The Mortal Gets The Schaft

With the release of this quarter's Fish Tank newsletter, Mr. Sakurai's original reason for starting up The Mortal has become clear! Last time, Mr. Sakurai's stated reason for starting a solo project was "because Imai cheated on me with Lucy." But this time, trollops named Lucy appeared to be long out of the picture, so what could Mr. Sakurai's motivations be now? Was it eleven-year nostalgia, or simply the extra super-duper mortality feeling that comes with imminently turning fifty? Or perhaps, some fans speculated, at this late hour, Mr. Sakurai was finally living up to the self-centered diva vocalist stereotype, and had decided to start a whole new five-piece band as a way of showing the rest of Buck-Tick who's boss? After all, Maria Anastasia tells us that the Russian fangirl nickname for Mr. Sakurai is "Mr. President." Could it be that after fifty years of modesty, mild-mannered Acchan-chan has turned megalomaniacal?

Alas, the answer is no! In F.T. number 77, when asked why it was that he started The Mortal, Mr. Sakurai answered thus: "Around the end of last year, I heard some gossip in the wind that Imai was going to get Schaft started up again next year. So I thought to myself, 'okay, I'll just relax and rest for a year,' but that was back in March. And then Mr. Tanaka (our director), who is always being so helpful to us, told me 'since you have the time, why don't you try another solo project?' He'd gently suggested the same thing to me at the Budoukan last year, but this time, though I was in full-on vacation mode, he made my heart move a little bit. And from then till now it's just been a big to-do from top to bottom."

'A big to-do from top to bottom' is it, Acchan-chan? Well well WELL. Even if you haven't turned megalomaniacal, we'll take that from you any day!

In the rest of the interview, Mr. Sakurai gives further details about the Genesis of The Mortal (no relation to Genesis P-Orridge, sorry Anonymous.) 

"It was Tanaka's idea that this time, I should make an album with a five-piece band, and play a live tour with the same five members. I chose the band name 'The Mortal' myself," says Mr. Sakurai. "11 years ago, during my previous solo project, I worked with Jake Cloudchair, Miyo Ken and Mr. Murata from my way my love. I thought that since I only have a limited time for this project, familiar faces would be best. After we decided on these three members, we were wondering who should be the drummer, when Jake introduced us to Akiyama, and then we had all the members lined up.

"11 years ago, we had only worked together for a very short time, but we shared so much inspiration even so, so this time, the planning progressed very quickly. The other members told me 'we wrote songs in your image, Mr. Sakurai.' I was very touched.

"It was Mr. Tanaka's idea that the theme of the band should be 'Mr. Sakurai's gothic and decadent outlook, in band form.'

"When you translate the word 'mortal' into Japanese, it sounds unlucky, but my interpretation of the meaning is that it means 'the essence of being human,' or, 'the quality of being a living being.' It just seemed like an easy way of explaining the idea of goth or decadence to people who were learning about it for the first time, so what I'm hoping to accomplish is to make a work that sums up 'the essence of being human' in one album."

Fish Tank went on to ask Mr. Sakurai if the Spirit mini-album would sum up the essence of being human.

"No, that's a bit different," Mr. Sakurai said. "Out of five songs on the mini-album, three songs are covers. Regarding a possible cover of 'Spirit' with Japanese lyrics, we were requested by the song's authors not to change the lyrics, so at the last minute, I made the decision to sing the song in English. I had a British native teach me the pronunciation. I think it came out well.

"It was Mr. Tanaka's idea that I should do cover songs. 'Spirit' by Bauhaus has been a favorite song of mine for thirty years. Mr. Tanaka requested that I do The Damned's 'Shadow of Love,' and I chose 'Cities in Dust' by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

"The art director for Arui wa Anarchy, Akita Kazunori, is doing the artwork for The Mortal, and as soon as he heard the band name he understood the entire concept. He even said, 'Mr. Sakurai is the only person who can make this kind of aesthetic work!' Mr. Akita interpreted this as being an opportunity for me where I only have to do exactly what I really like and want to do, so I think he's making a design that I will love."

And here's the design, kids. Shakespeare nerds rejoice - looks like all doubt that Gothique Prince Acchan-chan remains unfamiliar with Sweet Prince Hamlet has been put to rest in one fell photoshoot, though with his surprisingly positive interpretation of the word "mortal," Mr. Sakurai seems to have come down firmly on the side of "To be." 

