FT 094 Interview with Sakurai Atsushi

This is it, folks! The end of the decade! Tied up with the gothical flowery and snow-white ribbon of a wonderful DIQ, and now we're ready for the countdown! Lots of things are happening in Buck-Tickistan, and we'll be writing all about them soon, but for now, we'd like to finish 2020 with this surprisingly candid and introspective latest FT interview with Mr. Sakurai, in which he delves into his creative process for writing the new single, and offers some excellent advice for starting the new decade. Given the extremely poor behavior of the fans at the last standing tour, his remark about "a live house tour where we can all have fun together" reads just a teeny, weeny little bit like a threat. That's our Acchan-chan, eh? Even rainbow pixie-dust unicorn kittens have fangs!

However, all of y'all Blog-Tickers have been exemplary in how to be awesome fans and keep the good vibes vibing. Thank you all for the support you gave us this year, even though we weren't able to blog much. It really meant the world to us. We saw some dark, dark times, but you were one of the lights that kept us going. But before we get cheesy, we'll just say that Mr. Sakurai's summary of his 2019 would be just as true about the 2019 we had. So we figured we'd use his words instead of ours:

"In the first year of Reiwa [2019] I went through some tough times, but also found some unexpected happiness, so it was a year with many ups and downs. Next year, I'd like everyone to become happier. I don't want to keep it all inside myself, I'd like to send good energy out into the world. I'd like to have a little more fun next year. I want to go outside and have fun."

Buckle up and get ready to have an out-of-this-world 2020.


FT: So, did you spend some time relaxing over the summer, before moving into album production in the fall?

Sakurai: That's right. After "Locus Solus no Kemono-tachi" was over, I got to relax a little bit. Maybe I relaxed a bit too much (laughs). This year, we had the rescheduled lives starting from March, and then Makuhari, so I wanted to take some time out, so I asked for a vacation.

FT: You've been working nonstop for a few years now.

Sakurai: Because of the 30th anniversary, that's how it ended up. I think my body was crying for help.

FT: After No. 0, what direction are you thinking of going next with Buck-Tick?

Sakurai: Actually, I thought that first I should just make myself completely empty. It feels a little scary to go empty, but being in a little bit of crisis mode is more inspiring for me, so I thought it might be more inspiring for listeners. I was thinking vaguely along those lines.

FT: After you let yourself be empty, did you go out anywhere looking for inspiration?

Sakurai: Did I...? I went to the Klimt and Basquiat exhibits... but aside from going out, lots of things happened this year. Maybe I said this before, but a friend of mine from our debut days died, and while it might not have appeared on the surface that I was very active, on a personal level lots of things happened, and I had a lot of violent mood swings. While I felt like I should be getting out more, I just hid in my house.

FT: I see. So did you get demo tapes and start working on the album during this period?

Sakurai: That's right. When we decided to release a single, I had two songs, one from Imai that wasn't "Datenshi," and one from Hide. I thought, will these two songs really make a single? They're both very gentle. I wonder if this will work? The songs are excellent. But it was a pair of sweet ballads, so when I was asking myself, is this really what's expected of us? Imai sent me another song. That song was very rock, hard and edgy, so I thought it would work better. Because of the timing, we had to make the call based on the demo tapes. At that point, I hadn't yet thought about the lyrics at all.  

FT: "Datenshi" isn't the sort of word you've used as a title in the past.

Sakurai: That's right. When I started working on it and thinking about the lyrics, it just popped into my head. It's a very simple word I've used many times before, but it feels brave and pure to me. I thought it was perfect for the content of the lyrics.

FT: What was your starting point for writing these lyrics?

Sakurai: My own simmering anger was part of it. Is it okay if I'm not like this? What should I do? What do I want to do? What am I guessing or assuming? Et cetera. I thought I would use writing as a way to move one step deeper in. I always consider things like, if I write this, will it hurt someone, or make someone upset? But I thought I should move one step deeper in.

FT: By that, do you mean one step deeper into yourself?

Sakurai: Yes, I'm talking about myself. The thing that hurts me most easily... how should I say it? I can express it the most persuasively because it's the theme that hits closest to home. I'm working on it so that I can accept it. So that when I listen to the song, it shoots me in the heart.

FT: Why so aggressive?

Sakurai: I write so I can fully become it. Without hesitating, without rejecting it, to just get through it. Because it's me. And there's that bad-boy element of rock, which I wanted to incorporate. I wanted something bad-boy, expressing sexuality, expressing cynicism and nihilism.

FT: You've used the phrase "love is an illusion" a number of times in the past.

Sakurai: Partly, I mean it. And partly, I wanted to say that I don't want it to be that way. I suppose you could say I'm trying to balance it out a little with a little bit of sweet fragrance.

FT: So, tell us about "Luna Park."

Sakurai: At first, the tempo was different, and the melody changed a little, so I had a lot of trouble with this one. It made me think vaguely of Chagall's paintings. It ended up as a bit of a fairy tale, but this song is platonic, with the ephemeral feel of a circus or traveling amusement park. I thought I would blend these themes in with the bright melody.

FT: I see. They're very cinematic lyrics.

Sakurai: It's like a little boy or little girl who are feeling excited to go to the circus or amusement park tomorrow, but the next day, the circus will have moved on. And they say "see you tomorrow" without knowing that. Fun things don't last forever. I was the kind of child who would think about those kinds of things in advance, but I thought I'd make a song to help people hold onto their dreams a little bit more. It's not one of those black and white films where the performers have a drink after the show, or one falls in love with a girl from the same circus troupe, but it definitely calls that old-film style to mind.

FT: I felt that I heard yet a new Buck-Tick.

Sakurai: I want to take on new challenges. I think the other members do as well.

FT: Did the recording go smoothly?

Sakurai: Yes, it did. I was still getting over being sick, but I was careful to at least not catch a cold. Our director Tanaka and engineer Hiruma helped me through it.

FT: So you sing "Datenshi" like a bad-boy, and "Luna Park" in a gentle voice.

Sakurai: This one's the bad brother, this one's the good brother. Excuse me, I meant old man.

FT: No, you can say brother (laughs). So, we'll be able to hear "Datenshi" early on the Day in Question 2019 tour?

Sakurai: We're planning on playing it, but it's a sort of rehearsal? It depends on how it comes together.

FT: What kind of tour will it be?

Sakurai: Well, we've played all kinds of songs, but somehow we end up playing songs we're used to playing, so we decided to fix that and choose songs we haven't played in a while.

FT: Did you choose any of the songs?

