The National Tour that Wasn't, and other news

Back on September 21st, 2000, the 13th anniversary of Buck-Tick's major debut, the band embarked on a tour entitled "Phantom Tour," to promote the album One Life, One Death, which had been released the previous day. They followed this eight-stop tour with a second seven-stop tour, entitled "Other Phantom Tour." If they only knew what lay in store... little could they have anticipated, back then, that the actual phantom tour wouldn't arrive for another 20 years.

Much as we had a feeling that something like this would happen, that doesn't really make it any less of a letdown. Buck-Tick will not be canceling their fall 2020 Abracadabra tour - they'll be converting it into an actual phantom tour, in which the band themselves will not appear onstage. Instead, some sort of concert film will be screened at each of the venues at which the band were to have played, and each screening will be held twice at each venue (or most of them at any rate) - an afternoon session and an evening session - due to the fact that the government's social distancing requirements mandate that venues operate at no more than 50% capacity. Fans will be seated in every other seat, so there will be an open seat between each person, and kids, much as we may have longed to not be smooshed up against the flabby upper arms of some very stinky fangirl shrieking her head off at Acchan-chan in a faux baby voice (unfortunately a real and true occurrence)... if we had to choose stinky screaming fangirls or post-apocalyptic phantom Buck-Tick, we would brave the fangirls. How times change!

Then again, as far as the fangirls go, this is exactly what they wanted. They've been on a campaign for years to attack and shame anyone at the shows who dares to look like they're having fun. Someone dancing too much? Shame them on 2channel. Two guys drinking beer and screaming "Buck-Tick are the BEST!" from the back of Pacifico Yokohama? Go and aggressively shush them up. The trend among the fangirls over the years has been strictly NO dancing, NO cheering, and especially NO SMILING. So we've no doubt they're overjoyed that the rules for the Abracadabra Plague Phantom Tour are as follows:

- Wear a mask so as to keep your offensive, shameful, and era-inappropriate smile well hidden.

- Disinfect your feet on the mat at the door so that if you should dance, you won't give the venue floor coronavirus while doing it. (Yes, they are having fans disinfect their feet before entering the venues. Why? Are my Acchan cosplay Christian Louboutins going to get the virus, too??)

- Register with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's contact-tracing app so that if you dance, the government can publicly shame you about it.

- Submit your personal information, and the personal information of your companions, to masked, gloved, face-shielded Plague Storm Trooper venue staff or be denied entry to the venue. 

- No cheering in loud voices because even though you're wearing a mask, cheering spreads coronavirus. So do joy and happiness.

"Yaaaaaaaay!" cheered all the fangirls (soto voce, so they don't spread coronavirus). "No more pesky people enjoying themselves! Virtual Acchan belongs to us at last!" For, after all, on-screen tour promises many more close-up shots of garters than a man on a stage 30 rows of seats away from you when you're stuck in the back of the venue. It's a win-win-win!

In fact, there many more rules and warnings than those we've listed above - the above was just a sample. Yet amid all that fine print, they neglected to tell us what we really want to know: is it going to be the same movie at every single stop of the tour, or are they going to change the content at some point? The reason many of us attend multiple shows is because they're different every time. While there definitely a lot of Buck-Tick fangirls who would pay 4500 yen per ticket to see the same Buck-Tick movie ten times, some of us are short on cash and short on patience with this whole ludicrous charade. Tell us, Buck-Tick's management? Is it actually worth it for us to attend this more than once, or can we just go to Kokusai Forum, feel creeped out by the misery of it all, see closeup shots of Acchan's garter belt on a giant movie screen, call it an anticlimax together, and go home? Are you going to do something to make it worth it? Holograms? Live action Rocky Horror actors? A baseball pitching robot repurposed to shoot guitar picks and water bottles at the crowd? (Just kidding, guitar picks spread coronavirus). Robots that play Imai's guitar and forget the lyrics? A rain machine that rains on the audience instead of the stage, just to rain on our parade a little more than this year already has?

On the bright side, at least y'all overseas fans, who are currently barred from entering the country, don't have to feel bad that you're missing out. Of course they'll release the thing to DVD. It's been a DVD from the very beginning (unless it's a collection of holographic Rocky Horror actors and guitar-pick spitting baseball machines). The only difference will be not hearing the music over the venue sound equipment, which, given that Pacifico Yokohama has the worst sound of any music video we've ever visited, might be a bonus, if you have a nice sound system in your very socially distant home.

Of course, the band members are almost certainly at least as disappointed about this as the fans. Touring musicians is what they are by profession, but also by the divine calling of their souls. Live performance is where they really shine - you haven't truly heard them until you've heard them play live. When they're in top form, their live shows are overwhelming, theatrical, transcendental experiences. To sit at home every weekend, thinking, "tonight we were supposed to be playing in Hiroshima... tonight we were supposed to be playing in Sapporo..." how must that feel? At least the fans have somewhere to go and something to do, even if they're not allowed to have any fun while doing it.

It also certainly seems silly that with all this concern over the virus, they're still having fans congregate in large groups in one place. If the band members won't appear on the stage, why bother? Money, kids. The thing that's been fucking up absolutely everything since it was invented. They have to make money on this tour somehow. They can't reschedule it, not only because a tour of this scale has to be scheduled more than a year in advance, but also because of the uncertainty of the virus situation. Touring is where they make most of their money, and it's far from just the band members themselves - it's the tour promoters, the whole staff team, and the venue staff, too - nobody wants to lose their jobs and go bankrupt. Buck-Tick's tickets are already hard enough to get even for venues operating at full capacity. No doubt the band members decided that playing for crowds half as big as usual would be too unfair to everyone who would surely miss out, and it's not possible for them to play two back-to-back shows per day over the course of an entire national tour. So they've tried to compromise. We're certain it wasn't their idea or their preference, but it is what it is.

At the same time, they could still do a live stream that the overseas fans could watch. Wouldn't you love to see them do that? Maybe if y'all write to the management and suggest it, they'll do it. After all, they've taken our suggestions before.

It seems sort of pointless to post the tour dates since most of y'all are not in Japan and are legally barred from attending, but we'll do it anyway, just for posterity's sake. Look how many of them there are! Scroll fast and try not to cry.


2020.9.26 (Sat) Tokyo: Tachikawa Stage Garden
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.3 (Sat) Fukuoka: Fukuoka Sun Palace Hotel & Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.4 (Sun) Hiroshima: Hiroshima Ueno Gakuen Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.9 (Fri) Gunma: Takasaki Arts Theater, Large Theater
Early Show: Open 11:30 / Start 12:30
Late Show: Open 17:30 / Start 18:30

2020.10.11 (Sun) Tochigi: Utsunomiya Cultural Hall, Large Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.18 (Sun) Shizuoka: Shizuoka Municipal Cultural Hall, Large Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.24 (Sat) Kanagawa: Pacifico Yokohama National Large Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.25 (Sun) Tokyo: Showa Women's University Hitomi Memorial Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

(Whaaaat... Buck-Tick were going to perform live at a women's university, and we're missing it!?!? Fuck you, coronavirus! You've ruined our chance to see Buck-Tick dropping some college-student panties!)

2020.10.31 (Sat) Miyagi: Sendai Sun Plaza Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.1 (Sun) Tokyo: LINE CUBE Shibuya (Shibuya Kokaido)
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.3 (Tue/National Holiday)
Kyoto: Rohm Theater Kyoto (Kyoto Kaikan) Main Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.7 (Sat)
Aichi: Nagoya Lots of Kanji Forest Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.8 (Sun) Hyogo: Kobe International Hall, International Katakana Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.12 (Thu) Satiama: Omiya Sonic City, Large Hall

Open 17:30 / Start 18:30

2020.11.21 (Sat) Okayama: Kurashiki Municipal Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.22 (Sun) Kagawa: Sanport Hall Takamatsu, Large Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.27 (Fri) Tokyo: Nakano Sun Plaza Hall
Early Show: Open 12:30 / Start 13:30
Late Show: Open 17:30 / Start 18:30

2020.11.28 (Sat) Tokyo: Nakano Sun Plaza Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.29 (Sun) Chiba: Chiba Prefecture Cultural Hall, Large Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.12.4 (Fri) 
Hokkado: Sapporo Municipal Education & Culture Hall, Large Hall
Open 17:30 / Start 18:30

2020.12.6 (Sun) Tokyo: Tokyo Kokusai Forum Hall A
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.12.11 (Fri)
Nagano: Hokuto Cultural Hall, Medium Hall (Nagano Prefecture Citizens' Cultural Hall)

Open 17:30 / Start 18:30

2020.12.12 (Sat) Ishikawa: Honda no Mori Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.12.19 (Sat) Osaka: GranCube Osaka, Main Hall
Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.12.20 (Sun)
 Osaka: GranCube Osaka, Main Hall
Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.12.26 (Sat) 
Osaka: GranCube Osaka, Main Hall
Open 17:00 / Start 18:00


What about the Budoukan you ask? For now, let's not think about it.

Fanclub tickets for this tour are on sale, and will remain on sale until Tuesday, August 18th, at 2PM, Japan time. Tickets cost 4500 yen apiece, which is really a whole lot for not seeing a band and not cheering while breathing through a mask for two hours in a hall half-full of fangirls wearing smugly disinfected shoes. But Victor needs to wring some money out of their 33-year-old cash cow somehow. General ticket sales start on Saturday, September 12th, at 10AM Japan time.


In other news, which we should have posted earlier but totally forgot about in the flurry of many announcements in Buck-Tickistan, Buck-Tick will be releasing the long-lost, long-awaited Fish Tanker's Only 2011 to DVD and BluRay. To our abiding chagrin, this is not the show at which Mr. Sakurai displayed his erect hair and "free man in tights" spirit to the world, it's the show that was rescheduled due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and held at Zepp Tokyo on December 9th, 2011. However, we really had fun on this tour and it had been a source of enduring disappointment to us that they never saw fit to release it. Now they need money, so here it comes. What else are they sitting on? The Six/Nine tour? That show where Buck-Tick opened for Marilyn Manson at Shinkiba Studio Coast? The Cosmic Dreamer show where Mr. Sakurai threw a hissy fit, threw the microphone, and stomped off the stage in a huff? Where's that At the Night Side blooper-reel spirit? Please, guys. More back catalog video.

As usual, the release comes in both limited and regular versions. The limited edition includes a live CD, booklet of photos from the tour, and special packaging. The prices for the various editions are as follows:

Limited Edition BluRay: 13200 yen, including tax
Limited Edition DVD: 12100 yen, including tax
Regular Edition BluRay: 6600 yen, including tax
Regular Edition DVD: 5500 yen, including tax

Fan club members can reserve the limited edition versions up through September 30th. The video will be released some time in early December. Those of you not in the fan club who are interested in purchasing this release, shoot us an email.

The track list is as follows:

1. Empty Girl
2. ...In Heaven...
3. Gekka Reijin
3. Razzle Dazzle
5. Kyouki na Deadheat
6. Mugen
7. Django!!!
8. Tango Swanka
9. Hamushi no You ni
10. Love Letter
11. Madman Blues
12. Voo Doo
13. Dokudanjou Beauty
14. Baby, I want you
15. Memento Mori

~en. 1
16. Kuchizuke
17. Yougetsu

~en. 2
18. Zekkai
19. Tenshi wa Dare da

~en. 3
20. Alice in Wonder Underground
21. Rendezvous

This is one of the only shows at which the band ever played "Voo Doo" live, and the last time they ever performed "Yougetsu" (really wish they'd revive that one). "Empty Girl" and "Madman Blues" aren't also songs they play every day, so our verdict is, very worth it! Plus you get to see Imai in an ugly red plastic jacket. If our memory serves us correctly.


And last but not least, the music video for "Moonlight Escape" has been posted in its entirety on YouTube. Wow, what is this? Giving us the whole music video for free in advance of the release, instead of some measly 30-second clip that shows the part of the song that sounds the worst when taken out of context!? It's almost like we're back to the days of MTV, or something! We're not going to take a crack at translating the lyrics or analyzing the video till we have the lyric booklet in our hands, so you'll have to wait two weeks for that. But who cares what the lyrics are about when you get to see... Acchan-chan with long hair! Isn't this the only reason anybody likes the band? Isn't this what y'all have been waiting for since he was 28 years old and y'all were either disembodied souls floating in the cosmos waiting to be conceived into a willing uterus, or entirely unaware of Buck-Tick's existence? Kyaaaaaa! Yeeeeek! Did you say "willing uterus"? The uterus is willing and the soul is yeeeeeeek! (Is the internet broken yet? Is it broken? Please tell us it's broken. No more Zoom calls, and it's all Acchan-chan's fault. You have nobody but him to blame.)



FT 096 - Interview with Sakurai Atsushi

FT: What did you do during the stay-at-home period?

Sakurai: I relaxed. Read books, watched films. That kind of thing.

FT: Did you still have any lyrics left to write?

Sakurai: I was mostly finished with writing lyrics, but the more time I had, I was looking at my computer every day thinking, that's not it, neither is this. Every day I kept going over them. I had too much time on my hands, so I kept kneading them.

FT: Is that so? This kind of event, where people around the world are having the same experience, doesn't happen often. What did you feel, and do you think it will have an impact on your future output?

Sakurai: What I feel right now is that novel coronavirus or whatever is happening, I don't want to let it interfere with my work. I don't like it when people adopt an excessively "nice" style of expression in order to make themselves look good. That's what I mean when I say I don't want to let it influence me. That might be part of why I was revising my lyrics every day. Like, hey, are you jumping on the bandwagon? I felt like I was quickly turning into a hypocrite, so maybe that's what I was revising. I will keep being myself (laughs).

FT: Buck-Tick were forced to postpone the fan club and mobile site members only tour that was scheduled for May. What did you think about that?

Sakurai: At first, we had the tour coming, so we thought we'd set that as a goal and try to finish recording by May. But in April, the state of emergency was declared, and we decided we would do what we could to protect people. It puts the staff members in a tough position with their jobs, but we don't want to put them in danger. The studio is an enclosed space. Health is more important than anything. That's why, at that time, we decided to go along with the rest of the world and stay at home. The event promoter was wondering till the last minute what to do about the concerts. But since it's a live house tour, they decided to postpone. I felt very relieved.

FT: It's too bad, but it protects the audience members.

Sakurai: Various live houses have been painted as villains due to infections at live houses, though it is too bad. We don't know the nature of the virus, so we have no choice but to calmly go along with this.

FT: In the midst of that, you brought up something fun, with the live streams of past Buck-Tick concerts.

Sakurai: The staff members came up with lots of ideas. I'm very happy and grateful that everyone can have so much fun even at a time when the band members can't do anything. We received many messages from fans saying, "we're so relieved you postponed the tour," or, "it doesn't matter if the album release is postponed, take care of yourselves." Those kind messages encouraged us.

FT: Now, you've resumed recording. How much work do you have left to do?

Sakurai: Anii still has to do drums for two or three songs, Imai's got a little more guitar work, and we've got vocals and backing vocals for four songs. In June, it's just Anii, Imai and me who have to work hard.

FT: I see. Now, I'd like to ask about the lead single, "Moonlight Escape." How did you get the inspiration for these lyrics?

Sakurai: This was a song I'd already written back before "Datenshi," when nobody even knew the word "corona." Some news I saw about child abuse deeply affected me. Like, children have no place to escape to. It's fine to say, stay positive and hang in there, but I think for some kids, that makes them feel pressured. So I wanted to say, "it's okay to escape." Escaping doesn't in any way mean you're a coward, if you're doing it to protect yourself. From there on, it's a question of how to live on your own. That was my image for these lyrics.

