Stations, Apples, and Beasts

The news just keeps streaming in from Buck-Tickistan!

First, there's be some sort of poster of Buck-Tick on display in JR Takasaki Station as of April 22nd. It will be on display until May 26th. Buck-Tick's official website also notes that Buck-Tick fans are expressly discouraged from contacting the station or station master regarding the Buck-Tick poster. As for what the poster looks like, the website says it "contains a design with band member visuals." If any of y'all Blog-Tickers go up to Takasaki for a visit, please do send us a picture to clarify this most opaque description, as we don't personally feel moved to undertake a three hour train ride just to view a poster. 

And for those of you who just became Buck-Tick fans five minutes ago - Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, is more or less Buck-Tick's home town. The the band members actually grew up in the nearby small town of Fujioka, but Takasaki is a big enough city to be a dot on the map, while Fujioka is not. Also, JR Takasaki Station is about 500 times bigger than JR Fujioka Station, which is more or less a concrete shack in the middle of a rice field that hosts about 20 trains a day (about ten in one direction and ten in the other), so all in all, JR Takasaki Station makes for a much better promo locale. 


Second, it has been announced that Mr. Sakurai will be appearing as a guest vocalist on the song "Kakeochi Mono," on singer-songwriter Shiina Ringo's forthcoming album Sandokushi, scheduled for release on May 27th. For those of you don't already know, in the early 2000s, Shiina Ringo was one of the top three most popular female artists in Japan, along with Utada Hikaru and Hamasaki Ayumi. A talented composer and multi-instrumentalist, Shiina Ringo has always written all her own lyrics and music, and her grungy retro-rebel look offers a very different vision of female beauty and power than the schoolgirl idols and sex kitten pop stars of recent years. Made nervous by her sudden fame, Shiina Ringo gave up on her solo career after 2003, instead forming a band, Tokyo Jihen ("Tokyo Incidents"), which were also very successful. However, she returned to her solo career in 2007, and has since undertaken numerous projects and collaborations, including musical direction for the film Sakuran, songwriting for the j-pop duo Puffy AmiYumi, a guest appearance with Utada Hikaru, and more.

But what this bio doesn't capture is the fact that Shiina Ringo is an icon. Her popularity, especially among the "old millenials" born in the late 80's and early 90's, is astounding. She was and is an inspiration to a generation of young Japanese musicians - and that's impressive, because there's nothing easy or conventional about her music. Her lyrics are dense, wordy, and peppered with allusions, and her songs are full of unexpected twists, turns, and modulations. Like Buck-Tick, she's a real artist, ready to offer you an education if you're ready to learn.

"Sandokushi" means "History of the Three Poisons," the Three Poisons being the three root flaws or afflictions according to Buddhist theology: delusion, greed/sensual attachment, and aversion. These three are said to be the basis for all the other afflictions which keep souls trapped in Samsara (the opposite of Nirvana). Basically, they're like the Buddhist version of the Seven Deadly Sins. "Kakeochi-mono" means "Eloper." How will Mr. Sakurai factor in? We can only wait with bated breath. Shiina Ringo's high, brassy, nasal voice is very, very different from Sakurai's deep velvet croon, but Buck-Tick have gotten light years of mileage out of the contrast between Sakurai's lyrical melody and Imai's harsh sci-fi cackle, so we can only hope that Shiina Ringo will milk the contrast just as well. Given her formidable talent and experience, we expect that whatever this is, it will be good.

Who knows how or why this collaboration came to be, but if it's a marketing move, it's surely a good one. Most of Shiina Ringo's fans are a generation younger than Buck-Tick's, and unlike so many Buck-Tick fans, many Shiina Ringo fans actually like, listen to, and understand music, instead of just blindly chasing garter belts. Also, unlike previous Buck-Tick collaborators like Kuriyama Chiaki and Kokushoku Sumire, Shiina Ringo is a real artist on whom Mr. Sakurai's talent won't be wasted like so much spilled milk in the desert (pry the haterade from our cold, dead hands.) Wow! Victor got Buck-Tick both an anime tie-up AND a high profile collab! It's almost like they're actually trying to promote the band and increase their sales, or something! Amazing! Here, Victor dog, have a biscuit.

