TERU Personal Long Interview (from GROOVY)
First, he had a longing. And after he played music, his life changed. From the first time Teru played music to the present, he talks about music and live concerts. Interview by Mayu Motoike.
-Tell me when you first encountered music.
When I was a freshman in highschool. I played drums for the first time. I was invited by a friend in the soccer team to play copies of Seikimasu's songs. We were supposed to do it for a college festival but it turned out to be within the soccer team. I wasn't interested in music at all but I wanted to do something, so I told them I can't (play) but I want to. I don't understand what I was thinking then. I wanted to stand out. I thought it would make me popular so I started to play. Yes, the reason why I started (playing) music was because I wanted to be popular.
-What was is like for someone who was not interested in music to play the drums or music?
In the beginning, I didn't know what a drum was and I had never heard the sound of it. So I was wondering what kind of sound it would make.
-Do you remember when you first played the drums?
At first I hit (or drummed on) the chair. I didn't have the sticks. I didn't know what to buy. So a week before I had to play the drums, I went to buy the drumsticks so that I could practice on the chair. The dealer showed me sticks. There were many kinds and I didn't know what to buy. So I just picked by color and I chose black (drumsticks).
-Because you thought black looked cool?
Yes, because it looked cool. I paid 1200~300 Yen. That was a lot for a highschool student. I wanted to own a real drum set and after that, I played for the first time in Yamaka Studio in Hakodate. I remember that very well. It made a clear sound when I first hit the drums and from that moment, I became crazy about drums and music.
-Until then, were you playing sports and sometimes being disobedient like the other boys?
Yes. Maybe I was trying to be cool, doing bad things. And I liked looking like a delinquent. But those kind of feelings went towards the music.
-So you were trying to be (like) other people before but after you played the drums, you became obedient but sensitive to create a sound.
I don't know. But the sound that the drum makes is very pleasant. It was a big sound, and until then, I had never heard such a big sound at home. The biggest sound I had was from the TV.
-How did your life change since you first played the drums that summer?
It was very different. I rehearsed several times before we played the music for the festival. But it was only 4 or 5 times, and after the festival was over, I started looking for members for my own band.
-Did you start listening to music in your daily life?
Yes. And because I wanted to make a band, I tried to talk to people. Whenever I heard that somebody was playing in a band, I went up to him to talk. And because I had also done copies of Seikimasu, the people around me asked "Do you want to join our band?" I wasn't sure about what I wanted to do but I was willing to play the drums. I met a wide variety of bands who were like Red Warriors, Street Sliders, Laughing Nose, and Be Modern. But I liked Red Warriors and Street Sliders. When I started a band, I didn't listen to Red Warriors or Street Sliders at all but when I got their tapes, those became the type of songs that I wanted to do. I enjoyed making the sound (of the drums). I wanted my own drums so badly. Until then, I drummed on the chairs at home. But I wanted to make a loud sound at home so I asked my friend, "Is there anybody who can sell a used drum set cheap, (like) around 20 000 Yen?" I didn't have the money so I started (working in) a part-time job, even though it was prohibited in school. (aciel's note: In Japan, it is prohibited for highschool students to work). First I worked in a fastfood restaurant. When I was a 1st grade highschool student, I got my own drums and brought it home.
-In fact, after you played the drums your life totally changed.
Yes. My life changed after I played the drums. When I got involved in the band, I forgot soccer. I wanted to play soccer but I didn't have time for that. I was good enough to get a regular position (in the team) in such a short space of time. I knew it was bad for the team whenever I left them, but I really wanted to play in a band. When I was struggling to choose which way I should go, GLAY came to me and I joined GLAY. And I quit soccer.
-When did you hear about GLAY?
Sophomore year in highschool.
-Takuro asked you about GLAY. How did he invite you to GLAY?
He just made a phone call and said "Long time no see!"
-How have you been with him until then?
I went to the same school as Takuro from elementary to junior highschool. But I didn't talk to him that much-we just played baseball and soccer together (i.e. they were playmates). We chose different highschools. We were just (old) schoolmates.
-And he called you, saying "Hello! Long time no see you!"?
