ROCK AND READ 104
profile & information
Born on June 16, 1966. Blood type A. Guitarist in the band BUCK-TICK which was formed in 1985. Other members of the band are vocalist Sakurai Atsushi, guitarist Imai Hisashi, bassist Higuchi Yutaka, and drummer Yagami Toll. The band will be performing the final show of their tour, BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. FINALO in Budokan at the Nippon Budokan on Thursday, December 29.
Interview/Text ◎ Yuka Okubo
Photography ◎ Yosuke Komatsu (ODD JOB LTD.), Seitaro Tanaka
Since BUCK-TICK is right in the midst of celebrating the 35th anniversary of their major debut, we interviewed Yagami Toll back in issue 102, and this time around, we have guitarist Hoshino Hidehiko. Hinan GO-GO, BUCK-TICK’s forerunner wasHoshino first experience of forming a band, and it’s been said that the band’s first original song was written by Hoshino himself. Since then, we’ve had songs like JUPITER, LOVE PARADE, Sayonara Shelter and many more Hoshino compositions that have proven to be key to the band’s success at various points in time. In this interview, BUCK-TICK’s 35-year journey gets summarised from the Hoshino perspective, along with mentions of his impressions of his four fellow bandmates.
More than my desire to do this or that,
I think my hope to constantly keep going for a long time is stronger.
――Today, I’d like for us to look at Hoshino-san’s and BUCK-TICK’s past 35 years with Hoshino-san’s music in focus. Before we go into that, you recently held your show, BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” ～35th anniversary～ at Yokohama Arena on September 23 and 24 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the band’s major debut. In retrospect, what do you think of the show? With the staging and all, I got the feeling that I was watching a whole new BUCK-TICK again rather than the festive mood that typically comes with anniversary events.
Hoshino (H): While it’s true that we’ve celebrated our 20th, 25th, and 30th anniversaries in a few different ways, this time around, we have a 5-CD best-of compilation and it felt as if we used that to put the show together. That’s why we ended up with a selection of songs that is a little bit different than whatever we had before. On the staging and the performance, the stage director in charge was someone we started working with only recently, and at the same time, I think it was largely Sakurai-san’s initiative that led to the production turning out the way it did.
――Concerts that are based on a best-of collection would normally celebrate a band’s history but the fact that BUCK-TICK’s doesn’t seem like that at all makes it interesting.
H: We do have our best-of collection, but rather than focusing on our first*, second* and third* album releases, a good number of the songs featured are more recent works so I guess it’s only of course that this is how the show turned out to be. We also ended up performing Sayonara Shelter, our new song that was released in this best-of collection so this also contributed to it, right.
――This event marked the first live performance of Sayonara Shelter.
H: In this show, there’s a segment where we perform Rakuen*, REVOLVER*, and Guernica no Yoru* before Sayonara Shelter and I think this ended up being the essence [of the show]. The songs we performed in this central portion remained the same on both days of the show, though.
――By “essence”, do you mean the message of the show?
H: That’s right. I think the setlist of songs from our best-of collection were probably arranged in a way that had them linked to each other more in this Yokohama Arena show.
――I think the messages here are largely related to Sakurai-san’s lyrics, but does Hoshino-san also get influenced by the sentiment of the world and the atmosphere around you when you’re composing music? I believe Sayonara Shelter, for example, is about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and more broadly, thoughts and feelings about war in general, right?H: I guess we can’t deny that there is some of that in the song, right? We might’ve had such songs before, but Sayonara Shelter came about without any deliberate intention to write such a song. I’ve always left the lyrics entirely up to [Sakurai], but I’ve always had the liberty to do whatever I want in terms of music too, and it could just be that those lyrics were written for this song because the music called for it. I already take it as a message from Sakurai-san, though.
This question gets asked at every significant anniversary year but ultimately, these are simply passing waypoints to me.
When you mention “35 years” on its own, it sounds like a really long time, but I personally don’t pay any attention to this (lol).
――This performance officially marks the start of your 35th anniversary year. Once again, could you share any thoughts you’ve had regarding having been actively making music for 35 years?
