Last November I was here in Japan
with the California Guitar Trio. Now, back at the same hotel in Tokyo, I'm on quite a different tour.
We dragged as much
of our equipment on the plane as we could, since this band requires amps, pedals, synths, and more than a couple of
basses! Weight and size limits, though, meant we had to arrange for some equipment to be provided from here in Japan.
The first soundcheck, tomorrow in Kobe, should be ... interesting... as we find out whether we got the right gear!
Along on the tour are more than just the band this time.
The band consists of Jesse Gress on guitar, Larry Fast on synth, Jerry Marotta playing drums and sax (and singing
a little too!) and me. Robert Frazza is along to do our sound and some road management. And three of us have brought
our wives along too - so Andi Turco Levin, Phyllis Fast and Mary Lou Arnold (Jesse's wife),
some on their first trip to Japan, are enjoying
jet lag on this first day(!) and will enjoy seeing Japan from when it wears off.
The Kobe gig, April 20, went
fine. First, on arriving in Kobe, we were please to see that the city is looking good, having been
largely repaired from the earthquake a few years ago. (We did notice some scaffolding in the club,
named "Chicken George", and were told it had been hit hard.) Our equipment worked well, the guys remembered the arrangements
very well, jet lags only kicked in later, so all in all we had a blast at the show.
Tokyo now, April 21, for
our second show. This venue, is called Tribute to the Love Generation and in keeping with the
theme of the name of the club, we played a Jimi Hendrix song in the set (featuring Jesse Gress.)
With it being the club's one year anniversary, it seemed they had done the most fitting thing
getting a band that's from Woodstock!
The venue will also be having an exhibition of some of my photographs, starting Sunday.
On Sunday afternoon,
there was a band lunch, with fans, at the venue. Questions were asked - most amusing was one directed
at Jerry - asking him to explain his personality. He answered that that would take a very long time!
(Another question was about what characteristics a good drummer has. If you've got quicktime, you
might enjoy my short mpeg of Jerry's answer.)
After questions (and some lunch) we signed autographs for the people there, and were given some pretty
neat gifts (including a small beaded Stick(!) and, from Phyllis Fast, a small rubber gecko - to demonstrate
to the Japanese audience the meaning of Gecko Walk.) Afterward, I had a bit of time to wander around
this very unusual area. A mix of amusement parks, malls, and tourist sights.
One amazing sight that's pretty disorienting to a New Yorker is what appears to be the Statue of
Liberty, with what looks like the George Washington Bridge behind it!
After the show the audience stayed, and the framed photographs for the exhibition were brought onto
stage and I gave a short explanation of each. The exhibition will run here until May 6.
As usual, I've jammed
too many graphics onto one page. So (also as usual) there's now a second page
of sights, sounds and diaries from the April Japan Tour.