Sakurai: I chose "Flame."

FT: "Flame" was the top pick in last edition's questionnaire on "What Buck-Tick song would you most like to hear as an acoustic arrangement?"

Sakurai: Really, it was the top pick? Is that right. We won't be playing an acoustic version this time, but I'm glad I chose it. So "Narcissus" was number three... interesting! I hope we get a chance to play it some time.

FT: Did you choose the set list for this year's DIQ?

Sakurai: I usually put together most of the set list, but this time, Hide did it. Apparently he was busy and wasn't able to choose any songs, but then he made the whole set list out of nowhere and really surprised me (laughs). But we haven't started rehearsing yet, so I don't know how it will work out.

FT: And you'll be releasing a tribute album on the same day as the single. Did you listen to it?

Sakurai: I listened to all the songs that have been finished up to this point. This is tooting our own horn, but I really thought that Imai and Hide's songs and my lyrical world are good stuff. Having other people step into our world let me see it in a new way. It was very interesting and I felt touched. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone [who worked on the tribute album]. You each expressed your own individuality, and you brought out the best in our songs. I felt moved.

FT: When I heard Fujimaki Ryota's "Just One More Kiss," I thought again what a pure and innocent song it is.

Sakurai: That's right. I felt the same way (laughs). I thought wow, this is actually a good song, it makes me cry. Fujimaki's arrangement and vocals really brought that out. And Issay (of Der Zibet) was wonderful. Der Zibet were the first band to finish recording for us. What lovely senpai they are!

FT: You've already got a release and a tour planned for the first half of 2020, but what do you want for 2020 as a whole?

Sakurai: In the first year of Reiwa [2019] I went through some tough times, but also found some unexpected happiness, so it was a year with many ups and downs. Next year, I'd like everyone to become happier. I don't want to keep it all inside myself, I'd like to send good energy out into the world. I'd like to have a little more fun next year. I want to go outside and have fun. I hope the tour will be an opportunity to make that happen.

FT: Do you have a final message for everyone?

Sakurai: Throw away your books and go out into the city (laughs). Or you could take your books out into the city. We'll be starting with a live house tour where everyone can have fun together, so let's make it a good year. Please, take care of your health, and be happy. 


Leave us your New Year thoughts in the comments. And don't shake the champagne or it will pleasure itself all over your carpet!


DIQ Ticket, Androgynous Angels, DIQ Goods, Cayce's Christmas and other stories

Hey, kids. First off, an announcement: despite all that hard-scrabble heartache trying to wangle non-existent tickets to this year's The Day in Question 2019, somehow we ended up with an extra ticket to the DIQ show on December 29th in Yoyogi, Tokyo. If you're interested, send us an email!


Second, the jacket art for Datenshi has been released, and in fact, there are two whole jacket arts to see! First is this original drawing by Uno Aquirax for the limited edition:

Second is this eerily effeminate soft-focus photo of Mr. Sakurai for the regular edition:

The images mirror each other than that both Mr. Sakurai and the girl in Uno Aquirax's work are holding similar poses, hand raised, fingers curled expressively. Sakurai's dark eyeliner and lipstick also echo the face of Uno Aquirax's lady. Aquirax's drawing is obscure - though that's probably no more to be expected. What is that shape in the foreground? Is it some kind of stylized rendition of a map of Japan? What's the photo in the background? Is it Mount Fuji or somewhere else? As in much of Aquirax's work, the nature imagery is strong, conjuring images of pagan rites or animal medicine. The girl holds a flower that might be a higanbana, which on closer inspection reveals itself to be made of devil faces. A tree sprouts from her head, as if she's some kind of earth goddess. She has both a man's leg (devoid of garters but we're pretty sure we know who's leg that is) and a bird's leg - is this Inter Raptor back again? 

Meanwhile, the photo of Sakurai seems like an overt reference to both "Dress" and "Heaven" - the feminine make-up and misty lens call to mind the looking-glass gender-bending of the "Dress" music video, while the overall white color scheme mirrors the cover of "Heaven" while making it clear that this time, it's after the fall - black hair, black lips, no all-white innocence anymore. In addition, Buck-Tick's home page has this mysterious new title graphic, in which the band members embrace empty white cutouts:

What does it mean? Sakurai has been working with the idea of duality and non-duality for a long time, and on the topic of "Satan," he stated in one of the Rock & Read interviews that he wasn't interested in any subject that couldn't be seen from more than one perspective. This theme appears in many songs - "Cabaret," "Melancholia," "Mudai," "Bishuu Love" - but "Dress" may be the song in which Sakurai explored it most fully - a love song to his inner woman, his reflection, his looking-glass self. The twin soul idea was the central theme of Shiina Ringo's "Elopers," but now it seems that in visuals, at least, all the Buck-Tick members are joining in to explore this theme. Who is the other half, the other self? Where can she be found? There's no question that the Divine Feminine is denied and repudiated in society today. Without restoring balance between masculine and feminine energies, how can we heal the problems we've inflicted on the natural world (that Uno Aquirax draws so beautifully) and in human society? If Buck-Tick are speaking up for balance, it's a message everyone should listen to.


And third, on a completely different topic, the tour goods for The Day in Question 2019.

Ugly rubber bands that cost a whole 500 yen each!

Cute little band member charms that cost a whole 500 yen each and you can't choose the band member (random draw, yo) and what they didn't tell you is that that Acchan-chan ones don't actually exist, they just pretend they do to get the fangirls to spend moar moar MOAR moneyzzz hoping against hope that they can snag a Ken-doll smooth round plastic Acchan-chan to stick down their underpanties! Tough luck, suckers!

Trading cards that cost a whole 1000 yen for one pack, that's 200 yen per small laminated piece of paper. But who are we to judge? These are memories in the making!

This absolutely beautiful tour towel featuring a black-and-white graphic of a cosmos flower. And it's 100% cotton and made in Japan. 2000 yen.

This ridiculous fake-leather coffee cup holder for the Starbucks-addicted among y'all! 2500 yen.

This year's guitar pick set, a bit uninspired, but Hide's making the most out of that 66-6-16 birthday of his! 666, Number of the Beast? Nu-uh, more like number of the Sexy Beast!!! #SexyBeastHide Another 2500 yen.

The tour pamphlet, featuring another lovely cosmos flower graphic. What will we find inside? Fake candles? Photoshopped wrinkles? Faux-fur mumus? Ball-jointed-doll makeouts? For 3500 yen, you can be the one to find out!