Beyond this, the title for The Mortal's full album has now been announced - I Am Mortal, a statement which puts Mr. Sakurai in the august and unfortunate footsteps of Socrates, so let's hope for his sake and our own that Mr. Sakurai can learn to be Catman to Issay's Batman and cheat mortality with nine mortal lives!

As for the gothic horror side of things, the title track from the I Am Mortal album, "Mortal," is being used in the Japanese trailer for the British gothic horror film Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death. The song will only be used in the trailer, not in the actual film. However, considering that as a part of his last solo project, Mr. Sakurai had his song "Wakusei" featured in a film called The Last Supper, which as far as we could tell from the trailer was a slasher film about the dismemberment and cannibalization of women's bodies, I'd say he's moving up in the world. A song like "Wakusei" being used for such a nasty picture seemed like some seriously cruel irony on the part of his management...so yeah, bye bye Victor, don't bother to call us, we don't miss you. Fanged ghost-nuns are definitely better.


But what about SCHAFT, you ask?  Imai has your bases covered!

"When we decided to start up Schaft again, I decided I was going to go back and listen to the old Schaft album, and I looked for it, but it wasn't in my collection," Imai told Fish Tank.

"It's not even on iTunes, even though I could have sworn it was there. But whatever. This Schaft is gonna be different...even if you call it a reunion, it's a totally different thing. Raymond Watts isn't a part of it, for one thing. It's still a unit made of up me and Fujimaki, but the other members are going to be cool, too.

"We want to play an exciting, up-tempo live show. I want something unusual. Something heavy, or dark, or scary. That kind of weird atmosphere. We haven't really figured out the practical details yet, but I'm already looking forward to it myself. I think you're definitely going to want to see this tour. After all, I think this might be the last tour ever for Schaft, so I want it to feel like a grand finale."

Fish Tank further asked Mr. Imai whether a solo project would give him the freedom to explore ideas he couldn't develop as a part of Buck-Tick.

"There's nothing I can't do as a part of Buck-Tick," he said.  "But sometimes I notice that working with different members is different from Buck-Tick, anyway. Whatever, it's natural, they are different people. Anyway, look forward to Schaft. This is gonna be great. And it's probably going to be the last time. You should see Schaft before it's too late! The members this time are going to be really interesting...I think. Anyway, look forward to this."

And here are the details as they stand now, folks!

Schaft's official website is now up at this address: http://schaft2016.com/

An article about Schaft will be featured in the same November issue of Ongaku to Hito magazine that will have a cover feature on The Mortal, so more bang for your Buck-Tick buck if you order the magazine (if you'd like to order through Cayce, email me.) Though no information about a new album is available as yet, the band's January tour dates have already been announced, as follows:

Tour Ultra -The Loud Engine-

January 22nd (Friday) Club Citta' Kawasaki (open 6PM/start 7PM)
January 27th (Wednesday) Akasaka Blitz (open 6PM/start 7PM)
January 28th (Thursday) EX Theater Roppongi (open 6PM/start 7PM)

A ticket presale lottery is currently being conducted through Ticket Pia. To enter the lottery, click here. If you would like Cayce's help in ordering tickets, send us an email. And fun fact: January 27th, 2016 will be the TENTH ANNIVERSARY of This is NOT Greatest Site. We can't think of a better way to celebrate our new decade-hood than with Imai Hisashi himself! Though he may not be able to articulate details of his "heavy, dark, and scary" vision, the newly-released band photo ought to give you some idea:

If Mr. Sakurai has gone all the way back to Shakespearean times with his Elizabethan ruff, Imai has done him one better, and gone back to the times of the Black Death. Bird masks such as these were worn by doctors during the plague years in Europe - the beaks were filled with rose petals, in hopes that the sweet smell of the flowers would keep the noxious plague humours at bay. Infectious diseases: that's not how they work, folks! But it's hard to escape the conclusion, based on these graphics, that Schaft has come along in plague masks to test the mortality of The Mortal. Will Schaft get The Mortal, or will The Mortal get the Schaft? Whose city will lie in dust at the end? We can't yet say...but one thing's certain. Even if Imai is cheating again, he's still in love with Acchan-chan.

