Even after closing in 1973, OZ continued planning and producing shows. In November that same year, they held an all-night event at Saitama University, where LRD also performed. At the time, all-night concerts weren’t common yet. During the event itself, in the middle of the night a group of students started rioting and stormed into the venue, starting a fight with the organizers, but all the performances went on as planned, and the event was a success.
Minoru Tezuka: The Saitama University event that was held right after OZ closed was amazing. I think that was the first time having an event starting in the daytime and going all night until the next morning. It was totally packed, and although some things happened along the way (laughs), it was a great time.
Tezuka, now managing LRD, was even more focused on booking shows, and many of the former OZ people and staff were still closely connected to the band. At about that time, LRD and the OZ people rented houses in Fussa, which became the base.
Tezuka: It was just by chance that I became manager, but of course, I really believed that this band was going to be something amazing. Maybe it was a fantasy. But now LRD are appreciated worldwide, aren’t they? So my vision wasn’t wrong. I’m happy for that.
Back when OZ was still around, Mizutani was looking for a place to play together, and I found a place in Fussa, which became the Rallizes House. It wasn’t all just practice, we would hang out there. We had a lot of fun. Nakamura had a 16mm projector, so we would go to the Goethe-Institut in Akasaka to rent German expressionist films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Destiny, and films by Cocteau and such, and watch them all together.
Mizutani also had a lot of rare records that he would play super loud. German progressive rock, such as Can and Amon Düül. Also the Pearls Before Swine with Hieronymus Bosch’s picture on the cover.
Harimao: Not long after OZ closing, OZ main members started living together in Fussa, a city further outside the Chuo Line, in one of the houses scattered around the Yokota U.S. Air Base. At the same time, LRD also rented a house to share for themselves. Since the members of LRD also all had their own places in Tokyo, the Fussa house was maybe like some kind of secret hideout. Altogether there were three houses, including a third house shared by the other involved people. All three houses were connected by one street we called Main Street, and we would all go back and forth between the houses with cigarettes and records, hanging out together a lot. The parties were usually in the middle of the night, the rooms were dark, and there was always a record playing endlessly, all night long, at full volume. There was a reason for this – in order to enjoy the music over the sound of the military aircraft engines, which never stopped even throughout the night, the music always had to be loud enough to drown them out.
The biggest advantage for a rock band was that there were no noise complaints. There were few family homes in that neighborhood, and the houses that were there were spaced at some distance from each other. On top of that, the constant noise from the base, day and night, drowned out all other sounds. Fighter jets would rattle and shake the windows, overpowering even the sound of a guitar amp. There was one room with amps lined up like in a studio, and since noise was okay any time of the day, even not being a musician, I also used to play together and make noise sometimes. But no matter how free of complaints the area was, there was still one time when the Rallizes got stormed at. They started by knocking on the door with a complaint, but the sound from the house was so explosive that no one noticed, and finally they kicked the door down and came in… so the story goes (laughs).
In April 1974, OZ held OZ YAA HOUSE, a series of four weekly concerts at Fussa Citizen’s Hall. Aside from OZ events, LRD also performed at various other events, including, from 1973, four appearances at the Sunset Festival in Ishikawa Prefecture (the first three booked by Makoto Kubota) and the Milky Way Caravan 75: Hana Matsuri Concert held at Nipponzan Myohoji Temple in Gotemba in April 1975.
Harimao: Probably around the time just after OZ YAA HOUSE, guitar amps arrived from Japanese musical instrument maker Guyatone. Two sets of beautiful, brand-new, black and white 200-watt vacuum tubes with cabinets. I think it was an offer to use them on a trial basis, kind of thing. Tezuka was a rock promoter at the time and was friendly with various music instrument companies including ELK and Guyatone. I also went with him to the company headquarters in Takaido to help move the equipment.
The Guyatone amps were later bought, eventually becoming the Rallizes default equipment, and were used as the main amps for several years until Marshall came along.
To be continued……