Sakurai Atsushi — A Three-Part Special
Pati-Pati Dokuhon #2
Inner cover photo・Momotaro
The activities that followed their absolute revival, the concept Aku no Hana itself has been elevated into a lofty theme.
And now, he is undergoing a period of intense recharging while eyeing the next step to take.
Just what is it that shaped not only his work within the band, but also that vivid solitude that his presence flaunts?
SUPER LONG INTERVIEW ①
A Virtuoso’s Solitude
The activities that followed their absolute revival, the concept Aku no Hana itself has been elevated into a lofty theme.
And now, he is undergoing a period of intense recharging while eyeing the next step to take.
Just what is it that shaped not only his work within the band, but also that vivid solitude that his presence flaunts?
Okinawa, 16 June 1990.
I am here to conduct interviews with BUCK-TICK. A business trip for the interviews with all the members of the band to be published in this edition of Pati▼Pati, and Sakurai Atsushi’s long interview for Pati▼Pati Dokuhon’s publication.
Ahead of their upcoming first concert in Okinawa on the 18th, the band had been checked into a resort hotel by the coast since the day before. The advance flight was a precautionary measure against any possible delays or cancellations, but it’s a good thing because it also doubled as a way for the band to get some rest before the conclusion of their long Aku no Hana tour.
We first got the interviews for this issue of Pati▼Pati done by lunchtime and spent the whole afternoon on the photoshoot. Ultimately, the perfect clear blue Okinawan sky and sea…… somehow doesn’t suit BUCK-TICK after all. It’s the mid-winter scenery of a chilly sea under a frozen overcast sky where these guys walking around quietly all wrapped up in black clothes would fit, rather than the azure sea of mid-summer .
The photoshoot ends in the sweltering heat and their manager, the editor, the promoter from the record company, Sakurai Atsushi, and I return to a room in the hotel. The manager puts on a David Bowie CD but the only audible sound aside from that was the faint hum of the air conditioner.
This would be the first time that was interviewing Sakurai Atsushi. While band’s director is a close friend of mine, I wasn’t particularly familiar with Sakurai. At most we’d smile and greet each other when we met, but that was all. This was to be the first time we’d be talking at length face to face with each other. Some years ago, we had drinks together at a Chinese eatery in Nakano after the Peter Murphy concert. There were a number of other people present at the time but I recall that Sakurai Atsushi didn’t say much; he was mostly silent, smiling.
The interview began with a slightly awkward and somewhat shy greeting.
（It should be noted that the following interview has not been cut or adapted in any way, except for obvious misstatements and subject confusion.）
Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human, Ryu Murakami’s Coin Locker Babies. … Because I empathise with Dazai in many areas.
―― How do you find Okinawa?
Sakurai (S): (Smiles) I can’t really… Nothing really comes to mind when you say Okinawa.
―― First time?
―― Isn’t the sea an uncommon sight [to you]? Since Gunma is landlocked.
S: Yeah… But I’ve been [to beaches] a few times for shoots.
―― Do you like the beach?
S: Well… As long as we’re just talking about looking… (smiles).
―― You don’t like swimming in the sea.
S: At all. I don’t like it, swimming (smiles).
―― Doesn’t seem like your kind of thing.
S: My kind of thing…
―― It’s hard to imagine a tanned Sakurai Atsushi, though (smiles).
S: Really… I’d look like a South American. If my face got tanned (smiles).
―― Weren’t you reading a book earlier?
S: Ah, this one? … Strategies of Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu… (smiles).
―― Not something anyone would expect to see you reading, is it?
S: No, because this is my manager’s. But I like it, though.
―― Hu~h… Do you read regularly?
S: Mm… During a tour I’d be tired so I won’t feel like reading, though. But when I have lots of time, I’d read when I feel like it. I guess that’s the extent of it.
―― When did you arrive at this hotel?
S: The day before… Or yesterday, I think.
―― What have you been doing since you arrived?
S: Departure was… early, around 8, so when we got here, I slept for a while, then at night… I went to the bar downstairs to drink (smiles).
―― You don’t really go and explore the city during tours, do you?
S: No, I do. … At night… No, in the day too, I’d go every now and then but… When things are set, it’s quite difficult to move, so…
―― On your own?
S: Even if I were to go alone, in the end… I’d want to go, but I don’t really…
―― Because you’ll draw attention, right (smiles)?
―― … Any books you’ve read recently that you enjoyed?
S: Recently I haven’t really… been able to read much but… mm… the ones that left an impression on me are Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human, Ryu Murakami’s Coin Locker Babies. They’re pretty old though. The ones that leave me feeling, “Ah, that was good,” are probably just these. I do remember what I’ve read quite well though. … Osamu Dazai has a strong impression on me, or rather, there was a lot I empathise with, so it sticks with me…
―― Dazai[’s work] revolves around repeatedly hurting himself, doesn’t it?
―― Set in [the] world [of a protagonist] who wishes they’d never been born.
S: Yeah, mhm.
―― Is that what you empathise with? Because there’s a part of you that feels like that too?
S: No, that’s not the only thing… I think it’s because I’m very self-conscious about how other people look at me. And somehow, some part of me worries about whether people think that something about me is weird and what they think about me. It’s that insecurity…
―― So how do you think people see you?
S: … I don’t know. (Smiles)… If I say it, people might see it that way, so I won’t, though (smiles).
―― Ah, I see (smiles). Do you have this clear divide between your regular self and the person you are on stage? That these are two different people?
S: That’s… true. Yeah, but the album or song always comes, so it’s more like my humanity or personality builds on it.
―― So it’s a different entity even though it’s connected to your personal life in some way.
S: That’s right. It’s like how every [show’s] setlist is fixed, but mentally, what I’m singing about is completely different. Besides, there’s no way that I can keep singing with the same feelings I had when I wrote a song… It’s like an increasing need to sing with a new understanding, to sing the same words with how I feel on the day itself. … And I think that’s kind of tough.
―― … Say for example, you had that outdoor shoot earlier, right? And the whole band, excluding the camera crew, would definitely head to the venue together in a tour bus, right? Normally, whether or not they have to, the members of the band would alight and start walking around looking at this and that, right? Since it’s your first time here. But the members of BUCK-TICK just sti and wait quietly in the bus.
―― Saying it like this might sound like a bad thing, but it gives me the impression that everyone is very introverted. It might just be your personality but isn’t the curiosity about the things around you the initial spark that leads to self-expression?
―― With that in mind, wouldn’t there be a lot of things that are new to you since it’s your first time to Okinawa? Don’t you want to recharge yourself in your own way by jumping headfirst into those novelties?
S: Mm… I do really want to but… This will probably be boring to hear, but you know, collective action, doing things as a group? To wander around and not return to the designated spots when it’s your turn to shoot… I definitely feel that things like that are an absolute no-no… And besides… I can’t stand the heat. (Smiles) I really just can’t. I’m okay with the cold, though. … But it’s just this feeling that everyone moves the moment someone does.
I won’t make the effort even though what I want is right in front of me…
I think attempting to go for something looks pathetic……
―― This is probably just a lame assumption of mine, but don’t you have any desire to be absurd since you’re in a rock band? Like disregarding your manager, wandering away, doing irrational things, going on a rampage, expending your energy through those actions, or letting something untamable explode out yet still sticking your head into all sorts of things out of curiosity. I personally think it’s a good thing to possess that sort of restless energy.
