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Tetsu Yamauchi started his musical career in Japan, and became internationally recognized when he replaced Andy Fraser in Free.  He recorded the solid Kossoff / Kirke / Tetsu / Rabbit side-project before doing Free's final album, the aptly-named Heartbreaker.

When Ronnie Lane left the Faces in 1973, Free had just split for the last time.  The first person considered as a replacement for Lane was Andy Fraser.  When the boys approached Simon Kirke, Free's drummer, about contacting Fraser with the offer, Simon recommended Tetsu, instead.

After the Faces ground to a halt, Yamauchi returned to Japan.  He is, to this day, a fixture in the Japanese music scene, actively touring and recording.


Tetsu was born October 21, 1946, in Fukuoka, Japan.  By the mid Sixties, Tetsu was in the Japanese folk-rock band, the Mikes.  In late 1967 or early 1968, he joined a band that was touring Europe called Samurai.   They moved to London for a time, recording the single "Good Morning Starshine" b/w "Temple of Gold" (UA UP2342), and a single released in Italy, "Shu Shu" b/w "Fresh Hot Breeze of Summer".  They released an album on the German label, Metronome, and possibly an album in 1969 (Phillips FX-8511).  They also recorded the following album:

GREEN TEA (Phillips FX-8517) 1970

MIKI CURTIS vocals, flute 
HIRO IZUMI guitar, koto 
MIKE WALKER vcls, piano 
GRAHAM SMITH harmonica

As an aside, it appears as though it's the same Graham Smith that has worked with Teresa Brewer, Cat Stevens, Al Stewart, Magna Carta, and Alan Price, among others.

By 1970, Samarai returned to Japan.  The band was led by it's vocalist, Miki Curtis.   Tetsu also got a lot of session work through Miki, who was a successful producer.   This included work with jazz vocalist Helen Merrill's son, Alan.



In 1972, Tetsu released the first of two solo albums.  Information so far is sketchy (particularly on the second album), but here's what I've found:

Tetsu Yamauchi    Tetsu    (Columbia Japan, 1972)

A review, found on the net:

"Good folk-rock, not a lot of organ, sometimes acoustic instruments only. The feeling of the music derives from the beat-era. Sounds like a mix of Donovan and Procol Harum. Sung in English."


Tetsu Yamauchi    Kikyo   (label and year as yet unknown)

There is evidence to suggest Kikyo is the same album as Tetsu and the Good Times Roll Band, and that there is a second live album by the same line-up.  This supposed 'evidence' is nothing more than my inability to properly translate Japanese.  Why is it I'm the only person interested in Tetsu, anyway, goddammit? 


A partial sessionography follows.  It will be updated with information I already have as time permits.  Any additions or corrections are welcome.


1973 Free Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu & Rabbit  Bass

1973 Hamill, Claire One House Left Standing  Bass

1973 Rabbit  Broken Arrows  Bass

1973 Free Heartbreaker Bass, Percussion

1974 Rabbit     Dark Saloon Bass

1974 Vigrass & Osborne Steppin' Out Bass

1975 Faces Coast to Coast/Overture and Beginners  Bass

1977 Kossoff, Paul      Koss Bass

1992 Stewart, Rod     Mercury Anthology Bass

1993 Free Molten Gold: The Anthology  Bass, Percussion

1997 Kossoff, Paul      Blue Blue Soul     Bass

1999 Faces Best of Faces: Good Boys When They're Asleep


Around 1976,  Tetsu secured a record deal and released the following album:

Tetsu and the Good Times Roll Band

Tetsu Yamauchi:  bass
Katsutoshi Morizono:  guitar
Gary Pickford Hopkins:  vocals
Horuko Kuwana:  vocals
Katsuhiko Kamituna:  keyboards
Toshio Kumanomido:  keyboards
Yoshitaka Shimada:  drums





In 1981, Tetsu was involved in the Easy Music Band, with Toshinori Kondo, Shoji Hano on drums, and guitarist Haruhiko Gotsu.  They split in 1982.

