Yazawa’s Rebirth

Iconic Japanese rocker Eikichi Yazawa, who turns 60 Sept. 14, has in his own words been going through a “second debut” this summer.

Yazawa, who once made a concerted effort for stardom in the U.S. and failed, still commands a healthy fan base of boomers who have been with him since he fronted the ’50s-style rock band Carol in the 1970s.

He can fill arenas with those fans but has been actively courting a younger cohort of late and appears to be succeeding.

In August he played at the ap bank festival, an outdoor concert sponsored by the hugely popular J-pop band Mr. Children and caters to a younger crowd.

He was reportedly a huge hit. Though these younger music aficionados may not be as familiar with Yazawa’s classic rock sides as their parents are, they certainly recognize the slim, swivel-hipped “ojisan” (middle aged man) from the many TV commercials he appears in for beer, flatscreen TVs and other products.

Yazawa is one of the most ubiquitous pitchmen in Japan.

His newfound fans will certainly help him with his latest musical endeavor.

After 20 years with EMI Music, he left the major label in May and launched his own record company, Garuru Records.
As if restating his purpose in life, his first album for the label – and first in four years – is titled Rock ’n’ Roll.

He debuted selections from it at a special in-store event on the roof of Tower Records in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo on Aug. 19.

It was the first in-store concert Yazawa ever played and according to reports the 300 lucky people who got in were in their 20s and 30s.