FT: I felt that they were lyrics that could be interpreted in many ways. The melody is bright, with a sense of being set free.

Sakurai: It may not be "positive," but my feeling is that if you're doing it to protect yourself, even escaping is a good thing. Maybe this is a heavy subject, but as you said just now, it's a liberation. I want to say, set yourself free. As a story, I'd like people to set themselves free in their heads, and get a sense of floating or levitating.

FT: This is just my personal impression, but even now that I'm an adult, I cry when I hear "Tsubasa wo Kudasai” [a famous Japanese folk-pop song], and "Moonlight Escape" hit me in the same sensitive spot.

Sakurai: I'm very happy to hear you say that. Now that you mention it, I see how there might be some similarity in narrative. I think we understand that there's no such thing as a world without sadness, but lyrics tell a story, so I hope that when people listen to the song, they feel better, even for just a moment.

FT: How did the vocals recording go?

Sakurai: I like the melody, so I tried to become the young boy who narrates the lyrics as much as possible, to try to be honest and pure.

FT: And then there's the b-side, "Kogoeru."

Sakurai: We just decided it. For this song, I didn't want to put any damper on my emotions. I wanted to listen to it and break loose as much as I could. I wanted to try for a razor-sharp edge, so sharp you don't even feel the pain.

FT: The words aren't just sharp, they're beautiful. There were some places where your choice of each word made me say "wow" out loud. Like, I think "unzari" ("fed up") isn't a phrase you could ever use in lyrics unless you were really feeling it to the bottom of your heart.

Sakurai: I listened to it and I thought, will this really work? But I went for it. I thought, there are very few words for a sense of giving up that are stronger than that one. I thought, I've found a good word here.

FT: This is a Hoshino song. What do you think of it?

Sakurai: It's Hide's royal style. Medium tempo, with a very beautiful melody, and a sense of narrative development.

FT: When you start writing the lyrics, does a story come to you? Or do keywords come to you?

Sakurai: It's a film. Even when I read books, I see a movie in my head. In the case of "Kogoeru," I saw a film of watching the darkness from a dark room, with the blurry reflection of myself in the window, and then worked slowly to put it into words.

FT: This time, were you able to write the lyrics smoothly without getting stuck?

Sakurai: It was like that for a fair number of songs. It's bad to agonize. It's best to decide, "this is it," then keep going without getting off track from that axis point. When branches split off here and there, I get confused and I don't know what it is that I want to say.

FT:  There's a song that hasn't got vocals yet. It's a very interesting song and I can't imagine your voice singing it. Is Imai going to sing some of the songs?

Sakurai: He's bursting to sing.

FT: Oh, is he? (laughs) You can't see the whole picture yet, but at this point, what's your impression of this new album?

Sakurai: It's not in its finished form yet, but I really like it. I like it even more than our previous album, No. 0.

FT: What about it do you like better?

Sakurai: I feel I spit it all out, and as far as the vocals go, maybe this is a little bit of an overstatement, but I really feel like I breathed my soul into them.

FT: I see. I feel that from all your recent work, but do you think you took it one level higher?

Sakurai: That's right. For the past couple albums, starting from Arui wa Anarchy, I guess. In Atom Miraiha No. 9 and No. 0, I feel I added a more intense flavor. I could say I feel more personally satisfied with my vocals and with the stories of the songs. This is just my personal feeling, though.

FT: Each song has so much individuality.

Sakurai: I worked hard on that.

FT: I'm more excited than ever to hear the completed album. Now, please give a message to everyone who is looking forward to the album release tour and your future activities.

Sakurai: The world this year looks completely different than it did last year, and I think holding concerts might be difficult. Everyone, please take care of yourselves. We don't know what form they will take yet, but we'd like to play concerts if we can. Music is all we [the band members] have, so it's all we can offer for you to enjoy. First, we'd like to get the album done, and go on tour. Everyone, stay healthy, and wait a bit.


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FT 096 - Interview with Imai Hisashi

FT: Recording was suspended for a period of time due to the novel coronavirus, but how far had you gotten in your work on the album up to that point?

Imai: About halfway, something like that. Not just with the guitar recording, but about half of all the work I had to do [for the album.]

FT: During the stay-at-home period, we saw that you uploaded a lot of delicious-looking things to your Instagram.

Imai: I thought, "this is how it's gonna be." With this kind of Instagram or blog, somehow, I know myself. That's why I thought, for now, it can't be anything else but food (laughs).

FT: You mean, food was all you had to enjoy?

Imai: I enjoy it, but also, as a topic to bring up on platforms like this. That's why I thought it would be pretty funny. I thought, "I'll try deliberately only posting food."

FT: We enjoyed your "soda-colored sky" photo.

Imai: I did that once loooong ago on my blog. That day, the sky was exactly the same color as a GariGari-kun [see pic below], so I thought, oh, this is perfect. It went really well the time I did it on my blog.

FT: We were most surprised by your collaboration with Hoshino Gen's "Let's Dance at Home."

Imai: My friend recommended it to me (laughs). When I was talking with my friend on Zoom, he said "this is what people are doing these days, what if you try it?" At that point I wasn't thinking about it too deeply, and I thought I should just go for it and do it really fast, but then I thought, if I'm going to do it at all, how should I do it? Lots of other people did it, too. But I didn't know how, so it was difficult. I asked a lot of questions to the staff members when I tried.

FT: Is that so? But, without this kind of opportunity, I doubt we'd have ever seen an Imai Hisashi-Hoshino Gen collaboration, so it was a special experience.

Imai: It was interesting. I had fun. 

FT: Also, Buck-Tick's fan club and mobile site members' only tour got postponed, but past live videos were streamed on YouTube and NicoVideo. You touched on this on your Instagram.

Imai: On Instagram, you get a direct reaction, so I thought it was funny.

FT: You got them just when people had just been posting comments like "I wonder if Imai is watching, too."

Imai: Yeah, that's right.

FT: The entertainment industry has been categorized as "non-essential, non-emergency," but during this time, a lot of artists were searching for ways of expressing themselves, such as live streaming. What did you feel during the stay-at-home period?

Imai: It was just before the full stay-at-home order was issued due to the coronavirus. I was just about finished with the last song for the album, but I got more and more angry, so I thought I'd write a song to refresh myself. So, I stopped working on the song I had been working on, and wrote this new song in about five minutes, and I like it quite a bit. This kind of situation has impacts on a lot of things, and even though I was determined not to feel stressed out, I thought that maybe some kind of feeling was putting pressure on me after all. I don't have a salaryman-type job, so even with the stay-at-home order, for me, it's the same as usual. I stopped going to the studio, but nothing changed about my life cycle at home. So at first, it was hard to really get it, it didn't really gel for me when people around me said they were on a break from work, but after a while, I thought, oh, yeah, I'm on a break now, too. It might sound weird to say I was optimistic, but I thought I'd like to use this chance to get a grip on a lot of things. When I think about how I learned a lot, I'd like that to be an optimistic thing... I guess that's how I feel about it.

FT: You mentioned this before when you talked about the refreshing song you wrote when you were angry, but did whatever it was you got a grip on have an impact on your songwriting?

Imai: When I write lyrics, those kind of lyrics just come out. Like, something about how somehow I feel a little gross. Lyric writing has always been the kind of thing where I feel a lot of things and then spit them out, so I'm sure that this time, I picked up on something somewhere and wrote it into the lyrics. I think it's been like that for me from the beginning. This time, I really understood how lyrics are me picking up feelings and writing them down.

FT: During the time when recording was suspended, did you look at the songs you'd already finished and think, I want to tweak this or that?