Yes. I found out later how he got the information about me. At the time, my friend from my freshman year in highschool liked QUEEN. And I often hung out in his room and listened to their music. He was living in a dormitory where 10 people from the countryside were living and among them was Takuro's friend who liked music. And they were talking about music. When my friend and Takuro went together to hang out, they came up with my name in the conversation, "Do you know him?" "Yes, he often comes to hang out." And I was also like, "Takuro? Yes, I was with him until junior highschool." And I was getting to hear Takuro's name more. Takuro had been playing in copy bands since he was a freshman in his highschool but he wasn't satisfied with it and trying to make GLAY. And when they were looking for a drummer, he heard about me. And since he knew me since elementary school, he called my house, saying, "I'm planning to make an original band and I'm looking for a drummer. I heard that you were playing the drums. Do you want to join my band?" And I wanted to play so I answered, "Yes." For me, it was fun just to make the sound (of the drums) and I was satisfied with playing in a copy band. I was repeatedly making bands and breaking up so I was interested.
-Were you feeling empty? Repeatedly breaking up bands?
No, I wasn't empty. But I didn't have any good band to play in. Then I got a phone call from Takuro and I thought, "I can play", and I gave a "yes" answer. And maybe 2 days later, Takuro started coming to my house.
-What was it like in the beginning? Until then, you two were friends but not very close to each other.
Yes, there was a distance between us. When I was a senior in junior highschool, computer games were very popular. And I went to Takuro's house several times because I was supposed to buy his computer games.
-What did you talk about at his house?
I don't remember that much but I remember I went to Takuro's house during junior highschool. There was a guitar and he was listening to the Beatles, and he said he liked John Lennon. And I said that I liked the Beatles too. And then we talked about the Beatles, like, "Do you know this song?" At the time, I wasn't interested in music so I wasn't inspired. When Takuro came to my appartment for the first time, we talked about what kind of band we wanted to make. We had a bass player-he was my friend from kindergarten and he came with us.
-So the three of you were childhood friends?
The bass player's name was Hitoshi [Takeuchi] and we went to the same elementary and junior highschool. We started a band with just the three of us. Someday, we promised, we are going to have a band. We watched a video, "Street Beats", or some other bands which were popular at the time. We read music magazines which we brought to school. Those were my highschool days.
-Yes, after school, students usually hang out and read magazines.
My room had 7 tatamis. (Teru is probably referring to the size of his room, which was small. "Tatami" is a Japanese mat made from grass). There was a bed, drums and a stereo. And I remember I had a computer. We talked to each other on the bed. At the time, I felt like I was sitting in a field, relaxed and carefree, with the Sun shining down.
-Everyone has a memory like that in highschool.
Yes. It's like a feeling from [Glorious]. When I played in the band, I felt comfortable. It's not like drinking beer with my friends; it is kind and warm-a good memory.
-Is that when you decided to play as a band?
Not really. We just talked about the songs we wanted to play. We just played the guitar, the bass, and the drums. We didn't have a full set of drums-we were missing cymbals. We only had 2 tam tams, 1 bass drum, and 1 snare drum. But we weren't satisfied with just a 4-piece drum set. So we bought the cymbals but we didn't have any money for the cymbal stands. At the time, I skied. So we used the ski poles for the cymbal stands. We were satisfied with that. [Laughs]
-What did your family think of you? A baseball player who became a soccer player and suddenly ended up in a band.
My parents kind of gave up on me even before I started playing in a band.
-Yes because you wanted to rebel against your parents.
I was like a delinquent. I didn't listen to my parents at all and I made them struggle. But because of that, I am what I am right now. If I had studied hard and been a good child, I wouldn't have started a band.
-That's true. When did you start making original songs? For example, do you remember when Takuro wrote music for the first time?
Yes, I remember. It was less than a month after I joined the band when Takuro started writing music. After 2 weeks, Takuro wrote a song and said to me, "I made a song. Write the lyrics for it." I didn't know what to do. I wasn't really interested in writing and I didn't know how to write lyrics. I only knew punk lyrics and I wrote the lyrics to [Makkou Shobu de Kakenukero] and everybody laughed at me. I lost my confidence...and I still haven't recovered. [Laughs] The band's name was GLAY and Takuro had an image for the band, like what kind of band it would be, who is the producer, etc. Takuro's policy was that the guitar player makes the songs and the vocalist writes the lyrics. He thought that that would be the best image but [Makkou Shobu de Kakenukero] made everything different.
-So Takuro gave in.
Yes. He might have thought: "I have to do everything-music and lyrics."
-When the original (song) was completed, was there any difference between playing your original song and a copy song?
Yes. I feel more satisfied when I play originals. I was so happy when I could make a beat what I wanted to make. Maybe it sounds exaggerated but I really felt that it was so much fun to play our own songs. We arranged the song together and created the song little by little. And when it was complete, we felt so satisfied.
-You have played in many bands. Was GLAY different for you?