H: This question gets asked at every significant anniversary year but ultimately, these are simply passing waypoints to me. When you mention “35 years” on its own, it sounds like a really long time, but I personally don’t feel like all that long a time has passed at all. I personally don’t pay any attention to this (lol).
――I see. For Hoshino-san, your first experience of forming a band was with Hinan GO-GO, the precursor to BUCK-TICK, right? How did it feel when you were exposed to music in that band for the first time?
H: There was a magazine named “Let’s start a band [バンドやろうぜ / Bando Yarouze]” (a music magazine that was this magazine publication’s predecessor), but that’s the vibe we started off with, so I think it really felt like we were half doing this just for the fun of it.
――Did Hoshino-san at the time have ambitions like wanting to make a living through music, or wanting to become a professional musician?
H: I didn’t even think about thinking like that. Besides, I was a kid who had never touched a musical instrument before. There might’ve been some band master who thought about those things (lol), but for me, personally, I just went into it with nothing more than the thought of giving it a bit of a try.
――Are you saying that you’ve come this far because your very first impression of doing this was fun?
H: I suppose that’s how things turned out in the end.
――It’s said that the first person who wrote an original song for the band was in fact Hoshino-san.
H: I’m not too sure about that, I guess that could’ve been the case (lol). But it wasn’t released to the public in the end.
――Is it possible for a kid who had never touched an instrument to write a song so soon after starting? Or was it something you came up with by mimicking what others did?
H: I guess that might’ve been it. There was a point of time when I felt that it was about time for us to make our own original music, and I think I actually did compose something back then, though. It was pre～tty dark though.
――Is that so? Then, does Hoshino-san’s music, a.k.a the Hoshino Melody originate from somewhere?
H: Not at all (lol). Absolutely zero.
――I’m very interested in the “pre～tty dark song” that Hoshino-san just mentioned (lol). Your indies releases up until your first major album release (SEXUAL×××××!) were mostly made of Imai-san’s songs. What thoughts did you have about the music he composed back then?
H: The level of completeness has always been very high even back then. Although there were also songs that were shaped by the band as a whole, things like the arrangement and the core aspects of the songs mostly came from Imai-san, so I guess you could say that made the compositions very easy to grasp.
――Meaning, it was easy to grasp the idea of what the final version should be?
H: Part of it is indeed how clearly we could envision the final product, and there were other parts, like the modulation of the song, the melody, that have always been made very clear even since back then. These areas were what made his compositions easy to grasp.
――Did Hoshino-san also continue to write music at the time?
H: Nope, I think I wasn’t writing anything by then. I just left it to him.
――I see. Was there any sort of change in terms of your mindset when you went from being an indie band to being signed with a major label?
H: I think there was definitely that feeling of having decided on doing this well when we went major. But it really felt like we suddenly dropped into a world we knew nothing about so it also felt like we were at the mercy of others, just going with the flow and doing a lot of things.
――You mentioned in the beginning that you originally had no ambitions to go pro, so what would you have done if you didn’t sign with a major label at that point in time? You did go to culinary school and attained a chef’s licence, right?
H: That resulted from what was originally an excuse for moving to Tokyo, but we managed to sign with a major label much earlier than we expected so maybe I felt like I had the time or maybe the mental capacity [to do that]. Even if we didn’t sign at that point in time, I think I might still continue to make music for a few more years.
――I really liked this story I read in an old article about the time the certified chef Hoshino-san burnt a frozen croquette black in the blink of an eye (lol).
H: That legendary story (lol). I probably misunderstood something somewhere. Maybe I didn’t have the [cooking] sense even though I had the licence? I’m good at slicing and dicing but I think I don’t have any instinct when it comes to flavouring (lol).
――In the chaotic days following your major debut, your second album, SEVENTH HEAVEN, included one song written by Hoshino-san, DESPERATE GIRL. What led you to start writing music again?
H: I probably just got the feeling of “maybe I should try composing something”. It wasn’t that I was forced to do it. I think I just changed my mind about it. I remember doing a lot of things in the midst of that jam packed schedule, so I guess that might’ve fueled my motivation to write something.
