Interview with MMS R&R ENGINEERING

Can you tell us how you formed the current line-up? Please tell us how you all met.

林田(Vo,B)(Hayashida): I formed the band together with Yoshida, In 1984 I was in a band named 横道坊主 which was formed in Nagasaki and we made a major debut in Tokyo, also THE MINKS from Sapporo made their debut at the same time. We both co-starred on the TV show 「夜のヒットスタジオR&R」. After the show Yoshida hit me with a POMPOM and said to me “Cheers for good work!”. A few years later when I left 横道坊主 and after the disbandment of THE MINKS, I got an offer to play as the bassist… and then it was 2001! And Kondo-san has joined us recently (laugh)  

吉田(Vo,Dr)(Yoshida): MMS was original formed by 3 members of THE MINKS, Guitar, Bass and Drums, Now the two guitarist have changed, current line-up is: Bass & vocal. Masaki Hayashida, Drums & Vo. Shinichi Yoshida and Guitar Seiji Kondo.

近藤(Vo,G)(Kondo): In 1998 I was in a band named HEAVY SOUL JUNCTION with Shin-chan and we have been together since then. Approximately in April 2018 Shin-chan contacted me and told me “I’m looking for a guitar player, I wish that you would play guitar for us.”
I never had talked to Masaki-san before and knew him only unilaterally, so it was a “nice to meet you” at the rehearsal in May (laugh)    
Even so, I was super nervous at the first rehearsal (laugh) My hands were shaking (laugh)
And my first live performance was at the motercycle meeting named 『縁ミーティング』.

Please introduce yourselves. What’s one word you would use to describe yourselves?

林田(Hayashida): My parents ran from Nagasaki to Osaka were I was born. (laugh). When I was 5 years old, we moved back to Nagasaki.
After graduating from high school, I worked part-time as cabaret in Nagasaki. Soon after the band 横道坊主 formed.
While playing at a pub with the band, we did enter a contest which was held by a famous motorcycle technician and it was a success. 
After all when everybody grew up we left Nagasaki and moved to Hakata, and while in Hakata we had the choice to stay there or move to Tokyo.
Well, we made the perfect “choice” (laugh)
We decided for Hakata!
All members of 横道坊主 were all classmates. None of us really were rich enough for getting fame easy.
So we had no choice but to take ROCK’N’ROLL seriously…Believe in ROCK’N’ROLL, believe in it, that’s where we are now!
How would I describe myself in one word? hmm “No discipline guy” (laugh)

吉田(Yoshida): “Yoshida of the world”

近藤(Kondo): Always be honest.⇒ According to the name (Seiji(誠司))

Could you tell the reason why did you want to become a band man, what or who influenced you?

林田(Hayashida): When I was a kid, I hated to stand in front of people.I used to skip school on a day when I had a song and recorder test in music class.
Hideki, the Beatles and Carol inspired me to be passionate to love music. And then I used to play Hideki, the Beatles and Carol in front of girls in my class.
In junior high school, I bought a violin bass from a neighboring university student for 2,000 yen, formed a band, and made my debut on stage at the school festival!
Well, actually I still don’t like to stand in front of people. I just like rock and roll.

吉田(Yoshida): I’m just doing what I love to do the most!

近藤(Kondo): I have 2 older brothers, I wonder if my 2 brothers had a strong influence. Both played the guitar.
My oldest bother loved to listen to western music such as the Beatles and the Stones. 
My other brother loved to listen to Carol and of course also Japanese Mentai Rock bands such as Sun House, THE ROOSTERS, ARB, THE MODS, etc.
Music was flowing from their rooms everyday.
I’ve been playing guitar since I Was 6 years old, so of course I have always dreamed of being a musician. 

MMS has already a long history. In what way is MMS changed in all those active years?

林田(Hayashida): I guess the biggest change is that  the guitarist have been changed. Also our ONEMAN gig at Hibiya Noon(日比谷野音)! I’ve been grateful to have the best staff! 