A very expensive "multi-case" featuring a vaguely zebra-striped Buck-Tick logo print. If you have 4800 yen you'd like to throw away.

A very expensive spotted tote bag. Nice, but maybe not bestial enough? Where are the feathers, the horns, the pink eyeshadow? 5500 yen.

The tour t-shirt, complete with tour dates on the back and the band members pictured as flowers on the front. We have to say, this is one of their best tour t-shirt designs in recent memory. Simple, elegant, black and white, no bullshit, no extraneous ugly colors, and no graphics depicting the band members as unappetizing forkfuls of food. It even comes in four sizes: small, medium, large, and extra large. 3800 yen.

What is the point of this other t-shirt? Nothing about this is original or interesting in any way. And it costs 1700 yen more than the other t-shirt just because it has a tiny useless pocket over the left nipple. What about that poor cold right nipple, eh? 5500 yen. If you want a pocket for your right nipple you have to pay extra.

An 8-bit Christmas t-shirt that only comes in sizes medium and large, because thankfully, Buck-Tick understand that small people hate Christmas. 4500 yen, because Christmas celebrates the Birth of the God of Capitalism and everyone should spend, spend, spend.

Oh wow, kids, here it is! The first-ever hoodie Buck-Tick have ever made that's actually cool looking! Took twenty years or more, but zomg, those years paid off! It looks great! Look at that red-lined hood! Those simple, elegant, black and white graphics of pretty flowers, devoid of extraneous ugly colors! Why did you have to appear in the year when Cayce's broke and can't buy you, eh? 9500 yen, for people who've been saving for twenty years for this bittersweet moment. If anyone wants to buy us this one for Christmas, we'll wrap it around our cold lil' shoulders and sing you a Christmas carol Acchan-chan style and love you forevermore. (What carol would he sing? "In the Bleak Midwinter"? "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella"? "The Holly and the Ivy"? Leave your vote in the comments!)

And finally, for those of you who are still old-fashioned enough that you enjoy the anachronistic thrill of paper notebooks, the obligatory Buck-Tick agenda, 2020. God we love these. They have about 5000% as much personality as a smart phone and they don't even need to be charged in a wall socket. Plus, everyone in the know knows that 2020 is the year when the aliens make contact with earth. You'll want a hard copy record of the events to come, and Buck-Tick is here to help (what they're not telling you is that they ARE the aliens... they've been hiding in plain sight this whole time... why did you think Imai was so weird? "Buck-Tick Agenda," oh yes, oh yes they have an Agenda... oh shit, we weren't supposed to say that! We blew it! If you don't see us posting, assume the FBI swallowed us whole and say a prayer for our souls. Or, y'know, call Agent Mulder.)


And now, what you really want... the band member produced goods!

First up, a t-shirt with an angsty photo of Acchan-chan, and Acchan-chan's angsty-looking initials! T-shirt: 500 yen. Acchan-chan mojo: 6000 yen. That's awfully cheap for Acchan-chan mojo, kids. Snap it up while you can and you'll have the neighborhood cats all over you screaming for love till you're nothing but a dried-up drained husk lying lifeless in the street.

Second, the Hoshino Hidehiko Conservative Japanese Middle Aged Lady Approved Boring Colors Collection. It's a well-known fact that "fine upstanding citizens" in Japan shrink and shy from ever wearing any color that could be considered cool, stylish, funky, sexy, or God forbid, fun. Serious People wear beige. Serious People wear charcoal grey. Serious People wear brown. And if they're feeling eDgY, they wear navy blue. Because black is a scary color for scary, bad people who like scary, bad things like rock-n-roll bands, evil guitars and leopard-spotted hellcats. Serious People eschew graphic prints for something sensible. Take your pick: stripes or polkadots? Could be whimsical, but not in Serious People Colors (tm). Show them how grown up you are this Christmas. Show them that even Muji is too fashion-forward for you. Show them you choose Old Man Hide's for all your "fashion" needs.

Boring Color Towels, 1800 yen (boring colors cost more to dye than fun colors!)

Boring Color Sex Toy Case Cosmetics Case, 3500 yen. (Do people who wear colors this boring even bother with makeup? And we know they don't use *gasp* sex toys. Clutch your pearls now!)

(We are sorry, Hide. We still love you. But these colors are really, really boring.)

But! As if in defiance to the Boring Colors, we have the A-Fucking-Dorable Cute AF Serious Bear Lolita Edition goods!

A DIQ Christmas stocking with Serious Bear's lil' head poking out? 2000 yen, but that's a small price for the joy this will bring you.

Or what about a floral-print Serious Bear coffee mug, complete with a Serious Bear figurine head to keep your coffee as warm as your warmed-up heart? Awwww. 3800 yen is nothing for this level of good cheer.

But if this feels a wee bit too childish for your old-man self, why not try Yagami Toll's Old Man Collection?

Reading glasses, complete with case, for your failing eyes. Collaboration with ZoffDeca. Comes in a choice of black or purple leopard print. No boring colors here! 10000 yen for brand-name cachet.

And a super-cool Buck-Tick logo digest tissue case, so you can cart around enough tissues to wipe your winter cold runny nose in style. 3500 yen.

Everyone knows that the best part of winter is sleeping. It's cold and snowy outside. It's dark all day. So why leave your futon? But if you always felt that the one thing missing in that fluffy, comfy, warm futon of yours was a little bit of trashy Imai style in Certified Definitely Not Boring Colors, wow, has Imai got just the thing for you: the Evil GTR Sleepwear Collection, Sleep With Imai Sleep Imai Style 2019.

Zomg! Imai-print pajamas! And then come in a men's and a lady's version! You can die, sleep, perchance to dream happy! 9500 yen, but this is a steal. These will be collectors' items. Get a pair for you and one for your honey-bun to wear while you listen to Buck-Tick in bed!

And while you're at it, get the Imai-print bedroom slippers to match, so your little toeses won't be cold when you have to get up to pee after drinking too much tea! 3800 yen.

