This page is a repository for frequently asked questions regarding B'z and their sizable catalogue of work as well as serving to offer some direction for navigating the B'z Wiki.
Who are the members of B'z?
- B'z was formed in 1988 by guitarist-composer Tak Matsumoto and vocalist-lyricist Koshi Inaba. The band has only ever been comprised of two members, though hundreds of support members have filled numerous instrumental and production roles along the way.
Where can I purchase B'z music internationally?
- All B'z releases may be purchased new from the usual retailers of CDJapan and Amazon Japan. The former offers very fast but costly shipping on all products while the latter allows very affordable international shipping and a fully English website as well. Both services allow for pre-orders of new releases.
- Additionally, 2012 English digital single "Into Free -Dangan-" is still available for purchase worldwide on iTunes.
- Used B'z albums and items can be found worldwide on eBay and similar auction sites.
Where can I purchase B'z tour merchandise and T-shirts?
- Apart from attending an event in person and purchasing there, B'z The Store is the official hub for B'z merchandise and is operated by their staff, offering leftover merchandise from T-shirts to keychains, towels, phone covers, wristbands, tote bags, and more at the original prices. However, the store does not itself ship internationally. For overseas fans, the use of a proxy service in order to arrange a Japanese delivery address is recommended for obtaining desired merchandise. A guide for making international orders directly can be found here, while you may arrange for a service to make the order and receive items for you through a proxy shopping service such as this one that is confirmed to handle B'z The Store orders perfectly.
Where can I find B'z information online?
- The official B'z website bz-vermillion.com is the foremost portal for B'z news and updates on the internet. Social media accounts operated by their staff include official Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube accounts. Koshi Inaba's official site is en-zine.jp while Tak Matsumoto's is houseofstrings.jp.
- The English fan site offthelock.com associated with the B'z Wiki is dedicated to providing B'z news and translations in a timely manner for international fans.
Why are the B'z music videos on YouTube so short?
- The official B'z YouTube channel uploaded partial videos in 2013 as promotion for B'z The Best XXV 1988-1998 and B'z The Best XXV 1999-2012. These two compilations featured the full videos for every single available on DVD for the first time. In the years since, most subsequently released music videos were uploaded in full.
Where can I find B'z lyrics and translations?
- Almost every B'z song has been translated into English. The page B'z Lyrics & Translations offers a complete list of all such songs, along with original Japanese kanji and romaji, or romanized, phonetic versions of the original lyrics. An alphabetical version of the same page is also available, along with a full Japanese version (日本語版ページはこちらです).
Where can I get B'z releases on vinyl?
- Every B'z studio album was issued on analog vinyl records as part of the B'z 30th anniversary exhibition "SCENES". As of this writing, no plans have been announced to make the albums available at retail. Notably, the album EPIC DAY was released in a vinyl edition at the time of its release.
What are the most popular B'z songs?
- With a career spanning so long and having released so many consecutive number one singles, B'z have released numerous songs that have become part of popular culture in Japan. Public polls have frequently cited 2001 single "ultra soul" as their most recognized song, with more recent 2009 single "Ichibu to Zenbu" being given similar consideration in recent years. Many others such as "juice", "LOVE PHANTOM", "Ai no Bakudan", "ZERO", "Easy Come, Easy Go!", and "BAD COMMUNICATION" are also mentioned on similar terms. Songs like "Brotherhood" and "Koi-Gokoro (KOI-GOKORO)" have also taken on special meaning amongst fans. The most popular song internationally is "Into Free -Dangan-", which was used as the main title theme for 2012 Capcom video game Dragon's Dogma.
What song has been re-recorded by B'z the most?
- The single "ultra soul" has been subject to re-recording revisions five different times, including an English version for 2012's international English album.
Where are B'z songs recorded?
- B'z songs are primarily recorded in their Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Hawaii studios. Additional recording has taken place in New York City and all over Japan.
How many songs have B'z released?
- B'z have released well over 400 songs of their own.
- Many B-sides, as well as album songs, have gone uncollected on the band's various "Pleasure" and "Treasure" albums due to the volume of their catalogue. In 2017, B'z published a premium single boxset titled B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX which included specially-packaged reprints of all fifty-three singles to that time ("Dakara Sono Te wo Hanashite" to "Seimei/Still Alive"), including their accompanying besides. Because these are, in content, reproductions and not new compilations, the B'z Wiki does not consider a song such as B-side "Mou Hanasanai" as properly collected to this point and thus is included with that caveat in related articles.
