Taking the world by storm, B’z ready to rock


B’z — Koshi Inaba and Takahiro “Tak” Matsumoto, the powerhouse duo of Japanese rock. photo courtesy of Vermillion

B’z — Koshi Inaba and Takahiro “Tak” Matsumoto, the powerhouse duo of Japanese rock. photo courtesy of Vermillion

Japan’s best-selling band is back to perform at The Fillmore.

The legendary two-man rock band B’z will rock out in San Francisco on Friday, July 22, the second of three venues on their North American tour, “B’z LIVE-GYM 2011 -long time no see-.” B’z will perform in Vancouver on Wednesday, July 20 and in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 24.

This will be their second time performing at The Fillmore in San Francisco.

Guitarist Takahiro “Tak” Matsumoto and vocalist Koshi Inaba have sold some 80 million units in Japan alone since their debut on Sept. 28, 1988. Matsumoto writes all the music and is noted for his distinctive guitar technique. Inaba pens their lyrics, and is an acclaimed vocalist. Together they create a unique sound that is influenced by different types of music.

Along with the accolades they have accumulated in Japan, they were inducted into Hollywood’s Rockwalk of Fame as the first Asian musicians in 2007. In addition, Matsumoto won a Grammy Award this year for “Take Your Pick,” an album on which he collaborated with Larry Carlton.

The Nichi Bei Weekly recently learned about Matsumoto and Inaba’s musical influences, impressions of San Francisco, and thoughts on the disaster in Japan, during an e-mail interview.


Nichi Bei Weekly: A lot of fans in San Francisco are longing to see your performance again… What would you like to achieve from this third visit to North America?

Koshi Inaba: Introducing our music to the people who don’t know us and having fun with them.


NBW: How do you feel now towards your North American tour?

Takahiro “Tak” Matsumoto: C’mon and let’s rock!


NBW: This is your third North American tour. Does this tour feel different compared to the first two tours?

TM: I have nothing to change in my state of mind. I’m really looking forward to playing in North America.

KI: We are going to do what we do as always. But I want to try some songs in English this time.


NBW: What can fans expect from the concert?

KI: We let our whole energy out on the stage, so please just feel it!


NBW: You have released many singles and albums. What songs are you planning to perform?

TM: We intend to play many hit songs, also new singles, maybe…


NBW: Tak Matsumoto, you have won a Grammy for the collaboration album, “Take Your Pick,” with Larry Carlton this year at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards. Do you plan to perform music from that album?

TM: I’m very proud of winning the Grammy Award. Though I won’t play “Take Your Pick” songs at this time.


NBW: You last performed at The Fillmore in 2003. What was your impression?

TM: Wow! This is the legendary Fillmore! What a gorgeous venue!

KI: Great audience under the chandelier.


NBW: What part of B’z would you like to show American audiences?

TM: I hope American audiences will enjoy the Japanese rock band B’z.

KI: We were raised on rock and Japanese pop music. There are distinct hints of blending those things in our songs and my singing style.


NBW: What was your impression of San Francisco?

TM: Beautiful city … and you guys have so many great restaurants.

KI: Cool breeze from the Bay, great Chinese restaurants, amazing clam chowder in sourdough!


NBW: Have you visited San Francisco other than your last tour?

TM: I’m sorry, I have not.

KI: Yes. I visited Alcatraz.


NBW: Is there anything that you would like to try, visit or are looking forward to doing during your stay in San Francisco?

TM: Eating clam chowder with sourdough bread.


NBW: Are there any American musicians that have influenced you?

KI: Steven Tyler. Unfading passion for singing.

TM: I was very influenced [by] Larry Carlton. Besides being a legendary guitar player, he is a great person. And I respect his attitude about creating music very much.


NBW: Are there any American musicians who you would like to collaborate with?

TM: No one in particular, we are always looking forward to playing with … talented musicians.


NBW: Mr. Matsumoto, you were awarded a Grammy and the band became the first Asian musicians to be inducted into Hollywood’s Rockwalk of Fame. What’s next?

TM: It’s been 8 years since we last played in the U.S. We would like to keep on playing all over the world from now on.

KI: We would like to do more shows and introduce our music to the people in the U.S.


NBW: You joined “Download to Donate” to help Japan recover from the earthquake and tsunami disaster. As Japanese musicians, are there any messages you would like to share with your fans?

TM: I think you have seen the awful situation on TV and other media. It will take a very long time to rebuild Japan, as you know. I really think we must keep supporting one another. All I can do is to create great music to show my support.

KI: The disaster is so horrible and devastating, but it’s amazing that we are getting so much help from all over the world. That has made us think about people in countries that we’ve never been to.


NBW: Lastly, what is music to you?

TM: I can’t live without music. It’s an absolute necessity for my life.

KI: Music gives inspiration to our lives.


NBW: Any messages to the fans waiting for your performance?

TM: Let’s rock The Fillmore!

KI: Hi! We’re so happy to be back in San Francisco! Let’s have a blast together!


B’z will perform at The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd. (between Fillmore and Steiner) in San Francisco on Friday, July 22 at 9 p.m. They will also perform at the Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville St., Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday, July 20 at 8 p.m. and at the Nokia Theater, 800 West Olympic Blvd. in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 24 at 7 p.m. Tickets for all three shows are sold out.

For more information about B’z, visit www.bz-vermillion.com.



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