And finally... last but not least... this incredibly beautiful object that hardly looks as though it came from Planet Earth. We haven't cried this hard over tour goods since the GothyGoth Scarf of 2017, a whole two years ago (that's a long fucking time! Kids go from bundles of cells to pooping, puking bundles of mayhem in two years!!!) It looks like it came from the same collection as the GothyGoth Scarf 2017... a collection we might title, "The Inside of Cayce's Sadly Yearning, Horticulturally Enthusiastic Gothical Soul (or what's left of it after several Seasons in Hell)." That butterfly, kids! The butterfly of the soul, of transformation. Black for mystery and magic, red for blood and passion. Butterfly as mask, symbol of the transformation from persona and roleplayed ego-self to the truth of the inner self, or higher-self, everted into that crazy, out-of-control, out-of-season flower garden Mr. Sakurai loves to sing about. Roses for love, poppies for dreams, red lilies for sacrifice, alstromeria for survival, devotion, and never giving up, pink peonies for the Divine Feminine. We could write a whole paper on this bag. Surely the only objects appropriate to carry in the hallows of this bag are power crystals, tarot cards, Ollivander ebony-and-unicorn-hair magic wands, red lipstick, Buck-Tick perfume, purikura of your beloved, special brownies, Shinto good-luck charms, seashells from Okinawa, miniature bottles of wine, sex toys, 45 rpm vinyl records, extremely tiny yet playable guitars, and pictures of your cats. How is this only 3800 yen? 

As always, we're willing to line up for goods for our readers far and wide who can't make it to Japan this year, or help you order them through the B-T web shop, so if you want to order any of these items through us, just send us an email and we will do our best to get you what you crave.



The Third Parade

A little bit late for Buck-Tick's 30th anniversary, but still exciting: Buck-Tick have announced the release of their third tribute album, Parade III, which will also come out on January 29th, 2020, the same day as Datenshi. The jacket art features an original drawing by nationally famous psychedelic artist Uno Aquirax, who is a personal friend of Imai's, and already well known in Buck-Tickistan as the creator of the jacket art and tour goods designs for Razzle Dazzle. While not quite as involved as the Razzle Dazzle album cover, this one's still plenty cute. Could that accordion-playing crocodile be a shoutout to the original Gustave the Nile Crocodile? What's that eye ball doing all by itself? How does that turtle feel about having a frog on its back? Is the androgynous creature in the pirate hat the shade of Pete Burns? And check out the way that camel is, hehe, humping Buck-Tick! There are so many questions here, it will tie up y'all art nerds for weeks! Go nuts!

This new tribute album is notable because it contains tracks by many artists who have closely collaborated with Buck-Tick over the years, including indie artists with followings too small to prop up a joint tour with Buck-Tick, like the joint tours that happened with the previous two Parade albums (Der Zibet, Cube Juice, and Kokushoku Sumire fall into this category). Parade III also contains the highest number of female vocalists of any of the Parade tribute albums to date - Shiina Ringo, Margaret Hiroi of 88 Kasho Junrei, two-bit former idol Fujikawa Chiai, and Sakamoto Miu (daughter of YMO keyboardist, anti-nuke crusader and bona-fide legend Sakamoto Ryuichi and strange folksy musical faerie Yano Akiko). (Oh wait, did you say that Yuka from Kokushoku Sumire is also a vocalist? We must have missed it! Sorry, fans!) The lineup for this new tribute album also contains many younger artists, in addition to relative contemporaries of Buck-Tick. It's unclear how all these artists were selected to participate in this album, but perhaps some of the younger artists represent a younger generation who were influenced by Buck-Tick - and if so, Buck-Tick should be proud, at least of their cultural power, if not the musical ability of their admirers... but I get ahead of myself.

The list of songs has already been announced, so let's take a look at the various artists, their song choices, and their connections to B-T.


First on the list are Der Zibet, with "Ai no Souretsu," and it's too bad they're at the top of the list, because this is almost certainly going to be the best track on the album (though we've got hopeful eyes on a few others, too.)

Der Zibet have been well known to most Buck-Tick fans since the beginning, mainly because of Der Zibet vocalist Issay's close (and most decidedly, definitely, by no means homo-erotic"friendship" friendship with Mr. Sakurai. Der Zibet came on the scene in 1984, when Buck-Tick were still in their infancy as a band, and were an inspiration to Sakurai in his early days in Tokyo, before Buck-Tick made it big. Issay and Sakurai later became close friends, recorded songs together, and made guest appearances on each other's tours. Sakurai appeared as a guest vocalist on the song "Masquerade," for Der Zibet's album 1991 Shishunki II -Downer Side-, and Imai appeared as a guest guitarist on "4D Vision no Rasen Kaidan," for the same album. Issay and Hikaru (Der Zibet's guitarist and main songwriter) stated that they composed "Masquerade" in Sakurai's image. The lyrics to "4D Vision" also contain a veiled reference to Imai's curlicue red guitar. Sakurai and Imai both appeared as guests on some of Der Zibet's tour stops to promote the album, with Sakurai and Issay giving an infamously decidedly not homo-erotic performance that was filmed but never released publicly, probably because the venue staff at the Kudan Kaikan (where the show took place) didn't want to repeat the experience of having to spend an entire week mopping sour fangirl bodily effluvia off the floor. 

Sakurai later appeared as a guest vocalist on the track "Koi no Hallelujah" for Issay's 1994 solo cover album Flowers. Issay stated that he had Sakurai sing the higher harmony line for this song deliberately, despite the fact that Sakurai's vocal range is lower, because he thought the role reversal "would be very interesting." This choice surely had absolutely zero homo-erotic meanings regarding the nature of the relationship between the two.

In 1995, Issay appeared as a guest vocalist on "Itoshi no Rock Star" for Buck-Tick's album Six/Nine, and appeared as a guest at several of the live performances as well, for another filmed-but-not-released reprise of the fabled on-stage makeout scene of 1991. The interesting thing about "Itsohi no Rock Star" is that despite the fact that while Sakurai and Issay have very different voices when singing separately, when singing together, and on this track in particular, they sound nearly indistinguishable from one another. If you never noticed there are two vocalists on "Itoshi no Rock Star," don't kick yourself - it's hard to tell.

In 2010, Sakurai rejoined Der Zibet to record a re-worked version of "Masquerade" for the band's self-cover album Nostalgic Future. Then, in 2012, Der Zibet performed at Yagami Toll's 50th birthday show, It's a Now! (live report here), at which they performed "Masquerade" again with a surprise guest appearance from Sakurai. Madeouts were made, and filmed. But not released. Because Buck-Tick's management made a good decision for once and decided the internet was already soggy enough with fangirl juices to last several aeons into the future. Sorry, fans.

