The Plastics’ index: 45; CDs; Post-Plastics

--Like a shooting star, The Plastics’ short life left a bright, exciting trail of energetic tunes--

The Plastics

Chica Sato--vocal
Toshio Nakanishi--vocal, guitar & percussion
Hajime Tachibana--guitar & vocal
Masahide Sakuma--keyboards, guitar & bass programming
Takemi Shima--rhythm box


Copy/Robot (45) -- (6:50) -- (1979) -- Rough Trade -- RT 030

  1. Copy
  2. Robot
The first PLASTICS release features different versions of the songs, both slightly longer, and using a popular spelling-machine toy. In the intro of ‘Copy’ it spells out C-O-P-Y. In the break of ‘Robot’ it spells out U-R-O-B-O-T and I-P-L-A-S-T-I-C. The break in ‘Copy’ is four measures long, and Chika screams on the third beat of the first three. ‘Robot’ ends with a slowdown, not used in the Welcome Plastics version, but reinstated in all other versions. The back cover has a similar drawing of the band, with their hands on their cheeks in shock and disbelief, though one Plastic seems pleased.
 
Forever Plastico -- (62:05) -- (1980) -- Victor Musical Industries, Inc., Tokyo, Japan -- VDR-28049
  1. Top Secret Man
  2. Digital Watch
  3. Copy
  4. I Am Plastic
  5. I Wanna Be Plastic
  6. Can I Help Me
  7. Too Much Information
  8. Welcome Plastics
  9. I Love You Oh No!
  10. Robot
  11. Delicious
  1. Last Train To Clarksville
  2. Deluxe
  3. Complex
  4. Ignore
  5. No Good
  6. Good
  7. Peace
  8. Park/Eight Days A Week
  9. Desolate
An hour of PLASTICS! Released in ‘88, it includes Welcome Plastics (the first LP) and six songs from Origato Plastico (the second LP). THE PLASTICS were often compared to THE B-52’s. The upbeat music and quirky presentation were similar, but in many ways THE PLASTICS had a darker view of humanity. Smiling, and using its latest machines, they invented a wonderful pop-music which remains an impressive and original statement. In English, they critiqued society, experimented with new sounds, and had so much fun, that no one took offense. Here, in the U.S., most didn’t even notice.
 

Origato Plastico -- (37:12) -- (1980) -- Victor Musical Industries, Inc., Tokyo, Japan -- VICL-2014

  1. Ignore
  2. Diamond Head
  3. No Good
  4. Good
  5. Back To Wigtown
  6. Cards
  7. Peace
  8. Dance In The Metal
  9. Interior
  10. Park
  11. Desolate
Released on CD in ‘90, their second LP shows noticeable maturity and growth. It’s still quirky and fun, but some songs, including ‘Interior’ and ‘Dance In The Metal’, only appear here, and are the strangest PLASTICS tracks released. Toshi and Chica continue doing a great job sharing the vocals. In ‘Diamond Head’ Toshi’s singing about social and artistic movements, and Chica responds, “Fuck off, baby. Don’t be serious. Someday I’ll call your name, Mr. Diamond Head.” New instruments and approaches enlarged the soundscapes, and Hajime’s music always wore the biggest smile.
 

Welcome Back -- (32:49) -- (1981)-- Victor Musical Industries, Inc., Tokyo, Japan -- VICL-2050 (U.S. release as Plastics)

  1. Delicious
  2. Diamond Head
  3. Peace
  4. Ignore
  5. Cards
  6. Top Secret Man
  7. Copy
  8. Good
  9. Park
  10. Robot
No, this is not a collection. These songs were re-recorded for U.S. release, (also released in Japan). I love the original versions, but believe every song was improved here. There’s a cleaner, fuller sound, and the vocals are more intense. This is a refined presentation of THE PLASTICS, and a great introduction to the band. They spent a lot of time in New York, and made a sincere attempt to break into the U.S. market. Why they weren’t able to, I don’t know. Their sound was probably just too unique, but their music inspired a lot of the more interesting Japanese bands that are playing today!
 
