This Monday was the Rock Show’s meeting on Japanese music, and since then I’ve found myself nearly unable to listen to anything other than Sadistic Mika Band. The group formed in 1972 around the married couple Mika Fukui and Kazuhiko Kato, who, after living in London and being impressed by the emerging glam scene there, sought to start a Japanese group with a similar sound. The group was rounded out by bassist Roy Ohara, lead guitarist Masayoshi Takanaka and drummer Yukihiro Takahashi. If those last two names sound familiar, they should—Takanaka went on to have a successful solo career and Takahashi later formed the seminal electropop group Yellow Magic Orchestra with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono.
This track comes from a 7″ single released in 1973, around the same time as their self-titled debut LP. On “Hi, Baby” the group’s sound is mellow in comparison with the high-energy, funky prog that characterized that album. The band went on to make two more great albums, Korufune (“Black Ships”) and Hot! Menu, both produced by Chris Thomas, whose production credits at the time included albums by Roxy Music, The Beatles, and Badfinger, and who has gone on to produce a seemingly endless list of other popular records. The breakup of the band came with that of Fukui and Kato’s marriage (she and Thomas later married). Live In London, an album culled from performances during their 1975 tour with Roxy Music, was released in 1989, and the group has reformed several times over the years with different female vocalists brought in to replace Mika.