Sadistic Mika Band
Sadistic Mika Band (サディスティック・ミカ・バンド) was a Japanese rock group formed in 1972. Its name is a parody of the "Plastic Ono Band". Produced by Masatoshi Hashiba on Toshiba-EMI Records (now EMI Music Japan), the band was led by the then husband and wife team of guitarist Kazuhiko Kato, and his wife, singer Mika Fukui (in Japanese). The word "sadistic" is reported to be inspired by her insensitive sense of humour.
Sadistic Mika Band
|Also known as||The Sadistics, Sadistic Yuming Band, Sadistic Mikaela Band|
|Genres||Hard rock, glam rock, jazz fusion, progressive rock|
1975–1979 (as The Sadistics)
1985 (as the Sadistic Yuming Band)
1989 (as the Sadistic Mica Band)
2006–2007 (as the Sadistic Mikaela Band)
|Labels||Toshiba EMI, Harvest|
|Associated acts||Kimura Kaela, Chris Thomas, Chris Mosdell, Yumi Matsutoya, Yellow Magic Orchestra|
|Past members||Kazuhiko Kato|
In 2003, HMV Japan ranked the band at No. 94 on their list of the "Top 100 Japanese Pops Artists". In September 2007, Rolling Stone Japan rated their 1974 album Kurofune at No. 9 on its list of the "100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time".
Kazuhiko Kato moved to Kensington, London in 1972 and, impressed by the burgeoning glam rock scene led by T. Rex and David Bowie, he set about forming a new group in Japan to emulate the style. The original lineup of the band included Kato, Mika, drummer Hiro Tsunoda and lead guitarist Masayoshi Takanaka. This lineup recorded the single "Cycling Boogie" in 1973. Subsequently Tsunoda left the band, to be replaced by Yukihiro Takahashi, and bassist Ray Ohara joined the band. This lineup completed the band's self-titled debut album, which was released on the Harvest label in the United Kingdom.
Their second album Kurofune (黒船 Black Ship(s)) was recorded in England, produced by Chris Thomas. Thomas also introduced Mika to Badfinger while he produced their 1974 LP Wish You Were Here. Her vocals can be heard on the track "Know One Knows" (translating Pete Ham's lyrics to Japanese). Keyboardist Yu Imai, who had worked as a supporting musician on the first album was promoted to full member status. The album sold well in Japan. In the UK; however, the album sold poorly but received high praise from critics.
Ohara left the band, and was replaced by Tsugutoshi Gotō. Chris Thomas also produced their third album Hot! Menu. The album, which featured tracks such as "Mada Mada Samba", is now quite rare although it was featured on BBC Radio 3's Sounds Interesting. The band played live on BBC TV's Old Grey Whistle Test in October 1975. The band performed two tracks: "Time to Noodle" and "Suki Suki Suki". When they appeared, a stagehand arranged for the name of the programme (usually shown hung from the back wall) to be spelt as The Old Gley Whistle Test as a joke on the Japanese mispronunciation of the letters L and R.
The band also made an appearance on BBC TV's Pebble Mill at One and were interviewed by Jan Leeming. Photographs from this appearance were published in the book S/M/B/2 (2006, Shinko Music) by Masayoshi Sukita, who was a close friend of the band.
The band played live in the United Kingdom supporting Roxy Music including a show at Wembley Stadium. It was the first ever UK tour by a Japanese rock band. Recordings from these concerts were released as their Live in London album. After this album was released, Kazuhiko Kato and Mika divorced, and both left the band. Mika later married Chris Thomas and moved to the UK, where she worked as a food researcher.
The remaining members – Takahashi, Takanaka, Imai, and Gotō – continued for several years as The Sadistics. They released two studio albums and two live albums before the band eventually petered out in 1979 as the members became busy with their solo careers and other projects, such as the Yellow Magic Orchestra and Imitation. All members continued to work with Kazuhiko Kato on his solo albums in the 1970s and '80s.
Kazuhiko Kato became a radio show presenter and a television personality in Japan. He had a successful solo career after the Sadistic Mika Band broke up; pursuing a ska direction before acquiring interest in European experimental music. Most of his solo work employed the talents of the other former Sadistic Mika Band members and other notable guest artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono and Akiko Yano. He released two acoustic albums with Kōnosuke Sakazaki of The Alfee under the name Kazukoh in 2007 (Golden Hits) and 2009 (Happy End), and found time to form a new band called Vitamin-Q in 2008, releasing one album (VITAMIN-Q feat ANZA). Kato committed suicide by hanging on October 17, 2009 in the Kitasaku District of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.
Band producer Masatoshi Hashiba also produced the popular band Vodka Collins.
Drummer Yukihiro Takahashi went on to become part of Y.M.O. (Yellow Magic Orchestra), and since 2002 has been working in the duo Sketch Show with his ex-YMO bandmate Haruomi Hosono. He has also acted in a number of films and TV shows, usually in comedic roles. Ray Ohara was a regular member of Takahashi's band in the 1980s and 90s.
Mika released a self-produced album in 1994, where she wrote all songs and lyrics.
Tsugutoshi Gotō has released a large number of albums both solo, and as a member of various bands.
Yu Imai went on to form the group Imitation and collaborated with members of Sandii & the Sunsetz and Talking Heads. He was also the chief musical collaborator with lyricist Chris Mosdell on three of his solo albums, Equasian (also with Kazuhiko Kato), The Oracles of Distraction, and Fingerprints of the Gods – the latter being the sonic setting of the Graham Hancock book of the same title.
Masayoshi Takanaka went on to become one of the most famous guitarists in Japan. He has been releasing studio albums and touring to this day.
The band has reunited three times. Each time Kazuhiko Kato, Yukihiro Takahashi and Masayoshi Takanaka have formed the core of the band, with a different female lead vocalist and supporting musicians.
In 1985, the band reunited as the Sadistic Yuming Band. Tsugutoshi Gotō returned on bass. In addition, Ryuichi Sakamoto played keyboards and Yumi Matsutoya, AKA Yuming, sang the female lead vocals.
In 1989, the band reunited as the Sadistic Mica Band with Ray Ohara on bass instead of Gotō, and Karen Kirishima on vocals. Appare, an album featuring new material, was released, as well as the accompanying live album Seiten.
In 2006, the band reunited and became the Sadistic Mikaela Band, with 22-year-old pop singer Kaela Kimura on lead vocals. The lineup released the album Narkissos, featuring a track by renowned English lyricist Chris Mosdell, which sold 92,568 copies and ranked number 147 in the yearly best selling chart. The group also completed a national tour culminating in a show at NHK Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo.
In 2007, the band released a 3-disc live retrospective including material from 1975 and 2006, plus video clips.
- Robert Michael Poole (2007-03-09). "Sadistic Mikaela Band - The group that brought UK rock to Japan in the '70s is back". Metropolis (free magazine). Archived from the original on 2013-03-21. Retrieved 2011-05-03.
- "Top 100 Japanese pops Artists - No.40". HMV Online (in Japanese). Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- "English translation and summary of the Rolling Stone Japan article". neojaponisme.com. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- "Kazukoh - Official Site".
- "Vitamin Q - Official Site".
- Kyodo News - Musician Kazuhiko Kato found hanged at Karuizawa hotel Archived 2009-10-21 at the Wayback Machine