The National Tour that Wasn't, and other news

Back on September 21st, 2000, the 13th anniversary of Buck-Tick's major debut, the band embarked on a tour entitled "Phantom Tour," to promote the album One Life, One Death, which had been released the previous day. They followed this eight-stop tour with a second seven-stop tour, entitled "Other Phantom Tour." If they only knew what lay in store... little could they have anticipated, back then, that the actual phantom tour wouldn't arrive for another 20 years.

Much as we had a feeling that something like this would happen, that doesn't really make it any less of a letdown. Buck-Tick will not be canceling their fall 2020 Abracadabra tour - they'll be converting it into an actual phantom tour, in which the band themselves will not appear onstage. Instead, some sort of concert film will be screened at each of the venues at which the band were to have played, and each screening will be held twice at each venue (or most of them at any rate) - an afternoon session and an evening session - due to the fact that the government's social distancing requirements mandate that venues operate at no more than 50% capacity. Fans will be seated in every other seat, so there will be an open seat between each person, and kids, much as we may have longed to not be smooshed up against the flabby upper arms of some very stinky fangirl shrieking her head off at Acchan-chan in a faux baby voice (unfortunately a real and true occurrence)... if we had to choose stinky screaming fangirls or post-apocalyptic phantom Buck-Tick, we would brave the fangirls. How times change!

Then again, as far as the fangirls go, this is exactly what they wanted. They've been on a campaign for years to attack and shame anyone at the shows who dares to look like they're having fun. Someone dancing too much? Shame them on 2channel. Two guys drinking beer and screaming "Buck-Tick are the BEST!" from the back of Pacifico Yokohama? Go and aggressively shush them up. The trend among the fangirls over the years has been strictly NO dancing, NO cheering, and especially NO SMILING. So we've no doubt they're overjoyed that the rules for the Abracadabra Plague Phantom Tour are as follows:

- Wear a mask so as to keep your offensive, shameful, and era-inappropriate smile well hidden.

- Disinfect your feet on the mat at the door so that if you should dance, you won't give the venue floor coronavirus while doing it. (Yes, they are having fans disinfect their feet before entering the venues. Why? Are my Acchan cosplay Christian Louboutins going to get the virus, too??)

- Register with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's contact-tracing app so that if you dance, the government can publicly shame you about it.

- Submit your personal information, and the personal information of your companions, to masked, gloved, face-shielded Plague Storm Trooper venue staff or be denied entry to the venue. 

- No cheering in loud voices because even though you're wearing a mask, cheering spreads coronavirus. So do joy and happiness.

"Yaaaaaaaay!" cheered all the fangirls (soto voce, so they don't spread coronavirus). "No more pesky people enjoying themselves! Virtual Acchan belongs to us at last!" For, after all, on-screen tour promises many more close-up shots of garters than a man on a stage 30 rows of seats away from you when you're stuck in the back of the venue. It's a win-win-win!

In fact, there many more rules and warnings than those we've listed above - the above was just a sample. Yet amid all that fine print, they neglected to tell us what we really want to know: is it going to be the same movie at every single stop of the tour, or are they going to change the content at some point? The reason many of us attend multiple shows is because they're different every time. While there definitely a lot of Buck-Tick fangirls who would pay 4500 yen per ticket to see the same Buck-Tick movie ten times, some of us are short on cash and short on patience with this whole ludicrous charade. Tell us, Buck-Tick's management? Is it actually worth it for us to attend this more than once, or can we just go to Kokusai Forum, feel creeped out by the misery of it all, see closeup shots of Acchan's garter belt on a giant movie screen, call it an anticlimax together, and go home? Are you going to do something to make it worth it? Holograms? Live action Rocky Horror actors? A baseball pitching robot repurposed to shoot guitar picks and water bottles at the crowd? (Just kidding, guitar picks spread coronavirus). Robots that play Imai's guitar and forget the lyrics? A rain machine that rains on the audience instead of the stage, just to rain on our parade a little more than this year already has?

On the bright side, at least y'all overseas fans, who are currently barred from entering the country, don't have to feel bad that you're missing out. Of course they'll release the thing to DVD. It's been a DVD from the very beginning (unless it's a collection of holographic Rocky Horror actors and guitar-pick spitting baseball machines). The only difference will be not hearing the music over the venue sound equipment, which, given that Pacifico Yokohama has the worst sound of any music video we've ever visited, might be a bonus, if you have a nice sound system in your very socially distant home.

