All right, enough with the metaphysics for now. What y'all really want to know is, what's going on in Buck-Tickistan? Are they under lockdown? Are they under military quarantine? Are there plague doctors with carts going around to collect bodies like in Monty Python and the Holy Grail? And is Imai secretly one of those plague doctors?
Well... not exactly. The Anarchic Republic of Buck-Tickistan has sealed its borders for the moment, and has reported zero cases of the virus to date. In a controversial recent report, Buck-Tickistani gossip tabloid The Hisashi Inquirer broke the news that all members of the Royal Court of Buck-Tickistan are apparently immune to the virus, due to the presence of a mysterious DNA sequence which the Inquirer speculates may be extraterrestrial in origin. The exact functions of this DNA are not currently known, but it appears to code for an entheogenic hormone dubbed DMT (Dank Musical Talent), which not only confers apparent immunity to coronavirus and the eponymous dank music talent, but also facilitates the ability to expand one's consciousness into astral realms in search of esoteric inspiration. As to why Buck-Tickistan has a royal court despite being an Anarchic Republic... the Royal Court styles themselves that way because they really like living in gothic castles full of ornate mirrors and chandeliers. And they have lots of admirers and really nice wardrobes, like Kate Middleton.
In any case, the Buck-Tick members are fine. Staying home. Practicing new ways to use lipstick and hair dye, making banana juice cocktails, and working on the new album from home. This album has been going through some growing pains, and Mr. Sakurai reports that the pains are mostly due to Mr. Imai, but who knows. They say the new album will be the birth of a brand new Buck-Tick, and we have no reason to doubt them - they have always outdone themselves in the past. But if they're attempting to outdo a masterpiece like No. 0, growing pains aren't exactly surprising. If the album is released on schedule, it will be released this summer... but given the circumstances, don't bank on it. We're betting fall.
And yeah. The Fish Tanker's Only 2020 tour that was scheduled to begin on May 23rd has been postponed indefinitely, which is pretty much a given considering the circumstances. A concert hall pit squashed cheek by jowl with sweaty fangirls is about as socially un-distant as it's possible to get. Also, while Japan isn't on lockdown like some places, the government has ordered a state of emergency, and while essential businesses are still up and running, the clubs, concerts, and parties have all been canceled for the time being.
The band members have stated that they will wait and see about when to reschedule the tour dates, in order to make sure that they can safely hold the tour. We don't doubt that the tour will be rescheduled if possible, but even if the pandemic dies down soon and everything reopens quickly (dubious, considering that Japan's state of emergency is has been extended until the end of May), Buck-Tick have an album tour scheduled for fall, and given the amount of money and hassle involved in cancelling or rescheduling what is bound to be a national tour of 20 or more stops, it seems likely that they'll proceed with the album tour if at all possible, which means that the Fish Tanker's Only tour will have to come later - that is to say, winter 2021 at the earliest. But given that all bands have had to reschedule their tours and everything's up in the air now, there's bound to be a scramble for venue bookings, so it's possible that the FT Only 2020 tour might have to wait till spring 2021, or even fall - if the Olympics happen in 2021, summer is unlikely. However, nobody knows what will happen at this point.
Here are the messages from the band members regarding the cancellation of the tour:
Sakurai: How are you doing? Thank you as always. We know you were looking forward to our live house tour, but unfortunately, it has been postponed. However, this will help prevent the fans, staff members, and band members from being infected, so honestly, we're also relieved.
First, I assume that there are at least a few health care workers among our fans. I would like to extend my respect to you who are working on the front lines to prevent further spread of the virus. My applause to you.
Starting in April, we suspended recording, but the band members are doing what they can from home. Please, all of you, take care of yourselves. And to protect your beloved families, friends, lovers, and cats, stay home! The band members and the staff thank you for your help and cooperation.
The rain will stop. The cherry blossoms will bloom. We will meet again. For sure. Until then, stay healthy.
Imai: We're making cool songs, so you've got a lot to look forward to ~~♪
I can't wait to have a blast with you at a live show ~~♪ PEACE!
Hide: Let's meet again for sure, with smiles on our faces!
Yutaka: The Fish Tanker's and Love & Media Portable Only lives have been postponed. We would like to postpone the tour until the problem of the novel coronavirus is solved, and we can safely enjoy playing live with you all, so just wait until then, okay?
Toll: Unfortunately, due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, we've postponed the Fish Tanker's and Love & Media Portable lives, for the safety of the fans. However, we promise that the next time we meet, we'll show you a powerful new version of Buck-Tick, so please wait for a bit. Thanks for supporting us!
