Plastics Leader Nakanishi Dies

Toshio Nakanishi, former leader of the Japanese new wave band Plastics, died Feb. 25 after fighting esophageal cancer. He was 61.

Plastics was one of the most influential Japanese groups of the late ’70s, and was openly admired by like-minded bands Devo, Talking Heads and the B-52s. Experts on Japanese pop often cite Plastics as having the most impact on the direction of popular music in Japan in the ’80s and ’90s, perhaps even more so than the Yellow Magic Orchestra.

– The Plastics
Album Cover For 1981’s “Welcome Back”

After Plastics broke up in 1982, Nakanishi went to New York with fellow band member and wife Chica Sato and formed a new band, Melon, with Percy Jones of Brand X, Dougie Bowne of the Lounge Lizards and Bernie Worrell.

They released two albums on Epic Records. Later, Nakanishi helped pioneer Japan’s nascent dance music scene as the founder of Major Force. He moved to London for a short period in the ’90s and took on hip-hop under the moniker Tycoon To$h.
He also formed a musical collective called Skylab that released two albums, one of which, Large as Life and Twice as Natural, was named by Fact magazine as one of the greatest trip-hop albums of all time.