JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

News su nuove release, tour, collaborazioni, ecc.
Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 giugno 2013, 14:22

Interessante progetto di Antony Reynolds, l'ormai ex bambino che nel thread "i gentiluomini scattano polaroids" era stato scambiato per un giovanissimo David Sylvian:

Immagine

Di seguito il link dove impegnarsi e contribuire alla realizzazione del progetto:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/748 ... -biography

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 7:51

A long overdue biography of my favourite band - Japan. (Image above previously unpublished courtesy of Nicola Tyson)

I've been a fan of Japan and all the solo work that entails, since I was a teenager. (See Photo)!

I'm as obsessed with the music today as I was back in the 80's. (The internet has no doubt helped).

I've had three biographies published so far. (See 'about me'). I have already interviewed Sylvian, Karn, Dean and Barbieri for my website and for an article on the seminal 'Polaroids' album. If I could afford to, I'd write this book for fun. But part of how I make my living is by writing biographies.

I've run the idea of writing a Japan biography past my agent and several publishers but for commercial reasons, they are not interested.

I think it's plain wrong that there is no decent, well researched and comprehensive book available on this unique, magical group. I sorely want to read one. And so do you. For us to do so, I'll write the darned thing.

And will Love doing so.

The period covered will be between 1974 and 1984. Obviously, Japan split in 1982 but I feel it was only from '84 onwards that the Ex-members began to truly leave Japan behind. The epilogue will deal with Rain Tree Crow.

I plan to use a custom book binders in Brighton that I once used for the artwork for one of my albums. I want the book to be a beautiful object in itself. It will also be illustrated, as much as budget allows. To help with this I will be asking for rare and candid pictures taken of the group by friends and fans. Hopefully most of these will be rarely seen.

http://www.anthonyreynolds.net/pages/Cl ... _Japan.htm

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 7:53

Thank you
Update #1 · Jun 14, 2013 · comment

..for the inspiring start.

Here's an interview I did with DS some years ago. It says as much about my love for Japan as it does of his state of mind at the time.
http://www.anthonyreynolds.net/pages/wr ... ylvian.htm

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 7:55

Pilgrim's progress.
Update #2 · Jun 22, 2013 · comment

Just to let you know that I've had a good week in tracking down some old Japan associates. And I've had a lot of help from the good people at Team Mick Karn. Thank you.

I spoke to Neil Warnock yesterday, Japan's sole live agent throughout their entire tour.

Nicola Tyson will be contributing previously unseen prints. Richard Barbieri has agreed to speak further with me. I've also got interviews lined up with old friends of the band - Nick Huckle, Fiona Russel Powell, Mark Wardel (see his Polaroids below, published in the current issue of 'Wylde' magazine). I can't wait to begin proper and hope we get enough pledges to allow me to do so. Please keep sharing the link and if you haven't pledged yet, please do.

Meanwhile here's me talking with Duran's John Taylor about Japan a few months ago :
http://www.anthonyreynolds.net/writing_ ... taylor.htm

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 7:56

School days...
Update #3 · Jun 25, 2013 · 1 comment

An excerpt from an interview with Nick Huckle, friend of the boys and later roadie for Japan.

(Please not that this is not representative of the style of the book. This is merely part of a transcript from the first interview with Mr Huckle).