吉田(Yoshida): 2014, That we did attend a live in Sturgis, USA.

What is the concept of MMS? How would you describe MMS in just a short sentence? Also why is the band named “MMS R&R ENGINEERING”? Any reason why you named the band like that?

林田(Hayashida): The concept of MMS and in a word, I think that there are various opinions of the members, and I respect each opinion, the only thing that is clear is “Oretacha bike and rock and roll”!
Origin of the MMS name? “Masaki Midnight Special” Lie (laugh) The initials of the members when they were formed.

吉田(Yoshida): MMS is the initial of the name of the member at the time of formation. The concept of MMS is “Bike & Rock and Roll”.

Who is the biggest inspiration for MMS’s music.?

林田(Hayashida): Looking back nowadays, I’ve been influenced by so many different artist. These are a bunch of Major artists I’ve been influenced by.The Beatles/CCR/Stray Cats/The Clash/Dr Feelgood/The Pirates/Carl Perkins/Elvis Presley/Paul McCartney/CAROL/THE MODS

吉田(Yoshida): Many artists!

近藤(Kondo): For Western music, British music in general; Stones, beatles, 70’s punk, Brithpop. Among them there is a genre called “pup rock”. DR. FEELGOOD / THE PIRATES / NICK LOWE etc. For Japanese music, I loved “Mentai Rock” from kyushu; Sun House, THE ROOSTERS, ARB, THE MODS etc.

Which message do you want to give to your listener with your music?

林田(Hayashida): Well, I want that people just listen to the album and feel our music, also it doesn’t’ matter how old you are, please enjoy it. Also I wish to tell everybody that you can do ANYTHING as long you are passionate about it, don’t give up! My own age?! I’ll be 57 years next month… and there are still plenty of things I want to do. 

吉田(Yoshida): I hope that you enjoy listening to our songs!

近藤(Kondo): I you listen to MMS music I wish to give people HOPE! Old men who are over 50 years old are still doing their best! if these Ossans still can do it, you also will be able to do it! You are able to do anything you like! 

Also for that reason I want to face music straight in the eyes without lying to anything.

MMS’s sound feels very much ROCK’N’ROLL.Why did you decide to play this genre of music? 

林田(Hayashida): In short, it was numbed by the fast 8 beat, which is a big factor. It was first used in the early 80s, by the “Mentai-Rock” of the Hakata bands of kyushu. When you listen to those bands you feel the reality of ROCK’N’ROLL and punk music. And it still absolutely ingrained in me to this day.

吉田(Yoshida): I talked with Hayashida when he joined us to keep it simple.

近藤(Kondo): When I started my first band in the first year of junior High school, one night my 2nd big brother came to my room yelling “SEIJI!! LISTEN TO ARB(4 person band), THIS BAND IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!He gave me the album “BAD NEWS”. From that day on, I became a fan of ARB and started to listen to all ARB albums. And a year later, ARB came for a live to the countryside in Kagoshima. Because it was a live I really wanted to go to, it was a totally exciting day! My memory is so violent that I run out of oxygen! After seeing that live, I also wanted to create and pay that kind of solid R&R, solid, simple and cool!

MMS music is ROCK’N’ROLL. Nowadays It’s an unusual sound. Does it also attract young people or are most of your fans your age range?

林田(Hayashida): Our ROCKNROLL is nothing new or anything. Basically, it’s simple, old school, three-chord ROCK’N’ROLL!! Simple the BEST! That makes it so good!

吉田(Yoshida): I’m just putting in myself, I don’t know how anyone will listen to it and how someone will feel about it while listing to it. If I create music I don’t think about the age group at all our what kind of music is most popular at the moment.

近藤(Kondo): Most of our fans are our same generation(laugh) We are just a small 3 member band. We put out simple songs and still a groovy feeling happens in your heart. Even if you listen to our music on a disk or if you come to our live, you feel it! If you haven’t seen us yet, I really wish that you also experience it in our lives! (laugh)

How do you compose and write new songs? What do you want listeners to feel when they hear them?

林田(Hayashida): After the release date of a new work has been published I start to think about writing new songs.

吉田(Yoshida): If it happens spontaneous it’s the best, but if a recording is not decided, it is hard to get into production. Then the listener has nothing.

近藤(Kondo): My songwriting process is as follows: once I have a melody, I write the song, from drumming to bass recording, and then I develop the image of the song. After that I will ask the other members to listen to it and if everybody likes it we will solidify the song in session. I’m not forcing anybody to like all our songs, I just hope that each of you likes a song how it hits you. 

限定解除 (Gentei kaijo)

Your album “ 限定解除 (Gentei kaijo)” was released in 2019. Were there any parts of this album which were difficult to write, or did they come naturally? Is there anything you’re especially proud of with these songs?

林田(Hayashida): With this album our current guitarist Seiji Kondo became an official member, so he blew new wind into MMS. Also I think that Konda had the hardest time (laugh). Kondo has the passion to do it, even if it means throwing everything at him, “I’ll take care of MMS!” I want him to do it with as much enthusiasm as possible! …Oh, he already has done it. (laugh)

吉田(Yoshida): I think Seiji did most of the production. This album gives a good look to the new MMS. I think this album is a great work for the next MMS stage!

近藤(Kondo): We went to the studio in January and started to work on new songs. I wasn’t able to write songs long before we started the recording (laugh). I even was revising lyrics until the day we recorded them. (laugh). It’s a challenge to do something you never had done before. The album contains more 16 beat songs and we got a song named ONE WEEK where we use digital beats. (laugh)

Why did you call the album 「 限定解除(Gentei kaijo)」?  [限定解除 ENG: LIMITED RELEASE]

林田(Hayashida): 限定解除 [(Gentei kaijo) LIMITED RELEASE] Mainly refers a motorcycle licenses for big size motorcycles. If you own one you can ride any bike! We are infinite.

吉田(Yoshida): For Kondo to be able to ride the Harle Davidson. in commemoration of the “LIMITED RELEASE” of the driver’s license from medium to large license, So it became the title.  Challenge! is also include in the meaning.

近藤(Kondo): What is a “Limited release?” 
In Japan, it refers to the examination to change a “license with limited conditions” to a “license without limited conditions”. The meaning is the same, but it takes away our musical boundaries of what we’ve been doing, so I decided to use it because I wanted to express a wider range of ideas. Anyway, I went to a driving school from December 2018 and safely got a large motorcycle license at the end of March (laugh).

Is there an important message inside this release?? 

林田(Hayashida): If you listen to the album you will understand the message!

吉田(Yoshida): A message is included in each song.

近藤(Kondo): It’s a good album, so be sure to listen to it!

Please tell us if there is any difference between the album released so far and this album.

林田(Hayashida): The change of the guitarist

吉田(Yoshida): It’s a new MMS chrysalis. So our next album will be perfect!

Please tell us the concept of every lyric.

林田(Hayashida): Motorcycles, Dogs, Fellows, Highway, Love & Hate

吉田(Yoshida): The three of us have different approaches, but I think we’re singing about the rock ‘n’ roll way of life through our motorcycles and the people we love.

近藤(Kondo): The concept of my songs is music that makes your body sway naturally!

Who was the main creator of this album and music production? Could you tell us how each song was born and how it was finished?

林田(Hayashida): The band sound I want to express is:! The guitar, drums, bass and vocals, should breath their own soul into the songs,  huh?… well, actually this time I didn’t write a song with that kind of image… But anyway, if it happens like that it’s fun and exciting. Because that’s the moment when the best numbers are born. Also if each member takes such a song and puts in their spirit too. If the moment is perfect a good song is born! 

吉田(Yoshida): Lot’s has been produced bij Seiji Kondo. But my songs are usually about the present. 

近藤(Kondo): As for the songs, 7 are co-written by Masaki, 3 songs by Shin-chan and 1 song by me. If one of us wrote a song, we listen to that song and then we turn that song together into our song. 


