October 25, 2010 | By

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Collecting any kind of Japanese CDs – whether reissues, archival, or current – isn’t an easy endeavor: they’re hard to find, very pricey, and are fleetingly carried by local importers until the stock runs dry for good.

For those familiar with old labels such as SLC (Soundtrack Listener’s Communications), you know how hard it can be to track down those suckers, years after their original release. Even more challenging (and maddening) are the Godzilla and monster movie scores that have appeared in myriad guises on LP and CD as single and mega-boxed sets.

Since 2001, Larry Tuczynski has been sharing discographical info from his Japanese monster music collection online at, and in an interview/profile original published by Rue Morgue magazine, the collector, webmaster, and archivist discussed his obsessions and admiration for music that grabbed his attention since his first exposure to the original Godzilla / Gojira film.

What’s unique about his site isn’t just its massive database of info, but the fact it stems from a desire to share information with fans and fellow collectors. In our original and lengthy Q&A, published here in complete form, as a collector you’ll undoubtedly find similar shared experiences, views on soundtracks, and frustrations in trying to maintain a collection that keeps expanding…


Mark R. Hasan :  First off, how did you become interested in the Godzilla and monster soundtracks? Was it the films, or did you stumble upon an album, and take a chance with a then-unknown composer?

Larry Tuczynski : I was born in 1949, so my early childhood and teenage years occurred during the mid 1950s through the 1960s. A great time for music, and for me a great time for growing up.

I think I was fortunate to have a father who enjoyed science fiction and monster movies and would sometimes take us to the local drive-in theater to see double features. I remember seeing the Amercanized Godzilla with Raymond Burr, and it really impressed me, as well as the music and sound effects. It was very different from any movie I had seen to that point in my young life.

From there I saw most of the Toho films that were imported to the US in a theater. Years after, I would watch the chopped up TV versions, [and] the original music that survived when transported to the US really intrigued me; it was very different than anything I had heard before.

I guess I always liked music because my mother says I would often point to the radio and want it on as early as 2 or 3 years old. I think the first movie that really grabbed me where I could feel the connection between the images on screen and the music playing to support them was Bernard Herrmann’s score to the 1958 Ray Harryhausen film 7th Voyage Of Sinbad, still one of my all-time favorite scores and movies.

As for the various Godzilla and other Toho films, it was many years before I knew the name Akira Ifukube. His music in those films I consider the best because of the great marches he wrote and all the other supporting music. I didn’t start buying vinyl until 1962, and the first soundtrack LP I bought was West Side Story, another all-time favorite of mine. I have never owned a vinyl Godzilla LP, because back then they would have been impossible to find.

MRH : What specific scores do you regard as pivotal to the success and legacy of the various monster series?

LT: Since my site deals with Japanese music, I will only deal with Japanese scores. Naturally one of the most pivotal scores would be Akira Ifukube’s score to the original 1954 Japanese Godzilla / Gojira. Others I would consider pivotal were the third Godzilla movie King Kong vs Godzilla, where we get some eerie and infectious native chants and music; and one of my favorites, Godzilla vs The Thing (aka Mothra vs Godzilla / Mosura tai Gojira).

In this first film featuring Mothra we get to hear the great singing of the popular Japanese singing twin sisters known as The Peanuts. Because of their voices and melodies, I sought out many of their non-monster work, and have an entire area devoted to their music on my site.

While I am partial to the Akira Ifukube scores for the various monster movies, Masaru Sato (aka Satoh) also did some fine music, but while enjoyable, it never brought monsters to mind when listening outside the images. Near the end of the latest Godzilla, run Michiru Ohshima did some nice work as well.

It’s hard to look at Japanese monster movies of the 1950’s through 1990’s without most of the best being done by Akira Ifukube. In the 1990’s Toshiyuki Watanabe and Yuji Koseki did a nice job on the three new Mothra films that were mainly geared toward children.

MRH : Did your collecting begin when vinyl was around, or did you start when CDs had become the standard format?

LT : My collecting definitely started with vinyl. At about age 10 I started bugging my parents to buy a record player, and they kept saying “No”. I was the oldest of four children, and my parents were poor but hard working.

In 1962, at the age of 12, I received a small sum of money for graduating from grade school, and I bought two 45 rpm records, figuring if I started buying some music, maybe my parents would relent and buy a record player. In this case they did, and they bought me one of those small, portable phonographs of the era that looked like a large briefcase for my birthday.

