Rock 'n' roll is here to stay

| Jul 31, 2002

Rock 'n' roll is here to stay

The silly season — when the midsummer heat engenders a sort of benign lunacy — is well and truly upon us. And you can’t get much sillier, in the nicest sense of the word, than The Yellow Dogs and The Bunnies, two resolutely retro ...

Women whose work is never done

| Jul 24, 2002

Women whose work is never done

“Senko (Flash),” singer/songwriter UA’s first single in three years, further cements her status as one of J-pop’s most enigmatic and original artists. Released July 24, “Senko” is a dark, moody piece that’s half tone poem and half pop song. UA and co-producer Rei Harakami ...

Really looking forward to old age

| Jul 17, 2002

Really looking forward to old age

Rock stars can do things us regular folks can’t. They can get good tables at crowded restaurants without a reservation. They can have promiscuous sex and take all sorts of exotic drugs and then be knighted by the Queen. And if they’re Eikichi Yazawa, ...

A card-carrying regular guy

| Jul 10, 2002

A card-carrying regular guy

One interesting aspect of Japanese meishi (name-card) etiquette is that entertainers never give them out. It took me a while to figure out that one. Several interviews with musicians I thought had begun inauspiciously when I handed the artist my meishi only to receive ...

Make way for the gloom

| Jul 3, 2002

Make way for the gloom

Mr. Hyde is waiting to be interviewed in the chicly decrepit confines of Casa del Japon, a Western-style house in Azabu that was the residence of China’s ambassador to Japan before World War II and is now a bar and restaurant. He is sitting ...

Starting off on the right foot (and ending on the left . . .)

| Jun 26, 2002

Starting off on the right foot (and ending on the left . . .)

The Japanese music biz produces boy-girl pop duos with clockwork regularity — think Love Psychedelico or EE Jump. The most recent example is Orange Pekoe (that’s pronounced “peh-koe,” by the way), which comprises Kobe natives Kazuma Fujimoto and Tomoko Nagashima. The two first met ...

What's the real problem behind music file sharing?

| Jun 19, 2002

What's the real problem behind music file sharing?

Share and share alike — that’s what we were taught when we were kids. It’s an admirable ethos to live by, but it’s anathema to the recording industry, which sees online music file-sharing as only slightly less reprehensible than baby-killing. The Recording Industry Association ...

Message in a pop song

| Jun 12, 2002

Message in a pop song

You’ve probably noticed a big mascara-lined eye staring out at you from billboards all over town lately. The eye in question belongs to Lisa, former vocalist with hip-hop/R&B trio m-flo, and the billboard is plugging her new single, “Babylon no Kiseki (Miracle of Babylon),” ...

And the 'nice try' award goes to . . .

| May 29, 2002

And the 'nice try' award goes to . . .

It is my sad duty to report that the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards Japan, held May 24 at the Tokyo International Forum, was a less than spectacularly successful affair. The event was plagued by some very lame presenters, technical glitches and missed cues. ...