Of course, the band members are almost certainly at least as disappointed about this as the fans. Touring musicians is what they are by profession, but also by the divine calling of their souls. Live performance is where they really shine - you haven't truly heard them until you've heard them play live. When they're in top form, their live shows are overwhelming, theatrical, transcendental experiences. To sit at home every weekend, thinking, "tonight we were supposed to be playing in Hiroshima... tonight we were supposed to be playing in Sapporo..." how must that feel? At least the fans have somewhere to go and something to do, even if they're not allowed to have any fun while doing it.

It also certainly seems silly that with all this concern over the virus, they're still having fans congregate in large groups in one place. If the band members won't appear on the stage, why bother? Money, kids. The thing that's been fucking up absolutely everything since it was invented. They have to make money on this tour somehow. They can't reschedule it, not only because a tour of this scale has to be scheduled more than a year in advance, but also because of the uncertainty of the virus situation. Touring is where they make most of their money, and it's far from just the band members themselves - it's the tour promoters, the whole staff team, and the venue staff, too - nobody wants to lose their jobs and go bankrupt. Buck-Tick's tickets are already hard enough to get even for venues operating at full capacity. No doubt the band members decided that playing for crowds half as big as usual would be too unfair to everyone who would surely miss out, and it's not possible for them to play two back-to-back shows per day over the course of an entire national tour. So they've tried to compromise. We're certain it wasn't their idea or their preference, but it is what it is.

At the same time, they could still do a live stream that the overseas fans could watch. Wouldn't you love to see them do that? Maybe if y'all write to the management and suggest it, they'll do it. After all, they've taken our suggestions before.

It seems sort of pointless to post the tour dates since most of y'all are not in Japan and are legally barred from attending, but we'll do it anyway, just for posterity's sake. Look how many of them there are! Scroll fast and try not to cry.


2020.9.26 (Sat) Tokyo: Tachikawa Stage Garden
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.3 (Sat) Fukuoka: Fukuoka Sun Palace Hotel & Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.4 (Sun) Hiroshima: Hiroshima Ueno Gakuen Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.9 (Fri) Gunma: Takasaki Arts Theater, Large Theater
Early Show: Open 11:30 / Start 12:30
Late Show: Open 17:30 / Start 18:30

2020.10.11 (Sun) Tochigi: Utsunomiya Cultural Hall, Large Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.18 (Sun) Shizuoka: Shizuoka Municipal Cultural Hall, Large Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.24 (Sat) Kanagawa: Pacifico Yokohama National Large Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.10.25 (Sun) Tokyo: Showa Women's University Hitomi Memorial Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

(Whaaaat... Buck-Tick were going to perform live at a women's university, and we're missing it!?!? Fuck you, coronavirus! You've ruined our chance to see Buck-Tick dropping some college-student panties!)

2020.10.31 (Sat) Miyagi: Sendai Sun Plaza Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.1 (Sun) Tokyo: LINE CUBE Shibuya (Shibuya Kokaido)
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.3 (Tue/National Holiday)
Kyoto: Rohm Theater Kyoto (Kyoto Kaikan) Main Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.7 (Sat)
Aichi: Nagoya Lots of Kanji Forest Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.8 (Sun) Hyogo: Kobe International Hall, International Katakana Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.12 (Thu) Satiama: Omiya Sonic City, Large Hall

Open 17:30 / Start 18:30

2020.11.21 (Sat) Okayama: Kurashiki Municipal Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.22 (Sun) Kagawa: Sanport Hall Takamatsu, Large Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.27 (Fri) Tokyo: Nakano Sun Plaza Hall
Early Show: Open 12:30 / Start 13:30
Late Show: Open 17:30 / Start 18:30

2020.11.28 (Sat) Tokyo: Nakano Sun Plaza Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.11.29 (Sun) Chiba: Chiba Prefecture Cultural Hall, Large Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.12.4 (Fri) 
Hokkado: Sapporo Municipal Education & Culture Hall, Large Hall
Open 17:30 / Start 18:30

2020.12.6 (Sun) Tokyo: Tokyo Kokusai Forum Hall A
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.12.11 (Fri)
Nagano: Hokuto Cultural Hall, Medium Hall (Nagano Prefecture Citizens' Cultural Hall)

Open 17:30 / Start 18:30

2020.12.12 (Sat) Ishikawa: Honda no Mori Hall
Early Show: Open 12:00 / Start 13:00
Late Show: Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.12.19 (Sat) Osaka: GranCube Osaka, Main Hall
Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.12.20 (Sun)
 Osaka: GranCube Osaka, Main Hall
Open 17:00 / Start 18:00

2020.12.26 (Sat) 
Osaka: GranCube Osaka, Main Hall
Open 17:00 / Start 18:00


What about the Budoukan you ask? For now, let's not think about it.

