1986

Buck-Tick This is the year that Buck-Tick have started to become popular in the underground scene, known as "Indies" in Japan. Though this is perhaps a very different scene from what later became the Indies scene in the 90s and after. Buck-Tick played at the "Beat For Beat For Beat" series of unsigned band gigs held at Shinjuku Jam throughout the year. They participated at Beat For Beat For Beat Vol.3 on January 28, Vol.4 on February 8, Vol.5 on March 20, Vol.6 on May 10, Vol.7 on July 24, Vol.8 on August 22, and Vol.9 on September 26. As they play more shows, the band notices that the audience is not just their friends anymore.

As far as what exactly becoming popular means, Hisashi recounts in an interview that at first they had perhaps 30 people at a show and then after they were mentioned in a magazine, they would have around 80 people at a show and built it up from there. However, they were still quite poor. As far as how poor the band was during those days, I recall an interview where they said that when they started out, they had so little money that after shows for food they could only afford to buy one takoyaki and had to split it between not only the members of the band but their one roadie as well. There are also tales of Hide only eating miso because he was so poor. And then of course there are the various tales of odd jobs they held. The following year they would gain a stylist and she later described that when she first met the band, they were so skinny that they looked ill.

Buck-Tick

In April, "Doll" magazine published Buck-Tick in their newcomer's profile corner. I believe this was their first appearance in a magazine.

Buck-Tick

The band decided to record a demo and were able to get into a Yamaha studio at a fair price because of a connection Toll had from his days in S.P through the Popcon event. The cost of the studio was 100,000 yen, which came down to 20,000 per member. That was quite a lot of money for them but they somehow managed to come up with the money. They were unfamiliar with the recording process and recorded what they thought to be their four best songs ("Plastic Syndrome II", "To-Search", "One Night Ballet", "Secret Reaction") in one day (around May 18). [Note: "Plastic Syndrome II" was later named "Plastic Syndrome Type II".]

Buck-Tick The head of the famous Japanese indie label Taiyo Records, Kasumi Sawaki, saw them at a gig in Shibuya on June 28. He loved it enough that he contacted them by phone. When they met he told them that they would definitely sell and eventually they were signed. (To get a sense of what Buck-Tick's sound and stage presence was around this time, search for video footage of the June 22 show at Takasaki Bibi. It was recorded with multiple cameras but I am not sure for which television program, probably a local one.)

To-Search On October 21, Buck-Tick's first release was the "To-Search" single on Taiyo Records (pictured). The B-side was "Plastic Syndrome Type II". The version of the songs were extracted from the demo they had recorded themselves in May. The following day they held a single commemoration gig at Shinjuku Loft with around 200 in attendance. (I have read that two days before the single's release they sold some "handmade" records at a show. This is the only time I have heard of self-made records and may have just been the single sold in advance of the release date and called handmade due to the self-financed recording. Any self-made Buck-Tick recordings would be an extremely rare item to own.)

All the gigging and self-promotion was beginning to really pay off. Buck-Tick was getting popular enough in the Indies circuit that in November the first Buck-Tick fanclub newsletter was issued. It was called "Full Volume" and Hide's cousin was in charge of it. It ran for 4 issues and was in black and white. There's rumors that more issues exist in color but I have never seen photographic proof of this claim. The issues featured member profiles, member equipment soundchecks, and gig reviews. [It should be noted that if you have seen issue 5, it was not part of the official "Full Volume" but rather a fanzine created later.]

Buck-Tick

Needless to say, the band was still quite poor and were touring around from gig to gig in a beat up van. They even used tape to write "Buck-Tick" on the side of the van.

Buck-Tick van
[this page was last updated on 2017.09.17 @ 01:27:37 CDT]