Toshihiko Takamizawa Interview

Grateful Birth


僕達3人が出会った事、それが誕生の奇跡

The fact that the three of us met is the miracle of birth

Translated by A.K.

―高見沢さんが音楽との出会いの中で、一番強烈な印象を持ったものは何ですか?
--Takamizawa-san, I believe you have come across various music so far — songs, bands, and concerts etc. Among them, what gave you the strongest impression?

「強烈な印象といえば、高校の時武道館で観たレッド・ツェッペリンの初来日公演でしょうね。あのライブの前と後では、あきらかに違う自分がいた。何が違うのかうまく言えないけど、とんでもないものを観て、世界観が変わってしまったって感じ。もちろんツェッペリンはレコードでは聴いていたけど、やはり目の当たりにする本物のロックバンドの迫力は凄まじかった。特にジミーペイジはカッコ良かったよね。ギタリストなのに、あれだけ動いてギターを弾いたり、ストラップを長くして下に構えてレスポールを弾くさまは、なんか神々しいなあって印象でしたよ。それからはレスポールが、僕の中では憧れのギターになってしまったけど、高校生の分際では手が出せないから、日本製のレスポールモデルをゲットしてツェッペリンをコピーしてましたよ。ただ僕の場合は完コピではなく、あくまでそれ風なコピーって感じで(笑)。とにかく僕が高校生だった1970年からの3年間というのは、ちょうど海外のロックバンドの初来日ブームで、それらを殆ど観てましたね。レッド・ツェッペリン、ピンクフロイド、グランド・ファンク・レイルロード…要するに、僕らの世代は70年代ロックの洗礼をもろに受けてしまった世代だから、あの当時に観たライブや、出会ったバンドの影響が大きいのは当然でしょうね。」
“What gave me the strongest impression is probably the first performance by Led Zeppelin in Japan that I saw at Budokan when I was in high school. Before and after seeing the concert, I was a completely different person. I cannot say so well what changed in me, but it was like my view of the world had changed because I saw something tremendous. Of course I had listened to Zeppelin’s records before that, but the power of the real rock band that I witnessed was amazing. Especially Jimmy Page was cool. He was a guitarist, but he moved a lot while playing a guitar. He wore a long strap and played Les Paul at knee-level, and his figure was kind of awe-inspiring. After that, Les Paul was the guitar I longed for, but it was too expensive for a high school student. So I got a Les Paul type guitar made in Japan, and copied Zeppelin’s songs. But I didn’t copy them completely… my copies were like Zeppelin-ish copies (laughs). Anyway, during the three years from 1970, when I was a high school student, a fad of overseas rock bands’ first concerts in Japan was happening. I saw most of them: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Grand Funk Railroad ... Basically, we were the generation that was blown away by 70s rock music, and absolutely fascinated by it. So it is natural that I have been greatly influenced by the live performances I saw, and the bands I came across at that time."


―高校時代に桜井さんと出会っていますが、どんな印象でしたか?
--You met Sakurai-san in high school. What was your impression of him?

「桜井とは同じ明治学院の白金校だったから、自然と顔見知りになっていた感じかな。
“Since both of Sakurai and I were attending Shirokane school of Meiji Gakuin, I naturally became acquainted with him.

それでも、お互いバンドをやっているから知っている程度の感じ。たまに、放課後に目黒まで一緒に帰って話しをしたこともあったけど、あまり噛み合わなかったなあ…。とにかく当時の僕の中ではフォークは敵でしたからね(笑)。でも、あいつの声は高校の頃から綺麗な声だなぁ~って印象はあったよ。声を楽器として捉えるなら、当時から桜井はヴォーカリストとしての資質は充分にあったと思うな。でも、綺麗な声なのに、放課後とか休み時間とか、けっこうデカイ声を出しながら、廊下を走ってるのを見かけて、変わったヤツだなぁ~とは思っていだけどな(笑)。でも、あいつも俺のことは謙虚って言葉を知らない派手で横柄な変なヤツと思っていたみたいだね。それでも、桜井のバンドはハーモニーが抜群に上手かったから、個人的にはコーラスは凄いなと認めていましたよ。とにかくまぁ、さっきも言ったようにお互いバンドをやっているだけで校内では目立ちますからね。そういう意味での知り合いって感じだね。だからその後、まさか敵である桜井とバンドを組んで40年も続けるなんて.…夢にも思いませんでしたよ(笑)。」
Still, it was like I knew him just because both of us were in bands. Sometimes we walked together to Meguro station after school, but we had trouble in making conversation. Anyway, I felt like people playing folk music were my enemy at that time (laughs). But I thought that his voice was beautiful even when we were in high school. I would say Sakurai already had enough qualities as a vocalist even back then, if you think of his voice as a musical instrument. However, although he had a beautiful voice, I thought he was a strange guy, because I saw him running through the corridor while shouting loudly after school or during breaks (laughs). But it seems like he also thought of me as a flashy arrogant strange guy who didn't know the word “humble”. Nonetheless, I personally admitted the vocals in Sakurai's band were amazing because they were so good at singing in harmony. Anyway as I said before, we were getting people’s attention in school just because we were in bands. We knew each other in that sense. So at that time, I wouldn't have dreamed of forming a band with Sakurai, the enemy, for 40 years…. "