S: Mm, yeah.
―― That’s why I’m wondering where you’re taking in your energy from. Especially Acchan, since you write lyrics, what’s the source of your energy and ideas?
S: I suppose it’s dissatisfaction and a desire for more…
S: Myself… Or rather, the outside world through my eyes… I can’t quite explain it properly but… I [personally] think I’m very selfish but… Today, I wanted to blast the air conditioning and go speeding somewhere in my car again though. (Lol) But [the frustration] isn’t related to such trivial things, but rather the times when these mental and physical frustrations build up, or when I’m being forced to let them pile. … I’m the kind of person where it becomes visibly obvious whenever there’s something I don’t like. So when it comes to energy, I think people can absorb as much of it as they want as long as they can vent it. Like if something unpleasant happened before a show, after the show they’d tell me that today was a good day. And that’s despite the fact that this person was absolutely pissed off and thought that things weren’t fine at all. (Lol). So these things happen too… People might look at me and think that I’m relatively calm, but… I also want to feel like [the whole world] belongs to me.
―― Ah, it seems natural for you to be frustrated.
―― That you’ll be upset when things don’t turn out the way you hoped, and such.
―― Is that your dissatisfaction towards a world that doesn’t work the way you want? Or…
S: It’s dissatisfaction towards my own inability.
―― Your lack of power.
S: … There’s that too, and also times when I don’t even try. When I won’t make the effort even though what I want is right in front of me…
S: … (Smiles) Because I think I’d give up. Thinking about those things after the fact, I suppose I’m just thoroughly indecisive (smiles).
―― Why would you give up?
S: … Probably because I want to play it cool. I mean, I think attempting to go for something looks pathetic.
―― And that’s something that you consider when it comes to aesthetics?
S: Mhm… Everything I’ve said thus far is related to aesthetics.
―― Including your dislike for recklessness.
S: … No, I like it. If we five members of the band can’t really make a decision on the details of a setlist or a stage, I’d just suggest something and push for it. Although, I don’t really know whether you’d call that being reckless… It’s the same when there are arguments too… Something like doing what I have to when I have to.
―― But you don’t like putting it out there that you’re being reckless or something.
S: Hm… I guess… so.
―― Breaking a sweat while you’re giving your all…
S: That’s… dependent on the context. Whether it’s my reckless side, my personal opinion or desires, I think showing it all off will leave me with nothing. I guess there’s a part of me that thinks it’ll be the end of me if I’m attacked.
―― You don’t want to show your hand.
S: Mm… But there are times when I feel impressed when I see someone giving their all.
―― So there are times when you think that it’s good to quit playing it cool and live according to how you truly feel.
S: Mhm. It happens sometimes…
―― Yet why can’t you?
S: Hm… If I go with my true feelings… it’s a bit… I don’t think I can do it right. To just be sad when I’m sad… I can’t do that when there’s a concert, can I? Like, if I were to get so nervous that I lock myself in the bathroom alone (smiles).
―― Even if that’s where you hold on to aesthetics, don’t you think that it restricts you instead? When it comes to singing or performing.
―― I’d assume that there’s naturally some lack of freedom in daily life, but what about your performance?
S: I guess in the end… I unconsciously started to pursue only the things I like.
―― I mean, wanting to actually sing about this particular thing but that’s not the image it has, things like that.
S: No, I think I’m shedding more and more of my restrictions when it comes to that. I intend to do things the way I want to.
―― Ah, I see.
S: This is only from the perspective of lyrics, but in the past, we’ve insisted that these are just love songs. Yet when watching movies or reading novels, I noticed that those aren’t the only parts of it that are cool and that there are many other factors and [my view] just keeps expanding. Well, whether it’s really expanding or I was actually just short-sighted, I don’t know but my satisfaction is growing…
Ever since I was a child, I’d try my best to stay out of sight… I was timid.
I thought if I were to come into contact with other people, I’d get hurt or something…
――The lyrics you speak of aren’t lyrics that are realistic, right? Because the words you use and the way you phrase them is abstract anyway. Is this because there’s a part of you that doesn’t want to write about reality?
S: Hm… I can write honestly about my reality, like my personal experiences and thing I’ve been caught up in, but I’m not particularly interested in what happens overseas, controversial topics and the like, so… I guess in the end, it’s difficult for me if I’m not personally involved in it and can’t get a feel for things myself…
―― Not only talking about what goes on in other countries, but even when it’s your own daily life, and topics like those… It’s the way you pick your words and all. For example, if you’re to say “I love you”, you definitely wouldn’t say it straight, would you?
S: Nope, I don’t do that. But Imai does. (Smiles)
―― Ah, I see. (Smiles) As a figure of speech, right?
S: …… But sometimes I think that’s pretty cool too.
―― Isn’t it a pain to play it cool?
S: I guess I do feel that way when it does become a pain.
―― Is that how you’ve always felt? Ever since your amateur days?
S: … Not so much when it comes to being cool, rather… Ever since I was a child, I’d try my best to stay out of sight… I was timid. [Thinking that] if I were to come into contact with other people, I’d get hurt or something…
―― You’re afraid of getting hurt.
S: Mm… When I’m young, it was all about that.
―― As the singer of a band, don’t you have to cast your shame aside?
―― So why are you here, now, despite having been that timid when you were young? You were initially on drums, weren’t you? It gets me wondering where such a change came from.
S: … That’s ultimately also because of the major frustrations I had… When I started singing, I just wanted to impress with my fashion. I don’t know whether to call it a misconception or whatever, but I felt that I could do it and… Recently, when I’m writing, it sounds bad but I get the feeling that I’m pretty much putting my own thoughtless stupidity out there on display. Because I’m showing people that this level of work is written by me. Whether it’s my vocabulary or my sentence structures. Although, I don’t mind if people say that I’m not clever. But the embarrassment from that… I just feel that I can’t do things in the way of someone who would say, “I’m a person who feels these things.”
―― Is that different from when you’re singing?
S: In the end, that’s also coming from the same thing as firing outwards, right? Besides, if it’s music, people know the kind of chord progression it would have. Likewise, if it’s song, I can only use this voice that I have.
―― Does it feel good to show yourself in that light?
S: Feels good… hm… [rather, it’s] a thrill… I don’t know how people would look at me but the best possible thing for me would be if I could go one step ahead and make myself the spectacle. … Because [staying here,] my frustrations would just continue building with my doubts about how people see me, whether I should present myself in this way and what they’d think of me now, whether stopping there would just get me labelled as normal. I feel that going beyond allows me to declare that this is what I’ll write and sing about, go ahead and have a look, this is the direction I’m taking.
―― Isn’t that confidence?
S: Hm… maybe… it is, and… I think getting there will save me.
―― Do you feel like you’re already there?
S: Hm… Well, there’s an intention to [get there].
―― To become something other than yourself?
S: To become the person I am on stage.
―― And that’s a different person from your usual self?
S: I suppose… yes.
―― What’s different?
S: What I said earlier… It’s casting aside my usual psyche and singing… To bring out actions and emotions that fit the song…
―― But isn’t that song something you wrote yourself?
―― You’re saying that’s still not you?
S: Yeah, because it could be different depending on my mental state on a particular day. Besides, the day I wrote the song and the day I sing it are completely different days.
―― Do you enjoy this divergence?