Imai: I did, but when we started recording again and I went back to the studio, I had a lot of things to think about. While I was hiding in my house, I didn't really feel like picking up any instruments and doing any work, it was more like, I'd have a thought and give it a try. I took it easy and that was a good thing.

FT: You said you were working on three songs after recording resumed.

Imai: As of now, we've got the drums for the three songs and all the demo vocals finished. Next, we've got Sakurai's vocals and backing vocals, and some parts where I'm not satisfied with my guitar part, so I'll be fixing those up. Also, Yoko-chan isn't even half done with his synth parts (laughs).

FT: Is that right?

Imai: You'll have to ask us more questions later.

FT: Okay (laughs). In advance of the album, "Moonlight Escape" and "Kogoeru" are going to be released as the lead single. When you released "Datenshi," you mentioned the keyword "negative space," but you also wrote "Moonlight Escape" during the same period, correct?

Imai: That's right. At first, I was going for catchy and poppy, thinking this would be the single, but then I thought, actually, let's make it "Datenshi." You could call this song simple, or you could say it doesn't have a lot of stuff piled on it. The intro starts gently, it's got a purity to it, it's a song that's made up of nothing but its core elements - those were my first thoughts.

FT: I see. What was your impression of the title and the lyrics when you got them?

Imai: I thought they were kind of cloudy. The melody is pretty bright, but the lyrics aren't bright and sparkly like that. Somehow I feel it fits.

FT: "Kogoeru" was written by Hoshino.

Imai: It's quintessential.

FT: Quintessential Hoshino, you mean? What about your guitar part, Imai?

Imai: I'm playing it, but lately, in Hide's song arrangements, the parts just go on and on. Like, this riff again? Though I can't say it too loudly (laughs).

FT: I'd like to ask you about the album in much more detail in the next issue, but this is another album full of very distinctive songs.

Imai: Yeah (laughs). It's more interesting that way.

FT: Is the refreshing song you wrote during the stay-at-home period "Eureka"?

Imai: That's right. It's "yuriika" in Japanese. But could also be pronounced "e-u-reka."

FT: This song didn't have lyrics yet when we heard it. Are you going to write the lyrics?

Imai: No, just the shouting part on the chorus. You could call them lyrics, but it's really just spouting words. Sakurai is writing the rest.

FT: So it's a collaboration, then. In addition to that song, you wrote the lyrics for three other songs, and will you sing lead vocals on one of them?

Imai: There are a few songs where Sakurai and I both do lead vocals. I had the idea to sing the A melody part of "Que Sera Sera Elegy," but then I decided that Sakurai should just power through and sing the whole thing, so I had him do that for the demo vocals and it sounded cool.

FT: At this point, what kind of album do you think this is shaping up to be?

Imai: Nope, I can't read it at all yet. And I think that's kind of fun, even for me.

FT: For your previous album, No. 0, you decided on the opening song and the ending song right from the beginning, but you say that this time, you have no idea yet.

Imai: Yeah. We haven't decided on the album title, either. I'm thinking about it, or rather, hoping the muse will send it to me soon.

FT: What about the seven-letter keyword?

Imai: I'm not going to talk about that yet.

FT: I see (laughs). We're looking forward to hearing the finished album. Now, please give a message to all your fans, who are looking forward to Buck-Tick's next activities.

Imai: We've made a wonderful single and album. Look forward to them. Imai, signing off.


If y'all enjoy these translations and want to support us, please consider buying us a coffee on Ko-fi. Things are very tight for us at the moment and your support means a lot.


A Bra! Cad, A Bra! (Summer Goods and More)

With the number of bras found in Buck-Tick's new album clocking it at a whopping two (two bras, meaning FOUR boobies!!!), we wonder if that bikini-hunting #sexybeast Hoshino Hidehiko will finally take us up on our merchandising advice, and release the long-awaited "produced by Hoshino" bikini, just in time for a summer when you can't go to the beach so you stay in your room taking mirror selfies all day. Style: string bikini, adjustable to a variety of body shapes. Color: black. Pattern: a silver Hoshino pentacle on each titty, and a third on your hoochie-coochie. Says "Buck-Tick" across the butt in large, silver Art Deco letters. 

Next, Mr. Sakurai follows up with the "Abracadabra Bra" - an ultra super-duper pushup bra with abracadabrangles on each boobie, to keep the coronavirus out of your cleavage. Customers who brought this item also bought the following items, also produced by Mr. Sakurai: Lace Sexmask for virus safety safe sex, and the "Moonlight Escape" bondage kit (even if you pull a Houdini and escape from these cuffs, you can never escape from love!!!)

If you would rather see these items being produced than the array of summer goods Buck-Tick currently have on offer, please leave a comment below.

We'd write reviews of the various items, but for the fact that they're really not that interesting, and also, most of them sold out the instant they went on sale, then sold out again the instant they went on sale again. Those of you jonesing for a Buck-Tick mask, mask case, and "acrylic door opener" (this is a thing??) to complete your Buck-Tick-themed collection of coronavirus paranoia paraphernalia, you'll just have to wait for another restock. We'll be happy to help you order, but we can't currently ship any items internationally, due to the coronavirus (why is it that you can ship items *to* Japan, but not *from* Japan? Why, Japan? Why?)

Acrylic door opener??? What even is this, and how do you use it? And why would you want to?

However, some of the items remained conspicuously unsold-out, namely, these t-shirts. And we think we can guess why.

Somehow, just looking at the photos of these shirts makes us feel perversely uncomfortable, and the fans seem to agree. Buck-Tickistan is not Dog-Tagistan.

We get it. Dogs are cute, too. Why should cats have all the love. Hide adopted a puppy. We're approaching the dog days of August. Etc. But, we feel we need to haughtily put our foot down on this one and quote Judi Dench from the 2019 Cats movie (and we know Imai watched it because he was cosplaying Victoria the White Cat in her ridiculous oversized pearl necklace on the cover of the February 2020 issue of Ongaku to Hito) - "A cat is not a dog."

Mr. Sakurai is a cat.
Cats are not dogs.
Therefore, Mr. Sakurai is not a dog.

Drawing the band members as cupcakes on forks was bad enough. Drawing Mr. Sakurai as a dog is crossing a line. Hatoyama Ikuko, you're a wonderful artist, but please. Have a sense of feline decency. Also, how could you go out of your way to draw Imai as a dog and not draw him as a bloodhound? Please. Try harder next time.


In other news, the jacket art for Moonlight Escape has been released (yeah, it was a while ago, but bear with us.) What a design! You can practically hear the swish-swish-swish of Mr. Sakurai's goth cloak, and the groans of the photographer as he has to shoot over, and over, and over, because Mr. Sakurai just can't stop breaking out into a cheesy grin over how much fun it is to swish a goth cloak around. As for the sexy psychedelic eye with Buck-Tick over the moon and in its sights, do y'all think that's Mr. Sakurai's eye in drag queen makeup? It sure is shaped like his eye. Is the glitter real or Photoshop? Discuss. Will Mr. Sakurai make an appearance on RuPaul's Drag Race? Discuss.

In addition, the special bonus extras provided by major music retailer chains with purchases of the new single have been announced. To see pictures of them, click here.


Furthermore, the track order for Abracadabra has also been announced, as follows:

01. PEACE (Imai)
02. Que Sera Sera Elegy (Imai/Imai)
03. URAHARA-JUKU (Sakurai/Imai)
04. SOPHIA DREAM (Imai/Imai)
05. Tsuki no Sabaku (Sakurai/Hoshino)
06. Villain (Sakurai + Imai/Imai)
07. Kogoeru Crystal CUBE ver. (Sakurai/Hoshino)
08. Maimu (Sakurai/Imai)
09. Dance Tengoku (Sakurai/Hoshino)
10. Kemono-tachi no Yoru YOW-ROW ver. (Sakurai/Imai)
11. Datenshi YOW-ROW ver. (Sakurai/Imai)
12. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE (Sakurai/Imai)
13. Eureka (Sakurai + Imai/Imai)
14. Boukyaku (Sakurai/Imai)

Or, for those of you who want it on vinyl, the track list is as follows. From this, we can take bets on which is the longest track on the album. We vote "Kogoeru." But it might be "Boukyaku."