'I was aware of David and Richard from about the age of eleven years old...we were in school and there was some disruption in class and the teacher moved everyone around. I ended up sitting next to them in three seats at the back of class. And that's how we met. And we discovered we had a love of pop music in common. We weren't that popular with the rest of the school. Pretty soon it was a gang of me, Dave, Mick, Steve and Richard. That was about it. This was before the band. I knew that Dave used to muck about on acoustic guitar and Steve on percussion. Mick of course, was learning the bassoon then...I did try and join in musically. I took Oboe lessons from an old granny down the road...(Laughs) but...I wasn't very good...I didn't have any talent! There was always this myth that they'd been thrown out of school for wearing make up but I don't remember that as being true. There may have been one occasion where Dave was sent home for wearing his hair too long. In our school it was a rule that your hair couldn't go over your collar. And he broke that rule! (laughs). We used to find ways of putting it up at the back. We were into Bowie, Roxy music...in fact I remember that one of the very first times we got together...we sat in our lunch-break doing a crossword and there was one clue we couldn't get...and we were desperate to get it because it was the last clue in the crossword...so Mick went and asked his sister...and the answer was...David Bowie! And weirdly enough, the next day, Bowie was on Top of the pops with Starman! And we were all like ; 'Oh, that's the Guy! That's him'! And before that it was more Slade and Gary litter and stuff...I don't remember Dave being into Motown particularly. He was very much into Hall and Oates later on. Basically we weren't into things that other people were into. We weren't into playing football at lunchtime...we used to go down to Dave's house and listen to records. Either that or hang out in a corner and just talk music. It was literally just music, music, music... When we got to the fifth year we were put in different classes..Rich and I were together...but Dave went off and did art...he walked through it...it was the only exam he passed. But at this time he was totally focussed on his music. Steve was a pretty untypical younger brother. He was in the same class as my brother who was two years younger than me. And my brother then was an embarrassment to me (laughs) but Dave and Steve hung out together. He played bongos while Dave played acoustic guitar. They had a sister too, an older sister, Linda. I only met her a few times. She was nice. The Batt parents were good people. They didn't have any money but they didn't put up any barriers between Dave and his musical ambition. One of my favourite memories is when I went round their house to listen to music in the evenings and you'd always get beans on toast. Whenever I was there the big thing was always who was gonna' make the coffee (laughs). On Thursday evenings the parents were out and we'd be able to crank up the music...I remember also, David had girlfriend who was two years older than him from the girl's school down the road..and that was considered quite a thing at the time..(laughs). When we left school, the idea was that Richard and I would go on to Sixth form. But I couldn't stand the idea of going to school for another two years, so I got a job. And Richard turned up at my house on the first day of sixth form to find I wasn't there. And my mum said 'Oh, that nice boy Richard came to get you this morning but I told him you'd got a job'. So then, 'cos I wasn't going Richard decided not to bother as well and he got a job in a bank. And Mick was working for some charity at a place on Tottenham court road. And occasionally we'd meet on the train going into town... Jumping ahead, I remember they asked me to come and listen to them play for the first time. It was in Steve's bedroom and I was all prepared for it to be...not too good. But actually I was really impressed! And I said so. I told them that it was the kind of stuff I'd buy. And it was all Dave originals. I was amazed. He was doing really long guitar solos then, too (laughs). I had missed their first gig which was at Mick's brother's wedding. Mick was supposed to sing at that but he bottled out and Dave had to do it. I wonder how things would have turned out if Mick had sung... '

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 7:57

RE: Research
Update #4 · Jun 27, 2013 · 1 comment

Hello. Here are some titbits from my recent research. Please not that this is NOT indicative of the style of the book. These are just some choice quotes.

For an excerpt from the book, please check out the link on the making of 'Gentlemen take Polaroids'.

Next week I hope to visit London and meet Mr Barbieri and Simon Draper as well as some of the other former A&R men who signed Japan to Virgin back in 1980.

Thanks to all the below who were kind enough to take the time to speak to an Old Japan nerd.

Neil Warnock.

(Neil was Japan’s sole UK Live agent throughout their career and still represents David Sylvian today).

'The first thing that comes to mind when I think of them is...I'd put them on the wrong tour with The Blue Oyster Cult. And I can still see them sat backstage on the stairs at Bristol (Colston hall) looking absolutely terrified, obviously thinking 'Why are we here and did this agent actually listen to our music before he put us on this tour'? I don't actually remember if we'd been offered a talking heads tour at that time but if we did, I would have gone for that ; it would have been a much better fit.

I met them just as they were starting ; just out of school. They didn't fit into other musical patterns that were happening then. They were either ahead of their time or behind the times but whatever it was you had some extraordinary players there...Mick's bass playing was revolutionary...they were a very unique band and when thing's are unique people have to get used to it.

Their writing and playing got more cohesive by 'Quiet life' and by then they'd been on the road a lot and were able to test stuff out on the road...taking Japan to Japan really helped them develop.

I went to Japan with them every time and it was like Beatlemania...yet the first time we went there they'd hardly sold any albums but it was about image which could sell a lot more tickets than music. And the fact they were called Japan, in a way helped them sell out the Budokan that first time.

It was intense. I remember taking Rich and Mick out because they were getting stir crazy at the hotel. So we snuck out of a side door and a huge bunch of girls surged over a bicycle rack and we were gonna' get hurt so I had to stuff them back in a car and go down the service ramp of the hotel and we were instantly trapped indoors again!

Of course, we made a lot of progress in a small amount of time...but the whole time they were very sober and introverted. What you saw is what they were.

They never fulfilled their potential. They should have become bigger than Duran Duran and a lot of artists. They could have grown and grown. They would have been playing several nights at the London O2 had they stuck together. They would have been a major, worldwide group had they stuck together. Did I say that to them? There was no point. It wasn't a situation that was savable. If there was the slightest chance of them staying together it would have been worth arguing but there wasn't. There was no chance they would have gone on as Japan.

