was also done remotely. I suppose the words from this man who hasn’t changed throughout the past 21 years feel reassuring precisely because we’re In such a time when we can see the exit right there but just can’t seem to reach it. BUCK-TICK is also slowly but surely starting to move off with the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of last year’s film concert and a re-edited version of the stream that was broadcast on 21 September. Adding on, they are also planning a live stream concert with an approach unlike anything they’ve ever done before. Hope is the promise of something in the future. That is something I can feel from this interview despite its usual leisurely vibe. Until the day we cross the big milestone, this annual event will continue on.

 

 

 

Before we know it, everyone is dealing with stress and worry. I think we should figure out how we can turn it into something positive

ーー Continuing our trend from last year, we’re having this interview remotely again…… (Dog barking) Sorry. My dog is responding (lol).

Hoshino (H): You have a dog? Show me, show me!

ーー (Brings it to the PC) Look, this is Hide-san~.

H: Ah, how cu~te. Chihuahua?

ーー Long-coat Chihuahua.

H: Me too, probably some time after last year’s interview. I got one. A Chihuahua and Poodle mix.

ーー Ah, really? Will we make it a tradition to have Mr Editor-in-Chief name the dogs of the Hoshino household?

H: I’ll have to politely decline (lol). It already has a name anyway.

ーー Do you go on walks?

H: It’s a toy breed, so just a bit. Around the park behind my house. But it’s therapeutic.

ーー Alright, then. It’s the day of our annual check-in with Hoshino-san but due to COVID-19 sticking around longer than we expected, we had to abort last year’s plan for an overseas shoot.

H: I didn’t believe it was going to happen anyway (lol). But the weather’s good, and it was nice to go outside. And it’s been a while since I got on a boat.

ーー To think you’d refuse the swan boat……

H: Isn’t that of course (lol).

ーー Hahahahaha. Anyway, even though you managed to produce an album and release it in the past year, you had to stop our tour and turn it into a film concert format, and the only in-person live concert you could hold was our annual Nippon Budokan show at reduced capacity. The type of activities you can do as a band has changed.

H: That’s true. We had this interview at home, remotely, like this too, but neither of us expected that it’d still be the same a year later, right? Because back then, I think we more or less had the idea that things would probably go back to normal by the next year.

ーー It’s just been dragging on, hasn’t it? Since we were spending so much time at home last year, did you do any decluttering?

H: I’ve done all the decluttering I can do, there’s nothing else I can throw away (lol). But although I assume everyone experiences some level of stress and worry, it seems like we’re all getting used to it. Before we know it, we’re already dealing with it. And I think the real challenge here is figuring out how we can turn it into something positive. 

ーー What exactly did you do?

H: I tried to take care of my body as much as I could. And I also barely drank any alcohol.

ーー Hide-san stopped drinking!

H: Besides, there’s nowhere to drink outside anyway. No one’s asking me out either, and after filming our streams and the Budokan performance, we definitely can’t hold an afterparty so I went straight home.

ーー And you’re being mindful of your health.

H: Yeah. I’ve gone running everyday, and today, I went to the dentist. When I feel uneasy about something with my body, It’s easy to get carried away by that and let the anxiousness grow. I guess I’m careful because I don’t want that to happen. In the past, I used to drink without thinking as if I’m bathing in alcohol so I’ll probably have to pay my dues soon anyway.

ーー Then, what do you do at home?

H: I’d only compose something on occasion. Apart from that, I guess it’s prep work for streaming. What else is there to do?

ーー Don’t ask me (lol).

H: Watching TV is depressing. Sometimes I watch movies on Netflix, or I’ll just leave some music from a subscription service playing in the living room.

 

It would be nice we’d come to live in a world that understands that live concerts are something that everyone needs for their hearts and minds

 

ーー Any music you’re particularly into recently?

H: I don’t think I’ve got any like that. I kind of prefer listening to smooth music rather than heavy music, so I’d put on playlists like “Western pop to listen to in spring” and the sort (lol). That’s what I’ve got playing all the time.