01. PEACE (Imai)
02. Que Sera Sera Elegy (Imai/Imai)
03. URAHARA-JUKU (Sakurai/Imai)
04. SOPHIA DREAM (Imai/Imai)

01. Tsuki no Sabaku (Sakurai/Hoshino)
02. Villain (Sakurai + Imai/Imai)
03. Kogoeru Crystal CUBE ver. (Sakurai/Hoshino)

01. Maimu (Sakurai/Imai)
02. Dance Tengoku (Sakurai/Hoshino)
03. Kemono-tachi no Yoru YOW-ROW ver. (Sakurai/Imai)
04. Datenshi YOW-ROW ver. (Sakurai/Imai)

01. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE (Sakurai/Imai)
02. Eureka (Sakurai + Imai/Imai)
03. Boukyaku (Sakurai/Imai)


In other news, Buck-Tick have announced that they're doing another series of live streams of old concert videos, this time on Wednesday nights. But that didn't stop the web site from announcing it like this:

"BUCK-TICK WEDNESDAY LIVE STREAMING" will start on August 5th (Wed)!

On the "Buck-Tick Public Channel" on YouTube, live videos released from Buck-Tick's current label, Lingua Sounda/Victor Entertainment, will be live streamed every Wednesday from 9PM. Go ahead and register for the channel!

▼August 5th (Wed) from 21:00 "TOUR Atom Miraiha No.9-FINAL-"
The final show of the "TOUR Atom Miraiha No.9" hall tour, held in 2016 at the Nippon Budoukan.
Stream URL:https://youtu.be/zWu81Xj_0Dg

In Buck-Tickistan, every Wednesday is a Saturday.


The rest of the schedule for the streaming is as follows:

▼August 12th (Wed) from 9:00 PM - CLIMAX TOGETHER 3rd
Special live held at Yokohama Arena on September 11th, 2016.

▼August 19th (Wed) from 9:00 PM - THE PARADE ~30th anniversary~ HIGH SIDE
Second day of the two-day live series held in honor of the 30th anniversary of the band's debut on September 24th, 2017, at a special outdoor venue on Odaiba. (Guys, you streamed High Side last time. Why don't you stream Fly Side this time? The set list was better. And everyone wants to watch Mr. Sakurai fuck up the lyrics to "Serenade.") *Note: this is Toll's actual birthday.

▼August 26th (Wed) from 9:00 PM - THE DAY IN QUESTION 2017 DAY1
First day of the two-day live series held at the Nippon Budoukan on December 28th and 29th, 2017. (Oh, so you can stream Day 1 of the DIQ 2017, but not Day 1 of the 30th anniversary? What is the logic here?)

▼September 2nd (Wed) from 9:00 PM - TOUR No.0
Additional show added to the hall tour "TOUR No.0" held in 2018 at Kokusai Forum Hall A.

▼September 9th (Wed) from 9:00 PM - "Locus Solus Bestia"
Second day of the two-day live series "Locus Solus Bestia," held at Makuhari Messe on May 25th and 26th, 2019. (Again, you have streamed this before. Why not Day 1? What's wrong with Day 1? What did Day 1 ever do to you?)


For optimal viewing of these live streams, we recommend that you take a portable speaker and go outside somewhere, preferably in the pouring rain, to make it feel like you're at a real outdoor Buck-Tick show. For enhanced mood, put a centipede* in your hair for decoration. If you get sick of it, wash it off in the rain.

(NGS founder Kame's hair was definitely not attacked by a giant centipede while Cayce and Kame were inexplicably watching the previous stream of No. 0 at Kokusai Forum on the Odaiba waterfront in the pouring rain. Because why would a thing like that ever happen? Actually, it did happen. Because we live in a very strange universe. The longer the stream went on, the harder it rained. As soon as the stream ended, the rain stopped. Mr. Sakurai is a rain god, even when he's socially distant.)

*This was a joke. Please do not handle Japanese giant centipedes. In addition to being terrifying, they are extremely poisonous. However, we are happy to report that no Kames were bitten by giant centipedes in the making of this program.


More coming soon.


Abracadabra! and Other Magic Spells

At last, after many delays and much anticipation, Buck-Tick have announced that their 22nd studio album, Abracadabra, will be released on September 21st, 2020, which also happens to be the exact 33rd anniversary of Buck-Tick's major debut. When the band released Atom Miraiha No. 9, Imai Hisashi claimed that numerology had nothing whatever to do with his choice of album title... but he also claimed that use of the word "Atom" in the title had nothing whatever to do with Tezuka Osamu's Tetsuwan Atom (known in English as Astro Boy), yet shortly thereafter, he appeared onstage with his hair styled just like Astro Boy, and the band released officially licensed Buck-Tick x Astro Boy collaborative tour goods, so y'all can decide for yourselves whether to believe everything that comes out of Imai Hisashi's mouth. Buck-Tick then followed Atom Miraiha No. 9 with the album No. 0, adding further evidence to the claim that they have absolutely zero fucks to give about numerology. 

Fun fact about No. 0: the reign of the new Japanese emperor, Naruhito, which began on May 1st, 2019, is titled "Reiwa" (令和). This name was announced in March 2019, after much top-secret deliberation. The first kanji, , means "command of God," while the second kanji, , means "harmony," and is also used to refer to Japan and Japanese culture. So the meaning of Reiwa could be seen as "harmony [in Japan] under the divine order," or "the gods declare, thou shalt create harmony [in Japan]". However, Reiwa has a second double meaning: "zero-zero." Why? Because "rei" (零) is the word for "zero," and "wa" (輪) means "circle" (and of course, a zero is a circle). It was a Shinto priest who explained to us just how much there is to unpack here - one could imagine the gods ordering humanity to "reset to zero" for a new era, and create harmony in the image of the world's people holding hands in a circle around the earth. In numerology, the zero represents coming full circle, the end of an old cycle and the beginning of a new one, the alpha and omega in one, the emptiness of the void out of which arises all of creation. Meanwhile, as we discussed when Atom Miraiha No. 9 was released, in numerology, 9 represents the ending and completion of a cycle. That Buck-Tick followed No. 9 with No. 0 is definitely not a coincidence. But what's even more intriguing is the fact that No. 0 was released in March 2018, a whole year before Reiwa was announced. It's almost like they knew in advance. Spooky!

Now, they're releasing their 22nd studio album on their 33rd anniversary. This is an unusual move - in Japan, new musical releases are nearly always released on a Wednesday, and Buck-Tick has stuck with this release schedule for the entire length of time we've been following the band, and probably much longer. However, September 21st, 2020 is a Monday, and not only that, it's a national holiday - Respect for the Aged Day (Grandparents' Day). Buck-Tick have released a lot of albums in September - One Life, One Death (September 20th, 2000), Tenshi no Revolver (September 19th, 2007), Yumemiru Uchuu (September 19th, 2012), and Atom Miraiha No. 9 (September 28th, 2016) - but you can see that never before have they bothered to time the release date exactly to their anniversary. Why this time? 

It might have something to do with numerology. For the most part, numerology only uses the single-digit numbers 0-9, but the exceptions to this rule are the so-called "master numbers": 11, 22, and 33. In numerology, the master numbers are considered to have higher, more powerful vibrations. The 11 is the number of intuition, inspiration, awakening, and non-duality (the push-pull of the yin and the yang). The 22 is called the "master builder," because it is the number of taking the ideas inspired by the 11 and making them into realities. The 33 is called the "master teacher," because it is the number of transmitting messages from higher dimensions of the cosmos to the earthly realm. 

