1989

Buck-Tick

I'm not sure exactly when this occured but during the month of January, (possibly it started in December 1988), there were a series of "Buck-Tick Special" video concerts AKA "Captagon Vol. 31". The Captagon company held these video concerts for various bands and Buck-Tick was the main band for this edition. Vol. 31 featured footage of Buck-Tick recording in London, live footage, as well as messages from the members. Due to the death of the emperor on January 7th, some venues cancelled airing this program.

tv appearances

On January 9, the band appeared on NHK's "Just Pop Up". On the 11th, the band appeared on TBS's "Kirari Netsunetsu Club".

On January 18, Buck-Tick's third major label album was released. It was entitled Taboo. However, the tour for their previous album Seventh Heaven was still underway. The tour finally came to an end with two shows that began the following day at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. The first show was on January 19 and broadcast on national radio. The second show was on January 20 and was recorded for video release. Hisashi was so nervous he felt like his body was stiff and couldn't move. Atsushi accidentally started to sing the set list for the second day on the first day. Atsushi also put his hair up on the first day and like he had announced the previous year, put his hair down the next day because he felt like it and also to give those who came both days something different to see. The stage included a disco ball mannequin. That's the best way that I can describe it. This prop, the costumes, and even the setlist was a preview of the upcoming "Taboo" tour.

Seventh Heaven Tour Final at Nippon Budokan

Video footage was shot at the Budokan was edited on January 26th-28th and January 30th-February 5th. It was released in two parts as Sabbat I and Sabbat II on April 21. In August, there were 3 showings of Sabbat scheduled. August 23 at Nagoya Rainbow Hall, August 25 at Osaka-jo Hall (Osaka Castle), and August 27 at Seibu Lion's Stadium. The entrance fee was less than the cost of a single video. I am not sure if these viewings actually took place as something was about to happen in April that would change the course of Buck-Tick history.

Another party was thrown by Victor on February 8. Starting the next day the members had their first long break since rigorous assembly line like touring and recording had begun in 1987. Atsushi visited Hong Kong while Hisashi and U-ta visited India.

Taboo

On March 7, a book entitled Hyper was released. It was published by the makers of the magazine "Pati Pati" and is comprised of many photos of the band. If you like this period of Buck-Tick, you will love this book. On March 25, the band appeared on TVK's tv show "Mutoma Japan". On April 4 another book entitled Love Me was released. It is a biography of the band and each member and contains historical photographs. This is a must read for anyone interested in the early days of the band.

Taboo tour The "Taboo" tour began on March 22 at Tachikawa Shimin Kaikan and was set to go through May 30 and 31 in Gunma. Visually the tour was like the "Seventh Heaven Tour Final" in January at Budokan that was taped and released as Sabbat, except that Atsushi had reverted to black hair. The disco ball mannequin increased from 1 to 3 though, with 2 suspended above the stage and 1 on the stage for Atsushi to carress, the same as the "Seventh Heaven Tour Final". The "Taboo" tour was cut short, (only 13 out of the 31 gigs were completed), on April 21 when Hisashi was caught with LSD at Haneda Airport. (Perhaps this is what sparked Hisashi's so-called fear of flying.) An appearance in the summer at the Hokkaido Rock Circuit also had to be cancelled. It was pretty big (shocking) news at the time because drugs are such a scandalous thing in Japan. The reports of this were all over the newspapers and some even printed a picture of Hide instead of Hisashi, which caused confusion and even more shock amongst fans. There was a long absence of news of the band. I am still not sure what exactly became of Hisashi in those months. Was he required to do jail time? Sent to rehab? I really do not know. I also somehow doubt that there would be court ordered rehab at the time. Over the years I have tried to piece together the puzzle from various sources. Aside from drugs being taboo in Japan, this was monetarily costly to the band. They were mid-tour. Touring is how many bands make their money. They lost the sale of 38,000 tickets, over 100,000,000 yen!