Fanclub tickets for this tour are on sale, and will remain on sale until Tuesday, August 18th, at 2PM, Japan time. Tickets cost 4500 yen apiece, which is really a whole lot for not seeing a band and not cheering while breathing through a mask for two hours in a hall half-full of fangirls wearing smugly disinfected shoes. But Victor needs to wring some money out of their 33-year-old cash cow somehow. General ticket sales start on Saturday, September 12th, at 10AM Japan time.


In other news, which we should have posted earlier but totally forgot about in the flurry of many announcements in Buck-Tickistan, Buck-Tick will be releasing the long-lost, long-awaited Fish Tanker's Only 2011 to DVD and BluRay. To our abiding chagrin, this is not the show at which Mr. Sakurai displayed his erect hair and "free man in tights" spirit to the world, it's the show that was rescheduled due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and held at Zepp Tokyo on December 9th, 2011. However, we really had fun on this tour and it had been a source of enduring disappointment to us that they never saw fit to release it. Now they need money, so here it comes. What else are they sitting on? The Six/Nine tour? That show where Buck-Tick opened for Marilyn Manson at Shinkiba Studio Coast? The Cosmic Dreamer show where Mr. Sakurai threw a hissy fit, threw the microphone, and stomped off the stage in a huff? Where's that At the Night Side blooper-reel spirit? Please, guys. More back catalog video.

As usual, the release comes in both limited and regular versions. The limited edition includes a live CD, booklet of photos from the tour, and special packaging. The prices for the various editions are as follows:

Limited Edition BluRay: 13200 yen, including tax
Limited Edition DVD: 12100 yen, including tax
Regular Edition BluRay: 6600 yen, including tax
Regular Edition DVD: 5500 yen, including tax

Fan club members can reserve the limited edition versions up through September 30th. The video will be released some time in early December. Those of you not in the fan club who are interested in purchasing this release, shoot us an email.

The track list is as follows:

1. Empty Girl
2. ...In Heaven...
3. Gekka Reijin
3. Razzle Dazzle
5. Kyouki na Deadheat
6. Mugen
7. Django!!!
8. Tango Swanka
9. Hamushi no You ni
10. Love Letter
11. Madman Blues
12. Voo Doo
13. Dokudanjou Beauty
14. Baby, I want you
15. Memento Mori

~en. 1
16. Kuchizuke
17. Yougetsu

~en. 2
18. Zekkai
19. Tenshi wa Dare da

~en. 3
20. Alice in Wonder Underground
21. Rendezvous

This is one of the only shows at which the band ever played "Voo Doo" live, and the last time they ever performed "Yougetsu" (really wish they'd revive that one). "Empty Girl" and "Madman Blues" aren't also songs they play every day, so our verdict is, very worth it! Plus you get to see Imai in an ugly red plastic jacket. If our memory serves us correctly.


And last but not least, the music video for "Moonlight Escape" has been posted in its entirety on YouTube. Wow, what is this? Giving us the whole music video for free in advance of the release, instead of some measly 30-second clip that shows the part of the song that sounds the worst when taken out of context!? It's almost like we're back to the days of MTV, or something! We're not going to take a crack at translating the lyrics or analyzing the video till we have the lyric booklet in our hands, so you'll have to wait two weeks for that. But who cares what the lyrics are about when you get to see... Acchan-chan with long hair! Isn't this the only reason anybody likes the band? Isn't this what y'all have been waiting for since he was 28 years old and y'all were either disembodied souls floating in the cosmos waiting to be conceived into a willing uterus, or entirely unaware of Buck-Tick's existence? Kyaaaaaa! Yeeeeek! Did you say "willing uterus"? The uterus is willing and the soul is yeeeeeeek! (Is the internet broken yet? Is it broken? Please tell us it's broken. No more Zoom calls, and it's all Acchan-chan's fault. You have nobody but him to blame.)



FT 096 - Interview with Sakurai Atsushi

FT: What did you do during the stay-at-home period?

Sakurai: I relaxed. Read books, watched films. That kind of thing.

FT: Did you still have any lyrics left to write?

Sakurai: I was mostly finished with writing lyrics, but the more time I had, I was looking at my computer every day thinking, that's not it, neither is this. Every day I kept going over them. I had too much time on my hands, so I kept kneading them.

FT: Is that so? This kind of event, where people around the world are having the same experience, doesn't happen often. What did you feel, and do you think it will have an impact on your future output?

