Music / The Tigers
A Japanese band including Kenji Sawada
that existed during the Group Sounds era in the late 1960s. They were one of many attempts to cash in on the Beatles by Japanese record labels, this was the most successful, with composer Koichi Sugiyama (yes,that one
) giving much of their songs a very classical feel..
- Ascended Extra: Shiro Kishibe was originally musical advisor to Watanabe Productions, The Tigers's production company, and specifically told them to disband around the time Heavy Metal and Psychedelic Rock became big in the US, but ended up as the replacement for Katsumi "Toppo" Kahashi, ironically.
- The Bee Gees: Covered a large amount of their library, and Barry Gibb wrote "Smile For Me" and starred in one of their Jukebox Musicals.
- Baroque Pop:A lot of their later stuff, ESPECIALLY 1968's Human Renascence can be seen as this, with most tracks especially the ones composed by Koichi Sugiyama, having elaborate orchestration almost to the point of being egregious. This had consequences for the band. The songs proved to be a nightmare to perform live coherently, and critics bashed the album for being far too pretentious.
- Band of Relatives: On bass and vocals, Itou Kishibe. Later, on lead guitar and vocals, Shiro Kishibe, a New-Age Retro Hippie with a knack for American culture, and Itou's brother, would replace Toppo.
- Basso Profundo: Ittoku "Sally" Kishibe
- Breakup Song: Solitude In The City, sung by Julie about him walking alone in a crowded metropolis reflecting on a lost love.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming/ Tear Jerker: In 2011 the band had a reunion at Kenji's solo concert. Guitarist Taro returned, and midway thru the show, a wheelchair bound Shiro Kishibe was brought out to sing a song. Shiro, despite looking old and sickly from a brain aneurysm that he managed to recover from miraculously, managed to pull off an incredibly effective vocal performance.
- Happened again 2013, this time with both Taro and Toppo, making all six tigers on stage for the first time ever.
- Cover Version: Have covered The Zombies "Time Of The Season" and several The Rolling Stones, BeeGees, and The Beatles standards, with Ittoku singing "Tell Me", and Julie singing "Nowhere Man."
- Replacement Flat Character: Although Kishibe Shiro possessed almost as much prowess vocally as Toppo, his guitar playing skills weren't nearly up to par, and most of the guitar parts he played on the two albums were rhythm picking, and actual melody playing was left up to Morimoto Taro.
- Face of the Band: The band actually passed this designation around during the sixties. When the band was first formed, Sally was the leader, then passed it on to Toppo, and Julie ended up being the defacto face.
- Genre-Killer: Despite popularising GS, they can also be blamed for killing it. 1968's Human Renascence proved to be a disaster for Watanabe Productions, with the orchestral compositions being so complex it made most of the album next to impossible to perform live. That and the critics bashed the album for being too pretentious.
- Grief Song: Nageki(Grief)
- God-Is-Love Songs: Love, love, love seems to be this judging from the rather spirtual lyrics
- Hidden Depths: Shiro Kishibe, despite being the least musically fluent of The Tigers, having been taught guitar by Taro rather than learning himself and playing tamborine and singing before actually being able to play guitar like he was brought in to do, is the most English proficient of the band, a very talented writer, and a seiyuu, voicing Mammoth Nishi in Ashita no Joe.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: The white jumpsuits the band wears on stage, and the knightly robes they wore in some photoshoots and lives.
- Kansai Regional Accent: Sally sings in an exaggerated one in "The World Goes Round" and "The Train For freedom"
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Good luck finding the Tigers pre-Kenji Sawada material from when they were an instrumental band.
- Last Note Nightmare: "The Broken Earth" has Julie letting out a guttural wail as the song fades out.
- Lead Bassist: Sally is a type A & B, singing lead on quite a few songs as well as being admired for his rather strong bassklines by even John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin.
- Long Runner: First debuted in 1966, disbanded in 1971, reunited in 1981, disbanded again in 1983, had a mini=reunion in 2011, are reuniting again December of 2013.
- Metal Scream: Toppo pulled off a few of these doing the band's cover of "I Put A Spell On You"
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Ranges from 1-2 generally, with a few songs off their later albums going into 4-7, particularly the Jimi Hendrix esque "The Broken Earth" which has vocalist Sawada screaming throughout.
- Misogyny Song: Covered UNDER MY THUMB....
- My Real Daddy: Though record producer and percussionist Yuya Uchida discovered the band, it was largely Koichi Sugiyama and Kunihiko Murai who propeeled the band into bigger success, along with extroverted drummer Minoru "Pea" Hitomi.
- New Sound Album: Human Renascence was the most ambitious effort by the Tigers, shifting them into total Baroque Pop territory. Their next three albums led by new guitarist/vocalist Shiro Kishibe took the band in a more Psychedelic Rock direction, with a bit of dabbling in Baroque Pop still. Their reunion album in 1981 had a very New Wave feel too it similar to Sawada's solo material at the time.
- Stage Names: In addidtion to the Visual Kei Unbuilt Trope of costuming, the Tigers also used stage names most of the time(Which most Vis Kei bands also do), with Kenji Sawada going by Julie, and guitarist Katsumi Kahashi going by Toppo.
- Surprisingly Good English: Kenji Sawada and Toppo, both fluent in English, managed to sing the band's few English songs with very careful pronounciation.
- Although the crowning award of best English of the4 group goes to Shiro Kishibe, who lived in America for years before becoming Toppo's replacement, and you can see what an impact his studies had, as his English is relatively free of any accent on most songs he sings, especially "Lalena".
- Step Up to the Microphone: Shiro Kishibe, brother of Itou "Sally" Kishibe, eventually became the bands new lead guitarist after Toppo left the band.
- Take That: In a meta sense. "The Blue Bird" was written by lead guitarist Morimoto Taro as a counter to the claims by rival bands' fans that The Tigers were purely a manufactured band.
- Troubled Production: Human Renascence was originally meant for another band entirely, but they quickly said no to the project, and Watanabe Pro gave it to the Tigers. The album sold well, but reportedly according to various accounts, the album proved near impossible to do live. The fallout from everything caused Toppo to leave the band in annoyance.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: Largely the negative reception of Human Renascence was due to the rather "out there" lyrics.
- Uncommon Time: Love, Love, Love's intro and verses switch time signatures, and the outro is 6/7 live.
- Vocal Tag Team: Usually rhythm guitarist Katsumi "Toppo" Kahashi or Kenji Sawada would be on lead, but occasionally bassist Ittou Kishibe would Step Up to the Mic.
- The Voiceless: Lead guitarist Taro Morimoto, who never sang lead on a studio album song but lots of backing, and Minrou Hitomi has only a few vocal interjections on "Seaside Bound" as far as studio cuts.
- The Woobie: Kishibe Shiro, the Tigers second rhythm guitarist and tag vocalist and Osami "Sally" Kishibe's younger brother. His life story is a real tear jerker. His first wife divorced him after he went bankrupt, and when he was 52, his second wife of 7 years died at the age of 43 without warning, causing him to be in a catatonic state for many days. In 2011, he had a brain aneurysm, and like Taiji Sawada, it ended up changing his appearance, making him appear much more frail than he actually is, and he needed a wheelchair for a while Although the good thing is, like Taiji, his skill never faded, as his voice is still almost as powerful as it was in the 1980s and 1970s.