In Memoriam ’23] Makoto Ayukawa: “I’ll keep on rocking until I die” – Guitar that kept on strumming until the last moment | FRIDAY DIGITAL

In Memoriam ’23] Makoto Ayukawa: “I’ll keep on rocking until I die” – Guitar that kept on strumming until the last moment

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
In the spring of 2008, guitar in hand, Makoto Ayukawa, a musician of 74 years, gave a telephone interview to this magazine.

On February 4, a “rock funeral” was held at a funeral home in Tokyo, where about 4,000 people, including his fans and others concerned, bid farewell to the musician Makoto Ayukawa (74 years old), who had selected his own rock numbers before his death. About 4,000 people, including his fans and other concerned parties, mourned his passing.

After the band broke up in 1978, he and his wife Sheena formed “Sheena & the Rockets” and moved their base of activities to Tokyo. Later, their single “You May Dream” became a big hit, and the group became a national sensation. In particular, Mr. Ayukawa’s simple but dynamic guitar playing was widely acclaimed, and he often played as a guest on “YMO” albums and live performances, as well as with overseas artists.

‘ Although a legend, Mr. Ayukawa has always been a driving force in the rock world. That didn’t change after he lost his wife, Sheena, in 2003. In a telephone interview with “FRIDAY Digital” in June of COVID-19 crisis ’20, he revealed that he had canceled all of his tours since April and had not gone out at all except to walk his dog. But on the other hand, he said this about the current situation in which the COVID-19 crisis is depriving musicians of even music.

Music and theater are live performances that are made possible by having people come together. Now, not only music, but also everything is in a state of flux. All I can do is pray that Corona will go away soon. Some live music clubs are also closing their doors, and it’s hard. I hope that somehow they will be able to hold out.

In talking with fellow musicians and staff of live music clubs, I have been told, “Let’s be healthy and READY TO ROCK. The safety of the audience has to be our first priority, but when the show resumes, even if it’s only a third of the audience, we want to do it. We’re going to blow them away right away.

Even if we don’t shout, music is in everyone’s heart and life. Rock music is wonderful. Rock music is great. I want you to listen to rock music that you haven’t had time to listen to in your daily life. I want you to recharge your energy with music. Rock music is a vaccine for the heart.

As he said, “I’m going to blow it up,” Mr. Ayukawa resumed his live activities in 2009, when the Corona began to settle down. In 2010, when the coronary phase was over, he was scheduled to perform even more live concerts. However, in May, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given five months to live. However, Mr. Ayukawa did not tell his band members that he had cancer and continued to perform on stage. He kept up a hard schedule and even went to Okinawa. Sometimes he would perform for three hours at a time.

His three daughters had no choice but to listen to him, as his eldest daughter, Yoko, said in an interview with this magazine in March 2011: “My father never told anyone about his illness.

My father didn’t want to tell anyone about his illness. He said he was the one who cheered up the customers, so he didn’t want them to worry. He said he would keep rocking until he died. He did not do any treatment or anticancer drugs. I think he was half prepared for it when he found out about the disease.

It was on December 31 that Mr. Ayukawa had to cancel his live concert due to a doctor’s stop. Just before that, he played live shows until the 19th. The number of concerts he performed that year was 43, an astonishing number for a 74-year-old.

Mr. Ayukawa began recuperating at home, but he was planning to recover by the time of the February concert. He spent many normal days at home, playing guitar and selecting songs on his computer. However, the disease was steadily taking its toll on his body. About a month after he entered home for treatment, the time finally came.

My father was in a daze in bed, and his death was rapidly approaching, when he heard a CD of “Sheena & the Rockets” playing. It was an old live disc, and it was just as my mother Sheena was introducing the band members.

My father was meditating, but if you look closely, you can see that his left hand was holding the neck of the guitar, and he was doing this …… over and over again as if he was stirring it with his right hand. My father was playing the guitar live until the very last moment. In front of a large audience, I am sure my mother was also nearby, and she was happy ……” (Yoko).

I wonder if he is still performing live with Sheena in heaven. We pray for her soul rest in peace.

During his stay at the home, Mr. Ayukawa spent his days listening to YouTube, CDs, and records he had wanted to watch until dawn, researching until he was satisfied, and playing the guitar until he was satisfied.
Among those who visited the “rock funeral” were Tetsuya Komuro (64), Akira Emoto (74), and Tadanobu Asano (49).
  • PHOTO Yuri Adachi (3rd photo)

Photo Gallery3 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles