GLAY 15th Anniversary Interview Part two of five: Takuro

Translated by Erin Grace

TAKURO - Guitar

—What does the 15th anniversary since the debut mean to GLAY?

Takuro (from here, “Ta”): It seems like we have a habit of taking responsibility for how far we’ve gone at each turning point in our career, but this year especially we’re keeping a close eye on quality so that when we have another live, everyone can see us at our very best. Next year this music will become a legacy for the past. We’ll be able to start from a new place and build up the “16th year GLAY.” In that way, 2009 is crucial in the real meaning of GLAY; we released this best-of album with that in mind.

—In other words, you’re making a big parting from the things that came before, and re-introducing yourselves.

Ta: Yes. However, we didn’t want to do a mere best album...How do I say it? We wanted to make something to tie together the past and the future. You can see the GLAY of 2009 in the new songs we put on Disc 3.

—Disc 1 and Disc 2 are comprised of the A-side singles you’ve released since 2001. The first song, “Yuuwaku,” was originally released in 1998, and has been re-recorded and edited. What was the purpose of that?

Ta: When we play “Yuuwaku” in a live, the entire audience seizes on it at once, no matter how far away they’re sitting, and it’s become a GLAY classic. Besides, everything about GLAY’s meaning and the perfect beat dwell in that song. Because we’re starting a new journey, there are many opportunities for us to lose sight of our direction, but if we get lost, we can come back to this and it’ll be good. So then, in 10 years, in 20 years, this song will act as a pointer to where we came from.

—What have you personally come to see in the songs you’ve created since 2001?

Ta: To use one substantial example, there’s “MERMAID,” around 1999. When I listen to it, even now, I can still clearly hear the madness of those days when we couldn’t get control. Our edginess carried through, and I can still see in my mind those four men just longing to be free. Then, when 9/11 happened, GLAY finally began to turn toward the rest of the world with “GLOBAL COMMUNICATION.” It’s as though we were still in school, and we wrestled with these songs like overdue homework.

—In terms of sound, and in terms of songs packed with your emotions, disc 1 and disc 2 feel like a record of all GLAY’s challenges since 2001.

Ta: Ah, that might be so. In the ‘90s we easily outgrew our genre, and took back our band, which had its meaning stripped away... I take the stance that you can see exactly what we thought of these experiences in our music. I think we were always challenged by those things.

—Are there any songs which hold especially deep memories?

Ta: All of them. But... Probably the strongest are “Way of Difference,” “Mata Koko de Aimashou,” and “Aitai Kimochi.” The year that I wrote these was a painful one, leaving people I loved.

—On discs 1 and 2, we can see the musical breadth of the footprints that the band left behind, but on disc 3 there are more diverse compositions.

Ta: In terms of disc 3, you can’t describe all the songs in a single phrase, and the openings, chords, and progressions are all different... Will people be able to anticipate how huge we’ll be in the future, based on these songs? That was the only condition we had when selecting songs. So then, the melodies and themes are all totally different. In other words, in terms of the band we’ll be starting next year, all these songs are like unrefined ore.

—The songs certainly give us a clear feeling of the depth of GLAY’s heart, but at the same time this disc gives hope for future possibilities.

Ta: I think so. No matter what style, we can’t help but have fun with the sound that Hisashi devotes himself to. Even if Teru by himself makes a pop melody that is like the ones I’ve written, there’s still hope. I think that, if we can add GLAY’s strengths to the things that Jiro has learned from his stint with THE PREDATORS, that’ll expand our breadth even more.Or we could ties this into making 13 minute-long songs like “SAY YOUR DREAM.” Anyway, no matter what happens to GLAY from now on, no matter what we find or which direction we face, I personally will have fun.

—GLAY is still midway through their journey.

Ta: Yeah. There are still so many things we want to do. Just to mention one... I wonder if we weren’t putting off facing ourselves. That is, I acted like an adult with judgment, and it felt like I strung together words from some kind of truth that I supposedly understood better than other people. But lately I’ve remembered this. So then, while I sought for clarity, acting like a good person, the act gently slipped away, and I turned more into myself, I think. And that is candidly expressed in the songs from disc 3, like “ASHES -1969-” and “VERB.”

—By the way, why did you title the album “THE GREAT VACATION?”

Ta: Fifteen years ago, GLAY had barely started our junior year of high school, and we had these long, long summer vacations. We spent summer vacations hanging out; they were stepping stones of a myriad joys and sorrows. And this year, when I was looking for words with a deep meaning and couldn’t find any, when I found this I thought, “That’s it!” The important thing is that these summer vacations are still going, and I’d like everyone to enjoy this huge 2009 summer vacation with me. That’s the meaning. Also, there’s the pun: “GREAT VACATION” = “VACATION WITH GLAY.” * (Laughs)

*In Japanese, “GREAT VACATION” is pronounced “gureeto bakeeshon,” which is very similar to “vacation with GLAY”: “GLAY to VACATION.”