S: Getting into character is definitely fun. Like when I feel like this today but I think that will change when I sing a particular song. When I wonder whether I can get into character.
―― I guess that’s something like saying that Sakurai Atsushi is a diamond that sparkles on different sides depending on the light. Or rather, you have two sides, like a back and a front.
S: … I think there’ll always be a divide between the watcher and the being-watched, so… I don’t think it really matters to the one who’s putting themselves on show. … Even if they roll around and get all messy and dirty. I think it’s be interesting if they feel that being dirty is cool. It’s not just about being shiny.
―― So what’s the part that you won’t show? The part you keep hidden in the back?
S: … The boring parts. (Smiles)
―― Parts that aren’t cool.
S: Or rather, the very down-to-earth parts. Like brushing my teeth, washing my face; those parts.
―― So, for example, isn’t there a band called KASUTERA¹? Do you have no interest in singing all about the world that exists within a one metre radius of you like they do?
―― Ah, that’s an extreme comparison, though. (Smiles)
S: I’ve never thought about that. … Besides, I don’t think I’d write “Ah, it’s thundering” even if it is thundering [outside right now] anyway. (Laughs)
―― Does that have something to do with your own pride?
S: Rather than pride… I think it’s good that people can express themselves honestly. We shouldn’t make fun of their perception of things. They’re just different from other people; that’s what I’d like myself to remember. … Although, it feels like they’re showing us that the things they think of are special, a little out of the ordinary. In the end… everyone perceives things differently, and there’s no way to say what’s the norm anyway. It’s like attaching pride to what you think or write. I wouldn’t make fun of what’s others’ so I don’t want what’s mine to be ridiculed either. If it was… then I’d retaliate, I’d do something along those lines. … I guess it’s only recently that I began to feel like this.
S: Maybe I was more conformist…
―― You were afraid of being hurt.
S: Yes… It was about being cool in a casual and understated manner… Although, that might still be the case.
―― Not casually, but playing it cool more blatantly. (Laughs)
S: Yes. I’ve come to think that’s fine. It’s okay to do it openly.
―― Around when did you start gradually shifting from the idea that you’re introverted to thinking that you’re just different from other people?
S: Mm… But it’s because it’s been different as compared to other families for as long as I can remember.
―― Your environment?
S: My home environment. I’ve also spoken about this in a previous interview but… I mean, it’s a real bore to talk about but… My father was someone who would get violent when he drank, and my mother appeared to feel like she had no choice but to live with it because she had two children. Because that’s been going on before my eyes for as long as I can remember… And these things didn’t happen in the homes of my friends around me so. … Everyone goes to places with their family, the whole family, and they have great relationships with their neighbours, and so on. Seeing that, I just can’t help but wonder why my family is like this. It feels dark even though the same lights are on. Even though I’ve also got four people in my family… it feels very… empty. Ever since then, after realising that [my family is] different from other families and all that… it might be… an exaggeration, to say that I grew unable to talk to and interact with people… but, before I knew it, that’s the kind of personality I had. I don’t really… talk to my parents, my father, and at some point I got into a fight with my older brother and there was a period when I stopped talking to him too… In middle school, I’d often get the idea that I’m weird, or gloomy though…
―― … You were alone.
―― You were aware that you were alone.
S: Mm… I have memories of listening to pop music in my room alone, even on Sundays and the like.
―― I mean, there is such a thing as being alone without being aware of it, but it was hard to cope with knowing that you’re alone at that age, wasn’t it?
S: Mm, that’s why, I’ve shed… tears before. … Wondering why I’m here alone, even though it’s a Sunday afternoon and the weather is nice outside… My friends would be there if I went outside, but I didn’t try…
My father died, and it’s like a hole suddenly opened up…… within myself, and the family too.
―― Do you think such an environment affected your personality and the things you do now?
S: Mm… probably.
―― So, Acchan, what you’re referring to when you’re talking about being “different from others” isn’t what you’re better at, but rather, your weaknesses?
S: That’s right. … I’ve definitely never thought that I’m better than others. That my family is wealthier, or my father is better, or my mother is smarter… Although, my older brother’s a very diligent person… and I… am very average in my studies so I don’t think I’m good at it anyway. And my personality is far from being bright and cheerful. (Smiles) Neither am I particularly motivated when it comes to sports. Nor am I the type who can answer when a teacher points at me. Much less a person who would raise my hand on my own volition. In the end… there’s a strong inferiority complex, or rather, personally, that’s something I feel. A lot.
―― And this inferiority complex didn’t lead you in a negative direction, but instead brought you to the positive outcome of joining a band.
S: Mm… If I actually took a negative turn…
―― That’s what led you here.
S: Mm… The four [other band members] left for Tokyo while I remained in the countryside, working as I should, giving up, and drinking all the time… I thought, nothing matters anymore. I had no confidence in my drumming anyway… and I thought, there’d only be the three of them left [at home] if I went to Tokyo. I did a lot of bad things in high school and caused trouble… my mother was made to shoulder the responsibility alone, and if I were to just head off [to Tokyo] like that… I felt bad for her. If we’re talking about what led me here… my father died and somehow, it’s like a hole suddenly opened up… within myself, and the family too. … It affected the family a lot, actually. And myself too. … This hole suddenly appeared and I thought, there’s nothing here for me to do. Then… with nothing to do, I was aimless, just holding on to being in the band. I wanted to stand out and perform in front of people with them all… so I said, I kind of want to go to Tokyo and be with the band… there wasn’t anyone who could stop me… well, there was, but… there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do anyway so I decided to go. And my mother also said that it’s okay [for me to go]. … So I went to Tokyo, crashed at someone’s place… Before that, I did voice my interest in becoming the vocalist to the band, and right around the time I was going to Tokyo, they were in Tokyo talking about our vocalist at the time not being up to par, so I said, then let me take the spot… A lot of things happened in that one year after I graduated from high school, and that was what started it all. Since things were already in the red… I decided to do what I wanted to do.
―― Saying that you want to be the vocalist is really the desire to stand out, right?
―― But how do you reconcile your awareness of this inferiority complex and the belief that there’s nothing about you that’s better than others, with your desire to stand out?
S: Hm… Somehow, my desire to show off and be cool has become the priority and… I got this sort of feeling that I’m the only one who knows about my inferiority complex anyway, so. I thought I could start over from zero without being held back by anyone.
―― That’s… something like, having no one you know anymore when you leave your family back in your hometown and come to Tokyo.
S: Mm… It ends up sounding like a sob story when I talk about these things, but it’s really… a decision to start over…
―― In the sense that you don’t want to show those bad sides of you anymore?
S: Mm, I’ve put them away since then…
―― Hidden away?
S: … Or not. … Maybe it looks bad from an outsider’s perspective, but anyway, even if [these parts of me] showed up in Tokyo, I was enjoying myself a lot. Because there wasn’t anyone who would grumble at me and I did whatever I wanted… But there was just one thing; I was still being a burden to my mother and she still sent me money. I wasn’t working. And during those times, I’d still go and have fun even if I felt that this wasn’t good. I’d just play around because it’s enjoyable…
―― Doing that despite knowing it… But if we look at it from another perspective, this part of you with the inferiority complex is as good as the basis of being Sakurai Atsushi, right?
―― I wonder if throwing that away, or hiding it would leave you without something to go back to.
S: Mm, there’s no way to get rid of this inferiority complex in me anyway.
