Thursday, November 5, 2009

Too Good To Be True

I did a quick follow up with Brigitte Wright who management for Less Than Jake... turns out Puffy is not touring with them. Puffy canceled two months ago. Why promoters, venues and ticket sellers have not updated was as much a surprise to my source with Less Than Jake as it was to me....

That means that I can say with a high degree of certainty that Puffy is not touring the US this winter. Sorry for the false alarm... There was enough to report on, after all this was big news for US based Puffy fans... but I definitely saw some oddities about the concerts. First no announcement via Puffy, they have always been proactive on concert announcements. Second the unevenness of promoters and ticket sellers with them on the bill.

Sorry to dash everyone's hopes.... Reporting good news as well as bad news is part of gigs like this. I suppose the only good thing I can take from all of this confusion is that Puffy still has some interest in playing US gigs. Hopefully this will translate to Ami and Yumi actually playing US gigs at some point...

That or I will have to sleep on my friend Karen's couch in Tokyo.


19 comments:

  1. Argh, I hate Google's comment system - one of these days I'm gonna install Disqus on here :)

    My long comment was just deleted.

    Anyway, to summarize what I said, my guess is they were trying to release Bring It here and couldn't get it done, just like with Honeycreeper... why they don't just drop Sire or whoever their label is and go back to somebody like Bar None, I don't know. But then again, they don't really feel like a Bar None kind of band anymore...

    sigh...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Given how nothing is getting released here... any alternative other than Sire (or whomever) might be worth considering...

    Maybe whoever Shonen Knife is with these days... I wonder if this is a Sony Music call or Puffy call to make.

    Google's commenting system is awful...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I imagine it's Sony's call; with Shonen Knife, Naoko and Atsushi Shibata run their company and own the band's current catalogue, so they can sign with whomever they want (currently, Good Charamel Records, run by a member of the Goo-Goo Dolls). Ami and Yumi probably don't have that luxury, especially since Sony probably owns everything related to Puffy.

    It's nice Ami and Yumi haven't forgotten about the U.S., but it would be nice if they and their corporate overlords could get on the same page and get something going.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It just doesn't seem to make much sense that their record label wouldn't release them when they clearly have no interest in putting out their albums here. What's the point of keeping them under contract?

    Also, they just switched labels a while ago (from Tofu Records to some other Sony-owned label), and their current label has done absolutely nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's really discouraging to see their record label treat them on the backburner after proving time and time again their longevity. I wonder how much better they might have it on an indie label, because they obviously aren't priority for Sony, at least at the level of musicians. Then again, if they left I can't see them getting the opportunity to become spokespeople for products, let alone SONY products, as often. But I've always considered them artists foremost. An indie label seems more natural for them, in my opinion.

    I suppose I'm just worried for them because their career seems to have slown since Splurge, or even honeycreeper. Or I'm jealous because I've yet to see them at a US show, haha.

    ReplyDelete
  6. jeff, it may be there is not enough money to be made... by releasing their albums, but not-not enough money to keep them under some sort of contract. The amount of money Puffy would generate in the states is small, but the investment to produce the album has been done... barring production and reworking the liner notes... it is also free money.

    The music industry is a frustrating one to apply logic to.


    Stewart, an indie label would be ideal... how and why they can not seem to get a solid foothold might be for the same reasons or different...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Apart from Puffy, how many artists does Sony Japan have that are known even reasonably well in the rest of the world?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, well, as you say, I guess it was too good to be true. I'm sorry if I caused a false alarm, but the sources I saw did seem totally legitimate.

    I really hope I get to see tham someday - I didn't discover PUFFY until about a year ago, so i missed their 2007 show in Seattle, something I really regret.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @bonsaipark: Do you mean notable to a mainstream crowd, or to Japanophiles? Because I've glanced through a list of artists represented, many of which I personally recognize, and I know it's not unusual for Japanese artists to perform overseas, but out of the entire list I could only see Puffy as making a (mildly successful) crossover to an overseas fanbase.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You know, how DID they get that cartoon deal on Cartoon Network anyway???


    vince

    ReplyDelete
  11. Robert, I appreciated the heads up. I appreciate any Puffy news that comes in and everything I saw suggested this was true... but apparently this was canceled months ago and the news did not catch up to the marketing. Lots of moving parts in that business.

    Bonsaipark, aside from Puffy I can not think of one that is still with them... I mean how many Japanese acts are known in the US aside from Puffy and Shonen Knife? That list is depressingly short too.

    Stewart, I think some of it is these acts have to do English songs to get any mainstream attention... or simply keep pressing. Shonen Knife may be the only act that has some vague saturation because they do a lot of English songs... Ami and Yumi could, but honestly they need better English songs to do that. There is nothing wring with their English songs at all, but 1-2 of those on an album probably will not cut it.

    Vince, from my personal experiences in that area... it is a strange business.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Utada Hikaru is a bit of a known entity in the U.S. music biz -- I think her recent album hit #69 on the Billboard charts (of course, she's not with Sony). She also has the advantage at being completely bilingual and capable of writing entire albums in English (not unlike Shonen Knife's Naoko). But no Japanese act has had anything close to a hit since Pink Lady back in the '70s (or maybe Seiko Matsuda back in the 1990s).

    I think Sam Register -- former V.P. of Cartoon Network and creator of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi -- is a fan of Ami and Yumi's music, and that's how the cartoon came to be.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Stewart, I think I had in mind something about midway between mainstream listeners and Japanophiles, although mainstream would probably be closer the mark. I just had to wonder if there was anyone at Sony who would have at least some name recognition value outside of Japan. Another artist who might be named goodwill tourism ambassador (or referred to as "Japan's pop cultural icons"). Seems Ami and Yumi still have at least some value to the company, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  14. "Seems Ami and Yumi still have at least some value to the company, doesn't it?"

    That's my point. Their record company shouldn't be fudging up like this if they still possess value.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Stewart, there are probably many factors. I think the first is every attempt that Puffy and Sony have made to get into the US market has not met with much success... enough interest to try and throw a tour together but not enough clearly to press it when things go squirrely.

    Frankly it would make all the sense in the world for them to join up with Shonen Knife for a US tour... a band with decent pull and a similar fan base...


    bonsaipark, there are probably enough Japanese acts when combined for a tour that would make it a profitable venture (either directly in cash or marketing...). But the problem is nobody seems to want to do it or it can not be done...

    ReplyDelete
  16. anthony said...

    I think Sam Register -- former V.P. of Cartoon Network and creator of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi -- is a fan of Ami and Yumi's music, and that's how the cartoon came to be.

    Perhaps, an interview with Mr. Register is in order........Hmm?

    vince

    ReplyDelete
  17. "Perhaps, an interview with Mr. Register is in order........Hmm?"

    I may be able to pull that off... I have done a number of celeb interviews for other writing gigs... let me put this on my to do list.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was looking for some puffy albums at HMV Japan and found a Bring it version from USA. May this is a USA Version?

    http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/3706005

    ReplyDelete


 
CDJapan