Betty page (Journalist).

I travelled with them on some of the last tour and I seem to remember Dave being chattier at this point probably because he knew it was the last tour. I was just getting underneath the carefully crafted surface when it all went tits-up. They were always friendly but guarded. David looked pretty cool in the flesh too. He really had an aura about him, beyond the fake "most beautiful man in the world" shit that Connie Fillipello and Simon Napier-Bell tried to hype him up with. He didn't need that. But I do believe that given the choice, he preferred to sit in darkened rooms.

Simon Napier Bell (Manager).
Was I a fan of their music? Not necessary to be a fan of the music the group made. I came to like it, but was not its biggest fan. But I was a fan of the group. I loved them - the best bunch of people I ever managed - sharp, funny, intelligent and good to be with. As to listening now - music that connects with events and periods transcends one's normal likes or dislikes - it can bring back memories and provoke emotional responses. So all in all, it's very difficult to talk about the music you like or dislike in simply musical terms - all music will always be linked in your mind (and therefore your enjoyment of it) with all the other things that it connects with in your past experience. I liked managing Japan, therefore I like their music, regardless whether or not it is the normal sort of music I enjoy. We usually got very drunk at dinner. Always plenty if wine. I socialised with the group a great deal - at least, over dinners. We all enjoyed that. But I wouldn't go out with them other than that. I guess, I was closest to David - travelled with him often when the rest of the group weren't needed, and, because he was the indisputable leader of the band, talked and plotted with him about the future more than with anyone else. Yes, I had several curries with Richard - or perhaps Lasagne’s, which he preferred. I liked Richard. We were meant to have a great two-man squash tournament together. which I would obviously win, though he though otherwise. It was planned for ages and finally set for Hong Kong. And then, an hour before the game, I went to get in a taxi and the automatically opening taxi door swung out and busted my hand. So squash was cancelled, and the game never happened. They weren't typically 'Rock and Roll'. Steve smoked some pot before a gig once at the Camden Palace and all the tempos came down... I never tried to influence Japan’s musical direction once they'd found it. But at the very beginning, David was not so clear as to where he was going. To get them gigs I made them play one of their songs alternated with a famous hit song. So gigs were quite interesting - a rather obscure Japan song followed by "I shot the sheriff", followed by another obscure Japan song, followed by "Good times". They played those well-known songs really interestingly and well. Pity is - we recorded them all, and then the tape got lost.




Mark Wardell (Artist and then friend of DS).

I was very close friends with David from 1980-1984-ish to the extent that I would not only go to dinner with him and Yuka but also hang out at home with him yet, I didn't really get to know the rest of the band on anything other than a casual "hi " backstage or in the studio. And David never really mixed with any of my other friends, especially the famous ones like Steve Strange and (Boy) George. We kept to ourselves and had long obsessive conversations about art, about Warhol and Cocteau.

No, he wasn't particularly sociable. I don't think he even mixed with the rest of Japan much when I met him (laughs). Why do I think we were friends? Well, we had a lot in common, our backgrounds and we both looked extraordinary! Sometimes he and Yuka would come to my studio in Soho and we'd get some take out Sake from a Japanese restaurant and talk about art...

I actually completed three portraits of him. I sold one to a collector and gave the other two to David.

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 7:59

Dali's Kar
Update #5 · Jun 28, 2013 · comment

Just found - an old interview I did with the drummer from Dali's car, Peter Vincent Lawford.

This was conducted in 2004. I Plan to catch up with Peter again soon.

(The book will end at the close of 1984 and cover 'The waking hour', 'Worlds in a small room' and 'Brilliant trees').

Excerpts below -

I was born in 1962. I was raised in London. Working class parents. First steps taken on Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace (Not in it) then on to Battersea for the rest of my childhood attending a local Grammar school. Took up guitar, switched to drums, until I met a girl and moved to Tooting Broadway, then I met another girl and moved to Ealing Broadway then met another girl and moved Off Broadway to 52nd Street New York. Gave up on Broadway and stayed with the girl. Together 20 years, married 15 years, no children, no ties, four homes in England. My childhood was unusual in as much as my mother is Spanish, so I had a bilingual approach to language and lots of trips to Spain and there was much Latin music, and Paella. However, Mick used to joke a lot about me being, "So English," and bought me a pair of nylon Union Jack socks for my birthday, horrible. He (had) a pretty wicked, even evil, sense of humour actually.

I co- wrote two of the songs on 'The Waking Hour' but was not credited.