―その後、大学に進学して坂崎さんと出会う事になりますが、坂崎さんからはどんな影響を受けましたか?
--After that, you went to university and met Sakazaki-san there. What kind of influence did you get from Sakazaki-san?

「坂崎とは出会った瞬間から気が合いましたね。本来、人見知りの僕としては、かなり珍しいことだったね。それだけ人間的にも音楽的にも、坂崎がその時の自分にピッタリ合ったってことだろうけど。とにかくアイツは人なつっこいし、面白いし、音楽の知識も豊富だし、一緒にいて飽きなかったのは確か。会ったその日に、人形町のあいつの部屋で、ビートルズをハモったり、ギターを弾いたりしちゃいましたからね。それに坂崎は、自分にとって未知の領域であるアコースティックギターのテクニックが抜群だったから、坂崎の部屋に入り浸っては、アコギの奥義を伝授してもらったりして、坂崎のお陰で、自分の音楽の領域が、ドンドン広がって行きましたね。あれほど嫌いだったフォークもよく聞くようになったし・・・単なる聞かず嫌いだったんだね(笑)。
“I knew from the second I met him that we were compatible. I was originally shy with new people, so it was quite unusual for me. Sakazaki was perfect for me to be a friend at that time, both humanly and musically. Anyway, he was very friendly and funny. Also he had a lot of knowledge about music, so I never got bored being with him. On the day we met, we sang the Beatles songs in harmony and played guitars together in his room in Ningyocho. In addition, he had an outstanding skills and technique in acoustic guitar, which was an unknown area for me. I often hung out in his room and learned from him how to play acoustic guitar. Thanks to him, my music genres rapidly expanded. I started to listen to folk music that I previously hated very much... It was just a silly prejudice. I had rejected it without even having tried to listen to it. (laughs).

だから、高校の時に聞かなかった楽曲は、坂崎の影響で一気に聞きまくったかな。あと、あの頃3人の中で一番プロ志向が強かったのは坂崎だったね。あいつに引っ張られて練習したり、コピーをしたり…ほんとによくやったなあ…でもほんと楽しかった。大切な思い出の一つですね。」
So, I extensively listened to the songs that I hadn't listened to when I was in high school, due to his influence. Also, back then, Sakazaki was the most serious about becoming a professional musician out of the three of us. He dragged us into practicing choruses and copying songs… We were playing music all the time… but it was really fun. That is one of my most precious memories."

―そういえば高見沢さんがコンフィデンスに参加する事になった後、「二十歳の原点」という映画音楽の制作をされていますよね。
--After joining Confidence, you created a song for a film called “My Starting Point at Age Twenty”, right?

「そうですね。コンフィデンスに入った頃だから、ちょうど40年前。大学1年の頃だったかなあ。当時、「二十歳の原点」というベストセラー小説があり、それを映画化するけどコンフィデンスも音楽をやらないか、という話があって、みんな詞や曲を書いたのですが、何故か、僕が書いた「夜」というタイトルの歌詞だけが採用になりました。73年の秋に公開になったけど、それが世の中に出た最初の僕の作品になりますね。でも、その歌詞、残念ながら殆ど覚えていないんだよね(笑)。」
“Yes, it was around the time when I entered Confidence, so it was 40 years ago. I think I was a freshman in college. At that time, there was a best-selling novel called“My Starting Point at Age Twenty”, and it was made into a movie. We were told to create some of the film music, so all the members of Confidence wrote lyrics and songs, but for some reason only the lyrics I wrote, which was titled “Night”, were used. The song was published in the fall of 1973, and that was my first work released to public. But unfortunately, I hardly remember the lyrics (laughs)."