――And soon after that, you went to London to record TABOO. What was the experience of recording in London like for Hoshino-san?
H: To start, the one biggest difference between that and our previous experiences at the time was that we had a producer to work with. Also, the feeling of recording while overseas was super fresh; it was a valuable experience. There were also all sorts of changes going on in the music industry. Being in London right at the scene of it all, seeing and hearing about all these things might’ve also inflicted some change within me too.
――Hoshino-san’s song, FEAST OF DEMORALIZATION also featured lyrics written by Yagami-san for the first time, and that was really fresh too.
H: That’s true. That’s just now things naturally turned out. There was a momentum that inspired everyone to try and participate more in songwriting at the time.
――There was a half year before Aku no Hana* when activities were paused. How did Hoshino-san spend that time?
H: There wasn’t anything to do during that period of time so I holed myself up at home and wrote music. It was around that time when I got more equipment and made changes to my environment too. Because back then, I only had very basic equipment. And I had time anyway, right? (Lol)
――Could it be that this led to the bigger moves that you made towards doing more in terms of songwriting? Among the three songs written by Hoshino-san in Aku no Hana, you even wrote the lyrics for one song, PLEASURE LAND, right?
H: That I did because I felt like trying it out.
――How did you feel after giving writing lyrics a go?
H: Hm～ how did I feel (lol). That I’m better suited to composing music? (Lol)
――That’s a quick conclusion (lol). And your next album, Kurutta Taiyou* was a turning point for the band in terms of sound.
H: I think it was a rather fulfilling series of events to round off our experience of recording in London for TABOO and then working on Aku no Hana* with the release of Kurutta Taiyou. Also, I think getting to know (recording engineer) Hiruma (Hitoshi)-san was also a significant point for us.
――In that time, JUPITER* also became Hoshino-san’s first song that was titled a single. It felt like the world’s impression of BUCK-TICK transformed a little with the release of this single. Like a sudden realisation that BUCK-TICK also has such songs.
H: I think that was yet another turning point. M・A・D* was what we released before that, so I think it was good that we got to drastically shake up our image. On top of a bunch of other things, I think I overcame something here that led to a significant change in me.
I really challenged myself without the knowledge of fear in the past. In a good way,
I worked with anything and everything with the feeling to “just do it”.
――In the next single, Dress*, both the title song and the B-side, Rokugatsu no Okinawa* were composed by Hoshino-san. What was Hoshino-san’s state of mind at the time? Was it a period when you felt energised to challenge yourself in different ways? You even played the keyboard when performing Dress while on tour*.
H: I played the keyboard?
――Yes…… Wait⁉ You did, right?
H: I’m kidding, I’m kidding (lol). I did play the keyboard. I think I might have been really raring to try out all sorts of things when it came to composing back then. The part of me that wanted to challenge myself with all these different things emerged, now that you mention it. I had the idea that it might be interesting to compose Dress with the keyboard instead of a guitar. There was even a period of time when I asked the vocal training teacher to teach me when they’re free.
――You learned how to play the keyboard from a vocal training teacher?
H: That’s right. That happened, and then I started getting the feeling that maybe I should try composing something with the keyboard. For JUPITER, I experimented composing with a 12-string acoustic guitar, but anyway, that was a period of time when I decided to try all sorts of new things.
――We use the phrase “Hoshino Melody” these days, but when I listen to Hoshino-san’s compositions in order of when they were written, I get the impression that this Hoshino Melody wasn’t yet established in your songs from the 90s. Instead, these songs were the scatterings of the different parts of Hoshino-san’s quintessence that gradually began to crystallise in the 2000s.
H: That’s true. While trying out all these different things, I also felt as if I was searching for something.
――By searching, are you referring to something that is unique to Hoshino-san?
H: Maybe. Imai-san’s in the band too, so it could also be something that strikes a balance with him. I thought about these things too. Along with balancing the concept of each album and a bunch of other aspects, it felt like I was experimenting with all these different things.