...it was pretty unfair not to give me a credit. Mick also refused to credit the photographer of my picture on the album, a friend of mine, because he was unknown. I still respect and have affection for Pete and Mick but showbiz is a terrible poison.

I kept my publishing cheque for those songs - It was a small sum for some publishing copyright. Opium took over Mick's share and so they then passed on my share to me


Yes I would play again and enjoy recording. I have had a kit set up, and have have been working on it for the last 18 months. I played a one off gig with some friends last year and it was great. I am still very much into music but have concentrated mainly on listening carefully


I have just looked through the cassettes I have from 'The Waking Hour'.

era...and there are an amazing 11 tracks on them, unreleased. Most are various versions of the same songs. However there is the original traditional version of Moonlife by a Turkish group.

A track called Saint Bernadette that didn't make it, but I like. There are just bass and drum tracks of Moonlife, Dalis Car with Pete's guide vocal and general messing about at Manor Studio There a few short rehearsals with just Mick and Myself jamming at Nomis. There is a live recording of Mick overdubbing a Casio (Out of Tune) onto Dalis Car at Air Studio, it's like being in the studio during the project.

I have the demos of Pete's first solo album.

I also have and what would have been Mick Karn's next solo album, which is rather more commercial than anything he has done since Titles.



I also have few Mick Karn tracks that had been put together for possible ballet and a film.

I have the Japan accounts book from 77-78 and it is an interesting read...it is a fascinating piece of memorabilia. It gives an intimate inside view of the band's early years, of Mr. Batt et al It gives the detail of changing their names by deed Poll.

I have hundreds of photos taken by me in the studio with Pete & Mick...

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 8:00

Gimme the leads...
Update #6 · Jul 4, 2013 · 4 comments

INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED THIS LAST WEEK -

Angie Usher (friend of Mick's, 1980-83) and backing vocalist on 'Titles').

Simon Draper (Virgin A&R/Label owner and early champion of the band.

Mark Rydell (Friend of Sylvian, 1980- 84)

Richard Barbieri.

Forthcoming -

Chris Tsangarides (Tape Op and engineer on 'A.Sex' and 'Obscure Alternatives'.

Zaine Griff (associate of the band)

Keith Bourton (Virgin Radio plugger who championed 'Ghosts' for release).

Richard Evans (Hansa radio Plugger)

John Punter

and more...

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 8:01

Meeting Mr B
Update #7 · Jul 4, 2013 · 1 comment

I'm late for my last interview of the day.

A biographer is totally at the mercy of his interviewees. However much they want to chop and change, you must accommodate them no matter what. After all it's their memories they are sharing. The privilege is almost always yours not theirs. So when someone changes an evening appointment to a lunchtime one when you're on the train - which is what has happened - you manage as best you can.

Still, it went ok and with that first chat over,

I’m now not going to make my 4.30 with the once keyboard player and programmer of our favourite group, Japan. I am rushing down into Piccadilly tube for Camden. I get a call on my mobile. I don't recognize the number.

I answer flustered, irritated, the masses milling about me. 'Hello'? Its Richard Barbieri. Gulp. He's phoning to apologize.

He's going to be late. Oh. Gosh. OK. So am I. Which makes us both on time.

It's a good sign.

I'm in dire need of a drink when I get to Camden. Its a hot day, despite being London in June.

I’m also craving a smoke. I hope Richard won't mind sitting outside.

My fears are groundless ; there he is sat outside Bar Gansa on Innverness Street, a familiar feline figure puffing away on a Malbro and sipping a white wine. Two more very good signs.

The following four and a half hours breeze by : for me anyway. And I hope for Mr B too.

The strange thing about meeting your 'heroes' is that they are such a familiar texture of your life, you feel you share a history, even an intimacy with them when of course, that's just a one sided illusion in many ways. You can’t really know them at all and they certainly don’t know you.

And yet those few hours in the sun, sipping then glugging Riocca felt supremely easy and friendly. Mr B seemed often amused by my own stories. 'You really should write a book about your life' he tells me more than once. We speak of band dynamics, the pros and cons of Music Publishing, touring as one gets older, the uncanny talents of Steve Jansen. (Mr B himself just found out that in fact that the Marquee Moon album was a pivotal influence on the young Steve. And when I proffer how rare it is for a great drummer to look so aesthetically pleasing, Mr B offers a wry grin and quips 'Yes, I suppose he does cut quite a dash').

The conversation leapt about and included contributions from two young nearby female musicians who bummed a Cafe Creme Cigarillo from me. (I hope I didn't embaress Mr B when I explained to them that he was 'A Legdge').