On an interesting side note, the Buck-Tick Club published issue #9 on April 25 with no mention of the arrest on April 21. It even contained a list of upcoming tour dates and that a second date was added at the Pit. There was also a tease that the next issue would have details on the band recording their 4th album. I think that this issue had already been printed beforehand and there was nothing they could do but send it off. An extra note was printed that I think was included with the issue as it is dated April 25. It basically apologizes that issue 9 was already ready and includes a message from Shaking Hands, Atsushi, Hide, U-ta, and Toll. The band apologized and that they really looked forward to playing. Toll assured that the members won't change and they're not breaking up. I'm sure it was a very bittersweet thing to receive for members at the time, especially those with tickets for dates that were cancelled.

Buck-Tick

At the time of Hisashi's arrest, I was living in Japan and was a new Buck-Tick fan of a few months. My mother received the newspaper daily and I'm sure I checked it daily for the tv schedule, however I never came across anything on Buck-Tick and Hisashi's arrest, perhaps partly that we lived in a rural area for Japanese standards and had limited media access. I also never saw anything on tv. I was informed of the arrest by my friend and schoolmate. In June, I was preparing for a long summer trip to the USA and happened to be flipping the channels on televsion and managed to catch something. I was quick enough with the VCR that I have a minute of it. It was a press conference or court hearing concerning Hisashi. I wasn't sure at first, too crazed scrambling for a tape. There were many Buck-Tick fans who wanted to get in to this event, (1300 girls waiting outside), but only a lucky few (509) won a seat inside the building. There were 22 rows for people to sit in and 19 were filled with fans! They showed footage of the many girls and Hisashi being escorted to the building by the band's manager and some other men.

Though there was scare news of the band during this time, especially for what I had access to, I have researched that there was some info going around the mainstream Japanese rock media and fan club publications. (I wasn't a fan club member then so I wouldn't have come across this info and some of these magazine interviews were published over the summer when I just happened to be out of the country so that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.) On August 12, the fan club put out a special issue newsletter to address everyone's concerns and mentioned that on June 14, Hisashi received his sentence for violating Japanese narcotics laws: 6 months prison, 3 years suspended sentence. (This must have been the footage on tv that I caught a snippet of.) In an interview published in "Pati Pati Yokuhon" in February 1990, it stated that Hisashi was incarcerated for 20 days on June 28, so perhaps out of his 6 months sentence he served as little as 20 days.

There is a bit of conflicting information on what happened on July 17. In a chronological history I have of the band they list that day as the day the rest of the four were removed from Hisashi but do not say exactly what that means.) Also, Wikipedia Japan states that Hisashi was convicted but his sentence reprieved while the rest of the members served 6 months probation. All in all, this is a subject the band does not like to discuss though they have written songs with drug references since then. In another source, it lists that on July 17, the band minus Hisashi interviewed with various magazines ("B Pass", "Arena 37° C", "Pati Pati", "Pati Pati Rock & Roll", "Rockin' On Japan", "Rock 'n' Roll Newsmaker", "Takarajima") and they were generally published in their September issues. Also in July, Hisashi released a statement apologizing to those who were unable to see the shows that got cancelled. He also said that his days lately were relaxing ones spent mainly writing songs.

For even further details into this, Hisashi was arrested while the band was on tour and thus travelling together. The whole band states that they did not know about Hisashi's drugs beforehand and were in shock. The Higuchi brothers state that didn't know what had happened until they got home and each received a phone call. Toll was told to turn on the tv to find out what happened as it was all over the news. When Hisashi was released from custody, the band met with him and they tried to keep spirits up and not make the situation weird and more uncomfortable than need be. Hisashi apologized to the rest of the band. Atsushi joked that Hisashi had gotten fat. For U-ta, they had been apart so long that all he could think of was, "How are you? Are you OK?" All in all, the band believes that Hisashi was sincere with his apologies and did not mean to cause such a mess. Interviewers also tried to get the band's thoughts on why they thought Hisashi did it. Atsushi speculated that Hisashi did it for musical inspiration, that he was unable to write songs, not necessarily because he wanted to do drugs in itself. U-ta thinks that perhaps Hisashi had adopted the foreign attitude of doing drugs is no big deal. Toll thinks that the devil made him do it, that once Hisashi goes home and lives his private life, he had nothing else to do. They also mentioned that since they are not Hisashi, they really can't speak for him.

