Hello, Blog-Tickers! How is this winter treating you so far? Enjoy your polar vortex? We've heard tell of frozen iguanas dropping from trees down in Florida, which is admittedly impressive, but please, kids, CHECK OUT OUR TOKYO SNOW. We've had record-breaking low temperatures in Tokyo, to the tune of a bone-freezing -4 degrees Celsius. Shiver and shake! Y'all Russians may laugh, but Tokyo hasn't been this cold since the 80's, and in lots of places, pipes actually burst due to not being build to withstand such chilling weather. People who weren't born in cold places are funny to laugh at as they flail in the face of winter like kittens encountering snow for the first time... that is, until you catch the cold they spread to you and end up stuck on your couch for a week... not like such a thing could ever happen to Cayce, non-corporeal as we are. Now let's hope that, as in the 80's, this cold snap spurs a new surge in edgy, dark, sexy music, in addition to its already proven track record of enabling the construction of Totoro snowmen.
Snow aside, January in Buck-Tickistan was fairly quiet, but with the release of Moon -Sayonara wo Oshiete- looming closer and closer, all of a sudden, we've been inundated with a blizzard of news!
Yutaka Loves Baseball, What Else is New?
First, completely unrelated to anything, Higuchi Yutaka will take part in his third round of "Musicians Who Just Fucking Love Baseball" live talk shows sponsored by Ongaku to Hito at Shinjuku Loft Plus One. The event will take place on March 8th, just ahead of this year's baseball season, perfect timing for fans to enjoy some mutual fanning time. As before, the event will be emceed by Kanemitsu Hirofumi, the Ongaku to Hito journalist who has covered Buck-Tick more lovingly and extensively over the years than just about anyone else. A bunch of other guys in addition to Yutaka will be participating, including Ueno Koji from The Hiatus and Ka.F.Ka, Satou Shin'ichiro from The Pillows, and a gang of other musicians who just fucking love baseball (like it says). As before, there will be no live performance of music, nor discussion of music. This is entirely a baseball-centric event. If you attend just to see Yutaka live in the sweaty fanboying flesh, be aware of what you're getting yourself into. Tickets go on sale on February 10th at 10AM. If you want our help getting them, contact us.
Yutaka is a Rock Star For Real, but Not Too Much
In other Higuchi Yutaka-related news, Higuchi Yutaka will be interviewed for the forthcoming issue of Rock & Read magazine, to be released on February 28th. This makes him the third Buck-Tick member to be featured in the magazine. For those of you who don't already know, Rock & Read is basically the Playboy of the visual kei world, featuring lots of luscious close-up pictures of male visual kei stars (and occasionally vk-adjacent real people, such as B-T members) to sucker fangirls into believing that they're spending 1200 yen an issue on something that's like porn, but better (because there are absolutely no shots of the fangirl-terrifying phenomenon that is male nudity), when in fact, most of Rock & Read is actually made up of really excellent in-depth interviews. A lot of famous writers and journalists got started writing for Playboy because they'd take chances on stuff that stuffier magazines wouldn't, and by the same token, Rock & Read consistently offers a level of depth in their interviews that most magazines don't, though it all depends on who's talking.
Anyhow, despite the fact that Rock & Read is primarily a visual kei magazine, Mr. Sakurai has been on the cover a total of four times, which is possibly more than any other artist (though we couldn't manage to find a complete list of back issues to check). Mr. Imai has also been on the cover once, too. So why doesn't Yutaka deserve a cover? Isn't he cuter (and more serious!) than those weirdos from The Gazette? Plus, who doesn't love a man who loves (base)balls? You tell us. For us, the real question is why #SexyBeastHide hasn't yet been featured in the magazine at all. Maybe, just as he's too sexy for your party (no way he's disco dancing!), he's also too sexy for your magazine.