We were also joined by Gary Le Strange toward the end. (Google him as Mr B did when he got home. He thinks, quite rightly that Le Strange is hilarious).

Now and then the nerd in me jumps out and I'll ask, out of nowhere some incongruous question about a sequencer fill on Quiet life or when exactly was it that Japan first started using clicks live, but Mr B only ever seems engaged and charmed.

At the end I valiantly insist on paying the bill but he absolutely insists on crushing a wad of notes in my hand toward it and I'm grateful, when I see that it comes it comes to over £60 (for 2 bottles of wine and some tapas)!

By 10pm its over, and Mr B slinks off home leaving me and Gary to go on for a nightcap in praise of a right proper gentleman.

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 8:02

The cut and style you know so well....
Update #8 · Jul 9, 2013 · comment

The book's primary focus will be the music. but there will be the occasional 'lighter' side too.

Excerpt from interview with Alan Soh. (Business partner of Simon Napier bell and hairdresser to the stars. And Japan).

"You Know, I did The Kinks, Gary Moore, Wham and of course Japan and...in a way I think its the hair that can really make a group.

I was the guy who really defined David's look....when Simon introduced me to them they had this long, straggly hair and it was me that cut it shorter and really started that 'look'. After this I had many fans and clients coming to the salon asking for the same cut.

When the group sat down I first suggested highlights and for it to be layered rather than just long and bleached. Of course, David's natural hair was dark brown and I didn't like that. I liked Blonde hair ; I was blonde too.

When he found his style he stayed with it ; he had that look for a long time.

No, Bowie wasn't particularly an inspiration. I think my inspiration came from myself ; I just came up with ideas like doing the hair with Chopsticks and so on. I approached it like sculpture.

I didn't study it too much ; I just went in and did it.

I had a basic training ; my mother was a hairdresser a long time ago. But after that I just moulded the hair, as if it were clay.

Previous to that I was a fashion designer. That's what I came to London to do. But when I qualified in fashion design I realised I didn't really like it. Just sitting in a room cutting jackets and so on...you didn't get to see the world, you know? So I switched to hairdressing and I found I had a passion for it. I Loved it.

I remember Simon bringing Japan over to the salon for the first time ; I soon got to know them all individually. I was in Paris at the time and at first they were resistant to me doing much with their hair ; it was very very long. But slowly they came round and I was able to modernize their image.

As you get to know them as people, you find out what they really want.

David and Mick came the most often. Then Steve. Steve did his hair on his own mostly. But they didn't have to come every day. Normally if you cut it well, do a beautiful cut, then they can manage it themselves. Getting the colour right too – that's important - but if the cut and style is right then it takes care of itself. Mick used gel and David used hairspray.

Of course if it was a photo session then I would be there to style it for that to make it perfect.

I wouldn't prepare for every concert, for a live concert the rougher the cut the better I think.

But the secret was in the cut not the product. David could swing around and it would just fall naturally back in place. David had the best hair I think.

When David came to the salon he would sit with the other clients but he was very quiet, quite reserved.

There was one time the fans followed him to the salon and they were shouting for him and when I finished his hair he had to go out and sign autographs but generally he was very private.

In 1985 he grew his hair dark and I had less to do with it from then on but the last time I saw him was in the 90's. I proffered his hair Blonde..."

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 8:03

Virgin Japan
Update #9 · Jul 11, 2013 · 1 comment

Hello. I'm having a lot of fun tracing and speaking to old Japan associates, many of whom are surprisingly forthcoming.

Lined up are in depth interrogations with Rob Dean, Richard Barbieri, Simon Napier Bell, friends, associates, colleagues. Later today I'll be speaking to the man behind the iconic 'red guitar' sleeve and I've also managed to track down some of the players on 'Brilliant trees', many of whom have never spoken about their work on this classic.

Please remember though, these updates are not excerpts from the book. The writing of the book will begin once it's funded. (IF it's funded). For a taste of the actual book please go here -http://www.anthonyreynolds.net/pages/Classic_Album_GTP_Japan.htm

I've also added a new 'Reward' which you can pledge for in addition to your existing Pledge.

Meanwhile here's a brief extract from last week's conversation with Simon Draper, then head of Virgin records and the man who despite the odds took Japan seriously and signed them in 1980, allowing them to finally mature in style.

'David and I got on very well. I remember it was a bit of a revelation when he realised I knew who Frank Auberch was – the artist who provided the painting for the cover of 'Oil on Canvas'. In fact I owned an Auberch. I have a big art collection, I'm very interested in art.

But we also gave David a lot of freedom in what he wanted to do. Which I thought he appreciated.

