Excerpted from Tenshi no Zawameki, copyright 1990 by Matsumoto Kiyori.
1988 December 2nd, on RF Radio Japan
Buck-Tick was appearing as a special guest on Rogue's midnight radio show, and I interviewed them about their new album, Taboo.
I had a funny story I wanted to tell the band, even though it was embarrassing.
The day before, I'd received a promotional copy of TABOO, which I'd been listening to on repeat from the moment I received it up until the time of the interview. There were no liner notes or lyrics attached--just the casette tape. That was it. When I got to the RF studio, Buck-Tick's manager at Victor came over and gave me the lyric booklet, and I quickly looked it over.
I'm sure everyone's had the experience once or twice of finding out that the lyrics they thought they heard and understood were completely wrong. That was how it was for me, with "Tokyo," the second song on the album. There's a part in the song where it goes, "psychoanalyze me." When you see it written out, you think there's no way of mistaking it. But when I'd first heard the album, I thought Atsushi was singing "Saikou wa dare? Jibun!" ("Who's awesome? I am!"), like a rhetorical question. I completely misheard, but it made sense to me at the time. "Oh, of course!" I thought. It would be just like narcissistic Atsushi to talk so blatantly about how awesome he is. Naturally, I was surprised when I saw the lyric booklet, but when I listened to the tape again, I realized he was definitely singing in English.
I breathed a sigh of relief that I'd looked at the lyrics before the interview, but when the interview started, I decided I really wanted to tell the band members about my big misunderstanding.
Today, the band members all seemed a little under the weather. Atsushi looked the worst, and kept coughing in between questions.
"Actually," I began, and explained my mishearing of the lyrics. By the time I'd finished, Toll was clutching his stomach and laughing hysterically. Everyone looked over at Atsushi to gauge his reaction. He had an expression of disbelief on his face.
"Whatever kind of person I am, I'd never say anything that bad!" he said. But after that, every time I saw him, he turned it into a running gag.
Buck-Tick's lyrics surprised me every time.
"The lyrics to the first song really threw me off guard. Can you clue me in?"
"I wrote the lyrics in the London studio," Imai said. "I thought I'd write them all in English...'Iconoclasm' means the destruction of sacred images or items. I got the image for the song from that word...the lyrics are abstract, but they're sort of like a symbol code."
"Where did you learn such a complicated word?"
"From the dictionary."
"Do you look at the dictionary a lot?"
"Yeah, I do."
I went on the ask them about the meaning of each song in turn. When I got to track four ("Embyo") I turned to Atsushi.
"So I heard the sound of a heartbeat."
"Yeah, like, thump-THUMP!~" Toll chimed in.
"Try turning up the volume and listening to it," U-ta suggested.
"I didn't get it. Whose idea was it?"
Atsushi raised his hand. "I'm awesome!" he said.
Everyone burst out laughing.
There was also a song on the album written by Hide with lyrics by Toll--a new combination.
"Oh, that song was an experiment," Hide said, laughing. "From the beginning I thought I'd let someone else write the lyrics."
"So he called the Experimental Brothers!" Toll said.
"Cause Anii wanted to write the lyrics so badly!" U-ta added.
"I've been found out!" said Toll.
I heard so many interesting things during that interview, so let me share the best two.
"So I heard you wrote the song 'J' about Jack the Ripper," I asked Imai.
"Yeah," Imai said. "First I was thinking about Dr. Frankenstein, but then we went to London and I was looking at Focus magazine at this store that sold Japanese magazines, and there was a picture in there that was the first picture ever released of one of the women Jack the Ripper killed. And London was the scene of the crime, so I thought it would be perfect..."
"You wrote about it on Seventh Heaven, too, but you guys have your own idea of what Heaven is, right? You mention angels again in the song 'Angelic Conversation.'"
"Well, it's about a dialog with an angel," Imai began. "I got really into the idea of heaven and angels when we were doing Seventh Heaven. But in this song, the devils look like angels, and they're really tiny, but their wings are devil wings. And you've got lots of angels over here, and then there's a little devil watching them. He's like a bat, and he's stuck in this tower-like place. I saw an illustration like that in a book, and I just felt so sorry for the little devil. Because devils aren't all bad, you know? That's what I thought. So basically the theme of the song is people, as divine beings."
I really liked what Imai said about devils not being all bad.
Even when the interview was over, the band members and I kept talking for a while about various things.
"Buck-Tick moves so fast. I really can't believe it," I told them.
"If we keep going at this speed, we'll all be dead three years from now!" of course it was Toll who said that.
"But we're the ones who are setting our pace, so I don't think we'll actually kill ourselves," U-ta added.
Atsushi's lyrics were so patently sexual, I had to ask him, "Don't you ever get censored?"
"Well the director told me 'it's not great, but I think it'll pass the censorship board.' He sounded like he was half angry." he laughed. "He told me 'Embryo' was too harsh, so I changed the characters. In the line "tearing apart the seductive map,' it wasn't actually 'chizu' ("map"). It was 'chitsu.' (vagina)"
Atushi grinned evilly as he looked at my horrified expression.