Influential Japanese musician Toshio Nakanishi, also known as Tycoon To$h, has died at the age of 61. Nakanishi passed away early, February 25th, after battling esophageal cancer for months. A statement on his Facebook page confirmed his death, asking for our thoughts to go out to his family.

First appearing as frontman of the influential new wave group Plastics in the 70s, Toshio Nakanishi and his band were a major influence on Japanese pop and were praised by the likes of Devo, Talking Heads, and The B-52s, who were instrumental in getting their albums released in the United States. Nakanishi was said to have designed a tour program book for Talking Heads and slipped frontman David Byrne a tape of his band’s music. Byrne sent the tape to The B-52s manager at the time who offered to represent Plastics.

Rolling Stone Japan rated their debut album, ‘Welcome Plastics‘, at no. 19 on their list of the 100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time. After the bands disbandment in 1981, Nakanishi went on to form Major Force, Japan’s first dance-music-only imprint, and had a spell with hip-hop as Tycoon To$h. He went on to release two albums as part of the ambient / electronica outfit, Skylab. Their second album, ‘Large As Life And Twice As Natural‘, was critically acclaimed, even being named as one of the best trip-hop albums of all time by FACT. A farewell party for fans is being organized to pay tribute to Nakanishi, for more information visit his Facebook page to stay up to date on these plans.

Sarah Medeiros


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