―そうやって3人が出会い、音楽を奏でるようになって今年で40年になるわけですが、40年前の高見沢さんに声をかけるとしたらどんなことを伝えますか?
--40 years have already passed since the three of you met and started playing music together. If you could talk to the you of 40 years ago, what would you tell the young Takamizawa?

「もし、あの頃の自分に会っても、黙って声をかけずに通り過ぎます。多分、何かアドバイスしても当時の自分は、かなり尖っていましたから聞く耳を持たないだろうしね。
“If I met myself at that time, I would pass by silently without talking to him at all. Even if I gave some advice, I was quite defiant back then, so the young me wouldn't listen to my advice at all.

それに想定された未来より、予想がつかない未来の方が刺激的でしょ?だから、今の僕は当時の僕には何も言わない。」
Also unpredictable future is more exciting than planned future, right? So I wouldn’t say anything to the young me at the time."

一 アルフィーは今年結成40周年。その原動力は何だと思いますか?
-- This year is The Alfee’s 40th anniversary of band’s formation. What do you think is the driving force of The Alfee?

「やはりそれは、いくつもの偶然が重なって、明治学院のキャンパスで3人が出会ったこと。それがすべての原動力であり、すべての始まりだろうね。もし、それを運命と呼ぶなら、それはそれで素直に受け止めます。思えばその出会いも、火花を散らし合うような強烈な出会いではなく、春の日だまりのようなホンワカした感じ? そういう所が僕ららしいというか…だから長続きしたのかも知れないね。何処にでもいるような普通の学生が出会って、いつの間にか特別な関係になっていった。それと、結成40年経って今思うことは、プロのミュージシャンにとって、最低限の音楽性は必要でしょうが、それ以上に大切で重要なのは、人間性ではないかなと思う。THE ALFEEの核はそんな3人の人間性にあると思うし、それが40年も続けて来た、バンドの原動力だとも言えます。
“There were many coincidences and the three of us met on the university campus of Meiji Gakuin. That is all the driving force and the beginning of everything. If you call it fate, I will accept it without objection. When I think about it, it was not an intense encounter, something like we struck sparks off each other. But it was more like a warm fuzzy feeling, something like the comfort of the sunny spots in spring. I would say that was so us… that may be the reason why we have lasted for so long. Ordinary and nondescript students met and built a special relationship without realizing it. It has been 40 years since we formed the band. I think now that for a professional musician, the minimum musical talent is necessary, but human qualities are more important and critical. I think that the core of The Alfee is the human qualities of the three of us, and that can be said to be the driving force of the band that has kept us going for 40 years.

バンドも長くやっていると色々あると言われますが…僕らに関して言えば、チョコチョコはあったけど、大きな色々はない(笑)!とにかく、いろんなエゴやわがままは、それを押し殺すのではなく、お互いに呑み込む勇気と、それを許し合う寛容さを持った関係。それに尽きるかな? 桜井にもよく、お前みたいなヤツとつきあえるのは俺ぐらいなもんだ!なんて言われますからね。僕も正直、そう思うよ(笑)。
It is said that you have various types of friction if you are in a band for a long time… Of course, we sometimes had a little friction, but not too much (laughs)! Anyway, we don’t have to bottle up our egos and selfishness about various things. Our relationship has the courage to accept egos and selfishness of each other, and the tolerance to forgive them. This sums up everything. I’m often told by Sakurai that he is the only person who can get along with someone like me! To tell the truth, I also think so (laughs).

結局、僕ら3人の間にはTHE ALFEEの前身のバンド名“コンフィデンス(信頼)”があるのだろうね。しかし人生って、不思議だよね…何気なく出会った人間が、実は自分の人生を決定づける、重要な人間だったなんて。この出会いから繋がる絆と奇跡の物語はまだまだ続きがありますから…楽しみにしていて下さい。」

After all, there is “Confidence” (trust), The Alfee’s former band name, among the three of us. Man, life is mysterious… A person I met casually was actually an important person to decide the direction of my life. The story of our bond and the miracle that started from the encounter is still continuing… Please look forward to it."