Yes. We didn't have a live as GLAY and we always wanted to have a concert. But because we couldn't find a vocalist, I had to sing while playing the drums. This went on for 2 or 3 months. Then one day we recorded all the music we made and listened to that tape (but there were no vocals). I recorded my voice in the tape and Takuro listened to my voice. He thought that I should be the vocalist. "Teru is a better singer and it is easier for us to look for a drummer. I will find a drummer." So we found a new drummer. (Junichi Nakamoto) was an old junior highschool friend.
-Did you record your vocal on the tape thinking that you wanted to be a vocalist?
No. I just put my voice on the song (or tape)].
-How did you feel when you were told, "You will become the vocalist?"
I was very embarrassed. I liked playing the drums but when I was told, "You can be the vocalist", I was content to be accepted by someone, and at the same time I was embarrassed. I was shy.
-And you became the vocalist and GLAY started working professionally.
Yes. GLAY started its own life. And the four of us played the songs in my room. But I couldn't sing loudly because it was embarrassing! I could play the drums for 4 or 5 hours but I couldn't sing as much. After everybody left my house, I didn't practice singing. Instead, I played the drums. I didn't get any satisfaction from singing.
-When did you get satisfaction from singing?
When we started doing live concerts. The first time we stood on the stage as GLAY, I couldn't think about not being a vocalist. That was the ending of my sophomore year in highschool. And in the beginning of senior year in highschool, Hisashi joined GLAY. Takuro brought Hisashi's picture, saying, "I want to have one more guitarist."
-What kind of picture did he bring?
It was very, very cute! It was a punk picture from another band, Ari. Even though Hisashi is a guy, he's very cute. Do you remember TO-Y magazine? He looked like the punk guy in that cartoon! And he agreed to join our band so our members became five. We didn't care about how many people were in our band. Even though we were worried about whether or not we would get along with him, as soon as we saw his picture, we felt relieved. When we were in highschool, I never talked to him at all. We were playing in the band together but because we were not in the same highschool, we were keeping distance between each other. When we met in the studio for the first time, I didn't feel comfortable talking to him-maybe because of his character and mine too. Both of us don't talk, both of us are not outgoing. Takuro, Hisashi and I were there but not really talking. We had a concert with Takuro's friend's band. Takuro talked to his friends so I was always alone because I went to a different school. But I was getting used to them and we were getting along with each other.
-And after a while, you decided to work as GLAY and left Hakodate?
Yes. I worked for the same company as Takuro and lived in a dormitory. I started questioning the life of only work. So I quit the company and started living in a friend's house.
-You brought all your belongings?
No. I had nothing. I don't stick to things or people. I don't have any pictures with me. All my belongings are at home... Maybe my mother takes care of them. I just brought a change of clothes.
-You're not attached to people either?
No. I don't have any affection. I take care of the people around me. But if they want to leave me, I let them go. So I never get lonely.
-Let's say you have a girlfriend. And she says she wants to break up with you. Don't you feel lonely?
That happened before. I felt lonely for a day or two. But after that, I went to a gamecenter with my friend, had fun and forgot about her. If I had a girlfriend who asked, "Which is more important, me or GLAY?" or "Can you quit GLAY for me?" of course I'll never leave GLAY. I'll leave the girl. I'm too busy with GLAY so I don't have any time for love.
-I don't know what love is but can't you give only a little? For example, just call for a minute everyday. You can think of other ways.
Yes, but I don't know if it will be enough. I don't know if she is satisfied just to be with me. It's difficult.
-Anyway, the most important thing to you is GLAY.
Yes. It is very important. We had an argument about this, long before we became a professional band.
-The four of you have your own ideas about affection.
Hisashi is like me. Because we cannot express ourselves well, we put the feeling into the songs.
-There are many people who feel affection (by) listening to your songs. I feel that it's impossible to write a love song or sing a love song without affection.
Maybe I just don't realize it. Maybe I just can't express love. Even though I keep saying "I don't have any affection," I may have.
-Everybody has their own values.
Speaking of values, everyone's measure of affection could be much smaller than what I think. I might be a perfectionist, but I think that affection is to have everything. For example, when I come back from work, I want to be with a person not only for 10 seconds but the whole day--even though I don't know if it will be enough just to be with her--I want to be with her until she dies. I think that is love. But I don't know. I'm confused. It's difficult.
-For the latter half of the year that I spent with you for the [BEAT out!] Tour, even though I know I only saw your part, I think that you're a very affectionate and kind person.
People say so a lot. But I don't feel that way. And it's true-I'm not attached to anything. But there is something that I can't throw away in my room.
-What is it?