Why did you get invited to play at the events in the USA? How did the promoter know your music?

林田(Hayashida): It all started at a drinking party with the editor of VIBES magazine, “I want to go to Sturgis! That’s how it started, right?

吉田(Yoshida): It all started via a Japanese motorcycle magazine.

Was there any culture shock while you were in the USA?

林田(Hayashida): Americans have a great way of thinking about bandman! It’s very interesting to us bandman and they sound to us like “You’re doing a band!! That’s So cool! So amazing”. And there is always a box of chips on the stage (laugh) Everything is different from Japan.

吉田(Yoshida): It made me even think that MMS is better suited to the US, to be there didn’t feel different from playing in Japan. 

What’s your biggest memory of the USA tour?? 

林田(Hayashida): I’ve been going to a town called Sturgis, South Dakota, since 2014. There is an event that attracts a total of 1 million Harley riders from all over the United States for about two weeks once a year. There’s a place called Buffalo Chip near there that’s like Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, and MMS played with a lot of world-famous bands there. Together with bands I used to listen in my room when I was a kid! It really felt amazing! Last year, we toured in Colorado with “THE LIVING DEADS“, we played in 7 clubs, and we got to know the American community really well. I’m glad that “THE LIVING DEADS” have welcome us. I would love to do another club tour in the US. We were in the US for about two weeks starting in early August. August 9 was the day that the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, in Japan. I’m from Nagasaki, so I’ve heard about the horror of the atomic bomb and the tragedy of war since I was a kid. It was on this day that I had a session with THE LIVING DEADS in the U.S., which left a lasting impression on me that I could meet them through three chords of ROCK’N’ROLL. This was the moment when I felt that ROCK’N’ROLL is great…NO MORE WAR!

吉田(Yoshida): I have made many friends, but getting to know “THE LIVING DEADS” has been the best thing that has happened in my life.

近藤(Kondo): For the first time in my life! I went for an overseas tour to the US(laugh) Everyone really welcomed us warmly(cries). It has been a really fun two weeks, thanks to THE LIVING DEADS!


Is there any difference between playing a SOLO live and a LIVE together with a band?

林田(Hayashida): I’ve done a few SOLO lives, however I don’t really like it (laugh) I love to play in band much more!!

吉田(Yoshida): Both are fun!

What’s the most fun thing about touring around Japan?

林田(Hayashida): If we go on tour, we take our motorbikes with us, so it cost much more than going by car.(laugh) Also I drive a vintage Harley of the 60’s and well that one got 100% broken and wrecked on the road. (laugh) However, this trouble has strengend the bond between the members and I’m more grateful towards them… well just a little bit(laugh) Anyway, I’m going to get on my bike and ROCK’N’ROLL!! And I’ll will meet everyone from all over the country! That’s the best thing about touring!

吉田(Yoshida): Meeting fans!!

近藤(Kondo): It’s really fun to meet many different kind of people all round the country! But now because of stupid Corona it’s difficult to be in contact with everyone. 

What makes you smile?

林田(Hayashida): Of course, everyone’s smile of those who come to watch MMS and having fun! Beside that it makes me smile when the engine of the panhead start in just one shot (laugh) 

吉田(Yoshida): Friends

近藤(Kondo): The smile of our fans.

In all those music years, what’s the most valuable memorable memory?

林田(Hayashida): That I have met a wonderful band MMS and that I am able to experience wonderful things together with them, together with the believe I always had in ROCK’N’ROLL

吉田(Yoshida): USA! MMS! being by yourself in america and that just with a simple guitar.

近藤(Kondo): That I am able to work with the “SUPER CRAZY” rhythm team, together with Masaki Hayashida and Shinichi Yoshida

Motorbikes and rock music, what does this connection mean for you?

林田(Hayashida): To me, the bike is as important as the bass and is also a part of the instrument. The speed and groove of the song is very similar to what you feel when you’re riding a bike. When I go on tour, it starts with the moment that I take the bike out of the garage and start riding.