ーー Hahahahaha. I never expected such pedestrianism from one of BUCK-TICK’s guitarists!

H: I’ll be cooking lunch or something while picking something like that depending on the mood.

ーー As expected of a guitarist with a chef licence.

H: Although, it’s lunch so I’d often default to pasta or noodles.

ーー Let’s rent a kitchen studio and do some cooking next year.

H: What happened to going overseas for a shoot (lol).

ーー Ah, right (lol). Where would you like to visit the most overseas?

H: You know…… The…… What was it (lol).

ーー This happens a lot in your 50s (wry laugh).

H: Ah, Insta. Insta, Insta!

ーー Ahahahahaha!

H: I often see videos of overseas resorts on Insta. And videos that bring you around World Heritage Sites. We can’t go now, so it’s nice to watch those. And dog videos too (lol).

ーー Hahahaha. Don’t you have somewhere specific you want to visit?

H: Oh, right. Last year, before the state of emergency declaration, I went to Miyako Island¹. It’s super nice there. We stayed in a villa instead of a hotel. We frolicked on the beach and before we knew it, a day had come and gone (lol). I’d like to go there again. I recommend it.

ーー I assume you’ve been watching more music events through streaming too.

H: That’s right. Friends send a lot of them to me so I guess I do watch quite a bit. Recently, I’ve been watching the concert streams that were produced by each individual member of GLAY too. And I also got an email from (Kawamura) Ryu-chan² and watched the concert that he held at home. I get to watch these kinds of shows by people who I hadn’t otherwise seen performing before, so I guess I can’t deny that it’s certainly convenient (lol).

ーー Well, it’s become easy to get access to watch.

H: But in the end, I find myself thinking again that it’s definitely not the same as the concerts that we’re familiar with. I ultimately still want to create and experience that atmosphere. That’s why, with our announcement of the upcoming autumn tour, I’m hoping that we can hold a proper ABRACADABRA concert and let the audience experience a live concert.

ーー It’s been a year since its release, but you want to wrap things up properly with an album tour.

H: Yeah, I definitely feel that we have to. Otherwise, it’ll feel like we can’t move on to the next thing. Because our flow has always been to produce an album, go on tour, feel the response, then decide on what we’re doing next.

ーー So, BUCK-TICK will be putting last year’s ABRACADABRA LIVE ON THE NET and TOUR2020 ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN together and releasing them as a Blu-ray/DVD,

H: That’s right. When we did that last year, it was partly because it was the only option for us, but also, we went into it with the intention of producing a very good show on video. And as a result, we felt that we managed to create something really great. I did say earlier that the best option of all would be to give our audience a live concert experience, but it turned out to have such a high degree of perfection and presence, that we’d like people to watch it at home too. Because that could very well be stage footage that can only come into existence in this era.

ーー That’s true. Also, tell us more about the second phase of your live stream concert.

H: Right. That one is a little bit thematic. There aren’t any new songs, and we thought we could just try switching up the set list for the stream, so initially, we were talking about making it an unplugged session. From there, the discussion developed and we thought it’d be boring if that’s all we did, so I guess we decided to add other elements. I think this will turn out to be a little unlike anything we’ve done thus far.

ーー That’s something else to look forward to. We don’t know how things will go, but it would be nice if you could carry out band activities properly this year.

H: It sure would. We had an in-person live concert last year at Budokan, but along those lines, right? I don’t know what it’ll be like this year, but it’s still a question as to whether or not we can hold a live concert in a shared space with our audience, so. But I’d like to, though.

 

ーー And let’s hope that next year, we’ll be able to properly check on how much we’ve both aged like this while chatting on a Southern island.

H: I’ll wait for that chance without getting my hopes up. Also, I’m turning 55 this year, alright? Don’t get that wrong (lol). Come to think of it, I’ve started wondering “How old am I again?” ever since I crossed the age of 50.

ーー That, I’m very familiar with (lol). Oh, right… If we round that off you’d hit the next milestone (60).

H: Don’t say that (lol). It’s got a ring to it, doesn’t it? 55 years old.

