Sometimes people question Taira's choice to stay in BECK. Perhaps they mention the alleged fights, the so-called cold wars, or the band's unfortunate habit of getting into trouble. Taira just shrugs. Sure, they have their share of problems. Which band doesn't? And yeah, okay, so their arguments aren't even about 'creative differences': half the time it's just Ryuusuke's tendency to be a jerk, or Koyuki failing to get it together, or Chiba being far too ready to take offence - not that Taira actually says any of that, there's no sense in feeding the media - but Taira doesn't think of that as a fatal flaw. The Red Hot Chili Peppers survived far worse, didn't they? Better to have arguments about normal things than indulge in artistic wankfests, anyway.

Taira doesn't clarify, but he would if anyone asked: it's not that he's averse to moving on. He's done it before. They all did, after Greatful Sound 5. And he's been in the industry long enough to know that when words get in the way of the music, or when the talk is of money rather than of songs, or when you realise during a jamming session that you're all playing solo bits that happen to fit together, rather than playing as a band -- well, you have to move on. Simple as that. So whatever keeps him in BECK is more than just reluctance to leave.

And what matters about BECK isn't Ryuusuke's arrogance or Koyuki's clumsiness or Chiba's temper. What counts are the moments when everything works, when everything falls together -- when they play and the music is all there is. Smaller things, too, like when Saku rescues a songwriting session by starting a beat that makes Ryuusuke look up, suddenly alert, and reach for his guitar. Or the triumph in the closing riffs of Koyuki's rare solos. Or the drowsy summer afternoons in Ryuusuke's shack, when Ryuusuke plucks a random four-note melody, over and over, and Taira lies on the floor and listens and thinks that this, this is enough.

Music's a language without translation, and Taira doesn't know how to put any of that into words. He thinks it's just as well that interviewers don't ask him for soundbites.