Flower Travellin' Band

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Flower Travellin' Band
Flower Travellin' Band in New York City in 2008.
Background information
Also known as FTB, Flower Travelling Band, Yuya Uchida and the Flowers
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Genres Progressive rock, psychedelic rock, heavy metal
Years active 1968–1973, 2007–2011
Labels Polydor, Atlantic, GRT, Warner, Pony Canyon
Website Official site
Past members Hideki Ishima
Jun Kobayashi
George Wada
Nobuhiko Shinohara
Hiroshi Chiba
Remi Aso
Katsuhiko Kobayashi
Takeshi Hashimoto
Yuya Uchida
Joe Yamanaka

Flower Travellin' Band (フラワー・トラベリン・バンド Furawā Toraberin Bando?) were a rock band from Japan that was formed in 1968.[1] In Japan they often go by the moniker FTB.

They were connected to Japan's counterculture movement and noted for their mixture of early heavy metal with psychedelic and progressive rock. They received wide acclaim from critics but failed to achieve commercial success and disbanded in 1973 to pursue individual careers.[2] The band reunited in late 2007 when hippie influences became popular again in Japanese fashion, music and cinema; it was permanently disbanded after the 2011 death of vocalist Joe Yamanaka.

While the band's releases have never sold well they continue to be held in high regard by the music industry. Their albums have never been out of print[3] and they continue to be made available on new audiophile formats such as SHM-CDs.[4] The former members of the Flower Travellin' Band continue to perform FTB songs live together under the name Flower Power with other musicians.[5]


The band was initially started as a side-project by Yuya Uchida when he returned to Japan after visiting his friend John Lennon in England in the mid 1960s, where he was introduced to various upcoming artists such as Cream and Jimi Hendrix. Yuya wanted to introduce a similar sound to the Japanese, and formed the "Flowers" as a cover band with various group sounds musicians, and two vocalists; male singer Chiba Hiroshi and female singer Remi Aso.[6] They released the album Challenge! in 1968, featuring covers of songs by Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company, in addition to an original song. The cover caused a stir in the Japanese media as it depicted each member posing naked.

In 1969, after the release of the album; Remi Aso and guitarist Katsuhiko Kobayashi relocated to the United States. Later that year, Yuya dropped all the remaining members, except George Wada, and recruited Hideki Ishima, Joe Yamanaka and Jun Kobayashi, and formed the Flower Travellin' Band as a way to produce and explore a new musical direction outside his own career. Their first release was the mini-album Anywhere in 1970, made to emulate the Flowers' release by means of cover songs and a nude cover. Their first original album Satori was being produced that same year, and was released in 1971. Hideki Ishima was the band's lead guitarist, and wrote almost every one of the band's songs.[7]

They became friends with the Canadian band Lighthouse and in December relocated to Toronto, Canada, where they performed with artists such as Dr. John and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. While there they recorded their second original album Made in Japan and signed a deal with Atlantic Records. They returned to Japan for a show at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, and in 1973 were billed to perform with the Rolling Stones throughout their Japanese tour, however all concerts were canceled when Mick Jagger's visa was rejected due to a drug conviction. Rescheduling, they released a half-studio, half-live album titled Make Up and in April performed at Maruyama Park in Kyoto.

It would be their last concert, as at this time Yuya became involved in numerous projects and the band went on a long hiatus, with each member going onto individual careers. Joe Yamanaka recorded numerous solo albums, and collaborated with the iconic reggae band The Wailers in the 1980s. Guitarist Hideki Ishima moved to India and studied the sitar under Indian classical musician Pandit Manilal Nag, and in 2000 invented the sitarla, which combines the qualities of a solid-body electric guitar and the sitar.[8]

On November 25, 2007, the members officially reunited and formally recruited keyboardist Nobuhiko Shinohara, who had previously worked with the band. In 2008, 35 years after their last, they released the album We Are Here. They performed in New York City in November and in Canada the following month. In March 2010, future tours and productions were halted when it was announced that Joe was diagnosed with lung cancer.[9] Joe died from his cancer on August 7, 2011 at the age of 64.[9]


Former members[edit]

  • Hiroshi Chiba (千葉ひろし?) – vocals
  • Remi Aso (麻生レミ?) – vocals
  • Katsuhiko Kobayashi (小林勝彦?) – guitar
  • Takeshi Hashimoto (橋本健?) – bass
  • Yuya Uchida (内田 裕也?) – backing vocals, percussion, producer
  • Joe Yamanaka (ジョー山中?) – vocals, harmonica


as Yuya Uchida and the Flowers

  • Challenge! (1969)
  • "Last Chance" b/w "Flower Boy" (1969) – Single.[10]
  • "Flower Boy" b/w "Last Chance" (1969) – Single.[10]
  • "Fantastic Girl" b/w "Yogiri no Trumpet" (1969) – Single.

as Flower Travellin' Band

  • "Crash" b/w "Dhoop" (1970) – Single recorded with trumpeter Terumasa Hino, and the first recording credited to Flower Travellin' Band.
  • Anywhere (1970) – Debut album.
  • Kirikyogen (1970) – With Kuni Kawachi.
  • "Map" b/w "Machine Gun Kelly" (1971) – Split single with Jo Mama.
  • Satori (1971) – First original studio album.
  • "Satori Pt. 1" (1971) – Canada only single.
  • Satori (1971) – Canada only compilation album.
  • Made in Japan (1972) – Second original studio album.
  • Make Up (1973) – Double album, consisting of both live and studio recordings. Featuring keyboardist Nobuhiko Shinohara.
  • Times (1975) – A best-of album.
  • We Are Here (2008) – First album after reuniting without Yuya Uchida.
  • Resurrection (2008) – DVD.


  1. ^ "Biography at Pony Canyon". hp.ponycanyon.co.jp. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  2. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/made-in-japan-mw0001879059
  3. ^ http://wmg.jp/wmlife/sp/1969/hagiwara02.html
  4. ^ "フラワー・トラヴェリン・バンド / SATORI [SHM-CD]". artist.cdjournal.com. Retrieved 2014-11-06. 
  5. ^ "CROCODILE _SCHEDULE". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-11-06. 
  6. ^ "Yuya Uchida Discography". uchidayuya.com. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  7. ^ Inoue, Takako. 2009. Japanese rock 70's vol.2. Artes Publishing, ISBN 978-4-903951-25-6
  8. ^ "Hideki Ishima interview". jrawk.com. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  9. ^ a b "Popular singer Joe Yamanaka dies at 64". kyodonews.jp. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  10. ^ a b "Yuya Uchida Discography". intnl.uchidayuya.com. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 

External links[edit]