A picture frame one of my fans gave me. I'm not using it, but I just keep it. Or a watch-it's not working anymore. Or a sketchbook. But it's not love.
-So what is it then?
I just can't throw them away.
-Because you're thinking about the people who gave you these gifts.
I bought my sticks when I was in highschool, when I didn't have any money. So I understand them.
-Isn't that affection?
No. I don't think so. I think affection is when you get a ring from someone you will keep for the rest of your life. I don't think not being able to throw away something is affection.
-But I think that you have affection for people-for your fans. When you had a concert in the Budokan, you said, "I don't like cameras which disturb the people in the front."
Well... I think I'm looking for 100% affection. 80% can be unaffectionate. I came here by leaving my hometown so I have to do something valuable for that. I decided to become a professional for GLAY. If GLAY is not my first, what else can be? I never did seek something (without) losing something important (first). Even my parents who I was with for 18 years couldn't win over GLAY. That's why I feel this way. If my family were around me, I would care for them. If I was still in Hakodate, I would be different. Maybe GLAY would not be there anymore. Before we made a debut, my parents always said "Come back!" but I ignored them so GLAY has to be my first.
-Your love for GLAY and the people who support GLAY is so big that it becomes your measurement for affection.
Yes. The most basic thing is, people around me will be pleased. (The people around me say) "You became famous!" We could keep this band because of people like my parents, my relatives, my fans. If they were not there supporting us, we wouldn't be here now. So I want to please them. Even for the future fans-I want to be with them 10 years from now. Even if the situation is very different from now I will be happy if they are there. So if I were saying "affection" and looking in a different direction, it couldn't be the same. And I suddenly think now-for example, if my girlfriend was dangerously ill and I went to the hospital, she might say, "Why did you come? Today is a very important recording (session)" because the people around me always cared about GLAY. So I could say "I'm going to GLAY." I don't know if it's going to happen but I was doing it in this way. So I want to make the people around me happy.
-While I was listening to you, I could not imagine you without GLAY.
So I'm not thinking about ending GLAY. Sometimes I do but I try not to. And I work hard. If I don't think about not ending GLAY, it could happen. Giving up is easy but I don't want to. So I don't run away. I face [the challenge] and fight.
-You haven't changed since you were in highschool.
No, I haven't. So when I stood in the Budokan, all the feelings from the past came out.
-Everything you've tried and done seems to have been accomplished.
Yes. Rather than accomplish, I became able to thank the people who struggle for me. I tried so many things maybe ordinary people cannot even think of.
-Is GLAY really your everything?
Yes. When everybody is moving, the power of GLAY is great. But if 3 of them stop, I'm afraid it's going to end. If Hisashi, Takuro, and Jiro stop, I have to go. If I stop and nobody moves, Takuro would be the one who runs. Someone always has to keep on moving. I'm afraid if all of them stop. But I want to keep on running until I get very tired.
-And from now on, GLAY will keep on running like that. What is Teru like as a man?
I want to change what I said before. I was thinking only about GLAY until I came here. So now I want to change my lack of affection which I realized while listening to [BELOVED].
-You've been living as you said but now you're at a turning point, after the Budokan and the song [BELOVED].
Yes. Even though I haven't changed, I want to change little by little. And finally, I want to really understand the meaning of affection.
-You want to experience love in your life.
Yes. But even still... GLAY is my first love.