The album will also feature a number of other guest vocalists on various tracks. For more information, visit the album official site here.

Anyway, if you're interested in checking out Shiina Ringo's music, she's got a lot of it out there, but for now we'll recommend "Queen of Kabuki-cho," one of her earliest releases. Yeah, this was a while ago, but the Shinjuku name-checking and visual shoutouts to Terayama Shuuji and Showa drag queens never fail to make us smile.

Update: check out the super-duper awesome music video for one of the other guest vocalist tracks on Sandokushi here. Will Mr. Sakurai get to be in a Shiina Ringo PV, too? Probably not, but wouldn't it be cool if he did? Will Shiina Ringo let Mr. Sakurai sing as much as she let Miyamoto Hiroji sing? If she knows what she's doing, she will. But we're pretty sure she knows what she's doing. Let the expectations mount!


And third, for those of you who haven't seen it yet, Buck-Tick just dropped this promo on us. Yes, this is "Night of the Beasts," folks... and holy moly, is it ever beastly (#SexyBeastsBT)! Leave a comment starting with the phrase "I'm not a furry but..." if watching this made you feel breathless and uncomfortably titillated.


P.S. What happened to embedding videos, YouTube? Has it become impossible or are we just no longer tech savvy enough to know how to do it? Someone, pleez halp!


Radio Free Buck-Tickistan

Those of you who are members of Fish Tank may have been surprised on your lunch break by a news email with a very special announcement: the Trojan Dinosaur that is Buck-Tick's management will finally, at long last, be putting most (not all!) of the band's discography up on the music streaming subscription services Spotify, Apple Music, LINE Music, and Amazon Music Unlimited. For links to the Buck-Tick related pages for each individual service, go to the announcement page on Buck-Tick's official site, here. Nope, it's not free. But at least it's giving Buck-Tick some more general exposure. Some of the songs will also be available for digital purchase. However, not all the songs may appear on all the streaming services. For details, we suppose you have to look at the pages of each individual service.

There's no word on whether the services extend internationally or not, so Blog-Tickers, please test it out and let us know! And if the B-T streaming doesn't extend internationally, please spam the fuck out of the Fish Tank customer service department and demand international service, like we have been suggesting in the public announcement here on Blog-Tick since summer of 2017.

Officially, this whole streaming service thing is being launched as part of the hype surrounding the release of the No. 0 live DVD next week - the first thing you can listen to if you join the streaming services is the live audio from the Tour No. 0 extra special additional show that was held at Tokyo International Forum Hall A on July 26th, 2018. We had the pleasure of attending this show in person, and we can attest that it was an excellent show and that Tokyo International Forum Hall A has excellent acoustics, so this is surely a live album worth listening to. 

But seriously. Buck-Tick should have been on all these music streaming services for years already - streaming appears to be the future of music, and making your music available on streaming services gives a much wider audience easy access that they didn't have before. It's a great way of making new fans! And maybe the Trojan Dinosaur that is Buck-Tick's management don't care about making new fans, but they really should. All it takes is a glance from the stage into the audience at any Buck-Tick show to see the disproportionately large number of dolorous ladies with pissy prissy pouts on their faces, standing rigidly, looking like being at a Buck-Tick show is the worst kind of punishment  (until Mr. Sakurai flips his skirt and they all shriek like banshees and claw at the air, that is). Where are all those people who danced under the sun with smiles on their faces at Mona Lisa Overdrive Xanadu? How can we get them back? Streaming services seems like a good start. (The anime theme strategy is good, too.)