――Has Hoshino-san ever found yourself in a slump or a deadend when you were composing in the past?
H: Rather than a slump…… I feel like I had more freedom back then. I realised that there were things I could do without giving it much though, and maybe that’s better on the contrary, but now, this might sound weird but I feel a bit stuck. I really feel like I could create with more freedom in the past. Part of it is the feeling that I somehow managed to pull off everything because I had no knowledge fear, but as I grew older, I also feel like that gradually became more of the notion that things just happened to work out well.
――Rokugatsu no Okinawa incorporated reggae, and Chocolate, the B-side to Candy* was also inspiring.
H: It feels like I really challenged myself, right? In a good way, that was a period of time when I worked with anything and everything with the feeling to “just do it”.
――There was a period of time when the band underwent huge environmental changs; before the release of your album, COSMOS*, the band started its own independent office and after COSMOS was released, you parted ways with Victor. What did Hoshino-san think of this?
H: While there was insecurity because of these big environmental changes, there was also aspiration. I would think that was exhibited in our work too, so that kind of a big change happened as well.
――Was the insecurity present in your music?
H: Not the insecurity, but more of the aspiration, I believe. That kind of evolution probably happened. I’d say it was the same in SEXY STREAM LINER* too, which we released after we changed labels. There was an environmental change, and you could probably tell from that album that yet another challenge has begun and that we’re headed somewhere new. I think that album had strong indications of those feelings. It might’ve been in that period of time when I grew an awareness of “what I’m good at”. Although whether it’s the Hoshino Melody or not, I’m not sure.
――How would you describe exactly what this “what I’m good at” refers to?
H: I guess it’s melodies that belong to me, or things that are unique to me. It might be a little different from the likes of JUPITER or Dress, but I think that’s the part of me that I grew aware of.
――In terms of songs, would you say it’s stuff like Megami from ONE LIFE ONE DEATH*, or the B-side to 21st Cherry Boy*, Barairo no Hibi?
H: Ah～, that’s it.
――I have the impression that the beautiful melodies Hoshino-san composed became more established in that time. Were you also influenced by your activities in dropz, your solo project which formed 2004 and saw an album release* in 2007?
H: It just so happened that everyone had their own solo activities right around 2004, and although it wasn’t able to be publicly active at the time, it was something that I had been personally working on. I was thinking that I’d want to do it if I could work with vocalist Kelli Ali and that actually became reality. I was running a little behind everyone in terms of time though (lol). That was when I started working with Cube Juice-kun and I think getting to know Cube-kun also influenced my style of working on things to some extent. He only started to work on BUCK-TICK’s production from RAZZLE DAZZLE* though.
――I wondered whether dropz influenced you in some way for the band’s next release, Tenshi no Revolver with songs like La vie en Rose and CREAM SODA. They were more eccentric than anything you’ve done before that.
H: It’s true that there was a feeling of disparity during the time of Tenshi no Revolver, even within myself too. Likewise with CREAM SODA, when that came from me, I was surprised too. I had no idea such a song existed within me even though I wrote it myself. There’s stuff that just comes out of nowhere though. ur next work, memento mori* was conceptually a simple rock album so I worked along those lines, but it feels like the guitar parts became the emphasis.
――Going by albums, I’d say that I started to sense what we call the Hoshino Melody more strongly starting around the time Arui wa Anarchy* was released. Were you referring to this period of time when you mentioned earlier that you were starting to feel stuck?
H: That’s right. Despite the fact that I wanted to do a number of different things, you know? It’s kind of like, because there exists the part of me that now knows all kinds of techniques, I find myself simply sticking to what I already know. I really really want to break through this part, but there’s also the fact that I can see clearly how I can achieve what I want. This certainly makes it easy for me to compose, but at the same time, I’m unable to see other paths to my goals even though I really want to. That’s more or less the kind of feeling I’m getting now.
――Even when you’re right in the midst of putting together a new album?
H: There are different styles in it, but I still want to break through this feeling even more.
――What should you do to break past this?
H: I don’t know either. Maybe I have to bring in my old self who didn’t know anything and drop him into my seat.
