The live music club ‘OZ’ opened in 1972. Though it only existed for a little over a year, in that short time it became a special place for various creative circles of musicians and others to come together. LRD was more than just a band who performed there; they formed a deep relationship with the people of OZ.
Aquilha Mochiduki (video artist): The first time I saw LRD was at the Rock in Highland event held at Fuji-Q Highland Park in the summer of 1970. Though I was just a student back then, I was the stage photographer for that day. LRD at that time was Chahbo, Fujio Yamaguchi, Shinichi Aoki and the others who would later become the band Murahachibu, and Mizutani. The show was so cool that I had to talk to Mizutani after the concert. We became friends and used to meet up sometimes in Kyoto, then Mizutani moved to Tokyo and started playing with a new LRD lineup.
At that time, I was living in Oizumi-gakuen in Tokyo, so I often took the bus home from Kichijoji. One day in Kichijoji, I found a place called OZ. The atmosphere was a bit like the magical theater in Hermann Hesse’s “Steppenwolf,” and there were a lot of psychedelic art posters everywhere when you walked in, like from the Fillmore in San Francisco, and others. The posters were really cool. I remembered that Mizutani was looking for a place for LRD shows, so I brought him there.
Minoru Tezuka (OZ manager, then LRD manager): I opened OZ in June of 1972, and it was that fall, September or October, that I met LRD. I remember well the first time we met. Mochiduki said, “These are the Rallizes. How about they play here?” I hadn’t even heard them play yet, but for some reason I said ‘Sure’ right away and it was decided just like that.
The first time I saw LRD’s live show, I was blown away. What surprised me the most was the lyrics. The words really hit me. The lyrics of “Memory is Far Away” and “Wilderness of False Flowers” were totally different from any other Japanese bands of the time. Literary, intelligent… it was real poetry. And the message. I use the word ‘message’…., but it was something completely different from all the folk music until then. At that time the student movement had already lost its spirit, it was around the time the media was calling us the ‘shirake (apathetic) generation.’ Everyone had gone quiet. It was at that time that I heard the sound of LRD and I just went ‘Wow!’ I instantly felt deeply connected to LRD.
In the beginning, the only effects the band was using was pretty much only a fuzz and a wah, so I think I said, “Let’s use an echo chamber to expand the sound.’ At that time, there was hardly anyone who had an echo chamber, but Kosugi Takehisa of the Taj Mahal Travellers, who also played at OZ, had one, so on the day of the LRD show, I went specially to borrow it from him. The band started using echoes, and the sound grew more and more cosmic.
Harimaoh (OZ staff, then LRD staff): At that time LRD was Takashi Mizutani, Takeshi Nakamura on side guitar, Mikio Nagata on bass, and Shunichiro Shoda on drums. Nakamura also played violin sometimes. Mizutani’s guitar was either a semi-acoustic or a black Fender Telecaster with white pickguard and arm. Fuzz and Crybaby were the main effects. There were also two Roland tape echoes, one for the guitar and one for the vocals I think. I think Nakamura was using Big Muff and Wah.
All the OZ staff fell in love with LRD right away. They were just such a cool band. At that time, Japanese rock music was still all about imitating Western music. OZ was a gathering space that drew all the unique and alternative artists like a magnet. It was a place that had absolutely nothing to do with the mainstream commercial entertainment business. Even within that, LRD was exceptional. They were the only ones who truly stood out from the rest. With their resolute originality, it was rock like I’d never before imagined.
The band members all had their own distinctive style and image. The sound was sharp and ultra-hard. The lyrics were sung in Japanese. It was an unbelievable roar that cut through the darkness, repetition of simple chords, and killer feedback. We were mesmerized by the spellbinding bliss that radiated from the sound. It was a drug as music. There were some in the audience who ran out of the venue in shock within a few minutes. But most of the audience remained absolutely still, intently absorbed in the music, until the end of the show.
On March 4, 1973, LRD had a concert at the Musashino Public Hall, organized by OZ.