We are making Japan’s first ever “Rock and Roll Horror” film. It is called “A Japanese Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghost Story” and features some of Japan’s coolest Rock ‘n’ Roll bands.
Here is the crowdfunding page (English page should be ready any moment): https://www.makuake.com/project/rock
The movie is about a rock musician who is slowly going insane. He believes that he can be immortal by writing the perfect song. He is pushed along by a ghost who promises to help him. By the end of the movie the perfect song is completed; is the musician dead or has he gone completely insane? (The full synopsis below).
Here’s our bands, actors and introduction to the team.
The Neatbeats are easy to describe. They are the “Japanese Beatles!” And they are hot. The Neatbeats often tour Europe and are on the road constantly throughout the year. The Neatbeats main vocal will be main actor in movie. He can act well (watch the trailer!) and has been on TV and radio many times and has also acted in one small part in a movie before.
The Neatbeats – Twistin’ Time With You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aifvxB6YmQ
The Privates are easy to describe too. How about “The Japanese Buzzcocks!” They have been rocking Japan’s underground scene for more than 30 years!
The Privates – Drive All Night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dixV0AAxsdE
The 50 Kaitenz
And last but not least, the 50 Kaitenz. A punk band from Osaka that is punkishly hilarious!
The 50 Kaitenz on Fuji TV Special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IzzdPpzWk8
The production team:
Producer/Co-Director Mike Rogers
Mike was the lead vocalist of the 1970s L.A. Punk band, The Rotters, that were a One-Hit Wonder with the smash punk classic, “Sit on my Face, Stevie Nix.” He won film awards at Moorpark college (1st Place Sophomore Class 1978) and at the UCLA International Film Festival (3rd Place Senior Class 1980). Mike has lived in Japan since 1984 and was the first foreigner in Japan’s history to be the general manager of a major Japanese broadcasting station. He has made many hit TV and radio shows over the years in Japan. In late 2014, Mike nearly died in the hospital, and it was there that he decided that, come hell or high water, he was going to make this film before he dies. Remember that scene in the Blues Brothers at the church where the heavens opened up and Belushi saw “the light”? Yeah? Well, it was like that… sort of… but not nearly as funny.
Consultant Patrick Cunningham
Our consultant is Patrick Cunningham. Patrick is an award winning Hollywood producer now living in Japan. Patrick’s bio on IMDB says Patrick is a casting director and producer, known for Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), Never Met Picasso (1996) and Descendants (2008).
Martha Marcy May Marlene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPLqzVECEhU
Co-Director Enrico Ciccu.
Enrico is a talented young director from Italy now in Japan and he has a great flair and an eye for art. His works are always incredibly different and visually appealing. He has made many promotional videos, short movie and music videos.
Here is a recent work: Julie – Johnny Guitar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-6ehTDZBrE
Lighting Director Yuji Wada.
Yuji is a famous Hollywood lighting director (and old friend of Mike’s). Yuji does the lighting for all of Sofia Cappola’s movies including the smash hit “Lost in Translation” as well as others.
Lost in Translation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6iVPCRflQM
Camera Ken Nishikawa.
Ken Nishikawa is camera and he is former BBC. Ken has worked for nearly 3 decades making TV productions and music videos (Shonen Knife, Glen Matlock, many famous Japanese bands) with him. Here is one of our favorites:
Shonen Knife – Ghost Train: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCpfohSnp0U
Business Advisor Haji Taniguchi.
Haji was the president of Avex Trax Music Publishing and retired last year. He is currently the president of the MPAJ (Music Publishers Association of Japan) as well as a Board Member of The International Confederation of Music Publishers as well as Vice-Chairman of PROMIC (Foundation for Promotion of Music Industry and Culture). He is handling the business side distribution, foreign TV and film licensing and all publishing rights for the music for our movie.
Haji Taniguchi: http://www.songsummit.com.au/program/speakers-artists/haji-taniguchi/
Advisor/consultant Aki Morishita.
Aki was the vice-president of Fuji Pacific Music Publishing (the world’s largest music publisher) as well as the former vice-president of EMI and Virgin Music. Aki is advising on all areas of production as well as film licensing and all publishing and mechanical and synchronization rights for the music.
Takashi is a struggling small town rock musician who dreams of becoming a big rock star someday. He struggles so much so that he begins to be going slowly insane. His friends, family and band members worry about him.
In his town, there is a sort of “Rock and Roll boom.” One other musician, Nobu, came from that very same town has become somewhat famous and now plays in larger clubs and venues in Tokyo. There are rumors that the Nobu is about to be signed to a major record label. Because of this success, others dream of following him and a few Live Houses have opened up in that small town. The town becomes a sort of Mecca for music.
Takashi and Nobu were friends since they were in elementary school. In high school, they played in the same band. But now that Nobu has become famous, he treats Takashi poorly and disrespects him at every turn. Nobu has thrown away his past friends and now has his sights on superstardom.
Of course, Takashi also dreams of becoming like Nobu. He and his band keep trying hard, but something just doesn’t click and they fail to attract any crowds or attention. In spite of the lack of success, Takashi keeps at it and decides that he must keep refining his “pure” sound and so he spends all his money on antique musical instruments and amplifiers. His studio is full of old sixties equipment. His family thinks it is a waste of money.