ーー Well, shall we have you wear the red birthday vest 5 years later for this interview?

H: Anii (Yagami Toll / drums) is the one who should doing that first (lol). It’s next year [for him], right?

ーー Oh, yeah! Then I guess you’ll be busy with Anii’s birthday plans next year.

H: We definitely want to give him a good celebration. Now, I just really want concerts. I really hope we’ll be able to turn this autumn through year-end’s tour into reality. But this is really one of those things that aren’t entirely in our control no matter how much we say we want to do it…… It would be nice if we’d come to live in a world that understands that live concerts are something that everyone needs for their hearts and minds and will let everyone enjoy it.

ーー I’m looking forward to new songs too.

H: We’re taking our time with that, though. Maybe you could listen to it one of these days.

ーー Oh!

H: Anyway, look forward to it (lol).

ーー I will. Say hi to your puppy for me.

H: Got it…… Ah, shall I bring it along for next year’s shoot (lol)?

ーー Good idea!

H: I thought of bringing it with me this time too, but I realised we’ll be getting in a boat and during that time, someone will have to look after it for me…… so I decided against it (lol).

ーー Come together next year!

H: I’ll think about it (lol).

 

 

Notes:

¹ In Okinawa.

² The name stated was (河村)隆ちゃん. I’m assuming this is likely Luna Sea’s Ryuichi. I’m not sure what was held in early or mid 2021 that could have been the concert Hide watched though.

 

 

 

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AFTERSHOW

2021.05.15 Hoshino Hidehiko BUCK-TICK

Hide-san casually appeared at the Senzoku Pond boat ramps on the day of a national holiday. The very first thing he said with a grin was, “I don’t really want the swan.” It was as if he saw right through us (lol). He got into a row boat with the photographer and had the photoshoot with just the two of them present. It’s a mystery as to what the surrounding families might be thinking about seeing these two good-looking middle-aged (sorry) men boarding a boat together with all smiles, but Hide-san looked like he enjoyed himself from start to end. We’ll try our luck again at the swan boats with Yuta next month (seriously⁉).

 

 

 

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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: hoeshinos

The Poem of June ──
Interview with Hoshino Hidehiko

Ongaku to Hito
July 2022

Text=Kanemitsu Hifumi
Photos=Sasahara Kiyoaki_L Management

In Russian

 

Crossroads of Life

The 16th of June saw the 56th birthday of Hoshino Hidehiko, BUCK-TICK’s guitarist. This is the 22nd iteration of Ongaku to Hito’s crazy plan to conduct an interview with him in his birthday month to ask about his recent situation regardless of activity schedule!

Just like how BUCK-TICK is celebrating their 35th anniversary this year, I’m always reminded of how good it is to continue this program; like a reflection of his “warm laid-back” character, the interviews we’ve had since the beginning have always consisted of relaxed, largely free-form conversations. But this time, although his tone remains the same, I sympathise with him on the things that had been happening around him. It’s only natural that with age comes change in both ourselves and our environments. That is the inescapable reality. And although this is just part and parcel of life, it still shocks me to hear it coming from him. Yet at the same time, seeing this side of him makes it obvious that he is a strong person in essence, reminding us that we should all live our lives without regrets too.

 

 

 

Just the other day, my father passed away. He’s been hospitalised a lot so I was prepared for it
but I can really feel in my bones that these things are bound to happen now that I’ve come to this age

 

―― Happy 56th birthday.

Hoshino (H): 56, huh…… How old was I when we did the very first of these interviews?

―― We’ve been doing this every year with no skips since 2001 so……34?

H: So, mid-30s (lol). I sure was young (feeling it). Well, a lot has happened, hasn’t it?

―― Has it?

H: Yeah. All kinds of things are coming at me in my 50s. Especially in the past two years; haven’t we been unable to go about business as usual because of COVID-19? Everyone’s in the same boat with our lives becoming highly regulated, being unable to go anywhere, and it really feels like such a waste, doesn’t it? It feels like I lost 10 years of my youth.