Anyhow, given the close relationship between the two bands, it's a bit surprising that Der Zibet didn't appear on one of the previous tribute albums. We can only suspect it's because, following their initial 1996 break-up and subsequent 13 year hiatus, they lost touch with most of their fan following, and returned to the music scene in 2009 as a small-scale indie act, despite the fact that in their earlier career they regularly mounted national tours and sold out large venues. Indie they still are, and (scuttlebutt alert!) possessed of one of the most ill-mannered fan followings in all of Japan (after Buck-Tick's, that is), but their influence on Japanese rock should not be overlooked. Arguably the earliest precursor to visual kei, Der Zibet were the first Japanese band to fully unite dark, goth rock and post punk sounds with sparkling new wave and glam rock, releasing consistently original work in a unique fusion of genres, and challenging simplistic rock-n-roll musical structures with exceedingly complex variations, made possible by the high level of technical skill and musicianship possessed by each band member. 

As for their choice of song... though Der Zibet's music has taken a much darker, more gothic turn in recent years, "Ai no Souretsu" is very dark, even for them. However, it's easy to see why the enka-style melody appealed to Issay's retro-cabaret sensibilities. Also, given that Sakurai made no secret of the fact that "Ai no Souretsu" was his favorite song on Atom Miraiha No. 9, the choice may be a bit of a favor or tribute to the 100% certified platonic, heterosexual, manly, bro-dude, no-homo friendship between the two.

Next, we have Dir en grey with "National Media Boys." This particular collaboration amuses us greatly on a personal level, because back in 2006 when we started NGS, we were avid fans of Dir en grey as well as Buck-Tick, but the two bands were not friends with each other at the time, and back then, we figured they never would be friends, because they'd probably never get along. And now look at them! The Dir en grey members (especially guitarist Die and drummer Shinya) can be spotted at Buck-Tick shows every year. In fact, once yours truly actually ended up seated directly behind Die at a Buck-Tick show. Early in Dir en grey's career, vocalist Kyo also stated that it was a picture of Mr. Sakurai on a middle school classmate's desk that inspired him to become a rock musician, though vocals-wise, he's made no secret that his greatest influence is Kiyoharu.

Dir en grey have very different attitudes and aesthetics to Buck-Tick. Once poster children for the visual kei movement, Dir en grey doffed that mantle after inadvertently spawning a huge crop of imitator bands with small blond vocalists and sexy-grotesque looks (most notably Nightmare and the Gazette. Sorry, fans.) Determined to make it big in America, Dir en grey drastically toned down their visual image and pushed their songwriting into solidly progressive metal territory, making friends with various American metal bands, and touring widely in America and Europe. After more than a decade of international struggle, Dir en grey achieved what they'd always wanted: relatively mainstream acceptance in the pantheon of Western metal, without being slapped as "anime" or other racist labels typically given to Japanese bands daring to try to make a break in the West. Though Dir en grey's early work displays a great range of tongue-in-cheek horror humor, their metal-era work has been decidedly serious. At times, their music reaches soaring heights of gentle melodic beauty, like sun breaking through storm clouds, but the predominant emotions are anger, sadness, and regret, and the dour attitude the band members display in interviews reflects these themes... which is why we never thought they'd become friends with the giggly, socially awkward peace-and-love living cat memes who are the B-T members. But if the B-T members are coaxing some laughs out of the Dir en grey dudes behind closed doors, so much the better.

As far as their song choice goes, "National Media Boys" may seem surprising at first glance - after all, it's major-key pop, far from Buck-Tick's most metal song, and you might think that Dir en grey would choose to cover a song that matches their hardcore sound. However, this is probably a song that holds sentimental value for the Dir en grey members, because it came out when they were still in school. Beyond that, the toxicity of mass media has been a very important theme in Dir en grey's work, explored in songs like "Gyakujou Tannou Keloid Milk" and "Mr. Newsman" (the latter containing one of Cayce's favorite Dir en grey lyrics of all time, "In my head a blue fish has just died/Good night"). As typical of Japanese bands, Dir en grey have not stooped to naming names in their political disgruntlement, but the disgruntlement is obvious all the same. Choosing to cover a song that amounts to a rejection of fascism at this moment in history is obviously a political choice, and one that fits in perfectly with Buck-Tick's mission.


Next, we have Brahman, with "Iconoclasm." Perhaps it's not surprising, given how this song holds such an, erm, iconic place in Buck-Tick's discography, but "Iconoclasm" is probably Buck-Tick's most-covered song of all time, appearing on all three Parade albums (J covered it on Parade I, while D'erlanger covered it on Parade II). We could lament the lack of originality in song choice, but for the fact that, as an Asian-flavored hardcore punk band, Brahman have more claim to the song on the basis of musical style. Brahman aren't a band we follow, but they have a solid following in Japan and have, like Dir en grey, succeeded in numerous international tours on their own merits, avoiding racist labels. For whatever reason, it seems that the international punk and metal scenes are more willing to embrace bands from a variety of different countries, and all we can say to that is, way to go guys, keep setting a good example for everyone else.

Another interesting thing about Brahman is that they openly state that their music is inspired by traditional Japanese and Indian music and mythology, as well as Western-derived punk influences. The connection between Brahman and B-T remains obscure for the moment, but one thing the two bands have in common is this overtly Asian influence, which can be heard in both lyrics and music across Buck-Tick's discography (see "Oriental Love Story," "Kalavinka," "Kagerou," "Yumeji," "Adult Children," etc.) - incidentally, something Dir en grey also share. For those of you interested, check out a digest of Brahman's live performances here. Note how lead singer Toshi-Low is wearing a t-shirt that reads "Hansen," the Japanese word for "No War," while the bassist is wearing a t-shirt that reads "Destroy Fascism." These are punk sentiments, through and through, but we know B-T share them. Already, this newest tribute album is looking a teeny weeny little bit political (and we don't think that's a bad thing).


Fourth on the list is Shiina Ringo, with "Uta." After the smashing success of Ringo's joint performance with Mr. Sakurai on the TV program Music Station, this collaboration is no surprise. Based on the reports we heard, Shiina Ringo fans and Music Station viewers across the internet were wowed by Sakurai's performance of "Elopers," filling up Twitter with comments like, "Who is this guy? He's too pretty to be real!" Shiina Ringo's career is burning hot - she's just released an all-time best album, Newton's Ringo, and her participation in Parade III is bound to bring in still more crossover fans... we hold Ringo entirely responsible for the fact that the tickets to this year's Day in Question were almost impossible to get, so fans, be ready to bid farewell to your chances of ever seeing Buck-Tick live again without resorting to blackmail, extortion, and prostitution. We already wrote about Shiina Ringo in this post, so read it if you're interested.