Buck-Tick / Drums
Yeah, it's old news now, and we apologize not reporting on it in a more timely fashion (we will try to get back on top of the news going forward). To make up for the postponed tour, Buck-Tick's YouTube channel is holding a weekly event called Buck-Tick Saturday Live Streaming. Every Saturday until June 13th, at 9PM Japan time, Buck-Tick's YouTube channel will stream one of Buck-Tick's concert videos. All the concerts to be streamed have already been released on DVD, but this is a nice opportunity for those of you who don't own the DVDs, and those of you who'd like to join in a socially distant international internet Buck-Tickathon. The first stream, held on May 2nd, was the Sabbat concert from 1989, while the second stream, held on May 9th, was the 1992 Climax Together. The upcoming streams are as follows:
May 16th: Atom Miraiha No. 9 Tour Final (December 29th, 2016)
May 23rd: The Parade 30th Anniversary ~High Side~ (September 24th, 2017)
May 30th: The Day in Question 2017 Day 2 (December 29th, 2017)
June 6th: Tour No. 0 at Kokusai Forum Hall A (July 26th, 2018)
June 13th: Locus Solus Bestia Day 2 (May 26th, 2019)
Nico Video also held a Buck-Tick live stream event over Japan's Golden Week holidays, featuring reruns of Buck-Tick concerts which were originally broadcast live on Nico Video. However, since this event is already over, it seems pointless to report on it (sorry for not staying on top of the game.)
In addition to Buck-Tick's Fish Tank tour being postponed, three concerts at which the Higuchi brothers were scheduled to appear as guests were also postponed. Yutaka was scheduled to perform on February 29th at Akasaka Blitz, at a show honoring deceased actor Harada Yoshio, while Toll and Yutaka both were scheduled to perform on March 3rd at Shimokitazawa Garden, at a show celebrating the 50th birthday of Harada Kenta, who has played guitar and done vocals for Toll's band Yagami Toll & Blue Sky. Toll was also scheduled to perform at Garden on April 28th, at a show celebrating the birthday of Kaname, who has played bass and done vocals for Yagami Toll & Blue Sky. All the shows have been postponed indefinitely pending further pandemical developments.
Another Buck-Tick endeavor which has been postponed due to the pandemic is Buck-Tick's collaboration with their hometown of Fujioka, Gunma prefecture. For those of you who don't already know, the Buck-Tick members all grew up in the same small town: Fujioka, a short but very infrequent train ride away from Takasaki, one of Gunma's only real cities. Fujioka is so rural that the train station is nothing but a small shack in the middle of the farm fields, so naturally, Buck-Tick are massive hometown celebrities - Fujioka cab drivers even make a certain amount of money off fans who visit Fujioka for the "Buck-Tick tour" of spots the band members frequented when they were young. Now, Fujioka has decided to literally cement Buck-Tick's local fame by installing a cement block with the band members' hand prints, as well as at least one Buck-Tick themed manhole cover, and a Buck-Tick commemorative flower bed in front of Fujioka High School (now Fujioka City General Learning Center), the band members' alma mater.
In tandem with this, there's going to be a Buck-Tick billboard in front of Fujioka station (for a limited time only), and a screening of Buck-Tick: The Movie in the large hall at Mikabo Miraikan, a municipal community center.
Who knows when it will happen, now, but let's focus on the positive here: Buck-Tick's hometown is commemorating the band! Official hometown heroes in perpetuity! That's awesome! More fun things to visit next time you make a trek to Imai Shoten. (For those of you who don't know, Imai Shoten is the Imai family business, and the place where the idea for the band was born. They welcome fan visits. Which reminds us, we never posted that story about our visit to Imai Shoten... stay tuned!)
Postponed, postponed, postponed... this spring has nothing but a series of sad trombones, it seems. But what's the best thing to keep yourself amused and the economy going while remaining socially distance? Shopping for lounge clothes online, of course! And Imai Hisashi has an answer for you on that one. Music-themed apparel brand Amplifier, which previously released various t-shirts featuring photos of Mr. Imai has released a brand new Imai Hisashi hoodie, for the low, low price of only 14,800 yen, excluding tax. So if you're one of those people who still has a job, here's a new candidate for your "being a couch potato is now patriotic" lockdown life wardrobe. All the better if you wear this hoodie without putting on any pants.
But the REAL treasure, friends, is THIS:
What is this, you ask? Why, it's a 24 centimeter tall 10,000 yen collectible vinyl Imai Hisashi doll, and a very terrifying yellow eyeless Imai Hisashi head, to be released in June (probably). What do you think, folks? In a cage fight between ImaiDoll and Sakurai Sphinx Sexmonster Fucky Lucky Cat, who would win? Place your bets in the comments below.
(Sakurai Sphinx Sexmonster Fucky Lucky Cat: "Remember me?" *wink*)
...But that's not all! Gain Tokyo, a new clothing brand about which next to nothing is known at the moment, has announced that they will be releasing a t-shirt featuring an illustration of the Buck-Tick members by cult rock manga artist hero Kamijo Atsushi, author of the manga To-y and Sex. Kamijo's work has been beloved since the 80's by rock and alternative types in Japan, yet oddly, it never seems to have made its way overseas. But if anyone wants to pay us to translate it, we gladly will. Kamijo's art is gorgeous, and well suited to Buck-Tickistan, as we can see:
(This is supposedly not a drawing of Mr. Sakurai, but of the main character from the manga Youkai Hunter. And Imai didn't steal the title of Mona Lisa Overdrive from the 1988 novel by William Gibson.)
For further information, follow Gain Tokyo on Twitter.
Once again, thank y'all for bearing with us and our sporadic blogging. We hope to post more content soon. In the meantime, keep enjoying life. There's no time like the present to turn off the news, turn up the Buck-Tick, and dance without pants!