――That sounds difficult to do now that you’ve gained so much experience.
H: That’s definitely true though. But that’s something I’ve only started to feel very recently.
――Really? On the other hand, regarding your performance in concerts, I have the impression that from some point onwards, there was a huge change in Hoshino-san’s expressions and gestures. Was that deliberate?
H: Ah, I suppose it was to some extent. There might also be some part of me that got inspired when I went to watch some foreign artist’s concert, for example.
――I believe you did attend some other artists’ concerts in the past too, but was there some sort of change in mentality?
H: I guess I found that I really enjoyed communicating with our fans or something. Like, I came to feel that it’s a good thing. I guess it’s a natural progression from there.
――When did you start thinking like this?
H: Probably after “darkness”.
H: Like the period when we did 13-kai wa Gekkou* (lol). The concerts we held on that tour didn’t allow for communication, did they?
――That’s true. Now that you said it, if we go further back in time, Kurutta Taiyou and darker than darkness -style 93-* were obviously also periods of darkness, right? (Lol)
H: Right, that’s right.
――There was also a period of time when there were barely any MC segments.
H: I went to watch Bruno Mars in concert the other day. His genre is completely different from ours but it was a really good show. When I see such a performance, it somehow turns into inspiration for me too, you know?
――The Tokoy Dome show, right? Are you saying that we’ll get to see Hoshino-san’s Bruno Mars-influenced stage performance?
H: I won’t dance (lol). I meant it in an emotional aspect.
――But I also want to see Hoshino-san’s Bruno Mars-inspired dancing (lol). Anyway, you’re now right in the midst of your 35th year of activity, and in the middle of a national tour* too (Interview was in early November). You composed LOVE PARADE during your 25th anniversary year for the movie* back then and it’s now become a song we can’t go without. Even now, during this tour, Sakurai-san would say, “The parade will go on even if we’re gone,” and it really strikes a chord in our hearts. It feels melancholy to think about these things, but does Hoshino-san mentally count down or think about how much more time you have?
H: I do think about it, especially in recent times. Although I just want to keep going for as long as I can. Because we can’t do this anymore the moment any one of us leaves, you know?
Rather than big ambitions, I guess you could say I just have ordinary hopes. I don’t have big dreams.
But I’ll do my best to be able to perform LOVE PARADE again on our anniversaries.
――BUCK-TICK has always been churning out new releases at a consistent pace, and I don’t think there are many bands that have continued to release new work to this extent over the course of their careers. Do you feel like you’ll never run out of motivation when it comes to producing?
H: Somehow it feels more natural to keep creating. I guess that’s just what BUCK-TICK is like because that’s what we’ve always been capable of. Maybe that’s the definition of BUCK-TICK?
――Next, will you share what you think of your fellow band mates at this juncture? Let’s start with Sakurai-san who expressed himself through Hoshino-san’s composition. How do you see him as a vocalist?
H: Just like his lyrical world, he’s really an open and honest person. That’s something that shows in his lyrical world, and I think it’s also something that makes him very relatable. Plus, his ability to express himself on stage is also incredible. All in all, a great vocalist.
――What about Imai-san? When I look at the stage, there are times when Imai-san and Hoshino-san’s movements seem to synchronise naturally. Seeing that makes me think that it’s probably because you’ve performed together for all these years. I’d be watching and thinking, “Ah, so nice〜.”
H: Really (lol)? He’s someone who possesses much that I don’t, so I feel like I rely on him entirely in all those areas. He’s dependable. Also, he’s playing (his guitar) properly recently, isn’t he (lol)? So please feel at ease.
――Imai-san previously said that Hoshino-san’s sound was cut off in the middle of a concert before (lol).
H: That happens a lot (lol). My head goes blank, you know, if I relax too much. Like, “Huh? What’s the next chord again?” It happens a lot.
――Is it a skill honed over many years to feel nothing over this?
H: Yeah, that’s right (lol). The “Ah～, I did it again” type of things happen quite a bit too (lol).