"I looked at Acchan's website," said Imai. "It looks really cool. I think his project is gonna be amazing! I don't know which songs he's covering, and I don't want anyone to tell me. I want to listen to them for myself, and think 'oh my god, this song!!' But I wanna know. I can't wait."

 Neither can we, Imai. Neither can we.



As Yet Untitled Mortality


As many of you may have noticed, there's a lot of mortality going around Buck-Tickistan these days. Luckily, it's the kind we can get behind! For those of you who don't read Japanese, an update on all the news:


As Yet Untitled Album is still untitled as yet, but the release date has now been officially scheduled for November 11th, also known in Japan as Pocky Day, due to the date 11/11 greatly resembling a pack of sticks of Pocky. (Peter Pecker snacked a pack of sticks of Pocky, say it ten times fast!) The album will contain twelve tracks, including "Yume" and "Pain Drop."

As usual, the album will come in two editions. The limited edition will come housed in "rich and magnificent" packaging, and will include a DVD which, according to the announcements, will contain "special film contents," so from now until the time of release you can feel free to speculate that "special" in katakana means "all your fangirl dreams come true." Yume yume you may dream, as they say. Perhaps the pain drop is what happens to the dream upon waking. The limited edition of the album will cost 5400 yen including tax, so start saving your yennies!

The regular edition of the album will not include any special bonus features, just a case with the CD in it, so if you're more of the minimalist type who's totally over it, this is probably the edition for you. The regular edition will cost 3240 yen including tax.

If you are still interested in applying for my Mortal Offer (see this post) for the purchase of Spirit and As Yet Untitled Album, send me an email to themadaristocrat at gmail right away!


The Mortal will be featured on the cover of the November editions of two major music magazines, Massive and Ongaku to Hito. The November edition of Ongaku to Hito will be released on October 5th and cost 750 yen, while the November edition of Massive will be released on October 13th, and cost 1350 yen. If you would like to order either magazine through Cayce, please email me at themadaristocrat at gmail.


While we were led to believe back in July that The Mortal would only be playing three shows during their inaugural November tour, they have now announced that they will be playing two additional gigs, as below:

Monday, November 16th at Namba Hatch in Osaka
Thursday, November 19th at Shinkiba Studio Coast in Tokyo

Furthermore, unlike the previously announced gigs at Orix Theater and NHK Hall, which are seated gigs, the gigs at Namba Hatch and Studio Coast will be STANDING gigs (see our Japanese Concert Guide for more info on seated vs. standing gigs.) Amp up the excitement accordingly!

Tickets for the standing gigs will cost 6300 yen (including tax, excluding fees), and will go on general sale on Saturday, November 7th at 10AM through all major ticket outlets including Ticket Pia, Lawson Ticket and eplus.

Update: according to Fish Tank's latest email bulletin, there will in fact be a Fish Tank presale for these tickets after all. So rest easy, Fish Tankers!

However, there will be no Fish Tank presales for tickets to these additional performances. Instead, to enter the presale lottery for tickets to these two shows, fans must purchase a copy of the Spirit mini-album. Each copy of Spirit will contain an application ticket for the presale lottery. The lottery closes at 2PM on October 20th, so be sure to get your copy of Spirit as fast as you can!

For those of you who ordered copies of Spirit via The Mortal Offer and would like us to apply for tickets to the standing gigs on your behalf, please contact us directly for details.

For those of you who did not purchase copies of Spirit through us but would still like our help in ordering tickets through general admission sales, again, contact us directly for details.


As part of their very nearly annoyingly too-savvy marketing campaign, The Mortal will be offering various free goodies to fans who purchase copies of their debut mini album Spirit. Fan who purchase copies of Spirit from Tower Records will receive a limited edition bonus sticker, while fans who purchase copies of Spirit from other outlets will receive a free limited edition poster. Regardless of purchase outlet, all copies of Spirit will contain application tickets for the standing gigs. However, only copies of Spirit purchased at designated Tower Records stores will contain application tickets for the Tower Records in-store event.

Therefore, if you ordered a copy of Spirit via The Mortal Offer but would like to receive the bonus poster as well, you will need to order a second copy of the album. If you are interested, contact us asap.


And that's all for now, folks. But expect more soon.



Oh Your Spirit Lies in Dust...

