Flower Travellin’ Band interview with Hideki Ishima

September 12, 2011

Flower Travellin’ Band interview with Hideki Ishima


1. I’m really happy to have you on my magazine, Hideki. I would like to ask you first about some of the early influences you had as a young kid…

I first tried to copy “Take five” by pm 16 from record and other things as well, For example “Morning” “Caravan” “Work-song” these jazz stuff because the singer loved this kind of songs that was 18 years old in amateur band. But since I heard The Beatles I was crazy about them, They gave me super shock ! 🙂
2. If I’m not wrong your first band was called The Beavers. You released a couple of singles and an album in 1968 called Viva! What can you tell me about this band?
We had a lot of copy things that’s “Yard birds” “Kinks” “Zombies” “Manfred man” “Hollys” and more overseas stuff.
The times we got two guitarist so one of guys played guitar part and I played other part on my guitar with some effects, that’s really fun for me 🙂
3. Soon you started to play guitar in a band called Yuya Uchida & The Flowers. You released two singles and an album in 1969 called Challenge! It’s one of the earliest examples of Japan psychedelia.
Would you like to share with me an experience you had with this band and where did you play?
We always played in Japan but we couldn’t take long times because Remi and Kobayashi who played steel-guitar, had a plan for going to Seattle the time. 🙂
I would like if you could tell us what do you remember from recording and producing this LP? What can you tell me about a very interesting cover artwork? How many pressings were made of this LP?
That’s was Yuya Uchida produced and I think that was live stuff !? Am I there in LP ? Maybe I’m not, because I don’t have my past works so I’m not sure, and I don’t know how many pressings. 🙂
4. What happened next? We are in late 1969 and you just started two new project. One is legendary Flower Travellin’ Band and the other one is a project with Kuni Kawachi to Kare no Tomodachi.
After Remi & Kobayashi left from Flowers we made Flower Travellin’ Band, And Kuni invited Joe and me for his album. 🙂
You released Kirikyogen in 1970, which is an amazing album. What can you remember from making this album and how many copies were made?
I remember Joe sung by Kuni’s lyrics that was pretty strange for me because I heard he sung by japanese first time.
And I don’t know how many copies. 🙂
Anywhere is your first album released by Flower Travellin’ Band. The album is really amazing and you have pretty unique sound. I would like if you could tell me what do you remember from this recording session?
What can you say about the cover artwork?
We tried cover version the times by our taste and we just enjoyed it !!
And this album produced Yuya Uchida, He really likes nude so we can’t help it,
He has opinion about nude that “do it with your real ! ”  I think that’t cool. 🙂
5. How hard was to get signed with this kind of music in Japan?
That was easy I think but I don’t know how people like it. 🙂
6. So here we are in year 1971. You released Satori. I have to say, that this is one of my favourite hard prog/psych albums of all time and I would really love if we could go into details about the album itself.
First I would like to ask you by what were you inspired and what was the concept behind the album? What does Satori represent?
It’s a pretty long story …The time I been thinking of that I doubt of myself what I’m doing !? Because still I tried to copy and cover version, And I asked myself this is something wrong with me !? I’m just chase other parson’s sense or origins, Of cause they gave me a lot of inspire and something but I thought this is not me, Then I realized I have to and I wanna use my origin. So I had a talk about this kind of feeling with members and they agree my opinion,
After that I tried make parent of whole songs and fit up lyrics by our friend who call “Stoner” from texas, We had a lot of talking to many things. 🙂
Who did the cover artwork?
That’s friends of mine who call “Shinobu-Ishimaru” but he was gone next stage lately. 🙂
7. How big was the band in Japan at that time and how big in other countries?
Actually I didn’t know that because we left Japan after we made Satori and we had just one concert in Japan, And since then we had play in Canada almost 2 and half years, We had a chance with “Light House” “Emerson,Lake & Palmer” “Dr. John” “Bush” and many Canadian band. 🙂
8. Would you like to tell me where and with who all did you tour?
Please, share an interesting experience that happened to you on some concerts…
We got musician union after half years we live in Toronto so we had a contract document with union.
And if I could tell you episode …We lost power one time that when we had opening act for ELP because some roady cut off our power by his mischief, But then we got make a drum-solo and fixed up so that was pretty nice happening, No problem lol !! One more thing that we had first concert on opening act for Light house at Ontario-Place,
Then we couldn’t take earn plaudits from audience play couple songs so we’re concern for that but we took really big waves of applause after 4th song, I thought that people didn’t know how handling our music, Maybe so strange for them first, 
But after finish we had huge encore twice more then we burn out whole songs so we played one of same songs lol ! 🙂
9. In 1972 you released another album with Kuni called Love Suki Daikirai. A few words about it?
I don’t wanna bring it up again because I was so depress with my sick the time. 🙂
10. Around same year you released another Flower Travellin’ Band album called Made in Japan. It is a bit different album. You moved towards progressive hard rock coming out of Germany at the time…don’t you think?
I don’t think so because I wasn’t interested in other movement also I didn’t know it, and we just had next new try that’s all. 🙂
11. Your last album with the band was Make Up. Then you recorded your own solo album called One Day, which is an amazing album! A lot different, then anything you done before. Would you like to comment this two releases?
What is the concept behind One Day and what can you tell me about the cover artwork?
How many pressings were made?
Yes, Make up was we had been doing for all these years I think, And One Day was my new next try by my personal involvement, Also the cover artwork made Shinobu-Ishimaru that from his imagination. I don’t know how many pressing as usual. 🙂
12. What happened next? I know you were in bands like Trans Am, Donjuan, Co-Colo… ou recorded with Pythagorus Party. What can you say about this part of your carrier?
If someone has curiosity about my play and I have one as well then I wanna try to make a company,
Donjuan, Co-Colo and Pythagorus Party like that, And always they gave me some inspire so I can glow up. 🙂
13. In 2008 you did another album with Flower Travellin’ Band called We are here. How would you describe experience of playing again as Flower Travellin’ Band?