What is the significance of "178" in B'z fandom?
- "178" is shorthand for Koshi Inaba's surname. "1" can be read as "I" (イ), "7" can be read as "Na" (ナ), and "8" can be read as "Ba" (バ). This has become a popular designation amongst fans since his debut and subsequent success.
Why is Koshi referred to as "sensei" by fans?
- The "sensei" moniker for Koshi originates in his history as a math teacher. He was already involved in teaching when Tak called to audition him for what would become B'z.
Does Koshi play any instruments?
- In addition to singing, Koshi also plays guitar, piano, and is an accomplished harmonica player, having been awarded a signature Hohner harmonica that was released especially to B'z PARTY members initially. For B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure'95 "BUZZ!!", he played piano on "ALONE" which was also captured on the home video release. On many occasions he has also provided percussion with maracas and similar instruments.
On what B'z songs has Koshi played guitar?
- Koshi does play acoustic guitar alongside the band as part of B'z LIVE-GYM concerts on occasion. A complete list of Koshi playing guitar live with B'z is being populated below:
On what solo songs has Koshi played guitar?
- As the composer and lyricist for his solo works, Koshi has played guitar both in the studio and live for numerous songs. As far as live appearances playing guitar, a complete listing is being populated below:
What guitars and equipment does Tak Matsumoto use?
- Tak has a collection of hundreds of guitars. In the early days of the band, he used Yamaha guitars including a signature MG-M II and the MG-M III series. Later he would migrate to using the Ernie Ball Music Man EVH series until in 1999, he was approached to become the first Asian artist and only the fifth ever to receive a signature Gibson Les Paul. In the years since, Tak has almost exclusively used signature Gibson guitars on stage—in fact, he now has more signature Gibson instruments than any other artist in history. In the studio, Tak uses a number of different guitars from his collection, including those by Fender and Martin. A full rundown on all guitars and equipment used in the recording and touring for 2017's DINOSAUR can be viewed here.
What is the blue guitar used by Tak during B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2008 -GLORY DAYS-?
- The throwback portion of their twentieth anniversary show B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2008 -GLORY DAYS- features B'z performing their first single "Dakara Sono Te wo Hanashite" without the rest of the band, just as it was in the beginning. For this, Tak brought back the blue Yamaha MG-II he had used at the time.
What is the yellow guitar used by Tak during B'z LIVE-GYM '99 "Brotherhood"?
- The yellow guitar used by Tak during 1999, 2000, and 2001 is an American-made Gibson Les Paul in a special finish called "Canary Yellow". A limited Gibson Custom Shop and Gibson USA replica was made for the Japanese market at the time and was such a hot commodity pre-orders were backed up well into the year 2000 after its initial announcement. In 2018, a reissue of the same guitar was released in a limited quantity of only 150 for the thirtieth anniversary of B'z.
What is the brown quilted guitar used by Tak during 2002 and 2003 concerts?
- The brown guitar played by Tak during shows such as B'z LIVE-GYM 2002 "GREEN ~GO★FIGHT★WIN~" and B'z LIVE-GYM The Final Pleasure "IT'S SHOWTIME!!" was meant to replace the Canary Yellow signature of before. For this, Gibson prepared a special "Tak Burst" version of the same guitar with a yellow and brown quilted finish. This guitar was replicated for the public by Gibson USA and sold in both Japan and, in limited form, the United States.
What is the double cutaway guitar used by Tak?
- The double cutaway guitar used by Tak is a signature Gibson guitar series created to his specifications. The cutaway on both sides allows better fret access for soloing which was a special request from Tak himself. The first prototype, fashioned in a Brown Burst, was delivered in 2004 and was seen in the music video for "ARIGATO" and appearances for his side project TMG. In the years that followed, a gamut of additional colors would be produced through 2011 when an Aqua Blue version was released and seen during B'z LIVE-GYM 2011 -C'mon-. Publicly released versions of the guitar were made available from the Gibson Custom Shop in Japan, namely in the Ebony and Aqua Blue varieties.
What is the offset guitar used by Tak?
- The offset guitar used by Tak is another signature instrument, this time a Gibson Firebird. Tak was given numerous prototypes in a variety of finishes, but his primary change to the Firebird of old was to add a Les Paul style headstock in place of the rounded one most associated with the guitar in its usual form. Plans for a customized Firebird suited to his liking began in November 2012 and were formerly announced in 2015 when a public offering of the Trans Black Burst and Vintage Sunburst editions has been released for the Japanese market. The guitars were used prominently during B'z LIVE-GYM 2015 -EPIC NIGHT-.