As far as her song choice goes, it will be interesting to see how she handles "Uta." This song is harder and more industrial than most of Ringo's work (with the notable exception of "Elopers"), and the melody doesn't necessarily seem the most obviously suited to Ringo's voice or typical style. However, the dark and existential theme of the song fits in very well with the themes she worked with on her most recent album, Sandokushi. The lyrics to "Uta" are also notable for their explicitly male viewpoint on sexuality, so it will be interesting to see if Ringo sings the song through with the original lyrics, or tweaks it to fit a woman's perspective - plenty of Ringo's songs are sexually explicit, but as a woman, she writes from a very different perspective than Sakurai. Ringo is nothing if not versatile, so it's possible she'll come out with something entirely different to the original song, and we hope she does. The whole point of a cover album is experimenting with new interpretations of old songs.


Fifth up are GARI, with "Aku no Hana." For those of you new to Buck-Tickistan, GARI frontman Yow-Row (pronounced "Yoichiro," not that you'd know it from that ridiculous affected spelling) is a longtime Buck-Tick collaborator. GARI's first credit in Buck-Tick's universe was for their industrial rock arrangement of the Japanese translation of Edith Piaf's classic anthem "Ai no Sanka" ("Hymne l'Amour") for Sakurai's first solo project in 2004. This track appeared on Sakurai's solo EP Wakusei -Rebirth-, and if y'all haven't heard it, by all means go check it out - it's dark and angry and sexy as hell, and about as far as you can get from the original version of the song, while still maintaining all the pathos.

Much later, in 2016, Yow-Row returned to Buck-Tickistan as the vocalist of the new Schaft, in lieu of Raymond Watts, who wasn't available at the time. Yow-Row can be heard singing lead vocals on Schaft 2016's album Ultra and EP Deeper and Down. Though he doubtless did his best trying to fill Ray's big shoes, Yow-Row didn't quite manage to carry the weight of Schaft, choosing instead to try and make himself inconspicuous so that Imai and Fujii Maki could shine. In our opinion, this was a grave error - he ought to have known that Fujii Maki never shines. Fujii Maki is the bottomless pit of Tartarus. He's a supermassive black hole. He never smiles and he certainly never stoops to acting like he's performing a rock show. He simply cannot be allowed the responsibility of fronting a band. Consequently, Schaft 2016 ended up being the Imai Hisashi show, and might have been more fun had Imai just grabbed the bull by the horns wholesale and done the vocals himself. But we know the very idea of singing while playing guitar made him too nervous to continue. For more on the Schaft 2016 tour, read our live report here.

Yow-Row has also worked directly with Buck-Tick on their albums Arui wa Anarchy and No. 0, providing keyboards and electronic sound manipulation for "Melancholia -Electria" (for the Keijijou Ryuusei single), "Uchuu Circus" and "Melancholia" (for Arui wa Anarchy), and "Gustave," "Salome -Femme Fatale-" and "Babel" (for No. 0). Here, he was more in his element, if a bit of a show-off at times. GARI's sound hovers somewhere between industrial, screamo, and dubstep, and Yow-Row made effective use of dubstep grooves to spice up both "Melancholia" and "Gustave" into club-ready dance tracks. Though his treatment of "Salome" came across as a bit of a desperate bid for attention, there's no denying that the keyboard solo at the end is cool, and the electro-scapes behind "Babel" and "Uchuu Circus" do a lot to make the songs pop.

Given this close history and familiarity with Buck-Tick, when we read that GARI's choice of cover song is "Aku no Hana," we can only ask, dear God, why??? This is the most basic bitch to ever bitch the BiTch of basic BiTch Buck-Tick covers. (Fun fact, Imai was a BiTch before he was a BesTia.) It has already been done to death, appearing, like Iconoclasm, on the previous two Parade albums, first in the hands of Rally (a Buck-Tick fanboy super-group led by GLAY's very own mini-Hisashi), and then in the hands of solidarifically politically disgruntled ero-guro retro visual kei band Merry, who, in our opinion, should have been allowed the last word on this song after their electrifying live performances of it on tour and festival in 2012. Dear Yow-Row, Buck-Tick have nearly 300 songs to their name. You are their friend, collaborator, and drinking buddy. It's clear your a closet tryhard and desperately want them to think you're cool. What made you think "Aku no Hana" was a good choice? We sincerely want to know the answer.

Actually, on second thought, no we don't. And the instant we hear a whiff of your heavy-handed use of Auto-Tune on the vocal tracks, we're skipping to the next track and never going back. Tryhards should try harder.


Next on the list are minus, featuring Fujikawa Chiai, with "Keijijou Ryuusei." For those of you who don't know, minus is the dark-electro unit founded some years ago by Fujii Maki and Morioka Ken, formerly of Japanese new wave sensation Soft Ballet. Soft Ballet were scouted by Sawaki Kazuo of Taiyou Records, the eccentric who scouted Buck-Tick and declared they would make it big based on their numerology charts. After Soft Ballet made it big, too, word was that Sawaki got himself an attitude, but unfortunately failed to scout any further big-hit bands. However, we'd say that scouting Buck-Tick and Soft Ballet alone is more than enough to brag about for the rest of your career.

Soft Ballet were close with Buck-Tick, and even toured together with Buck-Tick and Luna Sea in the suggestively-named 1994 LSB Tour. Morioka also played keyboards on Buck-Tick's album Seventh Heaven in 1988, and then again in 2014 on "Sekai wa Yami de Michiteiru," for Arui wa Anarchy. Fujii Maki, meanwhile, worked with Imai off and on as Schaft, starting in 1991 with a track, "Nicht-Titel," for the dark-alt omnibus album Dance2Noise 001. Schaft then released a full-length album in 1994, adding Raymond Watts of British industrial unit Pig as a vocalist, along with a large roster of guest musicians. As we discussed in the section on GARI, Schaft resumed activities in 2016 at the urging of Fujii, with a new lineup including GARI vocalist Yow-Row, L'arc en Ciel drummer Awaji Yukihiro, and AA= bassist Ueda Takeshi.

Basically, the Buck-Tick members have been friends with Fujii and Morioka for more than two decades. Buck-Tick even performed with minus at the 2015 Lunatic Festival (live report here). However, Morioka passed away suddenly in 2016, right as minus was gearing up for a national tour, so Fujii was left to carry on with the band alone... which is doubtless why he kept on adding more and more and more drummers to the mix. We confess that after Morioka's passing, we stopped following the band. Fujii may be an accomplished mixer of electronic music, but he's just about the least engaging live performer we've ever seen (sorry, fans). Morioka was the one who carried the stage shows, with his flamboyant personality, sexy costumes, and energetic dancing. For us, this was the point, and once the point had ascended back into the seventh dimension, there was no more point down here on earth. So we really have no idea what happened to minus after 2016, aside from the fact that they have kept up their activities and people still attend their shows.

