I like the fact that Puffy is playing in the US after a fairly long hiatus and this post is probably going to upset some fans. I get that. Frankly, I thought they had all but abandoned fans across the Pacific. So the Not Lazy Tour does represent something of a surprise, I do take issue with calling it a tour much less dubbing it not lazy. This had been bothering me for a while and I could not put my finger on why exactly, until I saw Shonen Knife announce their US tour and I have some tough love to dole out which pleases me not at all to do so.
Shonen Knife's touring is the precise definition of Not Lazy. They do double digit cities on a nearly annual touring basis. They are a band that has never had the same success as Puffy in their native Japan. They have never had the same media exposure in the US like Puffy. They have not had a vastly power label like Sony supporting them. Yet Shonen Knife has far greater tours in the US.
The question I as myself now is why is that so?
This is less of a shot at Puffy than it is acknowledging that Shonen Knife (Naoko Yamano) is personally invested in touring the US. Not only does she seek labels to distribute her band's music, but she has laid the ground work for decades by touring the US. People obviously show up as it is not a charity. Ami and Yumi seem less personally invested and it would be my best guess that tours and many other things are handled by their people. Which may be a byproduct of their overwhelming success compared to Shonen Knife in Japan. It may also be that Shonen Knife has always been Noako's creation whereas Puffy is a group that was forged by Sony.
Perhaps it is an issue of personal investment and here is a rub as a fan of Puffy (more so than Shonen Knife, whom I like but not nearly as much). What Shonen Knife has done for decades cannot and probably will not be something Ami and Yumi can replicate. First the ground work is a decade behind Shonen Knife, but also it simply seems like it is not of serious interest to Puffy to do so.
The lines of thinking between Shonen Knife and Puffy seems to boil down to this. Shonen Knife approaches a US tour like lets see where we can play and put together a tour. Puffy approaches it by who wants us to play. I think it speaks to Shonen Knife having some personal investment in touring the US whereas Puffy takes a more passive approach facilitated by their people.
I do not doubt for one second that Puffy could have a twenty date US tour and do well. Puffy is arguably the best known band from Japan in the US, this might change over time as a band like Perfume makes headway... but for now a far lesser band, namely Shonen Knife is really Not Lazy and that is because Naoko Yamano has invested her energies into the US fans.
The smartest thing Puffy could do if they have any desire to invest in US tours is have Naoko Yamano manage their US tour dates and have Shonen Knife open for them. It would be a win-win for both bands.
All this said, I am sure Ami and Yumi will work hard to put on the great shows they have committed to. They are not just engaging, but also professionals. Perhaps if these dates are successful a door will be opened and there will be a new vector for them to apply their energies outside of Japan.
P.S. I like Puffy far more than Shonen Knife and it genuinely pained me to write all of this. I continue to listen to Puffy still far more than any other Japanese band and they hold the largest share of my Japanese music heart. Puffy has vastly more range and talent than most Japanese groups, but I acknowledge that there is little substitution for determination of which Naoko Yamano has in spades when it comes to the subject of US touring.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Thursday, January 19, 2017
The good news is Puffy has more US dates added for the front half of this year! That is really, really cool.
The bad news is Puffy is likely not playing in your city.
Puffy has announced three tours dates:
Tue 04 April The Belasco Theater, Los Angeles
Thu 06 April The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco
Sun 09 April Trees, Dallas
My hope is a few more dates fill out (pssst Denver would be a perfect stop over between SF and Dallas...)
Not Lazy for sure, touring overseas is no small thing... but I wish it were more ambitious.
Anyways, here is a video they posted talking about the video. Even talking to fans a bit in English, for which Yumi-san has much improved and Ami sounds totally different speaking English.
Posted by Wes at 9:18 PM
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Some interesting and encouraging news, Puffy has been announced as a performing act at Anime Boston. I have not seen the specific details as to the specific date, but the convention itself runs from March 31 - April 2nd.
The outstanding questions I have are:
Will this be in a proper venue?
Will they be bringing along their support band?
Will I have to go to Boston as who knows when they'll be back in the US?
Anyways, great news and even better for East Coast people. Now if Denver Comic Con would book them...
Only one slight gripe about the posting on the convention's site, I kind of disagree with the album numbers... but minor issue.
(h/t to the Puffy Facebook group)
Posted by Wes at 12:17 AM
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Hey gang. Apologies for not writing as much as I should or want. I was in Tokyo in July and it was a great trip. So I'll talk about that a little.
As some of you may recall my friend Dr Doug was the person who introduced me to Puffy some years ago when we worked together. He has since moved back to Tokyo so I met up with him and his lovely wife Sumi. This was part of the reason returning to visit Japan as they are very special people to us and life is short and often unpredictable. We had to go.
Doug burned a weekend hanging out with us and doing more touristy things than a local expat might. We diverted to a music store in Shibuya: Tsutaya. I controlled myself and limited myself to the Puffy 20th Anniversary CD set.
Posted by Wes at 4:29 PM
Monday, September 5, 2016
Hey gang saw this crop up on the Facebook side of Puffy fandom. Were this any more Japan it would have had to be in Tokyo Tower.
This checks so many boxes in my life: Domokun, orchestral instruments, Puffy and Japan.
Perhaps Ami was not having a good singing day, but she sounded pretty rough. Which is a surprise as she is usually the singer with much more range. Based on this it sounds like off the cuff singing Yumi's voice is holding up well...
Still wrapping my thoughts around my Japan trip in regards to Puffy. Hope your Labor Day weekend has been swell.
Posted by Wes at 11:09 AM
Friday, September 2, 2016
Tokusuru Karada One of my favorite PUFFY songs for a few reasons but mostly because it is one of their most unique in that they have never had a song like this again in 20 years. But a nuance I never noticed was the the racquetball ball players mimicking their "dance moves you can do drunk" in one of the scenes.
Here is the video in much higher quality than you see on YouTube... Looks like an official Puffy VEVO site. This is most welcome but I'll chat about that later.
P.S. Had a great trip to Tokyo in July. Just about perfect. I hung out with my pal Dr. Doug who lives there again about Puffy and the state of things. Been jammed with real world things since getting back so blogging has suffered.
Posted by Wes at 5:43 PM