What is the difference in a Tak Matsumoto signature guitar by Epiphone and one by Gibson?
- Epiphone is a subsidiary of Gibson. While Gibson makes guitars in America, Epiphone guitars are made in China at less cost. While a Gibson Custom Shop Tak Matsumoto Double Cutaway guitar may retail for $3,999, the Epiphone version was released at only $799. The two versions of the guitar both have performed very well as sellers in Japan, the US, and Europe, with the latter two markets receiving an Epiphone in Ebony in 2014. The Epiphone versions of Tak guitars are all well-reviewed and excellent for those operating at different levels of investment in the guitar hobby.
What effects pedals does Tak use while on stage?
- In the modern era, all of Tak's equipment is from the brand "FAT". Their output is a boutique offering that is not consumer-based. The brand is owned by Being, the corporate entity that oversees B’z releases and their personal record label Vermillion Records. FAT in particular was established by Hatakeyama “hakkai” Katsunori, Tak’s original and foremost guitar technician earlier in his career who remains his tone guru. Those wanting to acquire FAT pedals or amplifiers will either come up short or fork over a great deal of yen, with prices having at least tripled in recent years for the few consumer models that were released. However, approximations of these devices can be found in amplifiers by Bogner and effects by companies such as Boss as many FAT offerings were modified or based in those.
Can Tak also sing?
- When Tak originally decided to form a band, his foremost concern was finding a vocalist as he felt his own voice was not strong enough. Over the years, Tak has occasionally offered backing vocals for B'z songs, live and in studio, and provided a prominent lead vocal as part of 2012's fiftieth single "GO FOR IT, BABY -Kioku no Sanmyaku-". For his solo career, Tak produced a full-length vocal album called KNOCKIN' "T" AROUND in 1999 on which he sings every vocal song. As part of the twenty-fifth anniversary show B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2013 -ENDLESS SUMMER-, Tak also delivers a verse on his own of "Aikawarazu na Bokura". This moment is recorded on the tour's home video release as well.
Does Tak play any other instruments?
- In addition to playing guitar, Tak can also play piano—as seen during B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure'97 "FIREBALL" for example—and bass, on which he played the instrument for the "FIREBALL" single in 1997. As part of 1997 single "Calling", Tak also feigns playing violin in the music video though he does not formally play the instrument.
Who are the most frequent B'z collaborators?
- After decades on the music scene as a duo, B'z have collaborated with hundreds of support members. Currently, the primary support musicians are Canadian Shane Gaalaas on drums (2002-Present), American Barry Sparks on bass (2003, 2008-Present), Yoshinobu Ohga on second guitar (2011-Present), and Takanobu Masuda on keyboards (1992-1997, 1999-Present). All but Ohga contribute regularly in the studio as well as the live stage, as Tak performs all guitar parts for the recordings himself.
- Since 2002, Canadian musician Shane Gaalaas has been the band's go-to drummer in both the studio and at LIVE-GYM events. Shane, who had moved to Los Angeles in 1993, was chosen after an open audition in Los Angeles prior to B'z LIVE-GYM 2002 "GREEN ~GO★FIGHT★WIN~". Prior to joining B'z, Shane had spent years touring as a support member with Barry Sparks as part of numerous acts, including with Yngwie Malmsteen and the Michael Schenker Group. When B'z needed a bassist for their 2003 touring efforts, Shane suggested Barry to the band who would join them for the year before returning in 2008 for the tours that followed.
- Takanobu Masuda is one of Tak's closest friends in the music industry with their friendship having been solidified even prior to the idea for what would become B'z. In 1998, while B'z were preparing for B'z LIVE-GYM '98 "SURVIVE", Masuda was already engaged in a tour with his longtime band Blaze. For this tour, he was replaced by Kousuke Ooshima who would also support Koshi on his solo shows beginning with Koshi Inaba LIVE 2014 ~en-ball~. Notably, while Masuda is a fixture in B'z live shows, he is not often present for studio recordings. Instead, Akira Onozuka typically provides keyboards and organs for studio efforts.
What is the association between Aerosmith and B'z?
