Recently, we at S-T have written about Dynamite Tommy and DADA’s trip to Anime Expo. DADA had been known until recently as the vocalist of Velvet Eden, but Dynamite Tommy’s original claim to fame is somewhat more obscure to many non-Japanese fans these days. That’s why this week’s Flashback Friday will cover…
MARRY（Bass）(ex. First Blood)
5 Studio Albums
Fools! Get Lucky! (3/8/89)
Ask the Angel (12/5/89)
Cherry’s World (7/15/92)
1 Live Album
Molt Grain (3/23/87)
Sandbag Baby 1 + Sandbag Baby 2 (11/1988)
Broken Tavern (6/21/89)
Back Tonight 5th Moon (2/21/90)
Some Become Stranger (8/21/90)
The Exhibition (7/21/91)
COLOR formed in 1985, and quickly became a part of the visual kei boom of the 80s. One year after forming, Tommy formed his own label, Free-Will, to release the band’s material. The first COLOR release was the first release on the Free-Will label, the single “Molt Grain.” Free-Will would quickly expand, and include such influential acts as By-Sexual, Kamaitachi, Genkaku Allergy, Speed-ID, and Rentrer en Soi. Later, Free-Will would become responsible for well-known indies labels Soleil and Matina, beginning a long association with Matina head Kisaki. The fact that much of this music activity centered around Osaka coined the phrase “X of the East, Color of the West.”
The rivalry between COLOR and Tokyo’s X-Japan was cemented when COLOR released their first album, “Gekitotsu,” in 1988. This album quickly rose to the top of the VK pantheon, was re-released numerous times, and along with their next release “Fools! Get lucky!” was responsible for COLOR signing to major label Crown Records. The lead single on the latter release, “Broken Tavern,” was the first time the band broke into the Oricon music charts at number 65. “Ask the Angel,” the group’s 3rd album released the same year in 1989, rocketed to 16th place on the Oricon charts, while the band had 2 singles in 1990, “Some Become Stranger” and “Back Tonight 5th Moon,” chart at 31st and 27th places respectively.
However, the band’s mainstream success came to an abrupt end during a concert in 1990, in a highly publicized incident in Osaka where multiple fans were injured. Band activity slowed after this, and the group returned to the indies scene, making their comeback with “The Exhibition” in 1991. After the release of another album and some best of collections, band activity slowed again and by 1995 was limited to a few lives. Color officially broke up in 1997.
Tommy has been heavily involved in music as the former head of Free-Will and a producer of numerous acts including DIR EN GREY! In his spare time, he formed The Killing Red Addiction, a supergroup with X Japan bassist Taiji and Kenzi from the Dead Pop Stars. For his most recent activities, click here!
Guitarist Tatsuya also had a hand in producing Dir en Grey in their early days, since then he has largely retired from performing, and started his own music rental company.
Marry stayed active, joining Goatcore with Dead End’s You Adachi and GD Flickers, which originally included guitarist Matsuo Sounin from Ziggy. In June 2002, while on tour, Marry died in a car accident. Because of this, COLOR reunited for memorial concerts, their last one was in 2008. This lineup included Cindy, Toshi, and new bassist Remmy.
COLOR left an unmistakable influence on not only Visual Kei, but Japanese rock in general. While we at S-T normally concentrate on the latest and greatest in visual, it’s important to go back to our roots now and then. Stay tuned for the next Flashback Friday!
Source: Free-Will site (archived, now FWD), Oricon, Color Tsuiseki page, Band db page, Grass thread, VKDB