So, for those of you who hadn't heard, our crystal ball voodoo fortune teller prediction for the three cover songs on The Mortal's debut EP were as follows:

1) A cover of "Spirit," by Bauhaus.

2) A cover of a song originally sung by a female vocalist.

3) A cover of a song nobody thought Mr. Sakurai would cover.


And now, friends, the track list has been announced, as follows:

01. Pain Drop

02. Spirit (Bauhaus cover)

03. Shadow of Love (The Damned cover)

04. Cities in Dust (Siouxsie and the Banshees cover)

05. Yume


Interestingly, the covers of "Shadow of Love" and "Cities in Dust" will have lyrics in Japanese, written by Mr. Sakurai, possibly with the help of a translator...or then again, possibly not, since the man speaks English surprisingly well.

Unless you thought it likely that Mr. Sakurai would cover a song by The Damned, we believe our prediction gets full marks here!

If you would like us to read your tea leaves or tarot, please queue to the left. The cost of a reading starts at 3000 yen plus a shot of whiskey. The whiskey only makes our readings more accurate, so have no fear of drunken miscalculations.


Now, to move on to the educational section of our program!

For those of you who never graduated from goth school (I'm looking at YOU, Anonymous Genesis-Snogger) - 


BAUHAUS ARE VERY IMPORTANT. (They will also be on the test, so take notes!)

Why are Bauhaus important? For one thing, they are band who more or less started the goth movement. And for another, their vocalist, Peter Murphy, is one of the main figures who inspired Mr. Sakurai to wander down the dark and spooky road less traveled that he has since traveled almost constantly since that fateful day.

Let's not mention the part where Hamlet Machine (otherwise known as one of those other bands that Batman I mean Issay started while Der Zibet were busy having ego-measuring contests with each other and going on a thirteen-year hiatus) already covered the song "Spirit" for the Japanese Bauhaus tribute album entitled Satori - A Tribute to Bauhaus, which was released in 1998, when many of you were not even born yet. Let's also not mention the part where Issay was basically the other guy who inspired Mr. Sakurai to follow the dark and spooky road to Gothdom via Transylvania (to pick up some custom spider-spun clothes along the way). Actually, never mind, we might as well mention it, since this album is clearly a major tour of Sakurai's gnarly, twisted old Black Forest tree roots, and at age almost-fifty, he's certainly earned it.


And this is The Damned, who are also indisputably one of the major acts of the early goth movement. Fangirls, if you thought Mr. Sakurai was a vampire prince, this ought to be all the proof you need that you're wrong.

THIS is what a vampire prince looks like, my friends. Pay close attention, this will also be on the test!


But for us, the most significant choice of song in this list is the third one: "Cities In Dust," possibly the greatest hit ever of Siouxsie and the Banshees, off the album Tinderbox, of which Sakurai has long admitted to being a fan. The band themselves dismissed this album as far from their best work - founding members Siouxsie Sioux and Steve Severin never stopped ragging on the guitar work of John Valentine Carruthers, who played guitar on this album - but for anyone who likes the sound of hollow, jangly chords and tight arpeggios, every minute is pure beauty. Echoes of this album can be heard all over Buck-Tick's work, not least of which in "Not Found" (check out the Banshees' "Cannons" to see what I mean!) so if you've never heard it before, I strongly urge you to give Tinderbox a listen.

But that's beside the point.

The point is, Mr. Sakurai has done it again: he's decided yet again to cover a song originally sung by a female vocalist...and what a female vocalist she is, too!

Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is Siouxsie Sioux, also known as the Ice Queen (long before Elsa!) and the Godmother of Goth (forevermore!)


She's androgynous...

She has great taste in hats and ties...

She gives exactly zero fucks about your fear of nipples...

She is sensual...

She could probably keep up with Mr. Sakurai in a drinking contest...

She's in ur country, appropriatin' ur culture...

She was probably the model for the model in the background visuals for "Yasou" on the Yumemiru Uchuu hall tour...(courtesy of the The Night Porter...)


Plus, she is so fabulous, she has ALL the waffles.

Ladies and gentlemen, you cannot touch Siouxsie Sioux. You simply cannot touch her. 




And THIS is Cities in Dust. If you haven't seen it already, watch it. And if you've already seen it, watch it again. And if you've already watched it again, watch it again and and again and again.