I mean, we tried to do that with all our artists. We tried to 'interfere positively' if you like. I never tried to second guess the artists. We tried to give them a lot of freedom. We saw ourselves as facilitators.

The 70's were very different compared to the 80's for Virgin. I saw myself as a fan who had the extraordinary luck of also someone who was able to sign the artists he liked. And that's what happened with Japan.

I met Japan pre-hansa. Simon contacted Steve Lewis who was A&R at Virgin then and the two of us went down to see Japan at a rehearsal room. We thought long and hard about them because they looked really good- really glam but the music was almost funky – Stevie Wonderish. It was rather like when I first saw Steve Winwood. You saw this young white guy with a big voice – very striking. But for whatever reason we passed. But I still kept an eye on them.

Then years later Simon came to see me. Their relationship with Hansa was at an end, they weren't selling any records in England. We didn't need to hear demos. And it just felt right.

David was obviously the leader of the group. Personally he was quite ...diffident in his manner. And when he wasn't on stage he was more ordinary looking. He didn't come into the office fully glammed up. He was no Boy George. But he was very strong in his opinions. And we never tried to influence our artists Image. The Human league for instance... the cover of 'Dare'. That was completely their idea. You would sometimes get a group who had no ideas but that wasn't the case with Japan. They had a very strong sense of their own identity.

Anyway. I was laughed at when I said I wanted Virgin to sign Japan. No one took me seriously. But I was lucky enough to be able to do what I wanted so I did. And then the company came round.

Our press guy took their three albums home with him on the weekend, smoked a spliff and had an epiphany. When he came in Monday he said to me : 'I get it. They're brilliant'. And of course, the success we had with them happened fast ; it wasn't as difficult as I'd thought it was going to be. I remember the turning point clearly. Soon after the release of 'Gentlemen take Polaroids', Simon Napier-Bell came and asked me for tour support. 'I need £12,000' he said. 'OK', I said. 'But..its for one show...' (Laughs). I mean, to use a whole years tour support..for one show??

But then soon after he came to me and told me : 'I don't need your money. The show is sold out four times over...'

cicogna
Messaggi: 7
Iscritto il: 24 giugno 2010, 11:21

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda cicogna » 13 luglio 2013, 10:14

Ciao. Scusa è la prima volta che scrivo su questo sito (bellissimo!) che seguo da tempo...
Posso chiederti dove prendi questi aggiornamenti di Reynolds?
Non sono sul suo sito vero?
Grazie e buona giornata

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 11:39

Sì, sono sul suo sito, quello indicato nel post iniziale:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/748 ... -biography

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 13 luglio 2013, 11:41

Angie's story
Update #10 · Jul 13, 2013 · comment

Angie Usher is probably best known to Japan fans for the feline backing vocal on Mick's 'Trust me'. But she was also a close friend of Mick and Rob. In the book she speaks about Mick's depression, his art shows, Angie Bowie and the recording of 'Titles'. Here's an excerpt. Thanks Angie.

"I first saw them at the Camden music machine. And I just thought they were amazing . Looked amazing. Sounded amazing. A few years later I moved up to London from Essex and by that time I was friends with the DJ Mark Moore. (S-Express). And he got us tickets to go see Japan at the Venue. This would have been 1980. They were now the 'new' Japan if you like. And I was completely hooked. As was Mark. He was a huge fan too and more than that he just loved all kinds of music. He had the biggest record collection I'd ever seen. Anyway. At this time I was working at the British diabetic association in central London. And in the mailing room there on one of the filing cabinets, someone had scratched 'Japan – Mick and Steve'. And I was like 'Wow, someone else is a Japan fan who works here...and my boss said 'No. That was them. They worked here. They weren’t interested in the job at all. They hated the job and all they wanted to do was make music'. So when I told him they had he was like 'Wow, really? They actually did it'?

So, after this our friends were in a band called Modern English and they were supporting Japan on tour. This was just after 'Gentlemen take Polaroids'. And we slept on their hotel floors so we could see Japan for free every night. Were Japan friendly to my friends? (laughs). Not particularly.

So we were at an after-show in a club in Leeds and I saw Japan sitting with their security , kind of cut off from the rest of the party and I said 'Can I go and talk to them, 'cos I used to work at the same place as them'? And the bouncer was like 'No no no', so I just ignored him and pushed past and sat down with them. And I said 'You know where you used to work, behind Oxford Circus, that's where I work'. They were like 'No way'! And that's how we became friends.

Mick was shy to start with, David was not talkative at all. Steve and Rich were like a couple of naughty schoolboys. But it Rob Dean I really got on with. I lived in Hackney which is where Rob lived with his dad and so we'd go round and visit him. 'Course he left the band soon after. And though he never talked about it you could always tell that he was the outsider. He wasn't as comfortable with the make up and all that. And the rest of the group all lived near each other and he was off in East London with his dad. I don't think it was ever a permanent thing for Rob....

One night we all met up in Chinatown, without Dave and we had the biggest laugh. It was just a brilliant night in a Chinese restaurant, just non stop laughter. In person, Steve was the most striking to look at. Just incredible cheekbones on this beautiful face, really really striking. Without Dave they seemed more relaxed and fun. Dave was more conscious of his 'image' if you like. Without him they were just normal blokes. Except when they went on stage. Then they became these completely different people and I was always stunned by that transformation.

They had girlfriends. I was just their mate. But compared to other people in bands I knew they weren't lads. They didn't go out clubbing much or on the pull. This was partly because they weren't into boozing and drugs particularly. But I did think it odd, with David in particular. He'd spend so much time looking brilliant and then just stay at home. (laughs).

Mick was the one I became closest to. I'd spend hours in his flat ; he was like my best girlfriend.

Just talking, listening to music, sometimes while he sculpted...and then of course when Yuka left him for Dave I was there all the time. He was so, so depressed, I was actually worried for him...

cicogna
Messaggi: 7
Iscritto il: 24 giugno 2010, 11:21

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda cicogna » 13 luglio 2013, 11:51

ecco, visto ora! updates su kickstarter... grazie mille

krishna blue
Messaggi: 3404
Iscritto il: 14 giugno 2007, 22:52
Località: IM
Contatta:

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda krishna blue » 13 luglio 2013, 13:52

interessantissimo, grazie alex.
E benvenuto/a Cicogna

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 20 luglio 2013, 17:33

A word from the Dean
Update #11 · Jul 20, 2013

'Japan were my first group, pretty much. I'd played with friends and at school and stuff. But I'd realised I wasn't band leader material. So I thought it better to join a band and follow someone else’s direction.

I was working, in offices and stuff purely so I could buy gear. I mean musical gear, not other kinds of gear..('Laughs').

I was 21, even though the ad in Melody Maker said '18 year old wanted' or something...

I think the ad mentioned 'Roxy Music' as an influence and I was a big Roxy fan. That was our common ground because I really wasn't into Bowie and Lou Reed that much. Not to the extent that the others were.

The weird thing was, I didn't reply to many ads. In fact that was the first. And I was the first guy that turned up too. I don't think they saw anybody else. And we clicked. And that was it.

Do I believe in fate? Very much so.

The 'audition' was at Dave and Steve's mum's house. I'm from Hackney so I'd never been to Catford before. It was a long way to go! It's a strange area...not that exciting.

I remember when they opened the door they looked pretty distinctive looking. Dave had long hair but it was spiky on top and it was dyed red. Definitely a Bowie influence. But other than that he just had on a T-shirt and jeans. Mick's was fairly similar but Black. Steve was still at school at this point so he wasn't looking so...distinctive. I wouldn't say it was Glam 'cos there was no make-up...

My own look? Oh, I don't know. My hair was probably some kind of blow dried bouffant....thing! (Laughs). Later Bolan was an influence on my look, but not at that point.

Rich wasn't there and when I arrived we went straight up to Steve's bedroom and plugged in two electric guitars and Dave started playing me one of his songs. He told me what key it was in first.

Mick, Steve and David were obviously very tight. And that was very impressive. They were very focussed about what they wanted to achieve. I mean the fact that they had their own P.A.! Very impressive. I don't know where they would have got it from but it shows real drive.

But back to Steve's bedroom, yeah, Dave would have played me an original song of his not a cover, and I just played along. I was at the house about three hours but once we'd decided I was 'in' we didn't play that much. We were talking mostly. Just chatting.

Soon after we started rehearsing in this small place, somewhere in Catford. Some crap place.

But Dave was very very prolific in those days. He seemed to come up with new songs all the time. They weren't fully formed focus wise but he had tons of ideas. And the influences of the day were pretty obvious as they are with young bands. Bowie. Roxy. And the songs sounded pretty free form. Yet were in fact very intricate. There was this song called 'The Apple'. And it was a ten minute extravaganza that went through all these changes. Different riffs and time changes, key changes. Underpinned by Mick and Steve who were from day one really tight together. It was a real epic. And part of that was the influence of Todd Rungrden in those days. We were all into Todd and we went to see a solo tour he did, a gig at the Hammersmith Odeon. And we were all bowled over by it. It was very impressive. Of course he also produced the Hall and Oates album, 'War babies' and that was the one David liked best. Its their most extreme album. David was also listening to Michael Jackson a lot.