――The fact that it’s two people coming together to create the riff as double guitars is also one of the highlights of BUCK-TICK”s music.
H: That’s right. Creating one part by the combined effort of us two is something that we’ve always done so that’s also a forte of ours.
――Speaking of fortes, I think chorus melodies composed by Hoshino-san are pretty much a forte too.
H: Is that so (lol).
――I’m always hoping for the day when you release a song that features double vocals by Hoshino-san and Sakurai-san though.
H: That would be nice if we could pull that off well, though. I’ll think about it.
――So what do you think of Higuchi-san?
H: Yuta (Higuchi Yutaka) is also a perfectionist, I think. When it comes to performing, he’s got it down to a T. Although he’s got his “huh?” moments too, I’ve got the same problem anyway (lol). It’s something that happens to all of us normally. In terms of performance style, I think Yuta’s probably changed the most.
――That’s true. What about Yagami-san?
H: Anii (Yagami Toll) is just like Yuta, a perfectionist. In the past, when he didn’t use clickers and the sort, he really gave off this feeling of being The Drummer, but these days, he’s using clickers which means that he has to drum along with them, so that part of him really gives off the perfectionist vibe, but at the same time, he’s still got this groove that reminds me of The Drummer. It’s a really exquisite flavouring that he has, and I think that’s great.
――Right now, work on the new album that you’re releasing this coming spring is progressing alongside this tour, but looking at its present stage, what kind of album do you think it will turn out to be?
H: There’s actually a lot that I can’t talk about in specifics, but it’ll be another one that’s full of variety and there are also parts of it that you could say signify yet another new BUCK-TICK. I hope that people are looking forward to it.
――Now in your 35th anniversary year, is there anything you’re hoping for or anything you want to do in future?
H: More than my desire to do this or that, I think my hope to constantly keep going for a long time is stronger.
――As long as you can in your present state.
H: Yeah, that’s right. On top of that, there’s a bunch of other age-related things, and there’s probably a lot of other aspects like physical ability that we have to pay special attention to though. Rather than big ambitions, I guess you could say I just have ordinary hopes. That’s probably it.
――It’s true that there have been recent occasions when you had to stop activities due to injury and illness.
H: Exactly, that’s what I’m talking about.
――But does Hoshino-san have any dreams of your own?
H: The biggest one is to keep going but, other that that? Things like performing at Tokyo Dome like Anii (lol), I don’t have any big dreams like those in particular. But I’ll do my best to be able to perform LOVE PARADE again on our anniversaries.
- 5-CD best-of compilation＝Their 35th anniversary concept best-of album CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. which was released in September.
- First, second, and third＝SEXUALxxxxx！ released in November 1987, SEVENTH HEAVEN released in June 1988, TABOO released in January 1989.
- Rakuen＝B-side of their 9th single, Kodou, released in April 1995.
- REVOLVER＝A track from their 15th studio album, Tenshi no Revolver, released in September 2007.
- Guernica no Yoru＝A track from their 21st studio album, No.0, released in March 2018.
- Aku no Hana＝Their 4th studio album, released in February 1990.
- Kurutta Taiyou＝Their 5th studio album, released in February 1991.
- JUPITER＝Their 5th single, released in October 1991.
- M・A・D＝Their 4th single, released in June 1991.
- Dress＝Their 6th single, released in May 1993.
- Tour＝“darker than darkness -style93-”, held between May to November 1933.
- Candy＝Their 11th single, released May 1996.
- COSMOS＝Their 9th studio album, released in June 1996.
- SEXY STREAM LINER＝Their 10th studio album, released in December 1997.
- ONE LIFE,ONE DEATH＝Their 11th studio album, released in September 2000.
- 21st Cherry Boy＝Their 18th single, released in November 2001.
- Album release＝SWEET OBLIVION, an album by dropz, released in April 2007.
- RAZZLE DAZZLE＝Their 17th studio album, released October 2010.
- memento mori ＝Their 16th studio album, released February 2009
- Arui wa Anarchy＝Their 19th studio album, released June 2014.
- 13-kai wa Gekkou＝Their 14th studio album, released April 2005.