And if you think Mr. Sakurai can seriously manage to pull of a sexier version of this song than the original, well then...you have a lot of faith in Mr. Sakurai. But I will stand by what I've said before: the two of them should really be doing it as a duet. If any lady vocalist can keep up with Mr. Sakurai, it's Siouxsie Sioux. Though in all likelihood, he would be on the floor at her feet, begging to be stepped on.




In conclusion: we called it...so what are you waiting for? Call us up for your next prediction!

In fact, we called it so hard that we're now seriously regretting we didn't bother to predict that Sakurai would write another song with "Yume" in the title...after "Yumeji," "Yumemiru Uchuu," "Mugen" and "Muma," we ought to all be amazed that this is actually the first song he's ever written that's simply titled "Yume."

So bravo, Mr. Sakurai. The great thing about dreams is, they're free, and they're different every night so you don't have to worry about self-plagiarism...

...or maybe not.

Perhaps every single night, Mr. Sakurai dreams of Ms. Sioux stepping on him with her shiny bootheels. The other song is called "Pain Drop," after all.

Even so, if so, we can't say we blame him.


This is Cayce squeeing my friends.

Take a good long hard look right now because you'll probably never see it again...unless, that is, Siouxsie herself turns up as a guest on the tour.




Oh yeah, and if you want to hear several seconds of random screechy incomprehensible noise that baby Siouxsie in the 70's would have been proud of, then watch the Spirit trailer, below.


Aaaand...the album artwork. 


Lunatic Festival Live Report


At long, long, long last, we've published our live report of the Lunatic Festival over at This is NOT Greatest Site.

To read the report, click here.

If you enjoyed the report, please leave a comment! We've been so busy these days that we actually lost sleep over this because staying awake late into the night was the only way we could find the time to get it done...so if you enjoyed it, please show us some appreciation! It won't help us feel less tired, but it will make us happy.


Also, for those of you who hadn't noticed, also at long long last, we have added English translations to the most of the remainder of the songs on Lucy's album Rockarollica II. If you've never listened to this album, go listen to it. It's awesome.



Supported by American Eagle Outfitters


(photo taken by Cayce in Ginza today at approximately 7:16 PM)


And yes, I'm writing the Lunatic Festival report and I promise it will be up soon.



A Mortal Offer


Hi Blog-Tickers. We are here to announce a special offer from This is NOT Greatest Shopping Service! 

Normally, we charge 700 yen per disc for custom orders from Tower Records, but this time, if you order BOTH The Mortal's mini-album Spirit and full album As Yet Untitled Album through This is NOT Greatest Shopping Service and donate your application tickets to the in-store event to NGS, we will cut the fee in half!

Also, you have our assurances that we will personally buy the copies of the album at Tower Records Shibuya, meaning that you will get the special bonus stickers which are available only at Tower. In addition, we will package your order in such a way as to avoid customs fees in your country, which CD Japan will not do.

Why are we doing this? Because with your application tickets, we have more chances to enter the lottery for admittance to the in-store event at Tower, and therefore to write a report about said event for NGS/Blog-Tick. So if you're interested in helping us, email Cayce at themadaristocrat at gmail to reserve your CDs today!



News of The Mortal


More big news from The Mortal!

And before we start, we're going to go ahead and say that Blog-Tick is the only place where you'll hear it all in one place, because even the news from the official Japanese channels is scattered over about five different social media sites, each with slightly different, slightly-incomplete contents. So this is just proof of how much we love you: we trawled through all the various announcements in turn and collated ALL the relevant info right here for your viewing pleasure. If you heard anyone else say anything different than what's written here, they're suffering from a translation deficiency. This, my friends, is a collection of the official words (though Fish Tank told you never to trust fan blogs!)

First of all, The Mortal's official website has opened up with content and an official artist photo, so go check it out here:

And for those of you looking for links to all The Mortal's social media accounts on one page, here it is:

InstaBook / FaceTweet / TwitGram

After the launch of an official InstaFace last week, The Mortal have been teasing us with a nonstop stream of arty black-and-white photos from inside the recording studio.  It's hot as the fires of Hell here in Tokyo right now, but inside the studio it's nice and cool, and that, my friends, is where our dear Mr. Sakurai is currently holed up, racing against the clock to get his album ready in time - because now he's got a deadline (as if mortality itself weren't deadline enough!)  The Mortal's release schedule has been announced!

