The Luckiest Rocker

 

Tone’s Birthday Month Rant.
Maybe you don’t have to read all of this.

The photo is from Tone’s personal pre-birthday Sushi eating session.

 

I don’t know if you agree but I consider myself a lucky person.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m the luckiest person on the earth, or at least, the luckiest musician in this world.

This month June is my birthday month.
I’m not a type of person who receives a lot of birthday messages.
Basically I’m shy and reclusive.
I set my birthday notification off on my personal facebook account.
So you don’t have to bomb me with that kind of messages here.

It’s just I want to look back on my life for this opportunity.

 

In Japan, people say June 9th is “the day of rock” because “6-9” sounds like “rock” in Japanese language.
Some musicians celebrate this “day of rock”. Some people who were born on this day, they are “Kids of Rock’n’Roll” and that is very fabulous.

Now unfortunately,
I WASN’T born on the day of rock.
I was one day too late.

Maybe I spent too long in mother’s womb.
Maybe I was too lazy.
Probably I was too scared to come out in this world.

But I think this suits me very well.
Because I’m slow at everything.
Basically I was too late for rock’n’roll.

 

For modern musicians, I think, the first thing they do before making music is to find some sound that is left for them to play.

Because, all the possible sounds, at least most of them, have been already played by the legends such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Queen, and so on.

Is there any leftover? Is there anything left for me to play?
Practically that is the first question musicians have to ask themselves before making their own music.

I started making my own music because I felt there were still some sounds I could develop on my own. Because I felt there were still some sounds left undone in the history of rock’n’roll. I felt like I should play those sounds.

 

However, in reality, I was too late.
I wanted to play classic style hard rock music.
But when I started playing, 1970’s were long gone.

I did not make it to the day of rock.
Instead, I was born on the day of post rock.
I was born into the age of post rock.
(Even though I don’t believe in the word “post rock”.)

 

But was it really unfortunate?
Well actually, I don’t necessarily think so.

It’s probably a funny thing to say, but I want to be a finisher of rock music.
At the end of the history of rock’n’roll.
In the last days of rock’n’roll age.
That is why I chose “Christian Rock” style. Because I believe “music for God” is the final and ultimate form of rock music.

Many people still don’t know but Rock music started as “Christian Rock”. It was played by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Godmother of rock’n’roll. The first ever rock music was Christian rock.
Now we have to bring rock’n’roll back to its truest form. That is the final and ultimate form of rock music.

 

Maybe major artists in the big music industry can’t do it. There are just too many restrictions.
You might think it’s funny but I’m guessing this can only be done by indie musicians like us.

Just like old blues music.
It was not a commercial music. It was more of a personal art form and sincere message in life.

Freedom of soul found in a personal life.
Greatest rock music achieved by an indie musician.
We want to make it happen.

Maybe in the overground “rock is dead”. It’s been dead for a while now. But for indie artists, rock’n’roll story is still continuing. There are still some missions waiting to be done.

 

Basically I wanted to be a painter, not a rockstar.
Rockstars only exist in a media, be it magazine, TV, or Instagram.
But painter does not need a media to make his/her art statement.
Vincent Van Gogh didn’t need media exposure to paint his masterpieces.

 

I consider myself lucky.
You might think it’s unfortunate I could not make it to 1970’s and 1980’s, the golden age of rock music.
But who knows. Maybe competition was too fierce.
I was born into the age of indie and alternative music. That is why I could make my own music in my own style.

 

I consider myself lucky.
I was born in a local town in Japan.
Pop music and pop culture, it’s all about political power. If you know it, things are still very limited in Japan.
But because I was an ordinary person in the far east Asia, I could find my own blues. That is a music to serve, not to be served.

 

I consider myself lucky.
I was too late for 1980’s or even for 1990’s, but at least I started making music before the age of social media.
If I was younger, I would have probably spent more time on getting likes and views, than actually making music.

 

I consider myself lucky.
Maybe we are not signed to a major record company. Maybe we are not a household name in the music industry.
But at least, we can pursue our musical goals much more freely. And we have been more productive than many successful bands.