- Tour＝‘’13th FLOOR WITH MOONSHINE”, held between April to July 2005.
- darker than darkness -style 93-＝Their 7th studio album, released June 1993.
- National tour＝“BUCK-TiCK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv.” which started on 13 October. The tour final will be held on 29 December as “BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. FINALO in Budokan”。
- Movie＝The Buck-Tick Syndrome I and The BUCK-TICK Syndrome II which premiered across the country in June 2013.
“THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~
special live report
Text ◎ Koji Yoshida
Photos ◎ Tanaka Seitaro
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of their major debut, BUCK-TICK held BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~” for two days at Yokohama Arena. This was their first major anniversary live concert in five years since 2017, and also their first indoor anniversary event. This report covers the first day of the event, “FLY SIDE”.
“We’re still moving forward. Wishing blessings upon everyone too.”
The first song of the first day was, surprisingly, ICONOCLASM. Recorded as part of their third album, TABOO which was released in 1989, and also featured as the first song of the first disc in their concept best-of album CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv., which was released this year on 21 September to mark the start of the 35th anniversary year of their major debut, this is a sensuous industrial song that continues to be performed live even now. Adding to that was the LED screen left drawn over the front of the stage after the opening video ended. Giving no clear view of the band, this conversely adds to a feeling of taboo.
Then, red lights glared from behind and images of steeples emerged on the screen. Slowly, with grace, the screen went up as if the Tower of Babel was being built high as the band led into BABEL, a gothic song from 2017.
Imai Hisashi wore a neon-coloured outfit. Hoshino Hidehiko had on a black vest. Higuchi Yutaka wore a black jacket over a red shirt. Yagami Toll was in a plaid suit. And Sakurai Atsushi exuded kinky sex appeal with lips bright red with rouge as he wore a black jacket and a wrap-around skirt over a pair of shorts.
When they made their major debut in 1987, I don’t think anyone could’ve imagined that a Japanese rock band in their 50s (Yagami is 60) could look so glamorous and hold arena-sized concerts to boot. Likewise with their sound too. It’s definitely not an exaggeration to say that a rock band like BUCK-TICK, who continues to bring excitement even in their 35th year of activities lets the younger generation of bands hope and dream for themselves.
Next, the moveable screens were put to full use with images that could be mistaken for three-dimensional spaces as the band started to play the groovy 1995 release, Uta, followed by 2010’s alternative folk-sounding Gekka Reijin, delivering a setlist through the ages.
Speaking in a tone that transcends gender, Sakurai said, “Welcome. Do enjoy yourself.” And with that began Maimu Mime off their latest album ABRACADABRA which was released in 2020. Seated on a chair, Sakurai crossed and recrossed his legs, flashing his thighs seductively as he played out the fetishistic exchange between the man and woman in the song.
Smiles began to appear on the faces of the band members when they started playing psychedelic surf rock song Kyoki no Dead Heat. Imai, Hoshino, and Higuchi went all the way down the left and right stage extensions and interacted with the fans.
The following segment was simply incredible.
In Kinjirareta Asobi -ADULT CHILDREN-, numerous silhouettes of an actual ballerina danced on screen until the very end when they fell headfirst to the ground. In Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari (2022MIX), Sakurai was absent from the stage but he participated in this song through a collage video as Imai sang “Let’s meet at the city of hope (edge of hell) [Saa, kibou no minato (jigoku no hate) de aou]” over and over like a chant. Next, the exotic-sounding Rakuen saw depravity unfold before repeated calls of “Shoot it!” brought us into REVOLVER. Songs with unsettling worldviews came one after another.
After that, the screen in the back turned into a starry night sky for the slow waltz, Guernica no Yoru. Even as he sang “Please forgive me, dear god (Yurushite kudasai ne kami-sama)” from the devastation unfolding before his eyes, he tells us that it was all just a dream at the end. The performance, videos, music, lighting, sound effects, and staging all came together in a masterpiece.