First, on October 14th, the band will release a mini album entitled Spirit (yeah Acchan-chan we know you are a Bauhaus fan and we see what you did there...also you're a bit late to the party as Hamlet Machine already had that one covered in the 90's...but we'll forgive you this once!) The album will cost 1800 yen plus tax, and include two original songs and three covers of songs by "Western rock bands."

But all this information does is raise more questions than it answers - for one thing, will The Mortal cover This Mortal Coil with their mortal coils, I mean coiled guitar strings? Will the eponymous "Spirit" be on there? Will this Mortal "Spirit" be more spiritual than the "Spirit" of Hamlet Machine? (raise your hand if you know Hamlet Machine?) And hath this mortal spirit aspired the clouds which so untimely did scorn the earth? (Oh wait, that one was "Romeo and Juliet," not Hamlet...) Is there a battle of the bands waiting in the wings here? And will it be waiting in the wings, or will it be with YOU? And will it cut down the puppet strings?!?!? We can only wait and wonder.

Following Spirit, a full album will be released in (early?) November. The exact release date for the album has not been set yet, and the title is listed as "As Yet Untitled Album," but unless Sakurai plans to pull another "Mudai" on us, I think we can expect that to change in the near future.

Both records will be released from the label cutting edge, and the first-press edition of Spirit will come with a special first-press-only cardboard sleeve.

But wait, there's more!

Fans who purchase a copy of both the mini album and the full album will be eligible to enter a lottery for tickets to a special promotional event, to be held in the basement event space at Tower Records Shibuya on November 23rd. In addition, fans who purchase their copies of the albums through Tower Records will receive special promotional stickers and possibly other goodies, too.  If you'd like Cayce's help with purchasing from Tower, send us an email at themadaristocrat at gmail!

There's no word yet on what the event itself will involve, or whether Mr. Sakurai himself will be present, but to pique our curiosity futher, the other band members have now been announced, as follows:

Vocal - Sakurai Atsushi
Guitar - Jake Cloudchair (Guniw Tools)
Guitar - Murata Yukio (My Way My Love)
Bass - Miyo Ken (ex. M-AGE)
Drums - Akiyama Takahiro (downy)

If these names don't mean anything to you - Jake Cloudchair worked on Sakurai's previous solo project, both as a member of the live band for the Ai no Wakusei Explosion Concerts, and as the composer and producer for the song "Neko." However, he's best known for his work with Guniw Tools, a band who the Buck-Tick members have known for many years and collaborated with on several occasions (Guniw Tools vocalist and leader Full directed Buck-Tick's "Candy" PV, while Imai wrote the music to the song "Grazing," which appeared on Guniw Tool's penultimate album, Dazzle.) Currently, in addition to being involved with Guniw Tools' sporadic revival project, Jake also performs solo instrumental guitar shows under the name cloudchair, and participates in a variety of other projects, including promotional advertisements for high-tech guitar effects...giving imai's Evl Gtr a run for its money:

Murata Yukio was also involved in Sakurai's previous solo album, as his band My Way My Love wrote the music for the songs "Hallelujah" and "Explosion."  A veteran of the underground shoegaze/noise scene, Murata may not be famous on his own, but he's got a lot of goth cred under his belt. Here's an example of My Way My Love's work:

Meanwhile, Miyo Ken and Akiyama Takahiro have both worked extensively as support musicians for Kiyoharu and Morrie, who as we well know, are both good friends with Sakurai - clearly they got some good letters of recommendation.

In summary: these guys are pros. Whatever they come up with, it's sure to be good. As for who will write the music, according to the band bio (which Jake Cloudchair has already reposted to his blog), the band members are writing the music as an ensemble, with input from all five. Does this mean that Sakurai is writing some of the music this time, for more or less the first time in his career? Maybe so. We can only wait for more info.

And if you haven't gotten your tickets for the tour yet - there's still time!  In fact...Cayce actually has an extra ticket available for the opening show in Osaka on November 17th, and there's another Blog-Tick with a number of available tickets for Tokyo, as well. If you're interested, send us an email right away, as it's safe to assume that tickets from the first-round lottery will have the highest chance of being good seats.


I will post further info on Blog-Tick as it is announced.