Shortly after that I started working part-time jobs after school, and stepped up to better equipment and naturally a lot more 45s and LPs. While I liked the music of the era, like many in my age group, it was The Beatles and British Invasion groups that spurred me into record collecting big time.

By the mid 1980s, when CDs became big and I started selling off parts of my vinyl collection at record conventions (and plowing the money into CDs), my collection was close to 4,000 LPs and 2,500 45s. Today I only have a few hundred of each left, but my CD collection is near 4,000. My Japanese titles only comprise about 650 of that number, and soundtracks in general maybe 20-25% of my collection. I enjoy listening to a variety of music and have some of everything except Opera, Rap & Hip Hop which I have never been able to get into. Big portions of my collection are Blues and Rock music of the 1950’s through 1990’s.

MRH : Japanese soundtracks are among the rarest and costliest albums to collect. When did you realize your interests had morphed into something pretty serious?

LT :  It wasn’t until the mid 1980s when CDs were becoming mainstream that I found and bought my first Japanese import CD. I was visiting New York City (about 80 miles south of where I live in upstate New York ) and was scouring various record shops for things I couldn’t find locally when I stumbled across several of the Futureland Godzilla soundtracks in a Tower Record store. I bought three that day and loved them. The only thing I didn’t like was that all the writing was in Japanese, so I had no idea what the track titles or anything else written were.

From there I found Footlight Records in lower Manhattan , where I found many Japanese CDs. Since they are expensive, I was never able to buy all that I wanted when I visited. By the early 1990s I had about 12 Godzilla CDs and found someone willing to do the track translations for me at a very low price. That’s when I decided to start my website and share that info on soundtracks and English translated titles with the world.

MRH : How did you manage to keep building the collection as the financial costs were getting pretty high?

LT :  Once I bought those first few CDs I was bitten by the collecting bug and just had to have every Godzilla soundtrack. Thanks to the internet and my website I was able to find places where I could obtain them. Of course, this opened up a whole can of worms, leading to many other Japanese discs, such as soundtracks to Gamera, Mothra, Ultraman, Spaceship Yamato and many others.

Over the years I bought what I could afford a little at a time, and now my site probably has over 700 CDs on it, most of which I own. In some cases CDs listed on my site have either been loaned to me for inclusion on the site, or the info and reviews have been sent to me by fans of the site. I always give full credit to anyone who sends me info I use.

MRH : What the rarest album you have, and what is the most special to you?

LT :  This is a tough one. Most are special to me because of the music and how hard they are to find. The rarest for me personally was the soundtrack to Godzilla 1985 (Futureland, TYCY-5360), and I don’t know why but it took me over ten years to find a copy in order to complete my Godzilla soundtrack collection. Most places that had a copy, when you could find one, were in the $100 range and I refused to pay that much for it. Not only was it hard to find and expensive, it’s not even among my favorites.

Another very rare find was the Godzilla vs Destroyer keychain with CD single disc (Toho 001/R500507). This was a promo item that I lucked into finding from someone who had one to sell. I guess if I had to pick a most special one it would be the first one I ever found and loved, which would be the soundtrack to Godzilla vs The Thing (aka Mothra vs Godzilla, Futureland TYCY-5348).

MRH : One problem in being so exhaustive is you’re kind of obligated to buy scores that are weak, if not bad, just to complete the collection. What stylistic shift in any of the monster series do you regard as the biggest miscalculation, and in your opinion, are those albums purely for completists?

LT :  Some of the music seems to get repackaged forever, or in a few cases isn’t all that good. Whenever a CD fits into a “for completist only” category it’s noted in the review of the disc. There are definitely some CDs I have bought only because I thought they should be added to the site and was disappointed with the content. Luckily it doesn’t happen often.

MRH : Some serious collectors tend to keep their items as sealed objects that rest on shelves for show, collect for investment purposes, or are more hands-on and collect to hear and enjoy the music. Which of these qualities describes yourself?

LT :  I definitely fit into the hands-on category. Why bother buying the music if you don’t want to listen to it? I have always had an eclectic taste in music and love listening to a variety of types. Anyone who just buys music for investment purposes and leaves them sealed is just fooling themselves. It’s very rare to ever get “book” value for your vinyl or CDs. It’s all about the music.