All Across The U.S.A. 80 Live -- (77:02) -- (1980) -- Victor Entertainment, Inc., Tokyo, Japan --VICL-60157
  1. Am Plastic
  2. Digital Watch
  3. Copy
  4. Delicious
  5. Park/Eight Days A Week
  6. Deluxeing 1/Good
  7. Deluxeing 2/Deluxe
  8. Diamond Head
  9. Ignore
  10. Peace
  11. Robot
  1. Desolate
  2. Top Secret Man
  3. Cards
  4. Last Train To Clarksville
  5. Back To Wigtown
  6. Can I Help Me?
Yeah, but how were they live? Released seventeen years after the fact, here’s the answer! lncluded are all the songs from the U.S. release, and six others. (‘Park’ includes a line from ‘Eight Days A Week’.) They have trouble starting up ‘Deluxe’ and included the flubs. It’s presented as a full PLASTICS concert recorded at New York’s Club 57 (Irving Plaza), plus two songs recorded live elsewhere. Its initial release included a five minute video of ‘Top Secret Man’ and clips of the band on tour. Live their sound isn’t as clean, but it is energetic, and the crowd is obviously enjoying themselves!
 
Origato25 -- (85:22) -- (2005) -- Victor Entertainment, Inc. -- VICL61710~11

Disc One

  1. I Am Plastic
  2. Copy
  3. Copy
  4. Robot
  5. Delicious
  6. Digital Watch
  7. Park/Eight Days A Week
  8. Good
  9. Peace
  10. Cards
  11. Deluxe
  1. Complex
  2. Dance In The Metal
  3. Back To Wigtown
  4. Last Train To Clarksville
  5. Can I Help Me?
  6. Desolate
  7. I Love You Oh No!
  8. Top Secret Man
  9. Top Secret Man
  10. Welcome Plastics

Disc Two

  1. Copy
  2. Robot
  3. Relax
  4. Confession

Here’s another celebration of THE PLASTICS. The mixes are a bit cleaner. There are three versions of ‘Copy’, two versions of ‘Robot’ and ‘Top Secret Man’. Six PLASTICS songs are not included here. I especially miss ‘Diamond Head’! Buying copies of the first two records will give you all the original PLASTICS songs. Welcome Back was their best songs rerecorded. Later a live CD was released. Then came this collection compiled from all those recordings with two new songs which, honestly, are not necessary. You may not need this collection, but it’s great to hear THE PLASTICS’ music again.


---V.A. TRIBUTE---


Plastics Children -- (45:28) -- (1999) -- Epic Records -- ESCB-1979
  1. Diamond Head--The Spoozys
  2. Top Secret Man--Yukihiro Fukutomi
  3. Robot--Yoshinori Sunahara
  4. Cards--Buffalo Daughter
  5. I Am Plastic--Hajime Tachibana & Low Powers
  6. Cards--Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
  7. Welcome Plastics--Fantastic Plastic Machine
  8. Good--Pizzicato Five
  9. Delicious--Motocompo
  10. Desolate--Tosh ‘Posh’ Skylab
Yep, that’s the cover, and that’s Hajime(5) and Toshi(10). This is my favorite tribute CD. Why? The material is excellent, and the various approaches all achieving good results, proves it. The artists really stay true to THE PLASTICS’ spirit. Complaints? Hajime walks through ‘I Am Plastic’; and FANTASTIC PLASTIC MACHINE mix the vocals way down--both are very un-PLASTICS like approaches. That’s it. There are too many highlights to even begin to mention. It’s great to see these artists paying tribute to a band that I’ll bet influenced them all in some way. If you like THE PLASTICS, I know you’ll like this!

---Post-PLASTICS---


Chica Sato and Toshio Nakanishi quickly put together MELON, a quirky exotic pop band, with help from friends. Toshi soon spun-off an exotica band called WATERMELON. It was just the first of his many projects. Chica’s appearances in Toshi’s projects since MELON have dwindled, but he continues, changing sounds and names: TYCOON TOSH, GROUP OF GODS, LOVE T.K.O., MAJOR FORCE and SKYLAB being some of the most often used.

Hajime Tachibana released several jazz/pop solo releases, early on playing more saxophone than guitar. He got involved in many projects with the individual members of YMO (YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA), and most recently has been recording as HAJIME TACHIBANA & THE LOW POWERS. Yumiko Ohno (of BUFFALO DAUGHTER) was an early LOW POWER, He’s also continued his design work and created several new fonts.

Masahide Sakuma has been doing production for a number of bands, including JUDY AND MARY. Recently though, he’s given up his production-work to concentrate on a new band called NINA, featuring Yuki (of JUDY AND MARY), Kate Pierson (of THE B-52'S), and including Takemi Shima, and himself.