吉田(Yoshida): Being my true self. 

近藤(Kondo): I’ve been riding a Harley since last year and that vibration feels like like rock music. Doh! Doh! Dodd! It’s a rhythm, isn’t it? It’s very intense, especially for riding on a Harley.


What’s the connection of MMS and the LINDA GARAGE bar?

林田(Hayashida): That’s the live bar I run.

吉田(Yoshida): Even if it’s the bar of Masaki Hayashida, it’s an important hideaway for MMS but also myself. 

近藤(Kondo): To be able to meet various people.

LINDA GARAGE bar is decorated with lots of artwork of the manga “CROWS” why is this so? Is there any special connection?

林田(Hayashida): Originally, Linda Garage was a Producer that planned, produced, and sold Figures of the manga CROWS. I have a personal relationship with the original author, Hiroshi Takahashi, for nearly 30 years. This relationship led to the establishment of the company and the opening of a directly managed store in Setagaya, Tokyo in 2001. At the time it was a figure and apparel shop, but there was an arson attack and I thought it was over, but with the support of my band mates and friends, we now have the Linda Garage. I really appreciate it.

LINDA GARAGE bar is known as a place where fans can easily meet you. After a LIVE is held there is time for every fan to talk and drink with their idol without any extra charge. For me it’s special. Do you enjoy talking with the people who come to support you and do you think it’s important?

林田(Hayashida): It’s a great opportunity for musicians and for fans to knew each other better!

吉田(Yoshida): Stage is stage, bar is bar. Enjoying the moment in the moment is an important part of life.

近藤(Kondo): To have a good talk with your fans is also very important. 

Please tell me something more about LINDA GARAGE. What makes it a special place etc.

林田(Hayashida): It’s nothing special, but I’m glad you feel that way. However everyone seems to think that I am not the show owner(laugh) Anyway, if MMS doesn’t play a live gig, I’ll be waiting for you at the counter! If you have free time, please come over, I would love to meet you! LINDA GARAGE is my second stage!

吉田(Yoshida): There is an ROCK’N’ROLL spirit inside!

近藤(Kondo): It’s a precious place where you can get close to musicians and experience live music!


As an artist, if there was one thing you want fans to remember (some words of wisdom), what would it be?

林田(Hayashida): Trials are given at the moment we are born, and there are no trials that we cannot be overcome! ROCK A WAY!!

吉田(Yoshida): Work hard on what you want to do and do what you want to do. Keep on cheering it!!

近藤(Kondo): facing yourself straight to the music without lying

And as last, your message to your fans!

林田(Hayashida): Nowadays, the covid-19 has spread to the world and is in a critical situation. Various people cried and laughed, Right now,
Some people make profit
Some people will lose money
Some people have tough days
It all depends on their profession.
And there are just people who stay home…
The current situation is a big test for humanity.
Since 4/6 The Linda garage is also closed due the self-restraint request.
Of course, I also need money to pay rent and living expenses, but I don’t know when the national guarantee will be given, so what should I do in such a case? You don’t want to lose at Corona, right? A killer virus that’s killing people! I mean … I’m enduring all the muscle aches and soreness in my whole body and lower back from a part-time job which I’m not used to. (laugh)
There is no choice but to survive and to keep live Linda Garage alive too!
If you want to, you can do anything!
Also right now, it’s a good idea to look at yourself again and to get some life spirit again!

吉田(Yoshida): Once everything calms down, let’s go on!
Please look forward to MMS in the future! Thank you very much…

近藤(Kondo): COVID-19 is happening worldwide, STAY HOME is the message. It’s sad that we cannot meet everyone now.
But there is more time now to spent time for yourself isn’t?
But a bright future will surely come! And we are preparing for that! (laugh)

Thank you very much for this interview!

Question translations ENG-> JAP: Yasu, Ryu, RIORIO &
Question translations JAP-> ENG: Ryu
Question help: Yasu,RIORIO &

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