Sakurai: What I feel right now is that novel coronavirus or whatever is happening, I don't want to let it interfere with my work. I don't like it when people adopt an excessively "nice" style of expression in order to make themselves look good. That's what I mean when I say I don't want to let it influence me. That might be part of why I was revising my lyrics every day. Like, hey, are you jumping on the bandwagon? I felt like I was quickly turning into a hypocrite, so maybe that's what I was revising. I will keep being myself (laughs).

FT: Buck-Tick were forced to postpone the fan club and mobile site members only tour that was scheduled for May. What did you think about that?

Sakurai: At first, we had the tour coming, so we thought we'd set that as a goal and try to finish recording by May. But in April, the state of emergency was declared, and we decided we would do what we could to protect people. It puts the staff members in a tough position with their jobs, but we don't want to put them in danger. The studio is an enclosed space. Health is more important than anything. That's why, at that time, we decided to go along with the rest of the world and stay at home. The event promoter was wondering till the last minute what to do about the concerts. But since it's a live house tour, they decided to postpone. I felt very relieved.

FT: It's too bad, but it protects the audience members.

Sakurai: Various live houses have been painted as villains due to infections at live houses, though it is too bad. We don't know the nature of the virus, so we have no choice but to calmly go along with this.

FT: In the midst of that, you brought up something fun, with the live streams of past Buck-Tick concerts.

Sakurai: The staff members came up with lots of ideas. I'm very happy and grateful that everyone can have so much fun even at a time when the band members can't do anything. We received many messages from fans saying, "we're so relieved you postponed the tour," or, "it doesn't matter if the album release is postponed, take care of yourselves." Those kind messages encouraged us.

FT: Now, you've resumed recording. How much work do you have left to do?

Sakurai: Anii still has to do drums for two or three songs, Imai's got a little more guitar work, and we've got vocals and backing vocals for four songs. In June, it's just Anii, Imai and me who have to work hard.

FT: I see. Now, I'd like to ask about the lead single, "Moonlight Escape." How did you get the inspiration for these lyrics?

Sakurai: This was a song I'd already written back before "Datenshi," when nobody even knew the word "corona." Some news I saw about child abuse deeply affected me. Like, children have no place to escape to. It's fine to say, stay positive and hang in there, but I think for some kids, that makes them feel pressured. So I wanted to say, "it's okay to escape." Escaping doesn't in any way mean you're a coward, if you're doing it to protect yourself. From there on, it's a question of how to live on your own. That was my image for these lyrics.

FT: I felt that they were lyrics that could be interpreted in many ways. The melody is bright, with a sense of being set free.

Sakurai: It may not be "positive," but my feeling is that if you're doing it to protect yourself, even escaping is a good thing. Maybe this is a heavy subject, but as you said just now, it's a liberation. I want to say, set yourself free. As a story, I'd like people to set themselves free in their heads, and get a sense of floating or levitating.

FT: This is just my personal impression, but even now that I'm an adult, I cry when I hear "Tsubasa wo Kudasai” [a famous Japanese folk-pop song], and "Moonlight Escape" hit me in the same sensitive spot.

Sakurai: I'm very happy to hear you say that. Now that you mention it, I see how there might be some similarity in narrative. I think we understand that there's no such thing as a world without sadness, but lyrics tell a story, so I hope that when people listen to the song, they feel better, even for just a moment.

FT: How did the vocals recording go?

Sakurai: I like the melody, so I tried to become the young boy who narrates the lyrics as much as possible, to try to be honest and pure.

FT: And then there's the b-side, "Kogoeru."

Sakurai: We just decided it. For this song, I didn't want to put any damper on my emotions. I wanted to listen to it and break loose as much as I could. I wanted to try for a razor-sharp edge, so sharp you don't even feel the pain.

FT: The words aren't just sharp, they're beautiful. There were some places where your choice of each word made me say "wow" out loud. Like, I think "unzari" ("fed up") isn't a phrase you could ever use in lyrics unless you were really feeling it to the bottom of your heart.

Sakurai: I listened to it and I thought, will this really work? But I went for it. I thought, there are very few words for a sense of giving up that are stronger than that one. I thought, I've found a good word here.

FT: This is a Hoshino song. What do you think of it?

Sakurai: It's Hide's royal style. Medium tempo, with a very beautiful melody, and a sense of narrative development.

FT: When you start writing the lyrics, does a story come to you? Or do keywords come to you?