- Aerosmith and B'z first met in 1997 backstage at the Japanese television program Music Station. Five years later, in 2002, Aerosmith were invited by FIFA World Cup International Day committee to perform at the joint Japan & Korea edition. They agreed, but with one condition: that B'z would be there to perform with them. The resulting event was the world's first FIFA World Cup International Day Concert. The two bands would again join forces for AEROSONIC in 2013. A full length article recounting the bands' encounters can be found in the article "The Storied History of B'z and Aerosmith: When the Top Rock Bands in Japan and America Come Together".
What is the association between Steve Vai and B'z?
- American guitarist Steve Vai is one of the earliest champions of B'z on the international stage. Having known both members for years, Tak and Koshi met with him at his house in 1999 in order to record a track for his album The Ultra Zone. Vai provides the lead vocals while Koshi provides a verse and chorus vocals and Tak contributes a guitar solo. The trio remained in touch and in 2002, Vai released Tak's 2002 studio album Hana internationally under his Favored Nations label. Later, in 2007, Vai—already an inductee—put forth B'z as nominees for Hollywood's RockWalk, which already included Elvis Presley, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and virtually all other rock luminaries. The exhibit's first Asian inductees, the ceremony for B'z was held just prior to the release of their sixteenth studio album ACTION on November 19, 2007.
What is the association between Slash of Guns N' Roses and the members of B'z?
- In 2009, Koshi collaborated with Slash on his first solo album for a song that would become the lead single entitled "SAHARA". Slash had heard of B'z from years before and, after hearing their then-most recent work, he got in touch with Koshi and the two began work together over e-mail. Slash said in an interview at the time: "I had a piece of music I thought he would really like and I sent it over to him, and he did, he liked it. And so, he wrote the most amazing melody for it." Koshi recorded a demo from Japan before flying to Los Angeles where the two met for the first time. They corresponded over e-mail beforehand in order to work on the arrangement, while Slash recorded the final version of the music. Koshi then came in to record the final vocals, for both Japanese and English version of the song. The single became the first by a foreign artist to finish in the top five in seven years on the Oricon singles chart. The Japanese version of this song was released as a single in Japan and was later included on Slash's eponymous album in the territory. This English version was available to United States residents as a digital pre-order bonus, and was (along with the Japanese version) later collected on the deluxe edition of the album.
- Later, in 2015, Tak and Slash appeared on the cover of Japanese magazine YOUNG GUITAR together as well as the subjects of a special joint feature. The two guitarists sat down for a lengthy discussion, during which they discussed their influences, playstyles, and the two of them both having worked with Koshi in the past.
What is the association between Linkin Park and B'z?
- After the 2011 Japanese earthquake disaster, both Linkin Park and B'z began their own fundraising initiatives to aid in the recovery. Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda had used the Download to Donate platform—on which numerous artists would continue adding to a revolving list of songs, all of which would be accessible to everyone that donated before and after—in order to raise funds. Hearing of this, B'z donated the English version of their song "Home". Soon, Shinoda's organization Music for Relief organized the Secret Show for Japan event that featured B'z as special guests and performed in Los Angeles. B'z performed a shortened setlist that served as the premiere of the English version of "Ultra Soul". Koshi and Shinoda participated in joint media appearances, in English, to promote the event.
What is a "LIVE-GYM"?
- LIVE-GYM refers to live concerts featuring B'z. Invented by the members as a combination of "live" and an abbreviation of the English word "gymnasium" due to the band wanting to perform with the high-energy that one would expect from a sports event, the word has become synonymous and interchangeable when referring to B'z concerts.
What is a "SHOWCASE"?
- SHOWCASE events are generally one-off warm-ups that take place at smaller, more intimate settings in front of local crowds. Occasionally, these will feature a handful of performances at various dates that may or may not be tied to larger tours by the band. Often, B'z use SHOWCASE events to play obscure fan-favorites and crowd-pleasers from older albums and other releases that are rarely played live.
What is a "Pleasure LIVE-GYM"?
- Beginning in 1991 with B'z LIVE-GYM "Pleasure'91", B'z began touring occasional "Pleasure" LIVE-GYMs that were not tied to an album or similar source. The original concept behind the Pleasure tours was to focus on album songs and B-sides which haven't been performed live before. Initially there were no plans to start a separate series of non-album LIVE-GYMs, but due to the positive response from fans, the band decided to turn it into a tour which takes place every few years. The Pleasure series has since gradually shifted from focusing on lesser known tracks to a celebration of the band's entire catalogue and as such can be seen as "greatest hits" shows instead.