 

I consider ourselves very lucky.
Because we actually have passionate fans.
Maybe we don’t have a big success. Maybe we don’t have a big number.
But that makes this even more special.
Even though we are not a world famous band, we have passionate fans from all around the world. (You can say we are some kind of “indie famous”.)
We have fans who send us passionate messages and encouraging comments.
Do you know how much that means to us?
Don’t you think it’s a miracle?
Your kind words and encouraging messages, that is what kept us going. That made it possible for us to come this far.

How can I express my gratitude?
Thank you very much. You people are very special!!

 

I consider myself lucky.
In spite of being a very shy person, I always had a band. And the band has always been a family to me. I can be reclusive and play music alone in my room, but in reality we always played as a band. Imari Tones has always been a band and it has been active since 2004. I know how fortunate this is.

 

I consider myself lucky.
At least we had main stream recording experience once or twice. At least we have seen some music industry this and that. With those experiences, we can proudly say we are happier the way we are now.

 

I consider myself lucky.
We play Christian metal music in Japan. If you look at the commercial side, this is an absolutely wrong choice. There is virtually no chance people would accept this, because Christianity is very small in Japan. But because of this, we could be more sincere and humble. We could stay true to our faith, rather than chasing secular success.

 

I consider myself lucky.
We play Christian heavy metal music. That is not only acceptable in Japanese music scene, but also not acceptable in Japanese church scene. No matter where we go, we are out of place. We don’t belong to anywhere. But because of this, we could live and experience the reality of Japanese indie music scene. To be honest, that is one of the biggest blessings as a musician. There is no way to explain this.

 

I consider myself lucky.
Because I could find my own art. I could find my own story.
That was because I met Marie (Imari). I fell in love with her and I named this band after her. (Even though I didn’t expect her to join it as a bassist years later.)
Because she was a very special person, I found my own life story and I found my own musical style. That personal love story of ours has eventually led us to an even bigger love story with Jesus.

 

I always joke to Marie, saying “Hey if I hadn’t met you, I could have become a successful lawyer” or something like that. But if I hadn’t met her probably I would never have known Jesus.
Because if you are born in Japan, there is a very slim chance you get to know Jesus Christ.

Do you think I’m a lucky person?

I totally think all these things are much more valuable than winning a lottery.

 

 

Again, I was one day too late for “the day of rock”.
I was definitely too late for the golden age of rock music.

However, maybe everything was at the right timing.
Because we are making one of a kind music.
Indie, sincere, free, defying all the odds, supported only by faith, playing Christian metal music from Japan.

Maybe I was too late for success, but not too late for faith.
I was definitely too late for mainstream success, but I was just in time for my own indie music.
I was terribly too late to invent rock’n’roll, but not too late to finish it with my own “best ever”.

 

If you are aware of it, we have been doing this for a while now.
We are not that young anymore.
But maybe we are still young.
At least we will stay young.
(Okay this is lucky. Asian people tend to age slowly. Or is this God’s blessing too?)

And maybe we will achieve something great.
Something that has never been done.

 

Rock on, my friends.
Because God gave us Rock’n’roll for some good reasons.

Tone, 7-June-2022

 

2 Comments

  1. Jon Lockett

    I’ve been checking daily for the latest article from you on your site and have enjoyed reading this open-hearted message and soul-search.I will continue to.Thankyou so much for your share.I believe however “outdated” classic Hard Rock may be or be perceived to be there will always be those who’ll play it and keep it alive.(check out Radiant from Germany for instance).Even if there’ll never be another Golden Age for it noone can ever kill Rock N Roll.It may go out of fashion sometimes it will never totally die.I fully understand and support what you do with Imari Tones.I with Aqaba Gulf will try to do the same ,albeit in a somewhat different style(more Power Metal).I won’t ask your birthyear.(Mine was 1970).But have a lovely happy RocknRoll birthday.Enjoy the Sushi!

    • Tone

      Thank you very much, Jon! I think we are blessed to be born into the age of rock’n’roll. Let’s rock for Jesus because He is the Rock and He is the King! (I don’t tell my birthyear here but we call ourselves 90’s kids, haha. There were hiphop, grunge, and britpop, but I was always liking 1980’s hardrock and metal.)

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