Sakurai: It's a film. Even when I read books, I see a movie in my head. In the case of "Kogoeru," I saw a film of watching the darkness from a dark room, with the blurry reflection of myself in the window, and then worked slowly to put it into words.

FT: This time, were you able to write the lyrics smoothly without getting stuck?

Sakurai: It was like that for a fair number of songs. It's bad to agonize. It's best to decide, "this is it," then keep going without getting off track from that axis point. When branches split off here and there, I get confused and I don't know what it is that I want to say.

FT:  There's a song that hasn't got vocals yet. It's a very interesting song and I can't imagine your voice singing it. Is Imai going to sing some of the songs?

Sakurai: He's bursting to sing.

FT: Oh, is he? (laughs) You can't see the whole picture yet, but at this point, what's your impression of this new album?

Sakurai: It's not in its finished form yet, but I really like it. I like it even more than our previous album, No. 0.

FT: What about it do you like better?

Sakurai: I feel I spit it all out, and as far as the vocals go, maybe this is a little bit of an overstatement, but I really feel like I breathed my soul into them.

FT: I see. I feel that from all your recent work, but do you think you took it one level higher?

Sakurai: That's right. For the past couple albums, starting from Arui wa Anarchy, I guess. In Atom Miraiha No. 9 and No. 0, I feel I added a more intense flavor. I could say I feel more personally satisfied with my vocals and with the stories of the songs. This is just my personal feeling, though.

FT: Each song has so much individuality.

Sakurai: I worked hard on that.

FT: I'm more excited than ever to hear the completed album. Now, please give a message to everyone who is looking forward to the album release tour and your future activities.

Sakurai: The world this year looks completely different than it did last year, and I think holding concerts might be difficult. Everyone, please take care of yourselves. We don't know what form they will take yet, but we'd like to play concerts if we can. Music is all we [the band members] have, so it's all we can offer for you to enjoy. First, we'd like to get the album done, and go on tour. Everyone, stay healthy, and wait a bit.


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FT 096 - Interview with Imai Hisashi

FT: Recording was suspended for a period of time due to the novel coronavirus, but how far had you gotten in your work on the album up to that point?

Imai: About halfway, something like that. Not just with the guitar recording, but about half of all the work I had to do [for the album.]

FT: During the stay-at-home period, we saw that you uploaded a lot of delicious-looking things to your Instagram.

Imai: I thought, "this is how it's gonna be." With this kind of Instagram or blog, somehow, I know myself. That's why I thought, for now, it can't be anything else but food (laughs).

FT: You mean, food was all you had to enjoy?

Imai: I enjoy it, but also, as a topic to bring up on platforms like this. That's why I thought it would be pretty funny. I thought, "I'll try deliberately only posting food."

FT: We enjoyed your "soda-colored sky" photo.

Imai: I did that once loooong ago on my blog. That day, the sky was exactly the same color as a GariGari-kun [see pic below], so I thought, oh, this is perfect. It went really well the time I did it on my blog.

FT: We were most surprised by your collaboration with Hoshino Gen's "Let's Dance at Home."

Imai: My friend recommended it to me (laughs). When I was talking with my friend on Zoom, he said "this is what people are doing these days, what if you try it?" At that point I wasn't thinking about it too deeply, and I thought I should just go for it and do it really fast, but then I thought, if I'm going to do it at all, how should I do it? Lots of other people did it, too. But I didn't know how, so it was difficult. I asked a lot of questions to the staff members when I tried.

FT: Is that so? But, without this kind of opportunity, I doubt we'd have ever seen an Imai Hisashi-Hoshino Gen collaboration, so it was a special experience.

Imai: It was interesting. I had fun. 

FT: Also, Buck-Tick's fan club and mobile site members' only tour got postponed, but past live videos were streamed on YouTube and NicoVideo. You touched on this on your Instagram.

Imai: On Instagram, you get a direct reaction, so I thought it was funny.

FT: You got them just when people had just been posting comments like "I wonder if Imai is watching, too."

Imai: Yeah, that's right.

FT: The entertainment industry has been categorized as "non-essential, non-emergency," but during this time, a lot of artists were searching for ways of expressing themselves, such as live streaming. What did you feel during the stay-at-home period?