―― Because time flies by faster, right?

H: It sure does. A whole variety of unexpected things have been happening too. This isn’t a particularly cheerful topic, but just the other day, my father passed away.

―― What!

H: He was 86. He’s been hospitalised a lot so I was prepared for it and I also felt some weight lifting from my shoulders, but I can really feel in my bones that these things are bound to happen now that I’ve come to this age.

―― Once you pass your mid-50s, such things start turning into reality.

H: Exactly. Even though he was bed-ridden and staying in the hospital all the time. He was suffering, saying his back hurt all the time so although it’s sad, I also feel that more importantly, he’s probably having a much easier time now. It’s a strange feeling.

―― I understand how you feel.

H: But I’m really grateful [to him]. Because he gave me a lot of freedom. He let me come to Tokyo because I said I was going for a chef’s license…… Although, I did get it unlike the rest of the band.

―― He probably had an inkling you wanted to play in the band.

H: You’re right. Because after that, he didn’t really say anything in particular and just let me do whatever I wanted throughout. I hope I can do that for my kids too.

―― Is the Hoshino family’s way of bringing up children just like the father; laissez-faire?

H: Not to that extent (lol). They have exams and all that too. But also, school isn’t everything. And it’s also better if they have more options to choose from, so isn’t it fine to let them do whatever they want to after they leave school? Because when I told [my father] a few years after being in Tokyo that I wanted to focus my efforts on playing in a band, he told me, “Well, if it doesn’t work out in a few years, you can come back.”

―― That’s a parent’s love.

H: And the oldest is already in university too. We still have junior high and elementary school schedules going, though. I guess this time, it’s my turn as a father to pass on to my children what my parents gave me. That’s what I’ve been thinking about recently since the private funeral concluded.

―― And through all of that, it would seem that the band has also been recording recently.

H: That’s right. Rather than “continuously”, we’re just working on a little bit here and there depending on our staff’s schedule…… Wait a minute. Didn’t you come to the studio recently?

―― Yuta-san (Higuchi Yutaka / Bassist) invited me to watch a Hanshin game at Jingu Stadium and he designated the recording studio as our meeting point (lol)

H: I was surprised because you appeared out of the blue.

―― Maybe he felt awkward leaving the two of you who were still working even though his part was done, so he wanted me to come and get him (lol).

H: You’re being used as an excuse (lol). But things are going smoothly anyway, so it’s perfectly fine either way.

―― Besides, you’ve still got ample time since your album release is only planned for next year, right?

H: We’re more or less just recording as much as we can when we’re able to. Also, our fanclub and mobile club members-exclusive tour is going to start in July, so we’re going to get pretty busy rather soon.
―― How many songs has Hide-san presented [for the album]?

H: Right now, three. I’m still wondering what I should do with another one…… but it’s got a different format than my usual, so I’m still thinking about it. We’re still some way away from our release [date], so we’re flexible with a bunch of things.

Although they may look no different than usual, I’m sure that everyone
Is fighting their own battle without showing it on the outside. So, “Fight on, everyone¹!”

―― How do you feel about your tour starting soon?

H: We haven’t gone on one in more than 2 years so I’m a little…… uneasy (lol).

―― About whether your muscle memory is there or not?

H: Yeah (lol). And also whether each audience member is safe with that distance between them, whether they can even attend our shows to begin with, and so on. But we’re now able to have face-to-face interviews like this, and there are more people walking about in the streets now than before, so I suppose things are getting better than they used to, bit by bit.

―― That’s true. You can see it with our Poem of June too; in the past two years, we could only do short photoshoots and the interview had to be held remotely from home too.

H: We want to stay healthy so we stay at home quietly. Now that you mention it, I myself haven’t really been doing all that well since last year.

―― What happened?

H: I got sick with a sort of embarrassing kind of immune disorder. It wasn’t so severe that I had to be hospitalised or anything like that, but for example, I was losing hair from the back of my head. At one point, I think I lost about a third of it.

―― Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

H: Seriously (lol). Now it’s more or less all grown back though. I can’t explain it very well, but it’s like my immune system was wreaking havoc in my body. It might be the kind of thing that sticks with you for the rest of your life so. If I start to wear hats, you guessed it (lol).

―― That’s shocking.

H: I was shocked too. Because I never thought that I’d get such a disease. It really feels like I’m being attacked by all sorts of happenings everyday as I age and I  have to deal with these things one by one (lol). I’ve been thinking recently that I guess I have no choice but to face these things too. That’s why I’m very uneasy.

―― Every year, we’ve been getting relaxing life updates from you in these interviews but to think that we’re now talking about this……

H: I wouldn’t have expected it either (lol). But that’s part of growing older, isn’t it? On the other hand, it’s reality. A lot of those who read this would likely be a little younger than me, but I’m sure that it’s the same for everyone; although they may look no different than usual, they’re definitely fighting their own battle somewhere without showing it on the outside. So, “Fight on, everyone¹!”

―― Indeed.

H: Ah, just for the record, I’m definitely not saying that I can’t stay with the band anymore, or that I can’t play guitar anymore, alright? (Lol). Besides, we’re still recording as per normal in our 35th anniversary year, and we’re going on tour too. We even have plans for next year.

―― When I came to get Yuta-san from the studio, Imai-san and Hide-san and an exhausted Yoko-chan (Yokoyama Kazutoshi / manipulator) were there but (lol), that was a nice vibe, wasn’t it?

H: Chill?

―― It’s the kind of chill that is often said to only come from a long marriage (lol).

H: It’s always been like this since way back. But it’s been a long while since we could be in the studio with different members like that. Because last year, we had to do our best to make sure that there was no group gathering so the composing member and the recording member would be in the studio, and after his recording was done, he’d leave and another member would come in at a different time.

―― The audience still can’t cheer at concerts and can’t really dance either because it’d result in crowding. And livehouses had to have seats or create some distancing too.

H: That was how it went with last year’s show at Budokan, but even though they can’t cheer, we have songs that everyone can perform some sort of action to, right? I believe we selected some songs with that in mind. Like ICONOCLASM and LOVE ME.

―― Ah, I see.

H: Because it creates a sense of togetherness even if they can’t cheer. But I do want to hear cheers and calls from the audience soon.

―― So your recording work is going well too.

H: That’s right. We’re taking our time.

―― And the other thing is health, your health.

H: That’s right. And as for fun recent developments, we’ve got another puppy so the family has grown.

―― Ah, so you’ve got two now?

H: Yeah. This new one is a dark brown Poodle. Although the first was a Chihuahua and Poodle mix, a Chi-Poo². It doesn’t recognise the toilet yet so it’s a challenge. Because we’re cleaning up daily, you know?

―― There’s always a constant stream of pets in the Hoshino family (lol).

H: Since forever. Dogs and cats too. Things have gotten pretty lively since there are also children around now. There’s no place for me though (lol). I can only hide in the studio.

―― A grievance shared by fathers all around the world (lol).

H: I’m getting a taste of it (lol).

―― Although I’m surprised by your talk of illness, I’m still glad that we managed to conduct this annual interview like this.

H: Yeah, agreed. I had some distressing times with a bunch happening last year and being unable to do any concerts, but this year, we’ve got releases and a tour going on. I can see what’s ahead. I hope that it’ll be good. See, we’ve got the fanclub and mobile members-exclusive livehouse tour, and Anii’s 60th birthday celebration at Club Citta. Our anniversary concert at Yokohama Arena. A national tour for our 35th anniversary that will start in autumn…… There’s a lot going on. I guess you could say that in some ways, it’s like a summarisation of the past two years (lol).

―― That’s true (lol). In any case, please take care of yourself.

H: I will. Imai-san can walk normally without any aid now too, so I think we’ll be able to perform in tip top condition.

―― I’m looking forward to it.

H: Certainly do (lol).

 

 

Notes:

¹ He actually said, “みんな頑張れ!” (minna ganbare), that can be translated into any sort of motivational exclamation, so feel free to take it as you’d prefer.