GLAY Image Encyclopedia [B-PASS December 1996]
AFFECTION It is not a word that makes me feel affection
BOOK A book about the MAC. I want to study more when I have the interest
CD I often listen to Cathy Dennis, who has a warm voice
DRINK I often drink tea or water. At night I drink wine
ENJOY Meeting the members of GLAY. I feel that they are my brothers
FAN I want them to see us realize our dream
GLAY An oasis...where there are hardships and pleasure
HOMETOWN When I am in Hakodate, I feel it brings us together
INSPIRATION What impressed me the most was the Budokan live. That's all
JINX When we have concerts, I am always late by an hour. That should be my jinx [Laughs]
KISS In the live video [TOGETHER], I kissed Hisashi
LETTER I don't have much time to read it but I try to read it when I have the time
MC I think I could deliver my feelings to the fans in this tour
NIGHT I have long nights these days. I have a lot to do so I don't sleep well
OVERSEA If I have a chance to go abroad next time, I want to go to Australia
PICTURE Everyday is like a painting or a picture
QUIT I quit being impatient [Laughs]
RING I don't want to buy a lot. I wear the ring that I want
SHOPPING Bought a new MAC S320 recently
TELEPHONE I don't talk on the telephone for hours. I don't like it. I feel like somebody is peeking into my life
UNITED KINGDOM It is the city where I feel it's quiet and that time has stopped
VOICE I thank God who gave (me) this voice
WAIT I hang around when we have waiting time [Laughs]
X I'm considering what I should do now because I want to sing 10 years later
YOU I want to deliver whatever the proposition in the (new) album is
ZEAL I am zealous about GLAY
Q&A [B-PASS February 1996]
3 FAVORITE MUSICIANS:
U2, The Wonderstuff, GLAY
THE SONG WHICH HAS THE STRONGEST IMPRESSION ON YOU:
YOUR ROLE IN GLAY:
A PERSON YOU RESPECT:
A lot, but I respect my parents the most
HISTORY OF INSTRUMENTS YOU HAVE PLAYED:
My throat for 24 years
THE DISH YOU'RE GOOD AT COOKING:
Different kinds, especially pot dishes which I make for the GLAY members
WHEN YOU DRINK, WHAT DO YOU DRINK AND WHO DO YOU DRINK WITH:
1 bottle of wine to 3 litres of beer with the members
YOUR HOBBY OTHER THAN MUSIC:
Virtua Cop [Teru used to play video games a lot]
YOUR AVERAGE SHOWER TIME & WHERE DO YOU START WASHING:
45 mins to 1 hour. Arm
Father, mother, older sister, younger sister, me, and my brother-in-law
HOW DO YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS CALL YOU:
WHAT IS YOUR REQUEST TO THE OTHER GLAY MEMBERS:
Be nice to me!
MEDICINE YOU ALWAYS CARRY:
Septic spray [for the throat]
LICENSES YOU HAVE:
To drive a regular car and a small-size truck
ACCESSORIES YOU ALWAYS CARRY:
HISTORY OF PART-TIME JOBS:
HISTORY OF PETS:
A dog which I found when I was 5. His name [was] Chibi-9~10 years, Chibi's son, Kuma-7~8 years
WHAT TYPE OF GIRL DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO AT THE CONCERT:
Cute girls, beautiful girls, and sweaty guys [don't ask!]
THE PRESENT YOU WILL BE HAPPY TO RECEIVE FROM FANS:
Anything looks good on me
A PHRASE YOU USE TO GET A GIRL:
IF YOU FIND OUT THAT YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS CHEATING:
I'm going to talk to the guy she's cheating with
HAS ANYONE EVER TOLD YOU THAT YOU LOOK LIKE:
YOUR FAVORITE SPORT:
YOUR LIFE GOAL:
Going to donate to Unicef
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR DAY OFF:
Just be off
YOUR FAVORITE SPOT IN HAKODATE:
Motomachi Koen [park]
YOUR STRONG POINTS, WEAK POINTS, AND CHARM POINTS:
Short-tempered but have a round [warm] heart
THINGS YOU ALWAYS DO RIGHT BEFORE THE CONCERT:
We all [put our hands together and] say "Ikuze!" and "OU!"
Monthly Kadokawa [May 1997 issue] Q&A: TO TERU
[Note: Questions in dark red are by Takuro, blue by Hisashi, and yellow by Jiro. All answers are by Teru].
Recently, when we were moving from studio to studio, your eyes were following cars. I hope you're not thinking of buying one. I'm against it!
Well, my personality changes when I drive. I had an accident 3 times-2 out of 3, car wrecks. But I think I'm okay now so I want to buy a touring [maybe he means a station] wagon.
Why do you skip me when you introduce the members at the concerts?
I don't mean it but I did it 3 times! I'm sorry! You're a very good guy so I want to introduce you at the end and give you all the credits, then I just... and then I forget sometimes.
Tell me the techniques of how to become a vocal in the band.
Be honest and express your feelings naturally.
Why do you buy insurance for your jokes?
Sometimes I think my joke is very funny but other people don't think so. So in case that happens, I just tell them after I say it that it wasn't a joke. That's joke insurance. I am in training right now so I am going to let go of the insurance soon. People tell me I'm funnier when I'm not planning a joke.
Recently, the lyrics are getting longer. To be honest, don't you hate it?
When it comes to the lyrics, I want you to create it freely whether long or short because if there is one letter missing, the song becomes imperfect. I'll try my best to remember the lyrics.
Why did you cut your hair?
Because I wanted to be popular. "The vocalist of the band which plays good music and is pop and cool shouldn't have such long hair." I wonder about that a lot. I thought that by cutting my hair, we would be able to make GLAY's music more clear and articulate.
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