Then came the first ever unveiling of their new song Sayonara Shelter which can be found in their concept best-of album. Even as the lyrics sing about how crazy this world is, the melody is contrastingly gentle. As he sings, “Wait for me in that shelter,” his words felt like a kindly push of encouragement.
Sakurai had a tambourine in his hand for the performance of their latest single, Go-Go B-T TRAIN. Fueled by the love of their fans, the B-T train took off in this high-tempo dance groove. Following this, Sakurai introduced the band with Yagami, Higuchi, Hoshino, and Imai playing music with each of their introductions.
Towering flames then shot up, leading into the Okinawan-sounding memento mori. “Remember to die”, “Let’s love and die”――. By loving death who visits anyone and everyone, we celebrate life. That was the kind of spellbinding party this song brought to the venue.
And right when the party was reaching its peak, it was the last song of the main set, New World. It was a techno-style 4-beat song, but its gentle melody warmly envelopes you as it leads from darkness to light.
During the encore, they performed Django!!!-Genwaku no Django-, followed by the 1990 song which marked the start of their gothic image, Aku no Hana. After that, Sakurai said, “We’ve been doing this for 35 years. And we’ll do this tomorrow again.” before launching into the ballad song, ILLUSION from their debut album, SEXUAL×××××！ 35 years ago. The gentle, tearful UK rock-sounding song fills the venue with euphoria while drawing in the signature neo acoustic elements of its release era.
In the second encore, they performed the nostalgic Koi, and then the romantic Yume Miru Uchuu. Following that, Sakurai began, “We’re currently in the midst of recording something absolutely delightful. There’s no time for sentimentality.” He then added, “On our 35th anniversary, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you; thank you. If you ever have a chance again someday, I hope that we can enjoy a concert together again, with everyone in good health. We’re still moving forward. Wishing blessings upon everyone too.”
The final song they performed for “FLY SIDE” was the folky, acoustic guitar song, Solaris. “Dear god a dream please let me dream even if it’s just a fantasy”――. Those words sounded like a message saying that no matter how much a person suffers, they can still dream.
Life and death, love and hate, beauty and ugliness, micro and macro. We walk into the future while taking in all that is reality. Dreams and hope, and cosmic love are the things that the rock band BUCK-TICK continues to convey. I honestly believe that they are the universe and the champions of love. While these aren’t the exact lyrics to Eureka, they truly embody LOVE！with YEAH！and PEACE！.
03 唄 [Uta]
04 月下麗人 [Gekka Reijin]
05 舞夢マイム [Maimu Mime]
06 狂気のデッドヒート [Kyouki no Deadheat]
07 禁じられた遊び -ADULT CHILDREN- [Kinjirareta Asobi -ADULT CHILDREN-]
08 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマりがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり（2022MIX）[Aikawarazu no “Are” no Karamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari]
09 楽園 [Rakuen]
11 ゲルニカの夜 [Guernica no Yoru]
12 さよならシェルター [Sayonara Shelter]
13 Go-Go B-T TRAIN
14 Memento mori
15 New World
01 Django!!! -眩惑のジャンゴ- [Django!!! -Genwaku no Django-]
02 悪の華 [Aku no Hana]
01 恋 [Koi]
02 夢見る宇宙 [Yume Miru Uchuu]
01 エリーゼのために [Elise no Tame no]
03 Tight Rope
04 見えない物を見ようとする誤解 全て誤解だ [Mienaimono wo Miyou to Suru Gokai Subete Gokai da]
05 MOONLIGHT ESCAPE
06 ダンス天国 [Dance Tengoku]
07 BOY septem peccata mortalia
08 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマりがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり（2022MIX）[Aikawarazu no “Are” no Karamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari]
09 楽園 [Rakuen]
11 ゲルニカの夜 [Guernica no Yoru]
12 さよならシェルター [Sayonara Shelter]
13 Go-Go B-T TRAIN
15 New World
01 ANGELIC CONVERSATION
02 悪の華 [Aku no Hana]
01 忘却 [Boukyaku]
02 夢見る宇宙 [Yume Miru Uchuu]
03 鼓動（2022MIX) [Kodou]