Monday, October 27, 2008

My computer broke

Just before I went on a little trip this weekend, the power jack on my laptop broke. So it's gonna be hard to blog for a little while, but I am going to try to anyway. I should be able to post news and whatnot, at least; it's just hard to do anything with my own pictures or video without my own computer to do stuff on.

I may need to buy another one, which I'm none too happy about. Grr.

UPDATE: I've bogarted my wife's old laptop for now - it's junk, but at least I can blog. I'll post something good up by the weekend.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Book "Tsuki Ichi" Announced

Yep, only a few details at the moment. It's mostly a collection of essays written by Ami and Yumi, apparently. 200 pages. At least one photo (and probably more):

Here is the link to the book on the publisher's web site. It'll sell for 1,575 yen, or about $15.

200 pages is pretty significant. Their last book "Ayumi" was around that size, and it's considered something of a bible of their entire history, with lots of details that weren't previously common knowledge.

I'll add more once there's more to post. As usual these days, Puffy's staff claim "not to be able to" say more yet. I admit that I'm a little surprised by this announcement, but I'm definitely looking forward to the book.

If anyone in Japan would like to fill us in on any more you might know from their Japanese blog posts, please leave a comment. Is this a collection of their magazine columns? Or something new?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Puffy at Rock in Japan Festival 2008 - Video!

Thanks to timwamoonface for posting this at the forums, and obviously to Uutygfavailable for uploading to YouTube in the first place.

You probably read my previous post about Puffy's appearance at Rock in Japan Festival 2008; now we've got video of the event:

Basket Case

Asia no Junshin

My Story

They don't sound the best I've heard them sound live, but I think partly it's the venue and having to use the house sound system. They never sound as good at festivals as they do when playing alone - just one more reason why festivals suck.

And for those who care, click the following link for a bonus clip of Kimura Kaela singing at the same festival - in a miniskirt! Probably not the most advisable outfit when the cameraman is shooting from below the stage.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I'm in a rut. Feel like I've got nothing to post. I'm gonna do a review of something, sometime this week. Know why? Because every time I spend a lot of time writing a review of something Puffy does, they make some major announcement that pushes my review down the page and out of everybody's consciousness and basically renders all my work moot. So hopefully by writing something long-form, I'll jinx myself again and bring on some news.

In the meantime, here's an episode of Hey! Hey! Hey! that I hadn't seen before to keep you entertained:

The hairstyles would put it in the "Illustrated History" era.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


10 days since my last post! I'll figure out something that I can put up, and post a little more regularly pretty soon. I haven't forgotten about this place!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Random Thoughts

As I sit here watching the stock market drop below 10,000, worrying about my 401(k) imploding in the global financial meltdown, watching the value of my house drop below the amount I still owe on it, and wondering if I'll have a job in the coming months at the post-merger media company where I currently work, I've found my mind wandering onto other, less fiduciary subjects to take the edge off.

Like, for example, why is it necessary to "not talk about" albums before they're announced? See here. This has never made any sense to me. We all know the album is coming, Puffy have officially said an album is coming. So what's the point of withholding any further info, or talking about it as if that's not what they're doing in the studio and on these photo shoots and whatnot all this time?

I know all the rationales. I used to work in marketing and still sort of do (just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!). I know it's all about "maximizing impact" in a "coordinated campaign". I also know that there may be details that are still not set and may change, and you never want to say something publicly that you're not sure will end up really happening.

But come on. This is all based on pre-internet, old media traditions. It's from the days when you needed to make sure all your PR was ready for the various magazines' and newspapers' deadlines, and many of them only published once per month. It's also from back when radio and TV were the only "fast" media outlets, but time and space on them were limited, such that you needed to have enough real content ready all at once to make it worth covering. That's all still true to some extent, but the internet is a different medium, working in real time without limits or constraints on content - and it's made this self-conscious withholding of info we all otherwise know already seem a little silly.

Tell us what you know. Show us the process. Some artists already do this - maybe not coincidentally, the ones who do it best are not under contract to a traditional record label. (Not that I'm suggesting this could be a path for Puffy - I merely suggest that record labels themselves might want to look and adapt.) It doesn't hurt your message, it helps it. It lets you dribble out info a little bit at a time, keeping fans interested on an ongoing basis rather than hitting them with everything you've got all at once and then watching them fall off, knowing that you've already blown your load.

So Puffy's working on an album. What's the concept? Who's playing on it? Who's writing it? Thought of any potential titles yet? Got any artwork, or at least artists that we might know? Where's it being recorded? And how's the recording going?

Yes, all this anticipation probably just heightens the frenzy among their hardcore fans. But there are more than just hardcore fans to please out there. I just don't think all this old-media traditional secrecy is the best way to reach a broad internet audience on an ongoing basis. And even hardcore fans can lose interest in the absence of news. (Maybe you've noticed that I sometimes go weeks without posting anything. I am not immune - when it seems like Puffy aren't active, I've got other bands that I listen to. I mean posting these TV show clips of Puffy playing the same old songs is only interesting for so long.)

The second thing I've been wondering is a) why don't live music venues in the United States ever check for cameras anymore?, and b) why are live music venues in Japan still such fascists about doing so? Talk about extremes.

It used to be that if you got caught with a camera at a concert in the United States, they would take your camera. And you wouldn't get it back, either. Just meant some bouncer at the venue got himself a free camera.

Nowadays, they don't even bother. Some places don't even say cameras aren't allowed anymore. At the last two shows I've been to - the 50th Anniversary Jazzmaster concert and My Bloody Valentine - there were no signs, and some people were using big SLR's in plain view. At the two Puffy shows I've been to (one and two), it was a similar story. You can't read a show report written in this country anymore without a butt-load of photos and videos attached.

Really, that's the way it should be. The bands get more free exposure, the concertgoers get a free memento and those who didn't get to go are excited to see new photos of their favorite artists online. I just wonder why the change. Maybe the venues are too busy looking for bombs these days, and don't have time to waste on innocent stuff like cameras. Especially with cell phones and little pocket cams being so ubiquitous.

In Japan, though, it seems that change never happened. Cameras are still not allowed and that rule is strictly enforced. It's frustrating as a reader of concert reports from afar, and I'm sure it's frustrating for the concertgoers too. What is the point of this rule? It's never made any sense to me. I sort of understood it back in the old-media days because the bands thought they could make more money by selling "official" photos to magazines and such, or get themselves better coverage by bartering "exclusive" photos to go with whatever show review or other story a publication was writing in exchange for better placement.

Today, it seems like the additional exposure from thousands of people posting photos to hundreds of blogs and web sites for potentially hundreds of thousands of readers would easily trump the possibility of any additional revenue or exposure from selling official band photos or doling them out as "exclusives". Especially with a band like Puffy, who are probably not going to get top billing anymore simply for handing out an exclusive photo from a show. Puffy are already one of the world's most photographed musical acts - what's a few more going to do besides keep the interest level up?

I guess my feeling is that "controlling the message" is less important these days than promoting your act. And the two things are not really dependent on each other.