Imai: It was just before the full stay-at-home order was issued due to the coronavirus. I was just about finished with the last song for the album, but I got more and more angry, so I thought I'd write a song to refresh myself. So, I stopped working on the song I had been working on, and wrote this new song in about five minutes, and I like it quite a bit. This kind of situation has impacts on a lot of things, and even though I was determined not to feel stressed out, I thought that maybe some kind of feeling was putting pressure on me after all. I don't have a salaryman-type job, so even with the stay-at-home order, for me, it's the same as usual. I stopped going to the studio, but nothing changed about my life cycle at home. So at first, it was hard to really get it, it didn't really gel for me when people around me said they were on a break from work, but after a while, I thought, oh, yeah, I'm on a break now, too. It might sound weird to say I was optimistic, but I thought I'd like to use this chance to get a grip on a lot of things. When I think about how I learned a lot, I'd like that to be an optimistic thing... I guess that's how I feel about it.

FT: You mentioned this before when you talked about the refreshing song you wrote when you were angry, but did whatever it was you got a grip on have an impact on your songwriting?

Imai: When I write lyrics, those kind of lyrics just come out. Like, something about how somehow I feel a little gross. Lyric writing has always been the kind of thing where I feel a lot of things and then spit them out, so I'm sure that this time, I picked up on something somewhere and wrote it into the lyrics. I think it's been like that for me from the beginning. This time, I really understood how lyrics are me picking up feelings and writing them down.

FT: During the time when recording was suspended, did you look at the songs you'd already finished and think, I want to tweak this or that?

Imai: I did, but when we started recording again and I went back to the studio, I had a lot of things to think about. While I was hiding in my house, I didn't really feel like picking up any instruments and doing any work, it was more like, I'd have a thought and give it a try. I took it easy and that was a good thing.

FT: You said you were working on three songs after recording resumed.

Imai: As of now, we've got the drums for the three songs and all the demo vocals finished. Next, we've got Sakurai's vocals and backing vocals, and some parts where I'm not satisfied with my guitar part, so I'll be fixing those up. Also, Yoko-chan isn't even half done with his synth parts (laughs).

FT: Is that right?

Imai: You'll have to ask us more questions later.

FT: Okay (laughs). In advance of the album, "Moonlight Escape" and "Kogoeru" are going to be released as the lead single. When you released "Datenshi," you mentioned the keyword "negative space," but you also wrote "Moonlight Escape" during the same period, correct?

Imai: That's right. At first, I was going for catchy and poppy, thinking this would be the single, but then I thought, actually, let's make it "Datenshi." You could call this song simple, or you could say it doesn't have a lot of stuff piled on it. The intro starts gently, it's got a purity to it, it's a song that's made up of nothing but its core elements - those were my first thoughts.

FT: I see. What was your impression of the title and the lyrics when you got them?

Imai: I thought they were kind of cloudy. The melody is pretty bright, but the lyrics aren't bright and sparkly like that. Somehow I feel it fits.

FT: "Kogoeru" was written by Hoshino.

Imai: It's quintessential.

FT: Quintessential Hoshino, you mean? What about your guitar part, Imai?

Imai: I'm playing it, but lately, in Hide's song arrangements, the parts just go on and on. Like, this riff again? Though I can't say it too loudly (laughs).

FT: I'd like to ask you about the album in much more detail in the next issue, but this is another album full of very distinctive songs.

Imai: Yeah (laughs). It's more interesting that way.

FT: Is the refreshing song you wrote during the stay-at-home period "Eureka"?

Imai: That's right. It's "yuriika" in Japanese. But could also be pronounced "e-u-reka."

FT: This song didn't have lyrics yet when we heard it. Are you going to write the lyrics?

Imai: No, just the shouting part on the chorus. You could call them lyrics, but it's really just spouting words. Sakurai is writing the rest.

FT: So it's a collaboration, then. In addition to that song, you wrote the lyrics for three other songs, and will you sing lead vocals on one of them?

Imai: There are a few songs where Sakurai and I both do lead vocals. I had the idea to sing the A melody part of "Que Sera Sera Elegy," but then I decided that Sakurai should just power through and sing the whole thing, so I had him do that for the demo vocals and it sounded cool.

FT: At this point, what kind of album do you think this is shaping up to be?

Imai: Nope, I can't read it at all yet. And I think that's kind of fun, even for me.

FT: For your previous album, No. 0, you decided on the opening song and the ending song right from the beginning, but you say that this time, you have no idea yet.

Imai: Yeah. We haven't decided on the album title, either. I'm thinking about it, or rather, hoping the muse will send it to me soon.

FT: What about the seven-letter keyword?

Imai: I'm not going to talk about that yet.

FT: I see (laughs). We're looking forward to hearing the finished album. Now, please give a message to all your fans, who are looking forward to Buck-Tick's next activities.

Imai: We've made a wonderful single and album. Look forward to them. Imai, signing off.