When I was selling my vinyl back in the 1980s my stuff was in pristine condition because I took care of them. I still have LPs dating back to the 1960s that look like they were bought yesterday, but when I sold the stuff I only asked for a reasonable price because that’s what sold. People who had rare LPs and were asking top dollar usually ended up taking them back home. The various collector books and websites are only a guide to what something is worth.

Finding someone actually willing to pay those prices is close to impossible. So collect music because you like it and want to hear it, not for what it may be worth.

MRH : What’s most intriguing about your collecting is that you’ve chosen to share rare discographical information online, which most collectors rarely do. What made you decide to turn your obsession into a global resource?

LT : The answer to this is quite simple. I was frustrated at finding these CDs and having no clue as to what the track titles and sometimes CD titles were because I don’t speak or read Japanese (wish I did). I figured other collectors had to be equally frustrated and also wanted to know as much as they could and places where they might find some of these CDs. I have been fortunate so far to find some people willing to translate the track titles for me for a very reasonable fee. I’m always looking for more translators. Online web translations leave a lot to be desired if anyone has ever tried it.

MRH : Your site is very detailed and organized. Did you undertake the site’s design and construction on your own?

LT :  Yes, the design and construction is my own, and all pages are coded by me by hand and not via some software package. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible for people with limited bandwidth and connections.

I also pay for the site entirely by myself because I wanted to keep pop-ups and ads off the site. So far I have been fortunate enough to cover the costs, but a day may come when I can no longer afford it and may have to either ask for donations or take it down. The site is truly a labor of love since I don’t make a single cent off it, and it costs me a few hundred dollars a year (not counting the costs of CDs I buy).

MRH : With the wealth of material on your site, are your concerned about others misappropriating material, or have you found most people tend to be respectful of what you archive and maintain, and even contribute info to maintain its accuracy?

LT :  Actually this has been a problem. Often I will come across a site or someone will report one to me that has stolen pictures, track titles, reviews etc. and put them up somewhere without giving credit where they obtained it.

If someone wants to use some of my material I rarely turn them down if they follow two simple rules: 1) email me and ask for permission and 2) give full credit to my site where you got it. This also happened often on eBay where people would steal everything on my site about a disc for their sale without giving credit. I ALWAYS go after people who steal and don’t ask permission. I have also recently added code to most of the items on my site making it harder to copy.

I love hearing from people who visit my site [and] I always answer. HOWEVER, I respect copyrights and artists work and NEVER make illegal copies of these discs. I know how frustrating it can be to find this music, especially since it goes out of print so fast and can be expensive, but if all you want to ask me is to make you an illegal copy of a CD, don’t bother.

MRH : The Japanese labels are known for releasing massive, exhaustive boxed sets of material. As a collector, is it sometimes frustrating when the same titles comes out in new packaging, or are re-issued with one or two new cues?

LT :  Yes, it can very well be frustrating. One of the worst offenders seems to be the endless repackaging of material by The Peanuts who appeared in the early Mothra films. It also gets frustrating when something is supposed to be remastered and expanded like the 50th Anniversary Godzilla Soundtrack Perfect Collection. This was supposed to be all the Godzilla films redone into six box sets with bonus materials. So far only four of the six have come out and the last one came out well over a year after its scheduled release. The last two may never come out, and it’s a shame because they are wonderful sets and give fans a chance to get material long out of print.

MRH : What soundtracks would like to see redone in a proper, complete form?

LT :  Off the top of my head I can’t think of any. A lot have been remastered in the last few years and some others are planned. What I will tell people based on my many years of experience: if you can get a CD you want, grab it now, because you may never get another chance. These CDs go out of print rapidly, and once they are gone, get harder and harder to find.

MRH : What is the worst produced release you’ve encountered?

LT :  Off the top of my head that’s a tough one to answer because there are so few that are truly bad. I have favorites and some I don’t care much for, but that’s my personal taste. Something I dislike may be someone else’s favorite.

MRH : And finally, if you had to store the entire collection, would it manage to squeeze into a standard garage, or are we talking a two-car setup?

LT :  Don’t ask the wife. She hates my huge collection. It takes up most of three walls in our family/TV room and another chunk of my home office.


. would like to thank Larry Tuczynski for replying in such splendid detail to our questions, and Rue Morgue magazine for permission to publish the complete Q&A.

Visit for more details.

All images remain the property of their copyright holders.

This interview © 2008 / 2010 by Mark R. Hasan


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