When Morioka was still around, he usually performed most of the vocals himself (he may have been lip-synching part of it, but that's because it's very hard to sing and dance at the same time. You get out of breath). With Morioka gone... well, we have no idea. If anyone here does, please let us know. It's telling that all the videos on the minus YouTube channel date from a time when Morioka was still shuffling along the mortal coil with the rest of us poor suckers instead of cartwheeling through the Milky Way with other beautiful glitter aliens. Guest vocalists? Disembodied vocal backtracks? Fujii Maki actually singing?

It's true that minus have worked with a number of guest vocalists, including Kent from Lilies and Remains, and Kate from u crack irigaru. Who's Fujikawa Chiai then, you ask? Don't feel bad, we asked the same question. Answer: she is a former idol turned "singer" who was born approximately five minutes ago, so don't feel embarrassed if you've never heard of her. Why is she doing vocals for minus on Buck-Tick's tribute album? We have no idea about that one either. None of the other vocalists minus worked with (at least till Morioka's passing) came from the land of mainstream idol-pop, and they each had distinctive voices well suited to the band's eerie, dark, atmospheric sound. Fujikawa, while perfectly competent and unobjectionable as a singer, sounds (and looks) exactly like every other j-pop girl out there, which is pretty much the requirement if you want to be an idol. After all, who wants an idol who doesn't look the same as all the other ones? It defeats the purpose!

While the choice of "Keijijou Ryuusei" fits well with the dark and down-tempo aspect of the minus sound, we harbor deep doubts about Fujikawa's ability to pull off a song this intense and existential. The ultralite quality of her vocals would lend themselves far better to Buck-Tick's early work, such as "Sissy Boy" or "Telephone Murder." (No joke, we would actually love to hear minus plus Fujikawa cover "Telephone Murder"). But they probably didn't choose her for her voice, so much as her potential to get younger people (or idol-loving mouthbreathers?) to buy the album. And make the rest of us suffer.


If you've made it this far, you get a reward: Cube Juice, with "Love Me." Down-tempo electro artist Cube Juice is another long-time Buck-Tick collaborator. In addition to contributing the music for "Fantasy" and "Tensei" to Sakurai's Ai no Wakusei solo project in 2004, and performing live at the tour as Mr. Sakurai's own personal keyboard-playing "free hugs" bitch boy, he was also a member of Hoshino Hidehiko's electro-chill side project dropz, along with former Sneaker Pimps vocalist Kelli Ali. Since then, Cube Juice has done keyboards and manipulation for tracks on just about every Buck-Tick album, mainly for songs written by Hoshino, though he made a notable contribution to Imai's "Hikari no Teikoku" on No. 0. Pale-faced and petit, Cube Juice looks like he could easily be the pixy from "Pixy" (one of the Buck-Tick songs he worked on), and his sound matches his appearance - gentle, dreamy, sweet without being saccharine. His albums III and In the Eye of a Wili-Wili have been on our chill-out music rotation for more than a decade.

For that reason, it's no surprise he picked "Love Me." More recent live versions of the song have had an up-tempo, rock-n-roll vibe, but the original Aku no Hana mix was about as close to the calm, soft Cube Juice sound as anything Buck-Tick have released. In general, Cube Juice doesn't do much with vocals beyond breathy, heavily distorted samples, but a few of his earliest tracks featured him singing full lead vocal lines, so we know he can do it if he has a mind to. We're really looking forward to this one.


Next up, Kokushoku Sumire with "Lullaby III." Kokushoku Sumire, much as it pains us to say so, are also long-time Buck-Tick collaborators, a calamity for which Imai Hisashi is solely responsible (more on that here, if you care). Imai first picked up this goth-loli violin Tim Burton claymation "band" for Buck-Tick's second re-working of "Victims of Love," which appeared as the second b-side on the Keijijou Ryuusei single in 2014. The Kokushoku Sumire members then made deeply regrettable guest appearances on a few stops of the Arui wa Anarchy hall tour, performing the new version of "Victims of Love" with Buck-Tick, as well as "Doll" and "Diabolo." Imai then performed as a guest guitarist on Kokushoku Sumire's album Cosmopolitan, which we confess we never listened to (but we hear it includes 10 Great Tips on How to Use Squeaky Violins in the Bedroom that are Sure to Drive Him Wild!) Kokushoku Sumire also worked with Buck-Tick on their most recent single, providing violin and accordion on "Rondo," a far more successful collaboration than the disappointingly ill-fated "Victims of Love."

As for the song, we would have thought that "Doll" would have been the obvious choice, since it's Buck-Tick's most goth-loli song to date, and on the Anarchy tour it offered vocalist Yuka a chance to pretend to play a toy piano. Music-wise, "Lullaby III" fits better with the group's sound than many of the other song choices on Parade III fit their cover-ers, but do Kokushoku Sumire really have the balls to sing about razor blades, murderers, and, horror of horrors, kissing? (Ewwwww!!! Boys have cooties!!!) Also, how the fuck can you cover "Lullaby III" without a bass player? Then again, though Kokushoku Sumire may be talentless and unlistenable, at least they are bona-fide underground musicians, not idol hand-me-downs. Sheesh, we never thought we'd have to say such a thing on this blog. What is the world coming to?


Next up, GranRodeo, with "Tenshi wa Dare da." GranRodeo are one of those names we've seen floating around for years, without ever having a real sense of who it belongs to. Researching this article, we discovered that they are a duo founded by an anime voice actor, Kishow, and unsurprisingly given their lineage, have made a lot of anime soundtrack songs. Sound-wise... well, they sound like anime songs, the way anime songs sound these days - hyper pumped-up positive major key, and completely interchangeable. Their session bassist also plays bass for Nishikawa Takanori's band Abingdon Boys' School, so this may be the secret to how they ended up on Buck-Tick's tribute album, since we all know how much Takanori adores Acchan-chan! However, GranRodeo also doubtless wanted in on this album precisely so they could cover a song as hyper pumped-up positive minor key annoying and repetitive as "Tenshi wa Dare da," a song we never used to hate till Buck-Tick played it 5,235,280,981,321,321 times live (make it stoooooooop!). We can't say yea or nay to their music, but this video is worth watching, if for no other reason than that Imai is surely murderously jealous of Kishow's jacket.


