The Poem of June ──
Interview with Hoshino Hidehiko
Ongaku to Hito
Photos＝Sasahara Kiyoaki＿L Management
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.
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.
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!”
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?
―― 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).
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.
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…”