Interview with THE VACK’S

For those who don’t know you yet, please tell them why they need to check out your music.

We don’t feel age. “POWER! HEAT! STRENGTH!” We have realistic lyrics that anyone can  let go to.

In 2016 Hero was still the guitarist; since 2018, DANNA has been your guitarist. How do you know him and why did he choose to be the guitarist of THE VACK’S? 

HERO stopped his musical activities because of family issues.
In the 1980s, Danna started as a guitarist in Fukuoka. He was playing in the band  <THE HIGH>. After some years he went to Tokyo together with Kudo in order to make a major debut.  However they stopped music activity a year later.  After a while he got in contact with Kudo again, and after coming to a rehearsal to play, Danna returned to stage for the first time in 28 years to play as THE VACK’S guitarist.

  • Danna is still not an official member; he is our support guitarist.
Could you introduce KUDO a little bit more, I’ve noticed that he also has an amazing band history. 
  • 1988~1989 THE DOCTORS (Danna was the vocalist)
  • 1989~1993 SMILEY & THE DOCTORS, debuted under an independent label, toured all over Japan, and performed about 50 live shows a year.
  • 1992~1993 THE LEEDS in combination with SMILEY & THE DOCTORS toured together around Japan
  • 1993~2009 Full-scale music activity is suspended due to various circumstances
  • 2010~ Resumed music activities in parallel with his main job. He is always playing in 3-5 bands, and performs about 40 gigs a year.
What inspired you all to start making music? Why did you want to become a band-man?

Ryo-suke: My cousin who’s older by 3 years, Yamamoto Atsushi  (Livespace ZERO / JETROCK), made a large impact. Back in the day, western music and Fukuoka Mentai rock, etc, was really popular. Also my cousin (Yamamoto Atsushi ) played in various bands.  横道坊主(ODD BOWZ) also had a large impact on me before they made their debut. All that gave me lots of thoughts, I also had to do it myself!

KUDO: Regarding music production, the influence of Pub rock is the best!
Why did I start playing music?, I got jealous because there was a female classmate who could play guitar when I was in the second grade (High School). 

Any other things you love to do besides music? 

Ryo-suke: Motorcycles and cars
Kudo: Running

THE VACK’S 3rd album 「衝動 (shoudou(impulse))」 was released last year in august. Again a really nice rocking release.

Why did you call the album 「衝動 (shoudou(impulse))」?

Gotta move! Gotta do!
「The feeling of not be able to move forward」
Even if we are 50 years old, we still can do it!
You also can do it!  Move!
So I thought it would be a good idea to title the album “impulse.” 

  • 衝 – important  | 動 – move | 衝動 impulse
How does writing an album differ from writing a single or mini-album?
Is there any difference besides the number of songs?

We think it depends on the concept of the production.
If you want to make a deeper song, it’s gonna be a single.
As a full album for a listener, it also can lead to the desire to listen to multiple songs over and again.

Were there any challenges with writing this album?

Ryo-suke: As you can see from the song and lyrics, the songs are drastically different from the past songs. The melody and the way of singing are composed very carefully, so that the songs are easy to understand also anyone should be able to sing it quickly along. 

Kudo: Many songs of the previous work “FREEWEEL” were already completed before I joined; for that album I only changed the bass-line to my own style. For 「衝動」I got involved in arranging almost all songs,  which gave the opportunity to make them different from the already existing songs.

You also recorded an MV to this albumm, right? Why did you pick “DON’T STOP ROLLING” for this MV? 

There were other MV candidate songs, however our roots are kyushu Mentai, so this song is made as typical VACK’S MENTAI ROCK. I have chosen this song after Danna joined, because it also gives the sense that VACK’S is different than before.

Any other important message we need to know about this release? 

I want you to hear it in comparison with the previous work FREEWHEEL.


Lately, we also can enjoy the lives of “Acoustic VACK’S,” often performed in “LINDA GARAGE”.  How did you come up with the idea to perform as a duo or trio as an acoustic band? 

Ryo-suke and Kudo both perform individual solo acoustic lives. Of course we also play songs of THE VACK’s, but it’s also difficult to do it alone. To play VACK’S songs as acoustic, it’s better to play with someone. Also we often get offers to play acoustic VACK’s for acoustic events.

On December 28th, Kudo-san played together with KEITH (ARB drummer) and YOSHIAKI OKADA (The minks). Since KEITH and OKADA are famous, how was Kudo invited to play bass for this live performance? 

THE MINKS vocal Yoshiaki, was on hiatus from 2006 to November 2018. THE MINKS Yoshida Shinichi (also in MMS) couldn’t stop the fire! So he continued as an acoustic solo singer and as THE MINKS Back member(THE MINKS B3). Then THE MINKS officially started their activity again in December 2018!
Kudo went to see the revival live and got connected with Yoshiaki.
Keith (ARB) and Yoshiaki wanted to perform a cover solo live playing the ARB songs which Yoshiaki respects, and asked KUDO if he wanted to play bass.

How do you choose the songs to play live? How do you decide the setlist?

Mainly Kudo decides which songs are nice to play. It depends on the venue and the concept of the event. He always gives a setlist draft to the members in advance and our final decision will be made at our rehearsal.

What’s your favorite venue to play at and why?

We love all the live houses which let us perform.


What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced as a musician in your life?

How can you convey your own music the best? I think about that after every life, over and over, over and over, over and over.

What’s the most difficult part of being in a band? 

Gaining fans

How do your children look at your band-life? Are they proud? Did they also decide to play in a band? Or are they following a totally different style of life?

Our children wonder if we just do whatever we like. However our children live a completely different life on their own.

What’s the biggest difference between older and younger bands?

Each member has their own work, home, private stuff, etc;  we all live in such circumstances, so we keep it as top priorities as adults. THE VACK’S is said to be slow paced–we are aware of “life,” and because of that we have already been together for 10 years. 

What are THE VACK’S goals as a band for 2020?

reviewing all our songs from the past with our current members, to raise up the quality, and from now on pouring it all out at our lives.

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

There are many fans of the same generation, anyway, aren’t we in an environment where we can do what we want?! Age doesn’t matter, if you wanna do it, just do it, just move! live a better and more fulfilling life! POWER ROCK’N’ROLL!!

Thank you very much again for this interview and support!
Let’s keep rocking ROCK’N’ROLL!!

Ryo-suke Twitter
KUDO Twitter

Thanks to Yasu for translating most of the questions to Japanese!

JAPANESE→ English: Ryu & support by RIORIO for question and translation support for English grammar check.