Plastics (band)

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Plastics
OriginTokyo, Japan
GenresNew wave, post-punk, synthpop
Years active1976–1981
1989
2010–2016
LabelsRough Trade
Invitation
Island (UK)
Victor Musical Industries, Inc
Past membersChica Sato
Toshio Nakanishi (deceased)
Hajime Tachibana
Masahide Sakuma (deceased)
Takemi Shima
Gota Yashiki

Plastics, or The Plastics, were a short-lived Japanese new wave band who rose to prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[1] Their music was a major influence on Japanese pop music and their songs have been covered by many bands, most notably Polysics, Pizzicato Five, and Stereo Total.

In September 2007, Rolling Stone Japan ranked their debut album Welcome Plastics at No. 19 on their list of the "100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time".[2]

Biography[edit]

Fellow new wave bands Talking Heads, The B-52's and Devo were fans of Plastics and were instrumental in getting their albums released in the United States. The band's mainstream exposure began when Toshio Nakanishi designed a tour program book for Talking Heads and gave their frontman David Byrne a tape of Plastics demos. Byrne promptly sent it to the B-52's' manager, who offered to represent them internationally.[3]

The band used the Roland CR-68 and CR-78 drum machines for their early albums.[4] In 1980, member Masahide Sakuma had some input on the Roland Corporation's development of the Roland TR-808 drum machine. When its development was complete, the Plastics owned the first TR-808 model, which they used on their 1981 album Welcome Back.[4]

On February 19, 1982, NBC's late night comedy show SCTV aired the promotional video for Plastics' song "Top Secret Man" as part of the "Midnight Video Special" sketch, hosted by Gerry Todd (Rick Moranis).[5]

Stereo Total's cover of their song "I Love You, Oh No!" (with the title amended to "I Love You Ono") was used in television commercials for Sony Ericsson in Europe around 2006 and by Dell computers in the US in 2009.[6]

On January 16, 2014, Masahide Sakuma died after a battle with scirrhous gastric cancer and a brain tumor. He was 61.[3] On May 10, 2016, Plastics got together to perform their final concert at Blue Note Tokyo. On February 25, 2017, Toshio Nakanishi died after a battle with esophageal cancer, also at the age of 61. The following year, the band released the recording of their final concert under the name A in memory of Nakanishi.[7][8][9]

Band members[edit]

  • Chica Sato (佐藤 チカ) – vocal, synth drums
  • Toshio Nakanishi (中西 俊夫) – vocal, guitar & percussion
  • Hajime Tachibana (立花  (ハジメ)) – guitar & vocal
  • Masahide Sakuma (佐久間 正英) – keyboards, guitar & bass programming
  • Takemi Shima (島 武実) – rhythm box

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Notes
1980 Welcome Plastics
  • Label: Invitation
Origato Plastico
  • Label: Invitation
1981 Welcome Back
  • Label: Invitation
Re-recorded versions. Also known as Plastics. Originally came with a 7" picture flexi-disc of their version of the Monkees hit "Last Train to Clarksville" and Japanese B-side "Pate."

Live albums[edit]

Year Title Notes
1997 All Across the U.S.A. 80 Live
  • Label: Speedstar
  • Released: November 21, 1997
Recorded at Irving Plaza, New York, August 30, 1980, and Whisky a Go Go, Los Angeles, April 23, 1980.
2009 Dr. Vobg
  • Label: Bridge Inc.
  • Released: August 15, 2009
2016 We Love You Oh No! Plastics Live in Central Park NYC 1981
  • Label: T-Annex
  • Released: April 16, 2016
Vinyl LP only.
2018 A
  • Label: Victor
  • Released: February 21, 2018
Live recording of the band's final reunion in 2016, with bonus disc containing five early demos.

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Notes
1981 Best One '82 プラスチックス
  • Label: Invitation
Cassette only.
1988 Forever Plastico
  • Label: Invitation
  • Released: November 1, 1988
Contains Welcome Plastics in its entirety and selected tracks from Origato Plastico.
2005 Hard Copy
  • Label: P.S.C Ltd.
  • Released: July 13, 2005
Live at Yaneura. Includes DVD U.S. Tour 1981.
Origato25
  • Label: Speedstar
Two-disc "greatest hits" compilation with four rare/new tracks.
2013 Plastic Paradise (Early Plastics Lost Tape)
  • Label: K&B Publishers
  • Released: July 8, 2013
Included with Toshio Nakanishi's book The Rise and Fall of Plastics, Melon and Major Force Be With You. Features five early demos and three live tracks from Q's Bar, all from 1977.

Singles[edit]

Year Title Notes
1979 "Top Secret Man" / "Copy" Promo only.
"Copy" / "Robot"
  • Label: Rough Trade
Early recordings.
1980 "Top Secret Man" / "Delicious"
  • Label: Invitation
"Good" / "Pate"
  • Label: Invitation
Non-album B-side.
"Peace" / "Desolate"
  • Label: Invitation
1981 "Last Train to Clarksville" One-sided limited edition promo. Re-recorded version.
"Diamond Head" / "Peace"
  • Label: Island
  • Released: March 9, 1981
Gold flexi-disc promo. Re-recorded versions.
"Pate" / "Last Train to Clarksville"
  • Label: Island
One-sided picture flexi-disc.

EPs[edit]

Year Title Notes
1981 "Diamond Head (Long Version)" / "Robot" / "Top Secret Man" / "Peace"
  • Label: Island
12" promo featuring re-recorded versions.

Selected compilation appearances[edit]

Year Title Track Notes
2004 Techno Pop
  • Label: BMG
  • Released: August 25, 2004
"Pate" B-side of "Good" single.
2010 Downtown 81 (12 Titres Extraits De La B.O. Du Film Culte) "Copy" Early single version. Free CD sampler with French magazine Les Inrockuptibles issue N°46 Hors Série, dedicated to Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marx, W. David. "The Plastics and Copy Anxiety". Neojaponisme. Retrieved 9 April 2016. originally issue #4 Audimat (in French).
  2. ^ "English translation and summary of the Rolling Stone Japan article". Neojaponisme.com. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
  3. ^ a b "Masahide Sakuma of the Plastics Dies at 61". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b Masahide Sakuma, ROLAND TR-808の記憶 Archived 2014-02-09 at the Wayback Machine, April 5, 2012
  5. ^ "SCTV Guide - Episodes - Series 4 Cycle 2". Sctvguide.ca. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Discovery Dell TV Commercial Ad". Advertlog.com.
  7. ^ "Plastics Artist and Major Force Co-Creator Toshio Nakanishi Dies at 61". Billboard.com. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Plastics Leader Nakanishi Dies". Pollstar.com. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  9. ^ "PLASTICS -A". Slogan. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  10. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2016-11-30.

External links[edit]