Ongaku to Hito Still Love Buck-Tick, Which is a Good Thing
In other magazine and Ongaku to Hito-related news, Buck-Tick will be appearing on the cover of the March issue of Ongaku to Hito, which was released today. Kind of silly to have March at the beginning of February, but y'know - No. 0 is (or rather will be) a March album, and they have to shoot the shit about that shit in the March issue. SO. Who's jacket would you steal this time? We'd go for Imai's, only it's still so cold that Mr. Sakurai's is looking appealingly warm. Fight us for it.
Cool Jacket is Cool
Jackets, you say? What about jackets? Oh, right, the jacket art for No. 0 has also been released, and boy is this one a beauty! Even more Delvaux-style than the cover of Arui wa Anarchy, this one takes us back to the same surrealist, dreamy nightscape, and if wasn't designed by Akita Kazvnori (we're sure it was) then it was designed by a mighty good forger of his work. The pantograph of a trolley car crackles with lightning in the distance, a shooting star falls from the sky, and a dark figure (looks like Mr. Sakurai's bandy legs under that bat cloak, but he's not necessarily playing himself in this scene, if you know what we mean) prowls in silhouette down a French-looking back alley with a crescent moon tucked under his arm, hot on the trail of another shooting star which has just bounced out the open door of an establishment with a sign over the door reading "No. O," only the zero is rendered as a planet with rings around it. In the foreground, the same planet sits on the empty street, just chillin'.
We've seen this planet before, on the goods designs for the Cosmic Dreamer tour, but bringing it back on this cover highlights the fact that zero, in addition to representing nothingness, also represents completion: the circle, the cycle, the sphere, the most fundamental shape in both cosmology and the practice of the occult. Further up the street, the sign of another establishment bears an equilateral triangle, another shape ripe with possible meanings - the Illuminati pyramid, the Trinity, the Triple Goddess, the meaningless mark of the hipster goth movement, the easiest instrument in the orchestra, and, perhaps most interesting, contemporary Japanese symbol-speak for "not quite," "not yet," "almost," "maybe," or "pending."
If the fact that No. 9 is followed by No. 0 is really about numerology and the completion of a cycle (and we have every reason to believe that it is), then this cover bears out that meaning. The flaneur on this cover has left that "almost/maybe" space behind and is nearing the completion or climax of his journey - and remember, completion is also a new beginning. Once you finish one thing, the clock resets to zero and you have to start something new. In numerology, 2016 was a Number 9 year, while 2017 was a Number 1 year (reduced from 10) - the completion of one cycle and the beginning of another. The roundness of zero, the solitude of one, and the fact that the trauma of birth is probably worse than the trauma of death are all big themes for Buck-Tick, so it will be very interesting to see where they go in this forthcoming "I don't mean to brag, but this is a grand masterpiece" of a new album. The moon's still a sickle, so something definitely isn't finished yet. What kinds of stars does a star like Mr. Sakurai chase after?
Virtual Reality Is Hip, Therefore We are Hipsters!
If you'd like to find out the answer to the above question by ordering the limited edition of No. 0, you've probably made a wise choice, because the extras for the limited edition have now been announced, and here's something exciting we never thought we'd have the pleasure of announcing - Buck-Tick have made not one, not two, but THREE new music videos for the album tracks "Bishuu Love," "IGNITER," and "Ophelia." Wow! "Ophelia" is a Hide song! The last time a Hide song got made into a PV was "Gensou no Hana" - and despite the fact that "Gensou no Hana" was one of the stupider videos Buck-Tick have made over the years (although "Dokudanjou Beauty" is still the absolute worst, don't argue), most of the time, when Hide songs get made into PVs, Mr. Sakurai ends up either tied up on/in the floor/ceiling/Goth Bondage Jesus cross/diabolical camera (select all that apply) or stepping through the looking glass to meet his queer-ass gender-swapped self, so if he doesn't end up soaking wet and playing dead in a flowery dress this time around, we fully expect him to delivery just as fully in a comparably dramatically kinktastic fashion.