What is the most performed B'z song?
- The song B'z has performed the most at LIVE-GYM events is their 1992 single "ZERO". An early fan-favorite, it has amassed over 500 performances as of B'z LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2018 -HINOTORI-. An updated list of the top twenty-five most-played songs can always be found here.
Which B'z songs have been performed the least?
- Some songs have been performed only a handful of times, and some have never been performed live. Currently, 1994 B-side "hole in my heart" is the song with the fewest performances after having been shown only once as part of B'z SHOWCASE 2015 -Shinagawa Uchouten NIGHT-.
What was the longest show B'z ever performed?
- The longest show performed by B'z was the finale to their 1999 tour B'z LIVE-GYM '99 "Brotherhood". A massive twenty-seven songs were performed at the September 25 date for Kyoto Kaikan which included virtually all of the songs performed for the tour and culminated in a five-song encore. The show itself ran for over three hours.
How can I obtain tickets to B'z live events?
- Ticketing information for B'z events can always be found at B'z Club-Gym. International fans may purchase tickets through the lottery system just as domestic fans though the site is fully in Japanese. Once the fan lottery period for a given show ends, tickets are then sold to the public at the usual Japanese ticket retailers such as w.pia.jp, l-tike.com, and eplus.jp.
- This is likely due to both being sourced from very early in the band's career and being somewhat dated by today's standards—at least with regard for individual release. Neither have been announced for re-issue as of this writing, having only ever been released in full on LaserDisc and VHS. However, despite neither receiving full re-releases, the performances of "Dakara Sono Te wo Hanashite", "Taiyou no Komachi Angel", and "Easy Come, Easy Go!" from JUST ANOTHER LIFE have been included variously as bonuses accompanying B'z The Best XXV 1988-1998 and B'z COMPLETE SINGLE BOX.
Why are some LIVE-GYM concerts not released in full or generally unreleased?
- For several years, despite fan demand, many B'z shows went unreleased on home video while the band remained selective about their output. This policy was relaxed with the advent of DVD, during which many more shows would find their way to the public. Since 2006, all mainstream B'z tours have found their way to DVD and usually Blu-ray. A full list of unreleased and partially released live shows is maintained in the B'z Unreleased Works article.
Why are some LIVE-GYM concert videos not available in high definition on Blu-ray?
- All B'z concerts shot before B'z LIVE-GYM 2006 "MONSTER'S GARAGE" were shot and mastered in standard definition. As of this writing, no indication exists that older videos have high definition sources available in any form.
- Due to medium restrictions at the time for VHS, some older concerts are truncated with certain songs abbreviated or removed. The original shows would run in excess of two and sometimes nearly three hours, so concessions were made in addition to the videos typically being a fusion of documentary and concert footage.
Why can I not find the English song "Logic" anywhere?
- "Logic" is an unreleased English song that was premiered live in 2001 as part of B'z SHOWCASE "Kobushi wo Nigire". It was performed a total of five times with additional inclusion in North American tour B'z LIVE-GYM 2002 "Rock n' California Roll". The video footage you will come across is sourced from 20th anniversary home video release B'z LIVE-GYM Hidden Pleasure ~Typhoon No.20~ on its third disc. As of this writing, no indication has surfaced that it will be released in studio form.
Where can I purchase the English version of "Brotherhood"?
- The English version of "Brotherhood" was premiered live during B'z LIVE-GYM 2011 -long time no see- in North America and performed only during its three dates. However, on June 12, 2013, drummer for the band and co-author of the English lyrics, Shane Gaalaas, released his own cover on his album Ascend. No indication exists that a B'z version will be released in studio form.
What is the history of these English demos I have heard online?
- Apart from the officially released English songs, in the early 1990s, B'z recorded several English demos for previously released Japanese songs. None of them were ever officially released and are available only in leaked form. Many of the demos consist of only one chorus and one verse that are repeated to fill the length of the song.
What is the history of the English version of "Raging River"?
- The English version of "Raging River" was a short, acoustic demo accessible via enhanced CD online features on B'z The "Mixture" upon release. As of now, it is not longer accessible.
I have seen some older concerts on streaming sites that don't seem available elsewhere—from where are these sourced?
- Unauthorized bootlegs exist of many older B'z concerts that were otherwise unreleased or released only partially many years later. Obviously those are not available for purchase now.