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Volume 70, Issue 122, Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Life & Arts

'Kung Fu Ramone' dies at 38

Guitar Wolf bassist, Hideaki Sekiguchi, dies after returning 
home to Japan from U.S. tour

By Jason Gagnon
The Daily Cougar

These are some dark days for rock 'n' roll, my fiends. On Wednesday we lost Hideaki Sekiguchi, better known as "Billy" or "Bass Wolf" of the Japanese band Guitar Wolf, to a heart attack. Billy was only 38 years old and is survived by his wife and two children. 

The band had just returned home from their American tour March 27 and fortunately Billy was able to spend some time with his wife and kids before he died. According to various reports, he was at home when his heart stopped and was then brought to the hospital. 

Billy was the epitome of rock 'n' roll: passionate, rebellious and undeniably cool. For almost 20 years he played his heart out to eager fans across the world and never dulled in his intensity. This should be seen as an amazing testament to his spirit since it is impossible to come up with any other names of musicians who have played for so long and still had the raging fire inside of them that they started off with. 

Hideaki Sekiguchi (aka "Billy" or "Bass Wolf") of the Japanese rock trio Guitar Wolf died Wednesday of a heart attack. Sekiguchi, 38, is survived by his wife and two children.
Photo courtesy of Narnack Records

On stage, Billy would relentlessly punish his bass, kicking out thunderous grooves that drove Guitar Wolf's songs, and creating some of the most beautiful and glorious noise imaginable with that memorable cocky sneer on his face. 

If you were ever fortunate enough to meet Billy, then you know what a genuinely nice person he was. He would always take time to chat with fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures, and if you looked through his dark shades you could see in his eyes that he appreciated every minute of it. I'll always fondly cherish the memory of doing whiskey shots with him in Dallas. 

Soon after the news of his death was released, fans poured their hearts out on the Internet, expressing disbelief and mourning the loss of one the beloved "Kung Fu Ramones." What makes this news even harder to deal with is that after the group's tour, Narnack Records reported that the sales for their latest album were soaring. It seemed like America was finally going to recognize the awesome force of the band and that maybe rock 'n' roll would be saved. 

Billy and guitarist/vocalist Seiji formed Guitar Wolf together in 1987, and of course the future of the band is now uncertain. From the group's page, Seiji posted a few comments about his friend's passing saying, "He rocked harder than anyone in the room and I would feed off that energy." 

All of the members of Guitar Wolf are the last of my living rock 'n' roll heroes who haven't failed me or broken my heart. Losing Billy, to me, is like losing one of the Ramones. But, I know he's up there in rock 'n' roll heaven raising hell, which somehow brings a smile to my face. 

Godspeed Billy, and thanks for everything.

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