―― But I wonder, whether it’s because of the time or the place, did the parts of you that expose your complex disappear when you made the decision that you would come to Tokyo?
S: Nope, it’s not like that. There’s already plenty of the things I don’t like about myself being shown. (Smiles) I think these things appear even when I’m just talking to people. It’s the same with my mannerisms. Even when I’m being interviewed… I think there are times when I’ve left a bad impression. And even my lyrics… sometimes I feel that everyone listens to what I write now, but if it was any other point in time, people would probably think I’m disgusting for writing such things.
S: …… That I’m completely out of touch with the times or something… I think people probably wouldn’t be able to accept those who write about their frustrations or the things they don’t like about themselves if we weren’t in this present era.
―― Do you mean this is the reason for BUCK-TICK’s commercial success?
―― … Was this something you’ve always been conscious of since you started in the band? Because, you know, the more people hear you, the more you’ll be appreciated.
S: Mm… I suppose we’ve always wanted many and all sorts of people to listen to us since we started out. … But it’s honestly not because we want to get rich or be famous. We’ve just been looking for somewhere we can be ourselves and be cool. So, we put on shows without caring whether we would make money or not and ask people to come and see us just because we want people to see us… even now, that… hasn’t changed, I believe. It’s great if we can make money, but if we can’t play, there’s nothing we can do about that anyway…
No way for me. Because I can’t do it alone.
[I’m] cool precisely because I’m in a band, is how I feel now… strongly.
―― It sounds like being on stage stage was where you felt truly seen for the first time.
S: … Mm.
―― Does it have to be on stage?
S: Hm… I think it is the only place that excites me…
―― The only?
S: … Mm… That electricity… doesn’t exist [anywhere else].
―― That comes from crowds of people watching you.
S: Mm, I think that’s step two. Step one would be us putting ourselves out there on show. Like making sure that we can be seen and heard. After that we can go, “Ah, they’re watching us.” … Well, it’s the same thing anyway.
―― Showing people who you are is cool.
―― And that’s separate from your inferiority complex.
S: … No, I think it’s the same thing.
―― You’re not particular about wanting to show only the nice side of things?
S: I… am not. I don’t mind getting dirty if it means it’d be cool.
―― Where do you get your reference for what’s cool?
S: … I dunno. (Points at his chest) It ends up being how I feel in here (smiles). There are all kinds of words, all kinds of people, all kinds of performances, and all kinds of songs too, so I can only say that it depends on how I feel at that point in time…
―― Do you have any specific, ideal forms of coolness?
S: … I think it starts with regular trend followers. If someone thinks that pop songs are great, I think it’s fine anyway. … Even artists. Those who can make people think that they’re really cool will do fine even if their songs aren’t particularly good. … Whether there’s something specific… I dunno. There isn’t just one. Because [it’s a combination of whatever] I think is cool at any one point of time.
―― Based on appearances?
S: Mm, I suppose so. … But at the same time… I find myself wanting people to see both the inside and the outside as one. Like someone that looks perfect on the surface but leaves you wondering what they’re really thinking…
―― The opposite exists too. Like a person who looks grimy on the outside but possesses sublime beauty on the inside.
S: Ah, that’s true. It’s just that when we talk about what catches your eye, it’s usually the pretty things. When you’re listening with your ears it’s… certainly different, though. There are works of art that I think are really cool too. Whether it’s a painting, or a movie, or a song, or an object. … How both are two sides of the same coin, and that sense of danger it brings.
―― A sense of danger… As in, feeling like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
S: Mm. It’s probably not entirely true, but that’s how I feel and all.
―― Like you’re being hunted.
S: Mm. Knowing this and letting it show all at once.
―― And you’re trying to bring that out.
S: Mm… If I have it.
―― Something that’s right on the very edge.
S: I want to have that even if it’s just the vibe of it. … If I actually did have it… it might just crush me though. (Smiles)
―― You like artists like Peter Murphy and David Bowie, right?
S: That’s right.
―― Do they give off that vibe?
S: Mm… Not Peter Murphy but Bauhaus…
―― Ah. (Smiles) There’s an obvious difference in that area, right? (Smiles)
S: Mm… (Smiles)
―― What about movies?
S: Mm, it’s definitely that type, the sort of movies with that vibe… Like Purple Noon is one of those that I like. The one with a young and handsome 24-year-old Alain Delon… He really was such a soft, pretty boy… I don’t know what he’s really like, but in the movie, I felt… he was really cool. … I guess I like the bad boy-type of characters…
―― A fleur du mal [惡の華 / Flower of Evil]
S: Mm. (Smiles)
―― Do you hate the wholesome types? (Smiles)
S: Ufufu… wholesome types… It depends on who or what we’re looking at. (Smiles) … But I guess it might be true. I don’t think a really cool someone singing a stupid song works out… It’s not impossible, but it’s more like, I’d think something else would be better. … Others might think differently, but I’d tend to have my own idea of what fits this person.
―― Hm… If that’s the case, do you feel that your reason for singing a particular way is mostly because this style suits you better, rather than because this is what you want to convey?
S: … Hm… Personally, for me, the priority would be to get what I want to convey out there. How I want to do it… I think it’s decided at the same time. I might’ve chosen to write those words in my lyrics because I felt that one fits me better than the other. Maybe it’s subconscious or something, but I naturally get a sense of how I want to do something. And that comes with the decision making that I do with picking words that suit me better… Like when I read a book or something and find something that I like. Even if it’s not my style, I’d make it mine, something like that.
―― That’s very professional of you, but on the other hand, you have your own image of yourself, right? So wouldn’t you have a tendency to get tied down by that image and box yourself in?
S: Hm… But isn’t that image being created by the audience rather than the performer?
―― But it seems to me, Acchan, that you have your own idea of it.
S: Mm, in the sense that I’d want to reinforce that image when I’m working. And when I’m moving on to the next thing, I’ll get rid of that reinforced image.
―― You’ll get rid of it?
S: Mm… Well, because I’m not already on whatever’s next. (Smiles).
―― Ah, it’s like you’re still at step one.
S: Mm, it feels I’ve only now begun to grasp it… myself. … I’m not disregarding whatever came before, but… I’m now getting a hold of how I really feel regardless of what others may think.
―― Is there a chance for drastic change?
S: A chance… I don’t know, but… possibly… it might happen.
―― All of a sudden you’ll wear ripped jeans, (smiles) and release songs that sound like the Blue Hearts. What do you think? (Laughs)
S: I wonder what that would be like… I don’t know. … Because there are people out there who would say that’s good too, right? I really don’t know.
― Well, no matter how I look at it, I don’t think it suits you, though. (Laughs) … If that happens, wouldn’t it be restrictive for you being in the band? Even if you wanted to change your image, you’d still have to consider the band’s overall image……
S: No, no way for me. Because I can’t do it alone.
S: I can’t write music. (Smiles).
―― But that…
S: Could be solved if I just asked someone else to do it?
―― No, actually… Haven’t you ever thought of learning how to?
S: Hmm, but, you know… [I’m] cool precisely because I’m in a band, is how I feel now… strongly.
―― Why a band?
S: It’s like… There are people who play the instruments, right? So it’s not like I’m singing karaoke. If it was someone who doesn’t care about me at all playing the instruments, it wouldn’t be enjoyable… That’s why our image is important… If I asked, “I want to do it like this. What do you think?”, the members would share their own ideas instead… That doesn’t happen a lot [out there], does it?