² Known as チワプー (chiwapuu) in Japanese.

 

 

 

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AFTERSHOW

2022.05.17 Hoshino Hidehiko BUCK-TICK

A year after the swanboat suggestion, we were putting out all sorts of suggestions like the warm laid-back man relaxing in a retro coffeeshop, or an urban setting in a city hotel with him a snappy suit…… but, this year, we settled on soaking it in on a veranda by a Japanese garden; a shoot with a Japanese vibe. The setting was the garden of an old Japanese house in Iriya which had been converted into a guesthouse. Watching the proceedings of the shoot, editor-in-chief Kanemitsu thought to himself, “Ah… This really suits Hide-san. If only we had him dressed in a traditional outfit too.” After the interview ended, it was discovered that the caretaker of the guesthouse used to be in a BUCK-TICK tribute band. And after Hide-san left, they agonised, “He’s so cool…”

 

 

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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki

A Special 35th Anniversary Commemorative BE@RBRICK

Release of Photo Tee and BE@RBRICK Featuring “BT-MM”,
Beloved Guitar of BUCK-TICK ‘s Guitarist Imai Hisashi a.k.a The Prodigious Lefty
MEDICOM TOY

OPENERS
10 July 2022

Text by SHINNO Kunihiko
Photographs by NAGAO Masashi
Edit by
TOMIYAMA Eizaburo

 

Imai Hisashi, BUCK-TICK’s guitarist who’s been a leader in the Japanese rock scene. His influence can not only be heard in music, but also seen visually in all types of creative media. It is from this man that came the commemorative BE@RBRICK which celebrates the 35th anniversary of BUCK-TICK’s major debut. In this interview, he shares with us the story behind this collaboration.

 

 

I wanted to play the BT-MM with a bow in performances

 

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of BUCK-TICK’s major debut, MEDICOM TOY and HIRAKAWA RENTAROU’s rock apparel brand “Amplifier” has released guitarist Imai Hisashi’s BE@RBRICK and a newly created photo t-shirt.

Both merchandise feature Imai’s beloved “BT-MM”, also known as “Maimai”, with the BE@RBRICK featuring striking illustrations of this same guitar that were drawn by Imai himself.

This will be Imai’s first return to OPENERS since 2019 (https://openers.jp/design/design_features/Hl8mX). This time, the spotlight is on “BT-MM”, known to fans as “the first guitar that comes to mind when you mention Imai Hisashi”. We speak to the man himself about it.

“We were still amateurs when I first started thinking about making my own original guitar. When I saw BOØWY’s Hotei Tomoyasu-san, who we look to as a senior we share a hometown with, painting his guitar, a white Telecaster (FERNANDES TEJ) with red and black paint.

It was only after our major debut when I got to create one starting from its shape (form). I had one made through consultations with a representative from Fernandes (guitar producer). The first guitar had a modified body cut in the shape of a diamond (FERNANDES TSUCHINOKO) but the final product was smaller than expected and it wasn’t very well balanced.

As for the second iteration of BT-MM, I wanted to play it with a bow in performances so I initially had the idea of creating a guitar with the form of a violin. I specified for the curling coiled up tips and the f-holes to be featured, and I thought the resulting design was pretty good. The first time it was used in public was at 1989’s Tokyo Dome show. The Fernandes representative came up with the BT-MM product code and the name Maimai on his own, and I pretty much figured, ‘oh well, so be it’ (lol).”

Imai, nicknamed “The Prodigious Lefty” composed most of BUCK-TICK’s music. Ingenious riffs and melodies produced by his left-hand playing have captivated countless people.

“When I write, I use my right hand and I also tend to use my right hand when I throw a baseball and all, but there’s just a certain few occasions where I favour my left. Like shuffling poker cards.

Back in elementary school,  I was given an acoustic guitar because my uncle was teaching me how to play, and from the very start, I’ve always felt more comfortable holding the neck in my right hand. Even when everyone told me, “Kiddo, it’s the wrong way around,” I wouldn’t understand what they meant. What’s the wrong way around?   And even after I finally figured it out, I just couldn’t hold it that way. No, it’s just impossible (lol).

