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Legendary Japanese guitarist reflects on new album, tsunami relief

August 3rd, 2011 Posted in Arts and Life

By Ben Hansen
Special to The Hard News Café

Salt Lake freelancer and regular Hard News Café music and arts contributor Ben Hansen recently had the privilege of sitting down with legendary intrumentalist and guitarist Tak Matsumoto of the Japanese band B’z. Over the past two decades, the band has sold over 79 million albums, recorded 23 consecutive No. 1 albums, and 45 consecutive No. 1 singles. B’z released its latest album, C’Mon, on July 27.

Ben: Congratulations on receiving your Grammy award for the album Take Your Pick this year. Do you have any plans to continue work with Larry Carlton?

Tak: Thank you so much. That was absolutely one of the best moments in my life. I do want to create music with Mr.Carlton again. I believe that the perfect timing will come again.

Ben: It’s been over 20 years since you formed B’z. What do you and (leader singer) Koshi [Inaba] do to keep the creative energy flowing?

Tak: I never think about that. I’ve been creating and playing music just because I adore doing that. I know Koshi would be the same.

Ben: After creating such an immensely diverse catalog, do you still look forward to the opportunity to branch out in different directions each time you record a new album?

Tak: There’s a big difference between the B’z and my solo [instrumental music]. I’m really interested in many kinds of music besides rock and roll, so it’s very natural for me to adopt a wide variety of music style. If we released only heavy rock songs, we wouldn’t be successful in Japan. Japanese fans enjoy diversity in music.

Ben: You have seen an incredible streak of #1 albums and top songs in Japan. Is there pressure for B’z when writing to create the next #1 hit when you were in the studio recording the new album C’mon?

Tak: We’re very proud of having many hit singles and albums in Japan, but there’s no pressure to write hit songs. Someday our record would be rewritten by someone else. We intend to try to write songs that will be loved worldwide.

Ben: You are making a big push by teaming up with Linkin Park to help the Tsunami victims in Japan. Are you looking forward to playing live together for the benefit show?

Tak: We’re really looking forward to sharing the stage with the Linkin Park, of course. We deeply appreciate that they took action to support our country immediately.

Ben: Is there anything that you’d like to say to your fans in the United States?

Tak: Hello! We’re trying to have more opportunities to play in the U.S. from now on and we’ll release songs in English as well. Please check the B’z out!

For more information on B’z, check out their website.

Please contribute to B’z and Linkin Park’s recent fundraising effort to help tsunami victims in Japan. For information on donations, visit the Music for Relief website.


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