Bassist / Cat Lover / Trainspotter / Jesus Follower
– So when did you join this band?
When? This is MY band since the beginning. It just took me 20 years to join!
“Marie” is her nickname and it’s an anagram of her real name. You already know her name, because if you look at the history of this band, she is the one who made this music happen in the first place.
She learned about Christian Metal when she heard one of Stryper songs on radio back in her high school days. She was intrigued by the fabulous sound and beautiful melody.
Just like that, she became a big fan of 1980’s “Hair Metal” such as RATT and Winger. That was why she wrote “I want to be in a rock band” on the Tanabata (Japanese Summer Festival) wish card in the high school gym.
This certain guitar playing boy, who was into Eddie Van Halen and 2 years older than her, saw the card and she ended up singing in a band at the school festival.
However, it took so much longer for her to play music she really wanted to play: Heavy Metal.
Fast forward to 2011, she joined the band called “Atsuki Ryo with Jesus Mode”. That was a side project band with Tone from Imari Tones and his friend singer Atsuki Ryo.
She was still a novice bass player, but she got the look for heavy metal. She shone on the stage as if she had been born for heavy metal.
She looked as sharp as Tim Gaines, her favorite bass player. She’s got the sharp rhythm, too.
In 2018, Imari Tones’ long time bassist and drummer, Hassy&Jake, left the band. All the friends around the band said “Why don’t you just bring Marie in?”
Not only the band leader Tone, but also Marie herself kept denying the idea of her joining Imari Tones, saying “No way that’s impossible”.
Because, different from basic 1980’s heavy metal of “Jesus Mode”, Imari Tones’ progressive songs required much more skill to play.
However, things started to move when “Koji Maya” joined the band, who was a very skilled metal drummer.
Band ensemble is all about combination. Even with skilled players, if their styles don’t much, it doesn’t go well.
Now we got as great drummer as Koji, what we need may not be skill, but style.
Tone brought Marie to the studio and did the audition for her, playing some songs with Koji.
Bam! Everything sounded right.
The song they played, called “Unlimit”, now had the groove of 90’s, not only the flashy vibe of 80’s.
That meant Marie could play like D’arcy Wretzky, with her solid style. And she began to progress as a bass player.
Marie is a passionate Christian.
Since she was baptized in 2009, she promoted Stryper fervently in Japanese metal community.
She was so passionate that the Chirstian Newspaper Japan put an article of her, showing her picture dressed in yellow and black clothes, saying “I want to bring Stryper to Japan!”.
Her dream partly came true at the Loudpark festival 2011, but she did not stop there.
She launched “Stryper Street Team Japan” on the internet and started this whole big campaign, to make metal fans request radio stations to play Stryper songs and tell concert promoters how all the fans want Stryper concerts in Japan.
Her effort came to a fruition in 2016 when Stryper toured Japan for the first time in 27 years (since 1989). By then her effort was recognized by the band and their manager. She was invited to the backstage of their Japan tour.
These things she did because she wanted to spread Jesus’ message through heavy metal music. That was her faith. She is, most likely, Number 1 Christian Metal Girl in Japan.
It was also about the faith and her next mission why she concluded her “Stryper Street Team Japan” work in 2016. But she continued to support Christian Metal and music missionaries, helping “The Extreme Tour Japan” and “Calling Records”.
Though not everybody understands, for her having faith in Jesus and loving heavy metal music is both natural and they don’t contradict.
She is a natural born heavy metal girl. While Tone listens to the latest indie rock, 90’s britpop and 80’s new wave, Marie only listens to Heavy Metal. It was her who introduced Tone to 2000’s Metal Core and also classic Thrash Metal bands such as Exodus and Forbidden.
In her private life, she is a “Cat Girl” and her room is filled with cat dolls. (Not very unusual in this day and age, especially in Japan…)
She is also a “Railfan” or “Trainspotter”. In Japanese we call it “鉄子” that also means “Iron Girl”.
For those reasons her most favorite thing is “Sounyan”. A cat mascot for Sagami Railways. Combining railroad and cat, that’s her current favorite.
She might not be a “Typical Japanese Lady” who always behaves decently.
But when she get on the stage with her bass on, she is The Girl Chosen By Heavy Metal.
Sometimes she plays like Tim Gaines, sometimes she plays like Cliff Burton, other times she plays like D’arcy Wretzky. But she is different from them all.
Because she is one and only Japanese Christian Metal Bassist.
Her favorite bass players:
Tim Gaines, Juan Croucier, Kip Winger
The basses she is playing:
Bacchus TF-001 “Black Cat”
Bacchus Twenty Four DX4 Sakura