One day, Takashi finds an old guitar amplifier at a guitar shop. The amplifier is rumored to be haunted as it was owned by a very famous Blues musician who had a strange death. And, after the Blues musician died, bad things keep happening to all the past owners of the amp. So much so, that the guitar shop is selling the amp for a ridiculously low price. When Takashi buys the amp, the old guy running the shop tells him to always leave the amp unplugged when he is not using it.
Takashi takes the guitar amp back to his studio and begins to use it. From the first moment he plugs the amp in, strange things begin to happen; when Takashi is practicing alone at night, he begins to be visited by a ghost who plays along with him as he practices. They make fantastic music together.
Takashi is amazed and excitedly tells his other band members, friends and family about the man who comes to play with him at night. His band members really begin to think he is losing his mind. When they come to the studio to see for themselves, they can’t see any ghost and see nothing but a bunch of empty whiskey bottles and beer cans.
Somewhat surprised that the ghost didn’t appear when Takashi’s band members arrived, he gets mad at the ghost the next time he sees him. He tells the ghost that he wants the ghost help them to become famous. The ghost convinces Takashi, though, that the best way to make the band become famous is by helping Takashi only. If he helps the entire band, then one of them might become more popular and famous than Takashi. Greed gets the best of Takashi and he agrees. They then begin to discuss writing the perfect song.
It is at this time, the ghost tells Takashi to never tell anyone about him anymore. He says this because, he tells Takashi, “If you tell people about me, they will think you are crazy.” He also tells Takashi to never unplug or turn off the amplifier; it must be left on at all times.
The normally talkative Takashi begins to become reclusive and quiet. This sudden change in attitude by Takashi is quite obvious to everyone around. It becomes even more worrisome when people overhear Takashi talking to the ghost, but they think he is talking to himself. But, since the amp is on all time, he can talk to the ghost and the ghost talks to him anywhere, not just the studio.
In fact, because the amp is on, the ghost follows Takashi around and sometimes bothers him for no particular reason. For example, the ghost appears in town up the street staring at Takashi and when Takashi runs up to talk to the ghost, he disappears around a corner or is standing at a distance just watching Takashi. Or is this just part of Takashi’s imagination too? We begin to wonder.
As Takashi and the ghost begin to create the perfect song together, suddenly things seem to be looking up for Takashi’s band. Even the band’s member’s notice that Takashi’s performances have suddenly become very good and something special has happened to him.
No one else can see or hear the ghost excepting for Takashi. Nevertheless, and even after the ghost tells him to tell no one, he continually talks about him. Due to Takashi’s repeated discussions about the ghost, his band and friends and family are sure he must be going crazy.
Arguments with band members and family who all suspect him to be going insane being to increase to a constant pace. Takashi begins to stay up all night rehearsing with the ghost so much so that he stops going to work for lack of sleep. One day, after another show with few customers, three of the members finally tell the leader they want to quit the band.
Takashi discusses this situation with the ghost. The ghost tells him not to worry because after he writes the perfect song, then everything will fall into order. Takashi is thankful to the ghost. It is here where we learn the true intentions of the ghost; in return for helping Takashi write the perfect song, the ghost wants Takashi’s band member’s souls for his own band in hell. He wants Takashi to kill his band.
He never says it directly but phrases it more like, “You can help your band members reach their dreams too. You can help them to become immortal. After all, it’s what they really want.” The ghost convinces Takashi that the band and him can become like great rock stars of the past when they all die.
Takashi reluctantly agrees with the ghost and decides he must try to kill his band. But, after several chances, he just cannot do it. He tells the ghost, “I just can’t. Please take my soul instead.”
The ghost laughs and replies, “I already have your soul!”
One day, Takashi leaves the amp on and goes to a concert. The ghost comes along. There they walk into the club and no one sees the ghost, of course. They meet Nobu.
Nobu is in shock. He looks straight at the ghost and his eyes open wide and his jaw drops. He ghost says, “Hey Nobu! How ya doin’? Nice to see you again. Told you I’d keep my end of the deal if you kept yours. Why did you sell our amplifier?”
Takashi is dumbfounded. Nobu’s attitude towards Takashi takes a 180 degree turn. Suddenly, he no longer is rude to him or disrespectful, it seems he fears Takashi.
Nobu wonders, “What kind of a deal has Takashi made?”
Later, at night, when Takashi and the ghost are alone, the ghost says, “OK. Takashi, my friend, it’s time to finish the deal and the song.”
Takashi turns on the recorder and they begin to play. Gradually, the room begins to spin and turn white and the two in the studio begin to float up into the air as if they are entering heaven. Everywhere is white like they are in the clouds. Takashi looks up as they play music and suddenly sees his other band members playing. They are standing and looking stoic – Takashi recognizes some of them as Nobu’s former band members – they play music together. Takashi grimaces and the entire scene is engulfed in white.
The perfect song is made. It remains on the recorder.
Takashi finally, gets what he wanted. Is Takashi dead or has he gone completely insane?