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Lee presents


With Roy (The Bawdies) at Be-In Records

Lee presents Vinyl Hunting Tours a series dedicated to introducing Japanese musicians and their favorite record shops. For each episode Papersky invites a Japanese musician to visit their most treasured vinyl shop and select a single album. Each visit to these unique records shops spotlights a small journey in its own right. Come along with us for a walk to soothe your soothe your soul, inspire your senses, and tickle your ears.


Our guest for the 48th edition is Roy on lead vocals and bass guitar with The Bawdies. Roy formed the band with grade school friends Jim and Marcy, and high school classmate Taxman. Roy’s unmatchable, overpowering vocals are The Bawdies’ weapon, the secret behind its enduring appeal to rock fans around the world. On this day, we accompany Roy on his vinyl hunting tour.  

Our destination, Be-In Records, is tucked away on the second floor of a building in Pal Shopping Street, five minutes by foot from Koenji Station. It’s one of the best-known stores in Japan for carrying a large stock of rare UK editions. Roy steps inside, takes a look at the precious records lining the walls, and gets fidgety. He seems to be more interested in the records than this interview. 

“I joined the basketball team in junior high school and gave it my all until the time came for graduation. Because I was so committed to basketball, leaving it left a hole in my heart. I tried to fill that hole by throwing myself headlong into music. After that, I spent my days working part-time jobs and buying records.” Roy keeps digging as he reminisces about the old times. “A good way to work around my tight budget back then was to split the bill with a friend. A band member, that is. ‘I buy this record, you buy that one.’ We would listen to our own purchase, and then swap titles.”   

With the spread of the Internet, many musicians have given up buying records, but not Roy. His quest continues. “I still like to buy records. I’m deep in the world of vinyl hunting. The titles I search for are getting scarcer and harder to find. Sometimes I track down a title online and order it from abroad. I’m definitely a collector.”  

On this day, Roy is wearing Lee overalls. “On stage, I often wear a matching blazer and trousers. But off stage, I wear relaxed styles, too.” Although he has found a number of treasures, he stays behind after the interview, saying, “I feel like doing some more digging.” 

Lee / OVERALLS(LM7254-124) price: 14,000yen + tax
Lee / WAFFLE L/S TEE(LT2903-157) price: 5,000yen + tax
A used record shop in Koenji, Tokyo. The shop stocks a mixed genre of music.
Lee is an American brand of denim jeans, first produced in 1889 in Salina, Kansas.
text | Jerry Ukai photography | Kazuharu Igarashi