We'd laugh about how funny it is that Fish Tank is advertising Buck-Tick streaming services to fan club members... after all, if you're in the fan club, doesn't that mean you have all the music already?... but 21 albums and 36 singles is a hell of a lot of music to listen to, let alone buy on CD. How was it for you, Blog-Tickers? Have you listened to Buck-Tick's entire discography? How long did it take you? How many Buck-Tick CDs do you own? Please discuss in the comments.


On another note, the Buck-Tick official website has announced some weird bonus extras that will be awarded to people who purchase the limited editions of Rondo/Kemono-tachi no Yoru from various shops...

Tower Records: an A5 sized clear file folder
HMV: a B2 sized poster (that's a BIG poster, wowee)
Rakuten Books: a pocket mirror
Tsutaya, Amazon, etc.: a sticker

If y'all want to order the single through us, shoot us an email. 


News From the Woebegone

Hello, Blog-Tickers! How've you been faring without us? Have Discord, social media and Google Translate rendered us obsolete, or are our B-T besotted shouts into the void still welcomed by a few distant ears?

The fact is, we don't care if we're obsolete. We're going to start blogging again like it's still 2009... because this year, our very own Blog-Tick Phenomenon will be celebrating its TENTH birthday (count 'em, one two three four five six seven eight nine TEN birthdays, kiddos!) and there is far too much going on in Buck-Tickistan for us to remain silent any longer. 

And if you are still out there listening, we thank you for your patience with our silence. It's been a long season in hell for us, and we're still living in the lingering shadow of our malingering malicious malady, so getting back into the normal swing of things is taking some time.

Anyhow, without further ado, the news from the woebegone!


1. Dirty Talk Tomcat Roleplay

First, the old news: Mr. Sakurai's debut as a voice actor! And what role did he play, you ask? Why, a cat, of course! The animated film, "Neko Kikaku" ("Cat Plan"), was conceived and designed in Aichi prefecture using experimental animation techniques and a cast of Aichi-based voice actors. It was first screened in the fall of 2018 in Aichi prefecture, and was then brought to select theaters in Tokyo and Osaka in January 2019. Due to our illness, we were unable to go see it for ourselves in the theater, so if any of y'all can point us in the direction of where to watch it after the fact, point away. Mr. Sakurai doesn't play a lead character, but we're sure even without having seen it that he stole whatever scenes he's in.

When asked about the film for the Fish Tank newsletter, Mr. Sakurai said, "For this job, I already knew it was a cat, so I thought it sounded interesting. A cat? I asked, but they told me 'it's a voice role,' and somehow I thought that was too bad (laughs). But it was a good time." 

As of February, Sakurai stated that he had not yet seen the film... but the Fish Tank interviewer had, and confessed that hearing Sakurai's voice coming out of an animated cat's mouth gave her a "shiver of pleasure." Doubtless some of you have also seen the film, so please feel free to tell us what you think. Were there any shivers of pleasure involved? Post in the comments below.


2. The Beast with the Rocks in His Soul

The second bit of old news is that Buck-Tick will be mounting a two-day concert series at the Makuhari Messe convention center on May 25th and 26th, with the cryptic title "Rokusu Sorusu no Kemono-tachi," which we're pretty sure translates to "Rocks Your Socks Like a Beast"... whoops, that was supposed to be "Rock the Soul of a Beast"... whoops, I mean, "Lock Stock and Bestiary"... whoops, what we actually meant was "Ruckus Suck Us Beastie Baes"!

Oh, wait. Mr. Imai resolved the perplexing question of whatever the fuck the katakana "Rokusu Sorusu" were supposed to mean, you say? He drew it in the Fish Tank newsletter, you say? It was really supposed to be "Locus Solus Bestia," you say? Ahhh... now that makes more sense!

"Locus Solus," which is Latin for "unique location," is the title of a novel published in 1914 by French author Raymond Roussel. The plotline revolves around a brilliant inventor demonstrating his mad science creations. The novel has been translated into numerous languages, including Japanese, and in addition to inspiring the title of a short-lived 1960's American experimental literary journal and a 1983 John Zorn album, it was also the inspiration for an episode in Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex Season 2. In short, it's got "shit Imai loves" written all over it in grease pencil. 