―― So you’re saying that it’s coolest to perform with the other members of your band furiously playing their instruments with you in the middle singing.
S: Mm. I think it makes me look good, and it probably makes the guitarists and bassist look good too… (Smiles)… Well, it may not be true, but… There are those who leave a band and go solo, right? … I hate to say this, but that would make me feel like I’m handling the weight of everything on my own… Like I’m a world apart from the next person…
If we’re just talking about connections, it’s through concerts, right?
The distance gets bridged… and we can have a conversation if we want too.
―― Peter Murphy is someone like that, right? But David Bowie isn’t. Even though he originally started out in a band.
S: Hmm… He’s kind of, he doesn’t seem to second-guess himself… He’s got this magnetism that could eat you up.
―― And that’s not what you have?
S: I’d say I’m not at his level… because I’m not a person who can do everything himself. … He can do it all, can’t he?
―― But he isn’t all about music theory and doesn’t give off the sense that he’s musically inclined either, does he? It just feels like he finds the right colleagues to work with and puts their abilities to good use.
S: But the one who gets put in the spotlight is him…
―― Yes, exactly. Picking out the best bits. (Smiles) Extracting the essence and tossing them away when they’re all out, (laughs) what an outrageous guy… So, putting it bluntly, you said that being with the other members of BUCK-TICK now is where you can be the coolest version of yourself. Does this mean that if there’s a different situation where you can be even cooler, would you move there instead?
S: A situation where I look cool… I can’t think of any (other than being in BUCK-TICK). … Being in a band (that isn’t BUCK-TICK) isn’t all that cool, is it?
―― So no matter how much this person, Sakurai Atsushi, wants to keep changing, he feels that the band BUCK-TICK probably has the perfect public image right now. There’s no running away from it being in such a situation where you’re capable of selling records like this, getting such crowds at your concerts, is there? Haven’t you ever felt conflicted about this? Like, maybe the neon “BUCK-TICK” sign gets in the way? Putting it bluntly?
S: [No,] because I think it’s fine to carry that signboard around while doing other unrelated things.
―― But isn’t there a certain image that comes with the mention of BUCK-TICK? (Smiles)
S: Not really… I’d hate it if the image [attached to me] made it such that I can’t do anything but…
―― You have the freedom?
S: Mm. If, for example, I want to act in a movie, I can anyway.
―― A movie would be nice. Is there something [coming up]?
S: No, not at all. But… I’m interested.
―― Aren’t there talks?
S: There were, in the past. But I didn’t think it was particularly cool. (Smiles) It was a science fiction movie, but it wasn’t quite…
―― You’d like something like Purple Noon?
―― The closing scene really left an impression, didn’t it?
S: Mm. Because the music fits well.
―― With your present status, you can’t easily go out and take a walk, can’t say indecent things, can’t fart in front of people; you find yourself in all these situations now (smiles) as Sakurai Atsushi.
S: Mm, but… I feel that if I want to, I can do anything.
―― But you don’t want to, right? (Smiles)
S: If there’s something I want to do, then I’d do it.
―― Being stoic goes hand in hand with playing it cool, but I can’t help but feel a little concerned that you’re stuck in such a situation when you’re repeating the process of writing music, recording music, performing on stage day after day.
S: Sakurai hates putting up with unpleasant situations the most, so I think it’ll be fine, though.
S: Mm. If I decide that I want to do something, then it’s not an unpleasant situation to tolerate.
―― Going back to our original discussion, I definitely think it isn’t a good thing to distance yourself from the world too much. Cultivating something in a sheltered environment might create something very beautiful, but if it has no contact with reality, that’ll just make it extremely vulnerable and you can’t say that it doesn’t come with any risk either.
―― But it’s not as if I’m saying that you should get big and burly. (Smiles) So… you said that concerts are what excites you the most, right?
―― I think that should be the way for musicians, but there are lots of other exciting things out there apart from concerts, right?
―― So I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing for you to consider looking for these things elsewhere, you know?
S: Mm… hmm… I don’t really like the idea of protecting something, or being protected. … If we’re just talking about connections [to reality]… In making music, these connections are probably concerts, right? If I’m just someone who people see on record covers, someone they always listen to, always see in magazines, on TV, then… the distance [between me and my audience] grows. The distance gets bridged during a concert, one way or another… and we can have a conversation if we want too.
―― But conversations in a concert are… not exactly conversations, are they?
S: Mm… It’s not as if I can descend the stage, take a seat next to someone and ask, “How are you?”, right? (Laughs)… Music comes first, so there’ll always be some sort of divide [between us and the audience] if we build up some sort of image.
I want to go deeper into the glass [greenhouse] yet,
I want to become more open, more honest.
―― Artists are first and foremost human beings anyway, so isn’t it of course that their humanity contributes to the basis of that artist’s expression? If their humanity gets placed in a glass box and cut off from reality… Whether we’re looking at Imai-kun’s or Acchan’s lyrics, they’re all the product of your imagination flowing out from inside of you, right? That’s why, apologies for being blunt but, it feels like you’re losing your roots to your lyrics when you become more and more disconnected from reality.
S: … This might not answer your question, but I like Ozaki Yutaka a lot… I admire people like him who can show [the world] who he is, what this city is with such brazen honesty. … But it’s my emotions; I want to be more open going forward or maybe I want to go deeper into the glass [greenhouse]… I want to become more honest.
―― Do you mean… that there’s a part of you that isn’t honest?
S: Mm. Like my wordings, writing about things that I don’t even feel…
―― What you said earlier about making yourself seem cool.
S: … Maybe that’s it. … But it could also be that I didn’t know. Right? What I want to do, what actually… suits me… whether it still suits me now, I don’t know either.
―― You don’t know whether or not it’s a good idea to show that side of yourself.
S: Mm. … I’ve become a lot more honest now.
―― You’ve gone in the direction of wordplay.
S: Mm. Lyrics that are just nice and sparkly. Lyrics that only aim to sound cool. … But… frankly, I really want to become more honest going forward. I’ve come to feel that I want to put more honesty in my work. Recently. Finally. … I don’t know what direction I’ll be taking though. Whether I’ll move closer towards the people, the city, or… maybe I’ll just put myself in a steel case.
―― You could turn to the streets, or alternatively, turn inwards, continue to examine yourself thoroughly and expose every single thing you have including the ugly parts and the things you don’t like. Whichever way you go, they’re both impressive in their own way, aren’t they?
S: Mm. That’s why, I think I can only be honest.
―― It sounds like you’ve gotten more confident by arriving at such a state of mind.
S: I suppose so… Confidence… Maybe that’s just my desire for more. (Smiles)
S: Hmm… There might still be a part of me which feels that these aren’t my words. LIke, that’s wrong… I think that might be why I forget my lyrics though. (Smiles)
―― They’re not familiar to you.
―― There was something that Keith Richards said² that was simple, yet really meaningful: once you tell a lie, you’ll have to tell another to keep up with the first one. You’ll have to keep lying to no end. Keeping that going would be such a troublesome chore, so he decided to only speak the truth. (Smiles)
S: But wouldn’t it be trouble if you were to do something bad and then talk about it truthfully? (Smiles)
―― Do you like talking about yourself?