If y'all enjoy these translations and want to support us, please consider buying us a coffee on Ko-fi. Things are very tight for us at the moment and your support means a lot.


A Bra! Cad, A Bra! (Summer Goods and More)

With the number of bras found in Buck-Tick's new album clocking it at a whopping two (two bras, meaning FOUR boobies!!!), we wonder if that bikini-hunting #sexybeast Hoshino Hidehiko will finally take us up on our merchandising advice, and release the long-awaited "produced by Hoshino" bikini, just in time for a summer when you can't go to the beach so you stay in your room taking mirror selfies all day. Style: string bikini, adjustable to a variety of body shapes. Color: black. Pattern: a silver Hoshino pentacle on each titty, and a third on your hoochie-coochie. Says "Buck-Tick" across the butt in large, silver Art Deco letters. 

Next, Mr. Sakurai follows up with the "Abracadabra Bra" - an ultra super-duper pushup bra with abracadabrangles on each boobie, to keep the coronavirus out of your cleavage. Customers who brought this item also bought the following items, also produced by Mr. Sakurai: Lace Sexmask for virus safety safe sex, and the "Moonlight Escape" bondage kit (even if you pull a Houdini and escape from these cuffs, you can never escape from love!!!)

If you would rather see these items being produced than the array of summer goods Buck-Tick currently have on offer, please leave a comment below.

We'd write reviews of the various items, but for the fact that they're really not that interesting, and also, most of them sold out the instant they went on sale, then sold out again the instant they went on sale again. Those of you jonesing for a Buck-Tick mask, mask case, and "acrylic door opener" (this is a thing??) to complete your Buck-Tick-themed collection of coronavirus paranoia paraphernalia, you'll just have to wait for another restock. We'll be happy to help you order, but we can't currently ship any items internationally, due to the coronavirus (why is it that you can ship items *to* Japan, but not *from* Japan? Why, Japan? Why?)

Acrylic door opener??? What even is this, and how do you use it? And why would you want to?

However, some of the items remained conspicuously unsold-out, namely, these t-shirts. And we think we can guess why.

Somehow, just looking at the photos of these shirts makes us feel perversely uncomfortable, and the fans seem to agree. Buck-Tickistan is not Dog-Tagistan.

We get it. Dogs are cute, too. Why should cats have all the love. Hide adopted a puppy. We're approaching the dog days of August. Etc. But, we feel we need to haughtily put our foot down on this one and quote Judi Dench from the 2019 Cats movie (and we know Imai watched it because he was cosplaying Victoria the White Cat in her ridiculous oversized pearl necklace on the cover of the February 2020 issue of Ongaku to Hito) - "A cat is not a dog."

Mr. Sakurai is a cat.
Cats are not dogs.
Therefore, Mr. Sakurai is not a dog.

Drawing the band members as cupcakes on forks was bad enough. Drawing Mr. Sakurai as a dog is crossing a line. Hatoyama Ikuko, you're a wonderful artist, but please. Have a sense of feline decency. Also, how could you go out of your way to draw Imai as a dog and not draw him as a bloodhound? Please. Try harder next time.


In other news, the jacket art for Moonlight Escape has been released (yeah, it was a while ago, but bear with us.) What a design! You can practically hear the swish-swish-swish of Mr. Sakurai's goth cloak, and the groans of the photographer as he has to shoot over, and over, and over, because Mr. Sakurai just can't stop breaking out into a cheesy grin over how much fun it is to swish a goth cloak around. As for the sexy psychedelic eye with Buck-Tick over the moon and in its sights, do y'all think that's Mr. Sakurai's eye in drag queen makeup? It sure is shaped like his eye. Is the glitter real or Photoshop? Discuss. Will Mr. Sakurai make an appearance on RuPaul's Drag Race? Discuss.

In addition, the special bonus extras provided by major music retailer chains with purchases of the new single have been announced. To see pictures of them, click here.


Furthermore, the track order for Abracadabra has also been announced, as follows:

01. PEACE (Imai)
02. Que Sera Sera Elegy (Imai/Imai)
03. URAHARA-JUKU (Sakurai/Imai)
04. SOPHIA DREAM (Imai/Imai)
05. Tsuki no Sabaku (Sakurai/Hoshino)
06. Villain (Sakurai + Imai/Imai)
07. Kogoeru Crystal CUBE ver. (Sakurai/Hoshino)
08. Maimu (Sakurai/Imai)
09. Dance Tengoku (Sakurai/Hoshino)
10. Kemono-tachi no Yoru YOW-ROW ver. (Sakurai/Imai)
11. Datenshi YOW-ROW ver. (Sakurai/Imai)
12. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE (Sakurai/Imai)
13. Eureka (Sakurai + Imai/Imai)
14. Boukyaku (Sakurai/Imai)

Or, for those of you who want it on vinyl, the track list is as follows. From this, we can take bets on which is the longest track on the album. We vote "Kogoeru." But it might be "Boukyaku."