Since almost 20 years ago people wanted restart in Japan but we couldn’t make it until this time, We made a plan for restart that I proposed make a new album first and make some tour in Japan,Canada and U.S.A.

We made a new album at bring back a memory in Toronto that was really fun and we made tour in Japan,Canada and U.S.A.
But Joe was gone last month by lung cancer that I really regret … So it’s over !
14. What are you doing these days and what are some of your future plans?
I got a instrument band which call VIEW, also I play with VJ which call Keiongaku, and I got a unit which call yuugen,
Sometimes I play Sitar with tabla and salod, Of cause I have jam with a lot of musicians in Japan,
And …  I’m really curious about now and next white pages so I’ll keep going to play with my Sitarla ! 🙂
15. I would like to thank you so much for taking your time and effort, Hideki. Would you like to add something else, perhaps?
If you have some question after reading my answer please send me a drop.
And I hope you understand my english, Thank you. Many blessing Hideki Ishima from Japan.

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011

© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2011
  1. Durandal1717

    Great interview.... Still sad to read about Joe, I wish I had caught them on their last & final tour....

    He doesn't mention the first thing the Flower Travellin' Band and Joe recorded together, the Crash/Dhoop (クラッシュ/ドゥープ) single with the Terumasa Hino jazz quintet, which is a shame as it's one of their very best works and one of the earliest examples of Hideki-san's amazing sitar.

  2. Anonymous

    Their Black Sabbath-cover perhabs harder and darker than original is.

  3. Unknown

    This is Randy "Jimmie James" Bowles from the Velvet Illusions. I wrote an article for It's Psychedelic Baby about forming a band with Katsuhiko "Katz" Kobayashi and Remi "Lemi" Aso of the Flower Travellin' Band, entitled When One Of Yakima, Washington’s Velvet Illusions And Two Of Tokyo, Japan’s Flowers Came Together, which Klemen published in September 2014. Katz passed away years ago. I am wondering if anyone knows what happened with Remi "Lemi" Aso. I haven't seen her since 1971. Thanks for any info!

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