I wasn’t all that interested in playing guitar at the time, so I left it alone for a good while, but in high school, when we started talking about starting a band, I thought, “Come to think of it……” and I recalled those times. Right versus left, what should I do?   It’d be trouble if I made the wrong choice at this stage (lol). But no matter what, it’s easier for me to play with my left hand. Maybe my body’s just used to it. My father and grandfather are both left-handed, so maybe, in a way, it’s in my blood.

I decided that I don’t need to think too much about it since both hands are used in playing a guitar anyway, and went looking for a left-handed guitar to buy. But left-handed guitars are more expensive than regular ones. At first, my parents looked into it and told me that “it’d cost around 100,000 yen”. But that’s something from a well-known brand. Then, I happened to come across an ad on a black and white page of a magazine that advertised a cheap 19,800 yen guitar, so I decided that one’s good enough and worked part-time to buy it. I still have that guitar with me. I thought it would be interesting to play guitars with both left- and right-handed types since I’m originally a right-handed, but I couldn’t do it at all (lol).”

Imai has not only captivated with sound, but also his hairstyles, makeup, and outfits too. To that, we also asked about where his unique aesthetic sense comes from.

“Artists Uno Akira-san (a.k.a. Aquirax Uno) and Yokoo Tadanori-san. Foreign influences are Salvador Dali and Giorgio de Chirico. Among manga artists, it’s Araki Hirohiko-san. He’s the author of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and I like the light touch he has in his art. Isn’t this year also the 35th anniversary of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (serialisation started in Weekly Shonen Jump 1987 #01)? Some years ago, a fan gifted me an issue of Shonen Jump from that era with JoJo on the front cover, and on the back cover was us featured in Victor’s CDian (※1) ad. I never expected that a fan would have something like this. That was interesting. It felt kind of fateful in a way.”

 

(※1)  In 1988, BUCK-TICK and JVC (old name for Victor) ran an advertising campaign with the catchphrase “An explosively deep heavy bass (重低音がバクチクする / juu teion ga bakuchiku suru)” for CDian, the true CD/cassette player with subwoofer. The two of them came together again in 2015 to promote high-resolution sound equipment with the new catchphrase “An explosively high resolution (ハイレゾがバクチクする / hairezo ga bakuchiku suru)”.
Artwork by leading Japanese illustrator and creative designer Uno Akira found in Imai Hisashi’s workroom. Uno illustrated the cover of BUCK-TICK’s 2010 album RAZZLE DAZZLE, while Imai composed the theme song of the 2012 stage play Tenshu Monogatari (天守物語) in which Uno was also involved for art and costuming.
Manga artist Araki Hirohiko, famous for his works JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan, and many more. Imai’s collection of pin badges and the Stone Mask are items coveted by fans.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the fusion of mechanical aspects with human, and when we were making the music video for Speed (their single released in 1991), we filmed a scene of the band performing with instruments attached with gears and hoses. It had a similar vibe to what is now known as steampunk.

Another manga artist I love is Nihei Tsutomu-san, the author of BLAME! and Knights of Sidonia. I really like the logo Nihei-san designed for our label (Lingua Sounda, BUCK-TICK’s private label).

I’m not the kind of person who goes out a lot to begin with, so nothing much has changed for me even after COVID-19 came around. In terms of movies, I quite liked  Disney’s Cruella (2021) last year.”

Ingenious creator Imai’s workroom is filled with all kinds of figurines.

This was something I doodled at home as an attempt to turn BT-MM into a sort of character

 

He had produced photo T-shirts and figurines with Amplifier before, but this BE@RBRICK release is a first.

“I’ve been to exhibitions held by MEDICOM TOY numerous times, and I have had the thought of one day trying my hand at designing a BE@RBRICK. So I was really happy when I was asked to do it.