As for where the beasts come from, if you've spent some time on Not Greatest Site, you've probably noticed that Sakurai loves the words "kemono" and "kedamono" (both mean "beast"), and he's used them in numerous songs, from the eponymous "Beast" to "Kalavinka" to The Mortal's "Grotesque." More recent, and probably more relevant, are the uses of "kedamono" in the lyrics to "Septem Peccata Mortalia" and, of course, "Gustave." 

In addition to the lyrical references, the Buck-Tick members have been pictured as various animals on various sets of tour goods - they were portrayed as pandas on the 2014 Anarchy Budoukan goods, as crows on the DIQ 2015 goods, and as cats on the goods for the No. 0 Guernican Moon tour. Plus, Yutaka's got Serious Bear, Toll's got his Pussyhawk character, Hide has been impersonating a fox during the band's live performances of "Gustave" (like the foxy dude he is! #sexybeasthide), Imai has the murderous Teddy Scissorhands bear who's out to murder Serious Bear, while Mr. Sakurai is the most consummate Cat in the Hat since "The Cat in the Hat." 

All in all, bestiality is something the Buck-Tick members do well. NO! We meant that to be, "beastliness is something the Buck-Tick members do well"... wait, fuck. That's no good either. Our blogging skills are getting rusty and the meds are making us lose our memory! What was the phrase we were searching for? 

Oh, yeah: the Buck-Tick members are five sexy Sexy Beasts. Not that you'll be able to see them at Makuhari Messe, which is the size of a jumbo jet hangar. But no matter! No matter how far from the stage your seat is, the beauty of a live show is that you can always cheer loud enough to make up for it... that is, until some sourpuss fangirl mama whirls around to shush you, filthy gaijin, for having the chutzpah to be nakedly, brazenly having fun in public. (If this happens to you, we recommend you respond with that quote from "Septem Peccata Mortalia": "gomen baby, gaman dekinai yo, kedamono da mon! - I'm sorry baby, seems I can't hold it in, cause I'm a beast!")

Beasts to the beasts in Buck-Tickistan!

Anyhow, tickets for these shows are currently on sale for 9500 yen per day, plus fees. If you'd like our help with getting tickets, just shoot us an email. We're back open for business as of right now.


3. Rondo and Night of the Beasts

If you wondered, back at the end of last year when Buck-Tick announced the Locus Solus shows, if the title of the shows would tie in with a future Buck-Tick release, you wondered correctly. Buck-Tick will be releasing a new double A-side single, "Kemono-tachi no Yoru/Rondo" on May 22nd. This will be their 37th single, can you believe it? Not only that, but "Rondo" was written specifically as the ending theme for the children's Sunday morning anime series "Ge ge ge no Kitaro," so you'll be able to see it there first. Next generation of Buck-Tick fans, ahoy! The fun starts now! Imai says that both the songs are extra catchy up-tempo numbers, and Sakurai told Fish Tank that "Rondo" is a typical Buck-Tick style dark fairytale, but rated PG, in consideration for the youthful audience. 

In addition to the two A-side tracks, the single will include a version of "Kemono-tachi no Yoru" ("Night of the Beasts") rearranged by electronic music artist and longtime Buck-Tick collaborator Cube Juice. The limited editions will include a DVD of the music video (videos?) for at least one of the songs, inside special packaging. The limited edition with BluRay will cost 2480 yen plus tax, the limited edition with DVD will cost 1980 plus tax, and the regular edition (without the music videos) will cost 1200 yen plus tax. If you'd like our help in ordering any of these from Tower Records to get the inevitable bonus items, just shoot us an email. 

The jacket art has just been released, and wow is it ever "Alica Auaa in post-apocalyptic video game wonderland"! (Fun fact: Cayce once drank tequila shots with the designer of Alice Auaa and picked his brains about his inspiration - he told us it was Depeche Mode.)