AND if you're the kind of early adopter who just loves to masturbate over technology, any technology, no matter how silly, you can invest in Limited Edition C of No. 0, which instead of giving you these new PVs on a bonus disc which you can watch on a screen in your house while sitting on a couch like a normal human, gives you the three PVs in "virtual reality" format, which you can watch once you download the VR app onto your stupid phone/electronic sanitary napkin and watch through the complementary
pair of googly-eyes VR viewer included with the album. The Fish Tanker's Only 2017 DVD came with one of these viewers, too, and they basically look like a pop-up birthday card that you put together yourself, and then stick your head inside and look through the googly eyes. Apparently these googly eyes will not protect your eyes while viewing a solar eclipse, but how they distort the experience of watching Buck-Tick videos on your teeny-tiny phone screen is something we can't tell you, because we don't have a phone.
Maybe we're getting old, but seriously, what's the point of VR? If Buck-Tick were releasing a Virtual Tour of Buck-Tickistan for Oculus Rift, maybe that would be cool, we don't know (the only video games we know how to play are Minesweeper, Tetris, and Pac-Man). But how is staring at a phone through a pair of googly-eyes anything like reality? What does the VR allow you to do that's so special? After all, you can't poke Yutaka's butt, because Yutaka isn't really there, and even if you scream at Hide that you want to have his babies, all you'll succeed in doing is annoying your neighbors or freaking out passersby, so the lady we heard scream those exact words in the face of the real flesh-and-blood Hoshino Hidehiko back in 2007 would still have you beat. If any of y'all readers have checked out that VR thing on the FTO 2017, please satisfy our curiosity by leaving a comment about the experience. Is it cool, or is it a complete waste of time?
Anyway, if y'all want to order the album through us, just shoot us an email.
That PV Sure Went Swimmingly!
One of our readers recently wrote us a letter stating the following: "Cayce, I find I'm now unable to enjoy any new Buck-Tick PV without laughing at it first. I blame this on your pawky sense of humor."
Dear reader, rest assured: the PV for "Moon -Sayonara wo Oshiete-" would be worth laughing at, even if yours truly had never made a single joke. Everyone's expressionless, but really dramatic! Imai full-out stole the Orange amp head from Miyo Ken's Mortal gear, and all that orange looks so very silly next to all that goth! There is a model swimming around in an aquarium full of ugly hotel furniture! And last but certainly not least, there is a COSMIC FETUS, which couldn't be better fodder for Buck-Tick parody if it gyrated in leather pants through a crowd of genetically engineered monsters and drug-addled anthropomorphic kitty cats wearing a jacket covered with a print of the kanji for "yume" in lurid colors! (Sounds like a really cool jacket, actually...) Anyway. Laugh away, children. This can never have been intended to be serious, and it's quite charming, even if it does look suspiciously like it ought to be a commercial for ultra-hydrating rejuvenating anti-aging moisturizing mist that retails for 10000 yen a bottle, or something similarly intimate, embarrassing, and marketed to rich old ladies... (The fantasies of Buck-Tick's rich old fangirls are surely intimate and embarrassing in the extreme... dear god, is this what Buck-Tick have become?)
Also, if you find a version of the full one ripped from the LINE Live broadcast that aired earlier tonight, please send it our way. We are not members of LINE because we do not have a phone.
Update: Thanks to the reader who sent us the full PV less than 12 hours after we requested it! For those of you who haven't seen the full thing yet, a spoiler: the trailer includes all the silly Shiseido commercial parts, and the parts that aren't in the trailer are a lot darker and more mature, so if you enjoy laughing at Buck-Tick videos as much as we do, laugh your ass off at the trailer while you till can! Also, we're going to vote on the mondegreen at the end - "Under the moonlight / Good morning darling and goodbye." Damn, we really wanted them (Sakurai and Imai singing in harmony!) to be saying "you go to town every night." Too bad. Next time we'll make sure they go to town with us.
More news and fun stuff coming soon. If you'd like another melancholy song about moons while you're waiting for Buck-Tick's single, join us in getting this one stuck in your head. (the video has nothing to do with the song, but it's probably a decent representation of some things Imai's brain has seen in its lifetime.)