The number 33 is found throughout the lore of many religious, mystical and esoteric traditions. Lunar calendars, such as those used to calculate the timing of various religious holy days such as Ramadan, operate on 33-year cycles - that is to say, it takes 33 years for the months of a lunar calendar to return to their original position in the year. There are also 33 bones in the human spine - significant because many mystical traditions speak of spiritual awakening as the vital force rising up from the base of the spine to the pineal gland in the brain (the actual "third eye" structure in the brain), opening one up to experience of higher consciousness. The 33 can also be seen to represent the two triangles of the merkaba or Star of David, which in turn represent the principle "as above, so below" - the micro reflected in the macro, and vice versa. The upward-facing triangle represents the flow of energy downward from heaven to earth, while the downward-face triangle represents the flow of energy upward from earth to heaven (or was it the other way around? or does it even matter?), with the human consciousness in the middle, living bound by earthly reality, while seeking for higher awareness. The 33 is a doubling of the 3, the triangle, considered the most basic magic number by magicians, witches and alchemists of all stripes since ancient times... and intimately connected to the magic of "Abracadabra," but we'll get to that in a bit.

The Star of David / Merbaka (3D Star of David, two interpenetrating tetrahedrons, said to be the structure of the human aura)

Then there's the whole study of the mystery of "angel numbers," also known as synchronicity numbers - those numbers you just keep happening to notice everywhere. Does this happen to y'all? Like every time you happen to look at the clock, you see that it's 11:11, or 2:22, or 4:44, or what have you. Or you pay for something in a shop and the total comes out to be 11.11 or some other repdigit. Or you see repdigits on you social media accounts, in the number of likes on your tweet or views on your video. Or you see them on license plates, billboards - the list goes on. And it seems to happen a lot, completely spontaneously. Maybe you see the same non-repdigit numbers over and over, for example, double numbers like 1313 or 2020, or palindrome numbers like 3223 or 4884. Maybe you keep seeing the digits of your birthday, or some other personal lucky number. It's not just you. It happens to lots of people, often far too often to be mere random coincidences (do random coincidences even exist? We're not sure they do. If you want to have fun with this, speak this spell out loud, and mean it: "Hey, universe, show me 2357!" Watch and wait for 2357 to show up. If you meant what you asked, it will.)

As the name "angel numbers" suggests, many people believe that these numbers are messages from guardian angels or higher dimensions, and numerologists, occultists and psychics have used the principles of numerology to attempt to translate the meaning of the messages (for in-depth further reading on this topic for those interested, we recommend this site). Because of the fact that the 33 is a higher octave of 3 (the Trinity), and the fact that 33 represents the link between heaven and earth, 33 (and longer sequences of 3's) as an angel number is seen as indicating the protective presence of angels (or spirit guides or whatever you want to call them). As we discussed in our article on "Datenshi," angels and heaven are a major theme in Buck-Tick's work, going right back to Seventh Heaven and "Angelic Conversation" (which is jam-packed with esoteric symbolism, but that's a topic for another article). Not directly relevant, since Buck-Tick are probably not scholars of synchronicity number meanings, but interesting all the same. The foundational belief behind numerology is that numbers express the fundamental truth of the universe - a belief shared by quantum physicists, just not in the same way. So, maybe it's not necessary to have overt knowledge of the numbers in order to employ their meaning. Maybe they just come out.

All in all, 33 is one special number! It might just be coincidence that Abracadabra is Buck-Tick's 22nd original studio album, but since they have the chance, it seems like a one-of-a-kind chance for some magical hoodoo that they should release their 22nd album on their 33rd anniversary. The 22 - building inspirations into realities. The 33 - sharing transcendental magic with the world. That's exactly what B-T do, right? And Abracadabra is magic that goes back a long, long time.

These days, when most people hear the word "abracadabra," they think of stage magic - the guy in the fancy suit waves a black stick over his silk tophat, says "abracadabra!" and pop! out of the hat comes a rabbit. Everyone knows that stage "magic" isn't magic at all - just deftly worked illusion. Real magic - that's an entirely different idea, spanning thousands of years of occult study, and in fact, "abracadabra" was once used as a serious magic spell.

In fact, the word "abracadabra" is so old that no one knows where it originated from, and some even claim that it pre-dates Babylon and the mythical Tower of Babel, and is therefore a word from the universal language which humanity supposedly spoke before the destruction of Babel. The reason cited for this is that "abracadabra" even today is used more or less universally across human languages without being translated. Obviously, evidence doesn't support the idea that everyone spoke a universal language before the time of Babylon - language is constantly evolving, and groups of people separated from one another will naturally evolve different languages over time, that's just how language works. But the idea of an ancient language of the universe, handed down by mystic scholars and used to work magic, is an idea that surely goes back to before Babylon, so the notion that "abracadabra" is a word from such a language isn't as silly as you might think.

There are various other theories about the origins of abracadabra, though none of them can be substantiated, because the archaeological evidence is long gone. According to one theory, abracadabra comes from the similarly ancient magic word "abraxas" or "abrasax," found in Gnostic texts and on ancient carved stone talismans. Just like abracadabra, nobody can say for certain where abraxas originated (Greece? Egypt? the Middle East?). The seven letters are thought to represent the seven planets that were known to the ancient world, and the word itself was used to refer to the "Archon of the 365 heavenly spheres," the Gnostic supreme being. The word itself may have been derived from the Ancient Hebrew words "ab, ben, ruach hakodesh," or the similar Ancient Greek words, "ab, ben, rouach, hakadōs," meaning "Father, Son, Holy Spirit"... which brings us back to abracadabra, because another theory is that abracadabra was derived from those words, and rather than abracadabra being derived from abraxas, abraxas was derived from abracadabra.

Another theory posits that abracadabra was derived from the Aramaic phrase "avra kehdabra," meaning "I create as I speak," or "I create like the Word." That's a powerful idea, considering that real magic is, in its essence, the act of directly reality through force of will. Alternatively, others believe that abracadabra was derived from a similar phrase, "avra kadavra," meaning "let it be destroyed." Whether these are actually two different phrases, two different translations of the same phrase and one of the translations is wrong, or they're two different meanings of the same phrase and both of the translations are right is not something we've been able to discover, and perhaps nobody knows - Aramaic is a very old, very dead language. But if "avra kadavra" makes you think of avada kedavra in Harry Potter, you're right on the money - this is indeed where J.K. Rowling got the idea for her killing curse incantation.

So, were the ancients using "abracadabra" as a spell to kill each other? Far from it! In addition to divining the future, one of the most important applications of magic in pre-modern times was for protection and healing. Since pre-history, healers, witches and shamans were often one in the same - the people with knowledge of both medicinal herbs and of the unseen realms of spirit and energy. These days, we've been taught to laugh at the crazy or silly-seeming medical practices of the past - but there was often a lot more to them than Westerners brainwashed by Big Pharma like to admit, and not only are the effectiveness of herbal remedies and traditional therapies such as acupuncture and sound healing being verified by high and mighty modern research, but the real therapeutic value of plant medicines such cannabis and magic mushrooms, which were used by shamans since ancient times, is being re-acknowledged. (Did y'all know that used correctly, psychedelics can be far more effective at treating depression than any anti-depressant ever? Studies in peer-reviewed journals show! No wonder Imai's so happy!) This ancient healing magic was not all hooey, not remotely.

However, "abracadabra" was most likely not effective at what it was designed for - as a ward against the plague. Yes, you heard right. That's why the original meaning of the phrase may be "let it be destroyed." The aim was to destroy the plague. The first known appearance of "abracadabra" in print was in the writings of Serenus Sammonicus, physician to the Roman emperor Caracalla in the 2nd century C.E. Sammonicus recommended that sick people should wear an amulet around their necks with the word abracadabra inscribed as an inverted triangle, losing one letter per line. The gradual reduction in the letters was supposed to slowly drive the sickness from the body. This triangle is called an "abracadabrangle." (And you thought "abracadabra" was an awesome word!)