We didn't talk much about the music we just got on with it. The songs were fairly open to our input and the arrangements just happened, it was quite organic. The guitar interplay between Dave and I, it just happened. And it wasn't merely him playing rhythm and me on top it was more intricate than that but we didn't discuss it much. There was no musical director as such but obviously, Dave came in with the songs already written.

We worked hard at getting our music out there. We'd play any place at all then. And we had our own white van. A little white van with 'Japan' painted on the side that Richard used to drive because he was the only one who could. But that van ended up in the knackers yard well before we 'made it'. I don't think it'll be on E bay.

Outside of music we used to go to the movies a lot. I was a movie freak. Mid to late 70's I used to go to the cinema all the time. But Dave was really into the movies too, we all had our favourite actors and stuff. Dave loved Dirk Bogarde but I was more into De Niro. But we both really liked 'New York New York' a lot. Yeah, we were very impressed by De Niro in that....'

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 27 novembre 2014, 18:35

Natrually enough, I've had a few messages asking when the book will be avialable. The short answer is; I don't know for sure. Burning Shed have speculated sometime early next year. I finished the final chapter last week. This is how it works : Once I've completed a chapter I send it to Nick Huckle (friend of the band between 74 and 84 and their roadie, Tour manager, driver, P.A.) and Paul Rymer for comments and corrections. I then send it to the editor. The editor then sends it back to me. (This can take up to three weeks). It's then sent to our Artwork chap who lays it out with appropriate (previously unpublished) photo's. Once the book is laid out we'll all read it along with the proof reader. Further corrections will be made and then it's manufactured. I got much more co-operation and information than I'd hoped for, particularly from Steve and Richard etc and I think rushing the book to meet the Christmas market would have been short sighted. This will surely be the last book to be written on Japan and I want it to last. Hope this answers any questions ; thanks for the good vibes so far.
Non hai i permessi necessari per visualizzare i file allegati in questo messaggio.

Avatar utente
alex2222
Moderatore
Messaggi: 967
Iscritto il: 19 agosto 2007, 15:42
Località: Brescia

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda alex2222 » 7 febbraio 2015, 8:54

Excerpt from Chapter 8 : Art and parties

'...the “Parties” sessions went smoothly – in particular the exploration of ideas for “Life Without Buildings” recalls Jansen. 'We were liberated by the fact it was to be a B-side – it was sort of a licence to indulge. We explored some of the concepts that were of influence at that time – albums such as My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Byrne and Eno and, prior to that, Movies by Holgar Czukay. Both these albums utilised the placement of audio from sampled sources [via tapes] playing out like scenes from a movie amidst predominantly instrumental tracks. We, rather timidly in retrospect, tried it out on this final session with Punter and although it wasn’t to any great effect it was probably the first buzz we’d felt of transforming a track by incorporating scenes from an outside source. The imagery it created took us outside of our own creativity and that was the purpose, I think. Also, here we were focusing more on the recorded sound itself as opposed to leaving it up to the producer, which consequently led to spur-of-the-moment ideas steering the music.’ The result would be more of a footnote to Gentlemen Prefer Polaroids than a preface to Tin Drum, while occupying a space in Japan’s discography all of its own. The sound was more acoustic or perhaps organic even, especially in its electronics, than anything previous or to come. ‘Life Without Buildings’ in particular seemed to embody the dust and clay apparent in the Frank Kobina Parkes poem ‘African Heaven’, an extract of which Sylvian chose to print in the forthcoming tour programme:

‘Give me some drums;
Let them be three
Or maybe four
And make them black –
Dirty and black:
Of wood,
And dried sheepskin,
But if you will
Just make them peal,
Peal.
Peal loud,
Mutter.
Loud,
Louder yet;
Then soft,
Softer still
Let the drums peal.’

The band themselves were very happy with the recordings. ‘It remains, for me, one of John’s best works of production,’ Karn would say. Mixing of the two tracks finished on 24 March. Simon Draper came down to the studio to listen and was impressed although not overly hopeful of any instant commercial breakthrough, but this was not an issue. ‘I expected it to take time. There was no rush,’ he says.

Avatar utente
Luca72
Messaggi: 172
Iscritto il: 16 giugno 2009, 16:37
Località: Savona
Contatta:

Re: JAPAN "A FOREIGN PLACE" the biography

Messaggioda Luca72 » 14 agosto 2015, 9:39



Torna a “News”

Chi c’è in linea

Visitano il forum: Nessuno e 1 ospite