S: Hmm… There are times when I get embarrassed thinking back about events like these and realising how much I ended up talking about myself. (Smiles)
―― Like, “I shouldn’t have said that.” (Smiles)
S: Exactly. Or, “I should’ve been more discreet.” (Smiles) But there’s a time lag when it comes to magazine publications, so.
―― You’d look at it and think, “I didn’t realise I said that.” (Smiles)
S: Exactly. Because I have the urge to say things at that point in time even though I’d think like that later on. Although, I still think it’s fine if people understood what I said well enough.
―― Especially when you released Aku no Hana. There was so much magazine coverage. Have you ever felt sick and tired of doing these things?
S: Yeah. Everyone keeps saying it’s a comeback, it’s a comeback, but we’re the ones who felt that blanks the most and we went for those with really knowing why and what for. And when we suddenly have some spare time to think about it, I’d find myself thinking, what the hell was that? Wondering whether it was really necessary, things like that. … There were times when things just stopped at the managing office and the record company and our intentions couldn’t get communicated. On TV, in magazines. … I think it’d be good if we could consolidate and talk about things as a band instead of individually but…
―― I’m here saying this in front of our editor, but… There’s one particular type of person who works for Japan’s rock magazines publications, and that is the type who can bleed a person dry. (Smiles)
S: Well, funny enough, recently, I’ve been thinking I have to get smarter. In that area.
―― You know, Miyata-kun from J(S)W³, he says that he doesn’t speak honestly in interviews. He said that, he’ll be truthful if the interview turns out to be a good one, but if not, he’ll just smile and say whatever’s appropriate.
―― J(S)W’s exposure is significant too, right? So that gets me wondering if that’s his way of protecting himself.
S: Mm… Wouldn’t people just assume that it was discussed with his manager or something? When we talk about what kind of interview we’ll be having, artists will often be told not to tell the interviewer whatever they want anyway. (Smiles) … That’s why, when I think about the interviewers who refer to questions written on a piece of paper during the interview… it’s… it makes me want to be wittier… Because, if I answered in a way which lets the interviewer reply without needing to think much, then I would have to answer quickly too. … We all aren’t good talkers, but somehow… those who speak without thinking with their heads… or rather, who speak from the heart… those types, well, when you look at them, you’ll get it, I think.
―― Even interviews that are just question 〜 answer, question 〜 answer do indeed qualify as interviews though. But that’s not a good interview, is it? Because good interviews become a conversation between people.
S: Mm. … It pisses me off when people who don’t know anything write music reviews but… well, I guess there’s nothing I can do even if I do get upset by those people to begin with… I’d just think of it as them doing their job and writing a thing. (Smiles)
―― Ah, music reviews. There are also times when even if you feel that this person doesn’t get it, you’ll have to accept that it’s your fault for not conveying things in a digestible manner…
S: Yeah, that’s true.
―― … I guess we’ll stop here today. Thank you for your time.
S: Thank you for your time. We’ve somehow gone off topic though.
―― Mm, somehow or other… But we didn’t expect the interview to turn out like this, right?
S: Right… I bet you never imagined such a serious topic coming from a guy who you watched Peter Murphy with and got wasted with after the show. (Laughs)
The topic that was originally suggested to me by the Pati▼Pati editorial department revolved around talking about his life from birth until now. However, Sakurai Atsushi expressed that he didn’t want to talk about his past anymore, so I changed the theme a day before the interview to make it something that explores his style and aesthetic sense.
But in the end, as you can see, he spoke very openly and frankly about his childhood. I think he made this interview very worth reading as a result. I am grateful to him for his cooperation.
The day of the interview happened to be Hoshino Hidehiko’s 24th birthday too. After the interview ended, the members of the band and staff members close to them gathered at the hotel’s bar for a modest birthday party. After the peaceful party, I was teasing Sakurai Atsushi as he played a mahjong game that he was certainly not good at (sorry!) in the hotel’s arcade. Flashing a natural and effortlessly charming smile, unlike any he showed during the interview, he said, “Aw no, this is good, just like that.”
Sakurai Atsushi is a man who possesses both an unparalleled beauty and a talent for remarkable performances. To him, the only people who he can truly open his heart to are probably his four fellow band members. And yet, in spite of that, there’s an underlying shadow of irremediable loneliness in his face. Perhaps his true anguish can forever never be understood by anyone, not even his band.
But even so, he has to push on. He cannot be fawned upon or flattered. He cannot show weakness or naivety. We can only imagine for ourselves how deep his loneliness extends from the melancholy he wears on his face.
Sakurai Atsushi. A true virtuoso. And virtuoso’s solitude so exists because he is a virtuoso.
¹ カステラ (KASUTERA) is a rock band who formed in in 1986. They had their major debut with CBS Sony in 1989, then disbanded in 1993.
² I couldn’t find the actual quote.
³ Shortened name for JUN SKY WALKER(S), a rock band who had their major debut in 1988, broke up once in 1997, and then came back together in 2007.
Sakurai Atsushi: Talking Points
1987.11 – 1990.9
BUCK-TICK’s first appearance in Pati▼Pati happened back in the November 1981 issue. But, in fact!! Sakurai Atsushi wasn’t present for that issue’s interview because he was sick. He was front and centre in the pictures from the photoshoot, but since he called in sick, not a single word from him was given. And so, with such a story from behind-the-scenes, we’ve gathered all the interesting remarks the “charismatic Sakurai Atsushi” has said. This collection of statements might just help us discover a new side to him. It’s up to you to digest every single word he’s said.
I think I ultimately see the stage as both my starting point and the place I come back to.
●It’s the first time I’m being interviewed on my own like this.
●It makes me happy that people from all over are excited for us. But the more noise the audience makes, the more I want to show off. I find myself wanting to silence them. When I hear their screams and cheers, I start to get fired up too and the urge to overpower them even more wells up.
●Love is murderous intent……
●I’ve been moving further within myself even with my lyrical themes.
●Because I was delinquent and stubborn in the past.
●I don’t mind. Anyway, I consider “others’ expectations of you” to be a good thing. But it’s not that simple.
●This time, I decided to try and write a bunch of lyrics that generally captured what constituted love songs to me ahead of recording. This song follows a story about “innocent love”. I think there are a lot of people who treat that as a joke now, though…… Weren’t there people who entered suicide pacts because of this innocence? Because the couple might’ve been holding onto a world of eternity just between them even if no one else understood. Well, I don’t think any of us have ever gone that far, but I think you’ll similarly feel like you’re in heaven when you truly fall in love.
●I think I spend most of my time thinking about myself. When I wonder about what other people think of me, it’s about me, right? And if I’m thinking about a woman, it’s because I’m with her that I’m thinking about her. No matter what it’s about, I’m just thinking about it with myself as the main focus. There’s no escaping that I’m a narcissist.
●On second thought, my “TABOO” and your “TABOO” should be the exact same thing. Surely……………
●Hm…… I think I ultimately see the stage as both my starting point and the place I come back to. Video footage and CDs are what gives it form…… something like that.
●My old man died while I was mucking about. I thought my mother would be even more against it after his death, but she told me to do as I pleased.
It just so happened that right at that time, I was starting to think about really changing from being a drummer to a singer…… This decided it for me. That I would follow through with the idea of becoming a singer.
This was winter, 2 years ago.
