Saturday, April 02, 2005


The death has been announced of Hideaki Sekiguchi, bassist with Guitar Wolf. Known to his fans as Billy, Sekiguchi's heart stopped on Wednesday night and he died later in a Tokyo hospital.

Signed to a Sony affiliate, Guitar Wolf had just got back to Japan after a massive US tour; they'd been due to play this week in Tokyo before heading off to Australia, but naturally the plans have been dropped.

Formed in 1987, the band became the three-piece Seiji, Toru and Billy in 1991; the line-up would remain unchanged until Billy's death. Their first US tour in 1993 lead the building of a solid American following; the next year they would appear on the cover of Maximum Rock & Roll. By 1997, they were adding Europe and SXSW to their world, and 1998 had them opening for The Cramps in Japan.

They got muddled up in a spot of international political bickering in 2001, when a planned appearance at a Korean-Japanese friendship festival was scrapped - along with the whole festival, and pretty much most friendship between the two nations. (Koreans had got the hump at Japanese school books written by right-wingers which justified their nation's behaviour while an occupying force in Korea.)

By 2003, after four albums for a major label and with their most recent work, UFO Romantics selling well worldwide, Guitar Wolf were the secret guests for The D4's Japanese tour. Away from home, they were working hard to establish a base in South America as well, managing a sell-out tour of Brazil and playing Argentina for the first time. Perhaps their oddest claim to fame, though, was they had their own brand of, um, bluejeans.

Hideaki Sekiguchi was 38.

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