The concept caught on, and these abracadabra talismans were all the rage throughout Europe during plagues, even as late as the 1700's, when Daniel Defoe scoffed at them, writing,

"People deceiv'd; and this was in wearing Charms, Philters, Exorcisms,  Amulets, and I know not what Preparations, to fortify the Body with them against the Plague; as if the Plague was but a kind of a Possession of an evil Spirit; and that it was to be kept off with Crossings, Signs of the Zodiac, Papers tied up with so many Knots; and certain Words, or Figures written on them, as particularly the Word Abracadabra, form'd in Triangle, or Pyramid...

How the poor People found the Insufficiency of those things, and how many of them were afterwards carried away in the Dead-Carts."

We can only imagine what a field day he'd have had in 2020, smugly looking down his nose and feeling superior both to conspiracy theorists and people who dare to go outside and have fun alike. (It's a fact that complaining about the behavior of others so that you can feel superior provides 100% immunity to the coronavirus!!!)

Honestly, Danny (can we call you Danny?) If you're gonna die of the plague, you might as well do it in style... and these abracadabra charms are stylish as fuck! They're even more stylish than Buck-Tick printed masks! And they're still in production today, based on the old designs.

(Please, guys. Tour goods. Even if there's no tour. Please make us some silver Buck-Tick Abracadabrangle necklaces. We will gladly wear them even if it means we get smugly sniffed at by Daniel Defoe. You will pry our gothic occult jewelry from our cold, dead bodies as they lie pickled in hand sanitizer in refrigerated morgue trucks in the queue for another slapdash coronafuneral... just kidding, goths are immune to the coronavirus!)

Abracadabrangle charms were also often put over the doorways of houses to keep the plague out, possibly in a nod to the final plague of Egypt in the Bible.

Anyhow, it wasn't until much more recently that "abracadabra" became adopted as a word of choice for stage magicians. In a now-scientific world, with the microbial causes of disease understood, magic wards against illness began to seem silly (then again... people in 2020 are drinking bleach and dying, to try and stop themselves dying of the coronavirus, so... compared to that, an Abracadabrangle seems quite sane and logical.) Anything resembling "real" magic came to be ridiculed by the global hegemony of materialist science. Abracadabra and other magic words are lol. Let's cut naked ladies in half with saws, pull rabbits out of hats, and drink to the fact that now, at last, we know everything there is to know, go to bed snug at night knowing that no witches, ghosts, gods, or aliens exist, and they never have. We are very smart, with very selfish genes. Ancient peoples were primitive and superstitious savages.

The thing is, it's actually a big, mysterious world out there, full of a vast number of things we don't understand. We don't even understand gravity! So many years and so many particle accelerators later, and physicists still have not a clue what made Newton's apple fall. What we call "matter" is 99.9999% "empty space." Why? What is the universe, really? Those primitive and superstitious savages claimed it was a living, breathing, conscious being. So did Sakurai Atsushi, on Yumemiru Uchuu. Can we be so sure that they're wrong? 

Meanwhile, the US government just announced last week that UFOs are real, and that the extraterrestrial explanation appears to be the most likely one, and we have exactly zero idea what the UFOs are or how they work. And guys... didn't we tell you at the beginning of the year that 2020 was going to be the year the aliens landed? Keep your eyes, hearts, and minds open, and your alchemical homunculus flasks at the ready. The world just might turn out to be far more magical than you think. Buck-Tick knew Reiwa was coming. The ancient wisdom of Buck-Tickistan is a very, very deep well. What else do they know that they have yet to reveal?

Whatever it is, it's surely not on the English version of the special website promoting the release of the Abracadabra album. This website, which in addition to being the most boring, lazily designed site we have ever seen, was very definitely NOT written by Cayce, tells us:

"The latest album "ABRACADABRA" released by BUCK-TICK, a rock band that has been shocking many times with its own musicality, on the anniversary of its 33rd debut.

Along with the rapid changes in the way music was delivered, the band continued to evolve as an immobile and lonely entity."

Here, kids, we're going to teach you another cool-sounding word: "gobbledygook." The definition: "language characterized by circumlocution and jargon, usually hard to understand." What exactly does that mean, "immobile and lonely entity"? Do they mean like a lone UFO just floating up there in the sky, not moving? We're pretty sure Buck-Tick *did* come from outer space, so that's plausible, but... no. What they were trying to say is "unshakable and fiercely independent." Translators: proving to you that yes, words ARE magic, every day of the year. Have a word problem? Hire a translator today! (Real talk, it actually hurt us with physical pain to read the English version of this site. Buck-Tick badly need a different web management team.)

Anyway, the big news about the release of this album is that, for the first time since Taboo, the album will be released not only to CD, but also to cassette tape and *drumroll* VINYL! (And, you know, digital download and streaming services, yawn, snore. But oh wait... it was because of us putting pressure on them that they did that! You rock, Blog-Tickers! And for overseas fans in this age of no-international-shipping-from-Japan, it's a damn good thing they took our advice or they'd have lost out on a lot of potential money from their overseas fanbase.)

As far as the vinyl thing goes, we have a personal confession to make. After every Buck-Tick concert, the venue staff pass out feedback questionnaires about the show to all the fans, and we've noticed over the years that they really take this feedback to heart. Over the course of the past few tours, we've been consistently offering three specific suggestions on the questionnaires: 1) release an acoustic album or play an acoustic show, 2) offer a fanclub-sanctioned ticket trading service, 3) if you want to play something catchy and repetitive, please play "Ai no Uta" instead of all those bop-bop songs, 4) release commemorative LP versions of your post-Taboo back catalog.

The ticket trading service is a shambles, but they did it. The acoustic section of Locus Solus was almost as surprising and exciting as finally hearing "Ai no Uta" for the first time in our thirteen years of following the band on every tour. And now, an LP version of Abracadabra!  Knowing the Japanese fanbase, we find it unlikely that many other fans besides us, if indeed any at all, would have made these same suggestions. The type of Buck-Tick fan who goes to shows and writes questionnaires is, to put it politely, not the kind who owns record players. Yeah, vinyl is having a major comeback and all the cool kids are doing it. Maybe it's all coincidence. And it's not like we signed our questionnaires "Hocus Pocus, Alacazam, Love, Cayce." But we kind of don't believe in coincidences. We're pretty sure that words are magic. Abra-ca-fucking-dabra!

All told, the album will be released in five versions, one for each of the five band members. They are, as follows:

Special Precious Limited Edition CD (Acchan version because he's the most special, precious band member said all the fangirls who will buy this version of the album)
5,500 yen + tax / with BluRay
5,000 yen + tax/ with DVD
(ooh look it's a 555 Abracadabrangle! Acchan-chan's life path number is 5! Spooooooky!)

The BluRay/DVD will contain a music video for the new YOW-ROW mix of "Kemono-tachi no Yoru," otherwise known as "Night of the Beasts ~tryhard fanboy mix~". It will also contain a multi-angle version of the music video for "Moonlight Escape," with one cut for each band member, as well as the music video for "Kogoeru."

In addition, the limited edition will come with special packaging, as well as a lottery ticket to enter to win goods signed by the band members* (please please please let it be a signed Abracadabrangle!) and a link for streaming the contents to your love, companion, and codependent addiction in this time of social distancing especially smartphone until September 30th, 2021.

*Please note that though the Buck-Tick members are immune, YOU can get coronavirus from signatures. Enter this lottery at your own risk.
**That was a joke don't take it seriously also don't microwave your mail.