●There are very real situations, but there are also parts that aren’t. Personally, it feels lihe there’s really a versions of me who’s writhing around and suffering in a place far removed from reality. (Smiles) That’s the idea behind the song ROMANESQUE.
I always feel that I must look good whenever going to stand in front of a crowd.
●If you have something to say, please go ahead. I’d rather avoid having people making moves on things I’m unaware of.
●Yes, I guess I have to think about business and things like that but……
●Men are more romantic.
●I’d turn into the interviewer, asking, “so, how was it?”.
●This is really Imai-chan’s world, so I just went along with the vibe and sang along with the song. I sound energetic, don’t I?
●Anyway, it seemed like I was an indecisive, introverted child. I think I played alone most of the time…… My report card would also say things like, “Let’s try to play with everyone more.” …… That’s all they ever said. (Smiles)
●Yes, exactly. (Smiles) That’s why, although people might look at me and think I’m a stuck up asshole, I wondered whether I’m putting too much effort into this too. I always feel that I must look good whenever going to stand in front of a crowd. So much so that I feel stupid for caring so much about it.
●Confidence…… only looks like it’s there. (Smiles)
●I want to do it. There are a few hurdles, but well, it is what it is… I can only leave it to them……
●Whether it’s discomfort or apprehension or security, as long as I can make you feel something, that’s good enough. It’s the worst when someone tells me they don’t feel anything at all.
●Hmm… Although it’s true that I don’t think 100% gets communicated…
●At events. But we couldn’t chose in the past. Like what time, and so on. We want to do it under the best possible circumstances, but festivals and those types of events aren’t the most conducive, so I’d be thinking that we’re better off not doing this if we had known this would be the case. (Smiles).
●Hm…… That’s true. …… It’s not exactly about compromising but I guess you could say it’s my confidence in how I feel, I don’t mind even if people don’t understand……。
●I’ve drawn some rough sketches for each song. Making progress while discussing with my manager.
●Hide is in top form. (Smiles)
I’m happy if I can show my audience a world that is nowhere close to reality.
●There are inclinations that differ from my own, somewhere. Like the idea that this particular style is cooler in a particular situation, and things like that. That’s why, rather than calling this self-contradictory, I think it’s more about somehow establishing myself as the protagonist somewhere.
●Besides, I already had the video in my head while we were producing the album, so the process was fun in that sense.
●In the beginning, all I knew was that I was going to leave a lasting impression on the people who were coming to see us. That was all I could think of in terms of impact.
Right now, I’m in the midst of conducting trial and error to figure out things like how I can change my expression of the ‘song’ while maintaining a natural impression.
●It’s good. Because skinheads get really excited when they see such a flamboyant set. As I said, men are more romantic after all. (Smiles)
●For example, I’m happy if I can show my audience a world that is nowhere close to reality even if I’m singing about something dark. Isn’t this more fun? Besides, if I were the audience, I’d enjoy these types of songs more too.
●But don’t you feel sorry for the children? Because they’re the ones left behind.
●But rather than straight up telling you exactly what the song is about, I wanted to make it feel like there’s something else to be found deeper within. It’s up to the audience if they want to dance no matter what song is being played, so… I think it’s also fine if they enjoy themselves so much that they’re moving their bodies.
●We want to present the best representation of ourselves. [The idea of] a ballad echoing in the silence of the night is a good one.
●It’s a very simple sound because it was created by the five of us through thorough work. But there’s a reason for it. Being that we wanted to return to the straightforward music that has our signature band sound. Because we wanted to try going back and starting out from there again. In a way, we did what the five of us are now capable of doing while also incorporating what we’ve obtained from outsiders so far.
●This is something that people who always look sad will relate to, but those who awkwardly play it cool are the last to fall apart, aren’t they? Clowns generally play a comical role, right? But when they revert to their true self, they’re usually serious people or it’s a 180-degree change. If you’re nothing but a joker all the time, dying like that is……
●Things I don’t like somehow happen when binge drinking, or having a serious talk over drinks and all that.
I’d realise, “ah, so this is how I look.”
●I take inspiration from the music and write; I’d listen to the music and try to convey what I want to write about as honestly as I can. Just like the music, I want my lyrics to show all kinds of emotions and feelings too. To that end, it would be nice if I have the imagination to think about and experience all kinds of situations. But I want to add to the audience’s imagination rather than pushing something to them. Specifically, I want to depict things like a person’s inner workings instead of reality. It gets tainted if things are too realistic. Like, it gets all twisted and there’s nothing to hold onto…
●I suppose you could say that it’d be good if I feel comfortable before and during the performance… Although, I would want to get into it, or make myself look cool, or try doing something indecent…… But that’s because there’s another party present after all, so… The so-called ‘relationship’, the impulse and the desire to do something happens at the same time. Because the moment I make a move to do something for my own gratification, it immediately becomes something I do for the audience’s satisfaction instead.
●Yeah, I like those a lot. Like Aoi Teruhiko. We had his records at home, my mother liked him too.
●We want to put on a thrilling show for the audience. Like, the type that’s so unpredictable that you can’t tear your eyes away from it. Something that makes them feel a kind of jeopardy. It’s boring if the audience can watch us calmly. (Smiles) I want them to be constantly excited.
●Hmm… I don’t like the idea of letting people see my weaknesses… I want them to think I’m strong. The type who can’t be taken advantaged of. Who feels better off alone. It’s a bleak disposition, really. (Smiles) When I start thinking about bad things, I’d fall deep into that hole. I don’t like that side of me, but I’m the cutest one of all.
●It’s ultimately because till now, we can’t see anything aside from what we want to do.
●Initially, we didn’t have that scene of burning a flag, but it was there and then when we got the idea that it might be better if we did it.
●Hey. (Smiles) This MISTY BLUE is a girl’s name. So, the main character [of this song], the man is drinking alone when he recalls the time when they danced together. It’s a retro setting, set in a bar from the era of modern girls and boys¹. Well, you could also say that it’s in a European club instead of somewhere in Japan, though.
●Because I discover new things every time. Like when the light shines from behind me and my own shadow is reflected on the wall, I’d realise, “ah, so this is how I look.” When I suddenly look back, it’s like “so this is what my shadow looks like,” or, “oh, so cool.” (Smiles)
●But you see, if they think that they are happy, then they are. I’m sure.
●Although it’s not exactly a game of catch, it’s the way I’m always throwing… but it feels good when I manage to catch hold of it when the audience throws it back. It’s those series of moments.
●The charisma as an individual in the band…… I want each of our own unique colours to show from within the one single base made up of the five of us.
¹ What were know as modern boys and modern girls in 1920s era (shortened to モボ・モガ) were young men and women in 1920s who were influenced by Western culture in both mannerisms and fashion sense.
Following Sakurai Atsushi’s super long interview and Talking Points, the 3rd part of this B-T special feature is a special edition of our well-known BUHi♥BUHi column, Ojima Hitoshi’s Roadie Line SPECIAL. We unravel the “Glossary” of all things B-T from あ to わ, in Gojūon, the Japanese alphabetical order. Now then, what backstories will we uncover? That’s for you to read and find out. Here we go…
Ojima Hitoshi’s Roadie Line SPECIAL
Asami Shigeo (浅見繁男).
BUCK-TICK’s chief roadie. We’ve been working together since their indies days. A man with a perfect personality and a million-horsepower engine.