Next come Sid, with "Jupiter." And all we have to say to this is, is there some kind of arcane rule of the Parade tribute albums that states that whiny former visual kei bands are required to cover "Jupiter"? Mucc's rendition of "Jupiter" for Parade II was probably the worst version of the song we've ever heard, including all those drunken out-of-tune karaoke performances we sat through back in our tear-up-the-town younger years. We're not even going to apologize to Mucc fans for that statement, because we also heard it live at the Parade Fest 2012, and it was so bad we almost drowned ourselves in our beer glass before Buck-Tick ever came on stage.

The good thing is, it's unlikely Sid could possibly do as bad a job on this song as Mucc did. But if, somehow, they manage to actually do worse, we will give them a prize. Because that's how we roll.

Oh yeah, who are Sid and why are they on a B-T tribute album? Sid are a former decora kei band (like visual kei but with gay catboys covered in conversation hearts). Now, we gather, they are a Daiso Halloween level "dark-ish" mostly-mainstream but still slightly visual kei band, who are capable of selling out the Budoukan. As to why they are on Buck-Tick's tribute album, we can only assume this is a bid for Kurumi's hand in marriage. Too bad Kurumi is already married to Acchan.


Now, we have one of the most interesting and surprising participants and song choices: Hachijuu-Hachi Kasho Junrei, with "Ao no Sekai." This band's very long and difficult name means "Pilgrimage to 88 Places," which fits with the band's use of traditional Japanese imagery and mythology, and lots and lots of difficult kanji and obscure religious references. Aside from the fact that they got their start in 2006, little is known about their history - not even the band's website offers much to go on. Still signed to an indie label, it appears that the band languished in obscurity for some years before getting popular enough to mount oneman tours more recently. One of the distinctive elements of this band is that they're fronted by a woman, Margaret Hiroi, who is also the bassist and main lyricist. If y'all are as sick of wimpy j-pop girls as we are, 88 Kasho Junrei are like a screaming freight train of angry fresh air, slamming down hard-rock, punk and metal riffs in spastic, humorous, acid-trip music videos, while criticizing the government. How they came to be on Buck-Tick's tribute album is anyone's guess, but more than many of the bands in the lineup this time, 88 Kasho Junrei have the right level of weirdness and iconoclastic spirit to feel like they've actually earned their spot, and they fit with the anti-fascist undercurrent.

And what a song choice! "Ao no Sekai" is one of our favorite Buck-Tick songs, but we'd hazard a guess that the likes of Yow-Row has never even listened to it once (because once you hear a song like "Ao no Sekai," how can you cover "Aku no Hana"?) It's one of Buck-Tick's more musically complex numbers, and it requires powerhouse vocals, but it appears that unlike many of the other vocalists on this album, Margaret Hiroi's vocals pack enough punch to do it justice. However, we think it's likely she selected the song because of that sexy slap bass line, and we can't blame her. If we were a bassist, we'd slap the fuck out of that line. We'd make love to that line. That line is kinky roleplay incarnate.


Next up, we have Fujimaki Ryota with "Just One More Kiss." Former frontman of chart-topping soft-rock band Remioromen, Fujimaki (not to be confused with Fujii Maki) launched a solo career in 2012, following Remioromen's announcement of indefinite hiatus. His solo music style is that folksy, drippy, anthem-pop meets singer-songwriter sound that the top of the Japanese pop charts can't get enough of these days, and while it's not a style that's ever held much appeal to us, what can be said for Fujimaki is that he has a lovely voice and he's an accomplished guitar player. "Just One More Kiss" is another obvious, "been done" song choice, but at the same time, it suits Fujimaki's style so well, we wouldn't be surprised if he pulled off a cover version that's better than the original. (Objective fact: "Just One More Kiss" is one of Buck-Tick's stupidest songs. Why else do you think it's the song that made them famous? We could do with a better version that gives it all the schlock pop cheese it deserves. Fight me, fangirls. Fight me.) We just hope he makes sure to include those lines in the middle, "I'm sinking a bow choo. You ah my won and only lavass."


Finally, last, and (maybe not, but probably) least, we have Sakamoto Miu, with "Miu." As we mentioned up top, Sakamoto Miu is the daughter of musical superhero Sakamoto Ryuichi and his former wife, Yano Akiko, a well-known musician in her own right. You'd think that with parents this talented, Miu would be a talented firecracker herself, but... well... she's not her dad. While she obviously chose to cover "Miu" because she and the song share the same name, we wonder if she actually listened to the song before signing on to sing it. "Miu" might superficially sound light and gentle, like Sakamoto Miu's music, but the story it tells, of suicidal longing for perfect union with a mysterious, unrequited dream-love, goes abyssal-zone deep into the dark interior psychology Sakurai loves so much. Even if it's full of flowers and butterflies, this isn't just a song about flowers and butterflies, and though Sakurai sings it in a light, gentle voice to suit the melody, he still makes sure to convey all the wistfulness, pain and longing in the lyrics.

Does Sakamoto Miu have any chance of even coming close to pulling this off? We don't know, but her strangely emotionless cover of "The Never Ending Story" doesn't do much to inspire hope. She seems to be having genuine difficulty singing the melody, which interferes with her ability to give the song any sort of personality or interpretation, and unlike YMO's vocals, Miu's deadpan vocals don't appear to be deliberate in service of some kind of artistic end. So why's she on Buck-Tick's tribute album? Well, maybe it's because Shiina Ringo went on her radio show and talked up how cool Acchan-chan is. Or maybe, it's because Imai wanted a hit of whatever the fuck she's doing in this music video. (We think it's the second one).


So that concludes our not-so-short summary of this Parade album's list of artists. All in all, we can probably expect about one third thumbs-up, one-third meh, and one-third unlistenable travesty from this album, which is maybe better than Parade II, though certainly not as good as Parade I. We sort of hate to sound like a hater, but if you're willing to appear on a Buck-Tick tribute album, that means you're willing to be judged against Buck-Tick, and that's a challenge not for the faint of heart.

The fact is, Buck-Tick songs are hard to cover. They may be fairly technically simple, but the Buck-Tick members have such strong musical personalities that it's a rare artist who can really make their songs come alive. We've seen it a few times, but not many. What do y'all think? What track are you most looking forward to on this album? What tracks were your favorites on the previous Parade albums? What artist who isn't on here do you think should be on here, and what song do you think they should cover? Have you found any quality Buck-Tick covers on YouTube or elsewhere that you think are worth sharing?  Please share in the comments section, and help Blog-Tick live again (we're undead, undead, undead!)