Regular CD Edition (Toll version, because he is simple and honest, and the regular CD was the older brother of the limited edition CD)
3,000 yen + tax
No frills on this one - just the album, on high-fidelity SHM-CD that can be played in all players. Also contains a lottery ticket to enter the lottery to win signed goods, and a link for streaming the contents to your smartphone until September 30th, 2021.

Analog LP Edition (Hide version because of that fake or are they real wall of records he keeps getting photographed in front of, and because he's a trendy hipster)
4,500 yen + tax
Contains a 2-disc set of 180 gram vinyl LPs, with the whole album on four sides. Also comes with a special poster, a lottery ticket to enter the lottery to win signed goods, and a link for streaming the contents to your smartphone until September 30th, 2021. Doesn't contain a free download code like every other record released these days, because the B-T management are money-grubbing bastards, and they want you to punish you for wanting the album on vinyl by forcing you to buy the album twice if you want it in high-fi digital instead of ripping it by hand from the vinyl to your computer. Yes, Cayce has software for digitally ripping vinyl. Yes, digitally ripping vinyl is a pain-in-the-ass process that requires manually dividing up the tracks in a DAW (for those of you laypeople, that's a Digital Audio Workstation, sound-editing software). Yes, Cayce will also buy the limited edition CD in order to get the DVD. But come on.

Cassette Tape (Imai version because the curly reels of tape look like the curlicues on his guitar, and on his shoes)
2,800 yen
Contains a lottery ticket to enter the lottery to win signed goods, and a link for streaming the contents to your smartphone until September 30th, 2021. And super hipster bragging rights that you bought the album in the cheapest physical format and that format is a cassette tape. Listen to it on your Walkman. (Fun fact: yes Cayce has a cassette tape player. Yes, we also have software for digitally ripping cassette tapes. No, we're not going to rip the Abracadabra casette tape and those cheap fucking bastards should have provided a download code.)

High-Resolution Streaming (Yutaka version. Yutaka himself is a high-resolution stream.)
48kHz 24-bit format, close to the original master tapes. To be streamable by special software apps: Rekochoku, mora Hi-Res, and mora qualitas. No word on the price but they'll probably make you pay 500 yen each time as if it were a gacha-gacha. Because if you are gullible enough to buy into the scam of streaming, you deserve to be scammed.

Digital Download/General Streaming Services (One streaming service per B-T behind-the-scenes collaborator, including Yokoyama Kazutoshi, Cube Juice, Yow-Row, Mr. Tanaka, etc. - they couldn't do it without you) 
No word on the price, but the album will be available on major digital download and streaming platforms starting September 21st. For details on the streaming and download platforms, go to the Abracadabra official site.

Whoops, that was six formats, not five. Numerology is hard work!

As we mentioned before, the Japan Post is not currently shipping internationally, less out of a fear of the virus and more out of a lack of sufficient transportation, it seems. However, it's unlikely that this lame situation will continue forever, so if any of y'all are interested in ordering any of these items through Cayce, shoot us an email. We will purchase them for you and hold them for you until international shipping to your country resumes.


As if that weren't enough new info already... Buck-Tick have also released the new album's song titles and writing credits, though they say that the order of the tracks has yet to be determined. So, in no particular order, here goes.

PEACE(SE) (music: Imai Hisashi)
"SE" stands for "stage entrance." This is the instrumental music that plays while the band comes on stage during live shows. Raise your hand if you, too, wish Buck-Tick would release an SE compilation album. That's a questionnaire suggestion we made that they haven't taken us up on.

URAHARA-JUKU (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / music: Imai Hisashi)
Ura-Harajuku, or "backstreet Harajuku" is the internal area of Harajuku between Omotesando and Meiji-doori, away from Harajuku station. For many years, especially in the 80's and 90's, this was one of the edgiest, most interesting fashion spots in all Tokyo. These days, it's gentrified as hell like the rest of the district, and its glory is mostly gone, though a few vestiges remain here and there. This title is a pun, however. "Urahara" means "reverse" or "contrary," and "juku" means "cram school." A cram school on how to be punk? Yeah, Buck-Tick could definitely teach that school.

Datenshi - YOW-ROW ver.  (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / music: Imai Hisashi)
I know, you know, I know this song already. (Singable with the original melody!)

MOONLIGHT ESCAPE  (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / music: Imai Hisashi)
Reportedly a catchy, retro number in which Sakurai passes on some wisdom from his hard-knock life to the sad boys and girls of the world. More on this one soon.

Kogoeru ("Frozen") - Crystal CUBE ver. (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / music: Hoshino Hidehiko)
Mixed by Cube Juice. A Hide song that gets its own PV. Amazing! We have our fingers crossed that Sakurai wears a pale blue sparkly dress and lets it GO!

Kemono-tachi no Yoru ("Night of the Beasts") - YOW-ROW ver. (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / music: Imai Hisashi)
Cube Juice already had his way with the song and proved himself to be an artistic, tender, and passionate lover. We be Yow-Row's version is full of dubstep and finishes fast, like a teenage boy. The robot who writes the English version of the official site translated the title of this song as "Beasts' Night," because not only do robots have no sense of poetry, they also don't read Not Greatest Site.

Tsuki no Sabaku ("Desert of the Moon") (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / music: Hoshino Hidehiko)
Reportedly a medium-tempo number with a Japanese-style tribal beat (according to Sakurai).

Maimu -Mime- ("Dancing Dream") (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / music: Imai Hisashi)
Another pun here - Sakurai spells "mime" with the kanji "mai" (dance) and "mu" (dream).

Villain (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi + Imai Hisashi / music: Imai Hisashi)
Interesting title! Must be about the past life in which Acchan-chan was a Romanian vampire and Imai was Hugo Ball.

Dance Tengoku ("Dance Paradise") (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / music: Hoshino Hidehiko)
A dance number by Hoshino Hidehiko. This one must be tropical rock for sure.

Que Sera Sera Elegy (lyrics: Imai Hisashi / music: Imai Hisashi)
"Que sera sera, whatever will be will be? The future's too hard to see, que sera sera" - go the lyrics to the original song. If this is an elegy for that philosophy, does that mean we get to learn to see the future?

SOPHIA DREAM  (lyrics: Imai Hisashi / music: Imai Hisashi)
Omg is Imai dreaming of another woman? How dare you cheat, Imai! Shame! And with the Goddess of Wisdom, no less! Then again, given that Sophia is known for her wisdom, not her sensuality, perhaps it's a merely intellectual affair. Or perhaps, this is about Jung's archetype Sophia, the most highly evolved stage of anima integration, in which a man has fully integrated his feminine aspect to the point that he sees women as fully developed individuals with all the same range of qualities as men. A man at this level of anima integration has fully accepted, and can make full use of, his feminine energy. See what we wrote about the Divine Feminine in this article.

Eureka (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi + Imai Hisashi / music: Imai Hisashi)
Ancient Greek for "I've found it!" Famously, Ancient Greek polymath Archimedes ran out of his house naked shouting "eureka!" after stepping into his overflowing bathtub gave him the idea to measure the purity of gold alloys through displacement of water (other metals are less dense than gold, and thus take up more space than pure gold, and thus displace more water - this is how you tell if the goldsmith is cheating you.) Imai says that he wrote this song last, and it took him about five minutes. He says it was born out of his nebulous sense of rage and frustration at the pandemic. Rage, Imai, rage!

Boukyaku ("Forgotten") (lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / music: Imai Hisashi)
The official album site has this translated as "oblivion," but the kanji literally mean "forgetting and retreating," so this is only oblivion in the sense of something completely forgotten, not the nothingness of the great void. Therefore, we're better than "forgotten" is a better translation. But we'll have to see the lyrics to know for sure.

So that's the album! There are a total of 14 tracks, which is generous of them, though we don't understand why "Rondo," masterpiece as it is, was not included... but who knows, maybe it just didn't fit the vibe. We'll have to wait and see.

More info on the other news from Buck-Tickistan coming soon.