In October, the whole band appeared for a photoshoot with "B Pass" magazine. On November 9, Hisashi was interviewed by himself and it was published in "Rock It!" magazine number 5. In an interview published in "Rockin' On Japan" magazine in January 1990, Hisashi mentions that he freaked out on LSD and will never do it again, was in a hospital (rehab?) for 20 days, and felt bad for his actions when thinking about those he affected such as the band and the record company. He also mentions shortly before getting caught that he should tell Atsushi because he is the leader, which is odd because around this time the band had mentioned in interviews that there was no leader. I could have misunderstood but think of it what you will, if it's an honest interview or if there was pressure from above or what have you.

Interviewers also asked the band what they did while away from Hisashi. U-ta said he wrote 3 songs but they were not good. He shared one of them with Hisashi who thought it was good. Toll became irritated as he became more aware of others looking over him but he also quit smoking for at least a month. Hide realized that for him, he only has the band in life and just listened to music, wrote 4 songs, and watched movies. Atsushi listened to various music and read books. The fan club mostly just let the staff ramble with the band members leaving a few words. The overall message was one of apologies, that the band is not breaking up, that they are not changing members, that this sort of incident will never happen again, that they are itching to see the fans again, and please continue to support them. They also mentioned that they will record the next album in the fall with plans to release it the following year.

recording aku no hana

On September 29, the band starting rehearsing again and making a demo tape. When the band first got in the studio to play together for the first time after such an absence, Atsushi suggested that they play "Just One More Kiss" since they were out of practice. On October 1, Buck-Tick again entered the studio to record a long awaited album. The media silence was broken around this time when ads in many major rock magazines declared Buck-Tick would be playing a show in December with subsequent releases of a single and album. It was a very exciting time indeed. In order to warm up for the main event, they first played at home on December 20 at the Gunma Ongaku Center.

Buck-Tick

On December 29, the band delivered by playing "Buck-Tick Genshou" at Tokyo Dome. Hisashi was understandably nervous about this show and remembered thinking when the venue was booked, if 50,000 people would really show up. Show up they did--it sold out! At the concert, Buck-Tick previewed two songs from their upcoming album: "Aku No Hana" and "The World is Yours". The venue was so large (it is an indoor baseball stadium that was built for the Tokyo Olympics) there were screens on the side to help those who were too far away to see what was going on. Buck-Tick made it a point to let everyone know that the concert was not being filmed and would not be sold or broadcast. It was at this concert that the new Buck-Tick model guitars were revealed and used on stage. It was also at this concert that Hisashi bowed his guitar live for the first time. (It has been a long time since Hisashi has used the bow and says that it is something you can only achieve with practice. Since he is out of practice he can no longer do it.

One of those thousands who attended was me. Though I was young and lived as far away as one could in Japan (~1600km or 1000 miles), I just had to be there no matter what because at that point who could know whether or not I would ever get the chance to see them again or even if the band would continue to exist. For my first concert ever, walking into the venue was exciting enough, but seeing the stage covered with a giagantic red curtain with "Buck-Tick" in black and "BT" in white behind it was breathtaking. (The design of the curtain was also utilized as a flag in the promotional music video "National Media Boys".) Hearing the "Theme of B-T" being played over the speakers built up the excitement even more. Then, the concert began. Naive as I was, I didn't know about encores and apparently I wasn't the only one. Many of us left the venue after the show was "over". Later I read in magazines about the encore. Since then, I stick around until they kick me out! You should too.

Tokyo Dome curtain [Further description of Tokyo Dome's show and large concert venues are seated in Japan versus the way they are in other countries: In Japan, at large indoor venues such as Tokyo Dome and Budokan, they don't crowd as many as they possibly can to a floor. The floor is divided into squares and is quite orderly. The row closest to the stage is not close at all. There is no chance of managing your way onto the stage. Shows start almost on the dot to when printed on the ticket without an opening act and are incredibly tame: no stage-diving, no pushing. Of course, the tiny packed "live house" could be much different.]

I'm not sure of the exact dates but starting in the end of December, there were a series of "Buck-Tick Special" video concerts AKA "Captagon Vol. 38". The Captagon company held these video concerts for various bands and Buck-Tick was the main band for this edition. Vol. 38 featured footage of Buck-Tick recording the new album, the artwork photography session, as well as messages from the members.

[this page was last updated on 2015.04.22 @ 01:50:46 CDT]