The idea for this design was suggested to me by Amplifier’s Hirakawa-kun. This was something I doodled at home about 10 years ago as an attempt to turn BT-MM into a sort of mascot character. Furthermore, this was drawn in one go. I had the intention of using it on band merchandise too so I wanted to draw it one more time with more effort put in, but no matter how many times I tried, it wouldn’t turn out well. Somehow, I just didn’t like them, you know? It’s either the expression, or the shape, or something. In the end, the first one was the best, so that’s what we’ve been using all this time.

During the creation of this BE@RBRICK, I didn’t voice out any specifications, but the size of the guitar and the balance of the design that they came up with was just perfect; I really liked it. I also intend to display it in my basement workroom at home once it’s produced. And if this is well received, I’d definitely like to do this a second or third time.

But BE@RBRICK also adapts with the times, doesn’t it? When I went to the recent exhibition (BE@RBRICK WORLD WIDE TOUR 3, held from 4 to 9 December 2021 at Omotesando, Tokyo), what I found was new wasn’t a bear but something that was shaped like the Nike of Samothrace (Ancient Greek marble sculpture discovered on the island of Samothrace in 1863) which I thought was really cool.”

With 22 original albums and 40 singles under their belt, BUCK-TICK will be celebrating the 35 years of activity with the same band members in September 2022. On Wednesday, 21 September, they will be releasing both the Blu-ray & DVD release of Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK~ in Nippon Budokan and the CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv., a five-CD concept best album that deconstructs and recompiles their works released over their 35-year career. They will also be holding BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~, a special concert on 23 and 24 September at Yokohama Arena to mark the start of their 35th anniversary year.

“A lot of fans have reached out to us, sharing how much they want to attend concerts even though they can’t. It’s also frustrating for us because we can’t put on a show for everyone although we want to. But the global situation is finally starting to change little by little, so I hope that we can all look forward to the 35th anniversary concert at Yokohama Arena.”

 

 

Debut 35th Anniversary LIVE

【BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~】
@ Yokohama Arena

BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~ FLY SIDE
Friday, 23 September 2022 (Holiday)
Doors open 17:00, show starts 18:00

BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~ HIGH SIDE
Saturday, 24 September 2022
Doors open 16:00, show starts 17:00

https://buck-tick.com/feature/specialsite_2022parade

 

BE@RBRICK BUCK-TICK Imai Hisashi 100% & 400% / 1000%

Produced by|HIRAKAWA RENTAROU
Supervised by|Imai Hisashi
Size|Full height at approx. 70mm / 280mm / 700mm
Release date|Delivery and release in October 2022
Price|[100% & 400%]15,180 yen (w/ tax) /[1000%]63,800 yen (w/ tax)
To purchase|Pre-order at MCT TOKYO (https://mct.tokyo/) from 00:00, Friday, 24 June ~23:59, Monday, 18 July 2022. (Japan time)

※For more details, please visit the official MEDICOM TOY website
※Pictures of samples were shot under supervision. May have slight differences from those on sale.
©️BANKER L.T.D
BE@RBRICK TM & ©️ 2001-2022 MEDICOM TOY CORPORATION. All rights reserved.

 

 

Imai Hisashi Photo T-shirt
Amplifier “今井寿” TEE design G

The photo T-shirt Amplifier “今井寿” TEE design G will be released on Imai Hisashi’s birthday, 21 October. BE@RBRICK BUCK-TICK 今井寿 100% & 400% / 1000% is also slated for delivery and release in October. All of these are made-to-order items, so please access the websites and place your order during the order periods.

Produced by|HIRAKAWA RENTAROU
Photo bySHIBATA ERI
Supervised by|Imai Hisashi
Colour|White, Black
Size|S、M、L、XL
Release date|21 October 2022
Price|6,930 yen each (w/ tax)
To purchase|Pre-order at any MEDICOM TOY online stores from 17:00, Friday, 24 June ~ 23:59, Sunday, 31 July 2022. (Japan time)

©️BANKER L.T.D
©️SHIBATA ERI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki

Source: https://openers.jp/design/design_features/4JHgK

Amplifier shop: http://amplifier.tokyo/artists/imai_hisashi/