Needless to say, he’s BUCK-TICK’s lead guitarist. Usually a right-hander but he plays a left-hander guitar “because it feels more natural to hold it like this”. Songs that Imai-kun composes are pretty amazing. Has the tendency to go all in on one thing but gets bored of it easily too.
Will Gosling (ウェル・ゴズリング / U-eru Gozuringu).
Recording engineer for albums TABOO and Aku no Hana. He’s always got a smile on his face. When he was in Japan for recording work, he always carried a picture of his wife and baby with him.
Angelic Conversation (エンジェリックカンバセーション / enjerikku kanbaseeshon).
A song where acoustic guitars are used. Feels grandiose. Music by Imai-kun, lyrics by Acchan.
Ojima Hitoshi (小嶋人志).
That’s me. 23 years old. A roadie. Personality: laidback.
Pirated goods (海賊商品 / kaizoku shouhin).
Bootleg merch sellers would often open up small stalls and sell them outside concert venues. Don’t take pictures without our permission and sell them, you bastards.
Cure (キュアー / Kyuaa).
An English band. Hide and Imai-kun love them to bits. They’ve recently made a comeback after a change in member lineup. They’re real cool.
Gunma Prefecture (ぐんまけん / Gunma-ken).
Where the five band members and two of the roadies come from. Five are from Fujioka, two from Takasaki, and six of us come from Fujioka High School. That said, we don’t have any famous specialties, but Gunma’s mothers are plucky…… apparently.
A store that was in charge of the outfits B-T wore in the past. It’s in Harajuku.
High school (高校 / koukou).
Excluding Anii, four members of the band and Azami and I attended Fujioka High School. There were tons of weirdos and it sure was fun. But it’s a boys school.
B-T’s vocalist. I think he’s the coolest and sexiest band vocalist in all of Japan. Personality: a considerate person.
Shakehand (シェイクハンド / Sheikuhando).
B-T’s office in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward. Please send your letters to the band here.
Stage (ステージ / suteeji).
I suppose looking at the stage that is visible from the audience area probably feels like you’re looking at a different world. B-T’s shows are always cool.
The set[list] for each show comes up to about 2～3 hours. Although it depends on the occasion and the location too. What really sucks is that there are heavy items too.
Splitting image (そっくり / sokkuri).
They’re not very much like oni, but there are a lot of them, aren’t there? Fans who look like doppelgangers of Imai-kun and the other band members when they attend concerts. Everyone’s so enthusiastic.
Tagaki Osamu (高木修).
CEO of Shakehand. He’s always taken good care of us. Has an attractively deep voice.
Ticket (チケット / chiketto).
Don’t buy from resellers…… but I guess there’s nothing much we can do about it. A case of early birds getting the worm.
Tour (ツアー / tsuaa).
This year’s Aku no Hana was long. It had 53 shows, huh? We visited all sorts of places too. Acchan was melancholy on the last day. He said, “A~ah~, it’s ended.” It’s sad when something’s over.
All-nighter (徹夜 / tetsuya).
Happens when we’re recording or composing, and even when we’re getting this manuscript done.
Toilet (トイレ / toire).
Three out of the five members of the band will definitely be in the toilet before the concert starts. Be quick and hurry back.
The new assistant manager who started with us this year. He’s been working with us since the Seventh Heaven tour in different ways, so we’ve known him for a long time now. A born and bred Osaka native.
First in Japan, third in the world (日本で1番世界で3番 / nihon de ichiban sekai de sanban).
A slogan used during their indie days. As to why third in the world, it’s apparently because the top two spots are taken by Beethoven and Bach.
I guess it’s Gunma dialect, means “warm”. Acchan says it a lot when he’s messing around. E.g. “Aren’t my hands warm” (オレの手ぬくてぇだろ / ore no te nukutee darou)
To sleep (眠る / neru).
I love sleeping. The longest I’ve slept for is about 20 hours. When we’re on tour, Acchan and Imai-kun will definitely go to the dressing rooms to sleep.
To drink (飲む / nomu).
Everyone loves alcohol. Especially Imai-kun and Acchan, the two really seem to love it. Imai-kun’s mom used to say, “Don’t force him to drink too much”, but I’m the one who’s being forced to drink.
BUCK-TICK (バクチク / bakuchiku).
How many years has it been since the band was named BUCK-TICK. The person who came up with the name is Imai Hisashi-kun.
B-T’s bassist. We were classmates in highschool. He’s the most sociable of the band and the most childish too. Personality: conscientious.
They’re musicans who have fans. But there are many who don’t have common sense or courtesy these days. We should be careful.
Bass (ベース / beesu).
The bass guitars that Yuta play are from Spector, and they produce a pretty good sound. The bass [instrument/player] is less conspicuous than the guitar [instrument/player], but there’s a lot that goes into it.
B-T’s rhythm guitarist. Tall and stylish. Personality: mellow, yet dependable.
Masuoka “Joe” Yoshihiko.
B-T’s chief manager. Plays the guitar and is actually good at it. And above all, he’s a pervert. Personality: your typical blood type A person.
Musician friends (ミュージシャン仲間 / myuujishan nakama).
As you’d expect, everyone’s got a lot of rock connections. Like ROGUE, and Ziggy’s Oyama-san, and Himuro-san…… Well, there’s no end if I’m going to name them all so I’ll stop here.
The old days (昔 / mukashi).
There are lots of things we had fun doing back in the day. There’s a lot we could do for fun even though we had no money. Acchan would always bring up the past when we drink.
Make up (メーク / meeku).
The band has been applying their own make up since they were amateur musicians so they’re good at it. Yuta and Acchan would take about 30 minutes while the other three would need about 90 minutes. There’s quite a variety of products they use too.
SOFT-BALLET’s keyboardist. He was the one who handled keyboards for us in Theme of B-T and the SEVENTH‐HEAVEN album. Super cool and over the top.
B-T’s drummer. He’s Yuta’s older brother. And the oldest in the band. His slim body and small head is enviable. Personality: sociable, a person who knows a lot about society.
Yunker (ユンケル / yunkeru).
A necessity when we’re on tour. Everyone drinks it when they’re feeling drained and need to recover from fatigue. Usually priced at 800 yen.
Drunk (酔っぱらい / yopparai).
What happens when they’re drunk? Acchan, he doesn’t really change but he turns into a chatty person. Imai-kun sleeps. Hide starts to make himself comfortable. Yuta talks a lot and eventually falls asleep. Anii starts his sermons.
What the band loves doing most. When they were an unknown indie band, they’d often have only 30-ish people attending their shows outside of Tokyo, but now, the fill up Tokyo Dome with 50,000.
Rehearsal (リハーサル / rihaasaru).
Something they’ll always do before a tour or a concert. During a tour, they’d usually spend a little less than 2 hours before the show with a sound check.
Answering machine (留守番電話 / rusuban denwa).
Another indispensible thing. Everyone’s got it. There are times when I’d get unintelligible messages from Yuta on mine.
Recording (レコーディング / rekoodingu).
An annual affair. They’re always keeping the motivation to produce a good album going and doing their best.
London (口ンドン / Rondon)
A city that seems to suit B-T best. A place where they once recorded an album before. They performed a show too, and Imai-kun was in super high spirits.
B-T’s stylist in-charge. She’s been working with them for quite a long time. Handles everything with regards to the band’s outfits. Personality: quite an enigmatic person.
Scans: morgianasama on LJ