From 1986 through 1989, he was involved with the band OPE, which included Gotsu and Hano.

Peter Brötzmann  Dare Devil (CD DIW, DIW-857) (1992)

Dare Devil (9:23)
We Must Be Slow (20:04)
Street Corner College (11:10)
Boxers Hit Harder When Women Are Around (17:54)
We May All Go Home Now (7:14)

Peter Broutzmann:  tarogato, bass clarinet, tenor sax
Shoji Hano: drums, percussion
Tetsu Yamauchi: electric bass
Haruhiko Gotsu: guitar
Produced by Shoji Hano

Recorded live at Shinjuku Pit-Inn, Tokyo on October 9, 1991
Recorded and Mastered by Tsutomu Suto
Photography: Kenn Michael and Monshiro Iriyoshi
Design: Peter Brötzmann and Shoji Hano

Includes liner notes in Japanese by Toshihiko Shimizu

Through the mid to late 90s, Tetsu was back with Shoji Hano in a new band, initially called the Kamadoma-Poly Breath Percussion Orchestra.  As the band developed and membership changed, the name was shortened to Poly Breath Percussion Band. 

Poly Breath Percussion Band    P.B.2 Live     (PSF 92 (JAPAN))    (July 1997)

Hagishiri (9:23)
Lem (5:42)
Death Talking (17:49)
Snoring (13:54)
Somna Mbulism (19:50)

Shoji Hano: drums, talking drum
Tetsu Yamauchi: electric bass
Megumu Nishino: wadaiko
Keizo Inoue: alto sax, clarinet

Produced by Shoji Hano and Tetsu Yamauchi
Recorded live at Shinjuku Pit Inn, Tokyo on April 17, 1997 by Asato Nanjoh
Mastered by Masanori Ihara
Design: Yuko Terashima
Photography: Norimi Doki

"Recording of the debut gig by the Poly Breath Percussion Band (aka P.B.2) at the Tokyo Pit Inn in April 1997. Dynamic percussionist Shoji Hano has made a name for himself through several self-released albums, and his work with Peter Brotzmann. However the real revelation here is the 75-year old altoist, Keizo Inoue. Despite having played and taught on the Japanese jazz scene for over 50 years (his pupils include Akira Sakata) and having appeared at the Moers Festival, Inoue has remained a marginal figure in the history of free music. This disk reveals him to be a thoughtful and inventive free player on both alto and clarinet. Soundwise, P.B.2 suggest a more rhythmically complex Last Exit, with Tetsu Yamauchi's heavily-effects altered electric bass providing a lot of tonal interest. Inoue knows just when to step back to give the percussionists the space they need to take off into torrents and whirlpools of pulsating rhythmic heat. A rare antidote to the acres of tedium that are usually taken to represent Japanese jazz."


In 1996, Tetsu appeared with Hano on Werner Lüdi's album, Ki, which was released in 1998The line-up was:

Werner Lüdi: saxophones
Tetsu Yamauchi:  bass (track 2)
William Parker:  bass (track 1)
Shoji Hano:  drums

Quotes from the liner note:

"Tetsu speaks a singing Cockney English--he lived in London for several years, went through wild times with Ginger Baker. Even today, at fifty, he still is a passionate sake drinker."

"Tetsu, very drunk, lays a frenzied bassline through the typhoon, Hano pounds his drums as if he wants to unleash a seaquake. "

"To simplify it somewhat", Tetsu begins, "in Japan, we have two directions--besides all the plastic crap that exists all over the world. First there is New Wave. Actually a 'high-tech' romanticism, that stands for sexual liberation, natural foods, bucolic tendencies, personal empowerment, cultural pluralism and stylistic experimentation. The New Wave doubts, of course, that the rise in science and technology contributes to the betterment of the human condition. So it's more an '0ld Wave'." Laughter."



Tetsu's a fairly elusive cat, and prefers to remain that way. What little information there is about him will be compiled here as it becomes available.
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