01. PEACE (Imai)
02. Que Sera Sera Elegy (Imai/Imai)
03. URAHARA-JUKU (Sakurai/Imai)
04. SOPHIA DREAM (Imai/Imai)

01. Tsuki no Sabaku (Sakurai/Hoshino)
02. Villain (Sakurai + Imai/Imai)
03. Kogoeru Crystal CUBE ver. (Sakurai/Hoshino)

01. Maimu (Sakurai/Imai)
02. Dance Tengoku (Sakurai/Hoshino)
03. Kemono-tachi no Yoru YOW-ROW ver. (Sakurai/Imai)
04. Datenshi YOW-ROW ver. (Sakurai/Imai)

01. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE (Sakurai/Imai)
02. Eureka (Sakurai + Imai/Imai)
03. Boukyaku (Sakurai/Imai)


In other news, Buck-Tick have announced that they're doing another series of live streams of old concert videos, this time on Wednesday nights. But that didn't stop the web site from announcing it like this:

"BUCK-TICK WEDNESDAY LIVE STREAMING" will start on August 5th (Wed)!

On the "Buck-Tick Public Channel" on YouTube, live videos released from Buck-Tick's current label, Lingua Sounda/Victor Entertainment, will be live streamed every Wednesday from 9PM. Go ahead and register for the channel!

▼August 5th (Wed) from 21:00 "TOUR Atom Miraiha No.9-FINAL-"
The final show of the "TOUR Atom Miraiha No.9" hall tour, held in 2016 at the Nippon Budoukan.
Stream URL:https://youtu.be/zWu81Xj_0Dg

In Buck-Tickistan, every Wednesday is a Saturday.


The rest of the schedule for the streaming is as follows:

▼August 12th (Wed) from 9:00 PM - CLIMAX TOGETHER 3rd
Special live held at Yokohama Arena on September 11th, 2016.

▼August 19th (Wed) from 9:00 PM - THE PARADE ~30th anniversary~ HIGH SIDE
Second day of the two-day live series held in honor of the 30th anniversary of the band's debut on September 24th, 2017, at a special outdoor venue on Odaiba. (Guys, you streamed High Side last time. Why don't you stream Fly Side this time? The set list was better. And everyone wants to watch Mr. Sakurai fuck up the lyrics to "Serenade.") *Note: this is Toll's actual birthday.

▼August 26th (Wed) from 9:00 PM - THE DAY IN QUESTION 2017 DAY1
First day of the two-day live series held at the Nippon Budoukan on December 28th and 29th, 2017. (Oh, so you can stream Day 1 of the DIQ 2017, but not Day 1 of the 30th anniversary? What is the logic here?)

▼September 2nd (Wed) from 9:00 PM - TOUR No.0
Additional show added to the hall tour "TOUR No.0" held in 2018 at Kokusai Forum Hall A.

▼September 9th (Wed) from 9:00 PM - "Locus Solus Bestia"
Second day of the two-day live series "Locus Solus Bestia," held at Makuhari Messe on May 25th and 26th, 2019. (Again, you have streamed this before. Why not Day 1? What's wrong with Day 1? What did Day 1 ever do to you?)


For optimal viewing of these live streams, we recommend that you take a portable speaker and go outside somewhere, preferably in the pouring rain, to make it feel like you're at a real outdoor Buck-Tick show. For enhanced mood, put a centipede* in your hair for decoration. If you get sick of it, wash it off in the rain.

(NGS founder Kame's hair was definitely not attacked by a giant centipede while Cayce and Kame were inexplicably watching the previous stream of No. 0 at Kokusai Forum on the Odaiba waterfront in the pouring rain. Because why would a thing like that ever happen? Actually, it did happen. Because we live in a very strange universe. The longer the stream went on, the harder it rained. As soon as the stream ended, the rain stopped. Mr. Sakurai is a rain god, even when he's socially distant.)

*This was a joke. Please do not handle Japanese giant centipedes. In addition to being terrifying, they are extremely poisonous. However, we are happy to report that no Kames were bitten by giant centipedes in the making of this program.


More coming soon.