The Badge Introduction of the legend
How many Rock'n Roll bands have been considered to be a legend in Japanese music history?
Yoshio Hayakawa, who has made his come back after 20 years of silence, is well known as the leader of the 70' folk rock band "Jacks". Jacks is the legend which has made its name by album "Empty World". The album shocked the music scene in Japan. Hayakawa has been managing his small second hand bookstore for 20 years after Jacks disappeared. No one expected his making come back and the sudden reappearance made many fans fascinated. Naked Rallies also deserves to be qualified as the legend. The band vanished suddenly when the member committed Flight Yodo highjack and moved to North Korea.
It seems that the legend bands are somehow plagued with the darkness. It is too much for fans to handle the realities of bands and that even prevent from listening back to their music. They perhaps became legends because of that darkness. However, among the legends, there is the band which has nothing to do with darkness. I would like to tell you the story of "The Badge". The band was extremely cool. It came & went so quickly. At the period there was no Spitz nor Mr. Children, The Badge provided us its new but nostalgic sounds prior to anybody else through records and live performances. Rock'n Roll fans were heavily addicted to the sounds of The Badge during that time.
The Badge has recently been recognized as the founder of Japanese power pop internationally, apart from Japan. Take a moment to listen to their music. I am hoping that you will find how wonderful music could be through the sounds of The Badge.
The Badge on stage
The spotlight when off at the venue boys and girls clothed in their favorite fashions gathered in front of the stage. Out of the speakers play a whistling version of Link Wray Switch Bread which signifies the show is beginning.
The members appeared on the stage showing no emotion guitar, bass and drums . the fans heated up and got to their feet
The band members were sporting tight black mod suits. Completing their tuning and enjoying a smoke. The background music volume climbs then stops abruptly.
"Hello! We're The Badge"
Shouted Shoji Nakamura who is guitarist and vocals. Next he created a sharp loud noise with his Rickenbacker.
And the show was on.
In 1980, The badge was formed in Hakata, Kyushu, so called Liverpool of Japan.
Nobuaki Tanaka, the leader of the band, base & vocals, had made his professional debut through Ring Dong(*1) before the Badge. After the disband of Ring Dong, Tanaka went back to Hakata, and met Shoji Nakamura, guitarist and Tetsu Kawasaki, Drumer. It was the fatal moment for them, and they formed their new band "The Rain". The Rain started their live performance right after that.
At the end of 1979, three of The Rain move up to Tokyo. The Rain added a new member, Kiyomi Ishida, guitar and started performing in venues of Shinjuku ACB, Shinjuku Loft & Shibuya Eggman etc as a quartet. Echos by Hitonari Tsuji, Rebecca, The Shakes are the bands who shared the stage with The Rain at that time.
Ishida left the band. The Rain became trio again and change their name from The Rain to "The Badge" As a trio, the band had a unique sound of harmony which no one else could duplicate. The sweet vocal by Shoji Nakamura & their melody line reminded us of The Beatles and The Bad Finger. Lead vocal was sometime altered by the other two and made a great chorus. Plus energetic stage action was performed almost in control like JAM. All aspects had led them into making a debut in a very short time.
The Badge was approached by record companies in 1981. The band moved forward fast.
In 1982, The Badge made its debut by releasing their 1st single record "Photograph For Two" Soon after, released another single "Wink Is My Thing" The Badge moved to River Star Records, which was a new growing record company at the time, and made their 1st album "Touch". By that time, The Badge had already made its name as Japan's leading beat band, supported by many followers.
With their professional debut, The Badge started the National tour expanding their area from Tokyo to all of Japan. Hori Production (Kaleido Scope)(*2) approached to make a contract with them and had made them transfer to the major label, King Records.
New long-awaited single "London Paradise" was released. After then, "99 Club", "One Boy" "Get Off The A Train" & "Oh Carol" (cover single of Neil Sedaca)
Everybody thought that the era of "The Badge" had arrived. That was 1986.
However, that was the end of it. The Badge disbanded without anyone's expectation. On September 22nd, the band finished their career by their last performance at Eggman, opposing suggestions of that they had to continue. Shoji Nakamura says "the members felt the limitation of performance as a trio at the time". It was sudden. However, the decision seems to be noble if we think back about it. That was also the real character of The Badge"
After the disband of The Badge.
Shoji Nakamura, Guitar & Vocal, had formed the new band "The Rinx". The Rinx attracted fans by the new sounds from The Badge, featuring twin guitars, keyboard and saxhorn. The Rinx broke up after while, and Shoji Nakamura had decided to go back to his home, Hakata. He started his own life apart from music. The release of the album "The Badge's unreleased collection "The Badge Strikes Back!" & "The Badge Smash It Up!" changed his life again. Nakamura started his solo performance in March 2003 (the release month of "The Badge" albums). And he released his come back album "All Or Nothing" in December, featuring Firestarter as guest performer. Nakamura has been active since then.
Nobuaki Tanaka, base and vocal, formed "Heart Break Band" and had been performing at his own pace, searching his own music. Tanaka recently passed away due to illness. He was a wonderful, likable person. We must never forget his sincere attitude toward music and his kind eyes. We would like to thank you and would like to tell you how lucky we are to have known you and to have met The Badge. Rest in peace, Tanaka san.
Tetsu Kawasaki, drum, had become a music producer. He produced Ayumi Nakamura and made her top chart through his produced music.
(*1) Ring Dong
Well known as the founder of Japanese folk rock band. Nobuaki Tanaka was the leader of the band. Ichiro Tanaka was the guitar who later joined ARB and Kai Band and also became known as the judge of "Ika Ten" which was the famous midnight TV program of Rock'n Roll auditions.
(*2) Hori Production (Kaleido Scope)
Hori Production is famous as the production of popular juvenile actors & actresses. Kaleido Scope was established to find new rock artists as a division of Hori Production. Besides The Badge, Masamichi Sugi was also managed by Kaleido Scope. Sugi is known as one of the Japanese pop music founders.