 We haven't seen word on whether this single will be available on international iTunes, etc., but since it seems that Buck-Tick's recent releases have been, that it stands to reason that this one will be, too.


4. Tower Records Wants to Fatten You Up So You'll Fit in Better

Japanese fangirls will be the first to tell you that here in Japan, the nail that sticks out will get hammered in (or at least trash-talked on 2channel)... and the B-T fan who's too skinny will get fattened up! But don't blame the fangirls for this plan. This one is all on the Tower Records, which will be hosting a new Buck-Tick theme event from May 16th to June 2nd at the Tower Records Cafe locations in Harajuku, Tokyo, and Umeda, Osaka. No word yet on what the special food and drinks will be, but as before, they will be designed in the image of Buck-Tick songs, and/or suggested by the band members (for the drink selections). 

So, while we're waiting, anyone wanna take some guesses? How about "Igniter" brandy pudding flambe? Or what about the "Salome" head on a platter? (It looks remarkably like a human head but in fact, it's made entirely of vegan veggie sausage, so all you virtuous eaters can rest easy!) Ooh ooh I know! What about the "Gustave" special, produced by Sakurai - it's a WHOLE TIN OF WET FOOD, tuna flavored (your favorite! Go on, meow at me! Paw my legs! You'd better be cute enough to justify waking me up at 5AM, or you're not eating!) 

No way to be sure until the menu is officially announced, but we're confident that the predictions we made here will come true.


5. Watch the No. 0 Live DVD on the Big Screen!

If you love being in a crowd of Buck-Tick fans so much that you'd be happy to stand in a crowd of them even when Hoshino Hidehiko isn't standing live in the sweaty flesh onstage in front of you wearing a really low-cut tank top, there are some more tickets on sale for special screenings of the forthcoming No. 0 live DVD, which will be held at select theaters around the country on April 18th at 7PM.  For those of you currently in Japan who didn't have the opportunity to attend the No. 0 hall tour final held at Kokusai Forum on July 26th of last year, these screenings might be the perfect opportunity to catch up on what you missed: being so far from the stage that you have no choice but to watch the band members on the big screen, and being in a whole theater full of grown-ass women who would in a heartbeat spend every penny they earn to traverse the length and breadth of their country just to catch a glimpse up the skirt of a 53-year-old man. 

No band members will be present at the screenings, but the tickets cost a whole 2500 yen anyway, because this was the only show on the sprawling No. 0 tour in which the Purple Cat's Eye of Sauron appeared, and as such, the screening of this film is a historical event and must be priced to match. Anyhow, interested parties can view the Ticket Pia page here. If you'd like our help with buying tickets, or with buying the DVD, just shoot us an email. (Real talk - we were there, and it was a beautiful concert. But the DVD is probably a better investment than the screening, since you can watch the DVD as many times as you like, and pause it when you get to the best bits, like the Purple Cat's Eye of Sauron.)


6. More Metal than Ironman

Last but certainly not least, we'd like to wish a happy belated birthday to dear Mr. Sakurai, who has just assured the fanbase in the most recent issue of the Fish Tank newsletter that he's been given a provisional clean bill of health by his doctor as of the end of February. When asked why he made the choice to continue with performing the encores rather than stop the show early and go to the hospital, Mr. Sakurai replied that if he hadn't finished the show, he "would have regretted it."

The Fish Tank interviewer continues with a blow-by-blow account from Mr. Sakurai on just exactly what happened that woeful night at Zepp DiverCity, which goes something like this:

Happy birthday from us, dude. We've been plenty sick, but YOU were sick as fuck. If abruptly starting to bleed inside while you're onstage in the middle of performing then powering through the rest of the show by the brute force of your determination to live life with no regrets isn't the most metal thing any rock star has ever done, then it's definitely in the top five. 

And 53 is the perfect age at which to start painting your nails red.