It’s been a while since I made a contribution to the WW&W pages, as I’ve been extremely busy lately, combining singing in the band and running a record company. Excuses aside, my poor show has played on my mind. Not having the headspace to write something from scratch, I’ve decided to give you some selected passages from my tour diaries. I’ve edited it here and there, to avoid lawsuits and protect the innocent etc, but even so, I’d say it’s a pretty honest account of how it went down, seen through my eyes of course. You won’t know who everyone is, so have some fun trying to work it out. I hope you’re not too disappointed, for as you’ll see, it’s not all glamour, beer and skittles…
LONDON to TOKYO - 22+23 Aug 1995
TRAVEL DAY (& NIGHT)
The start wasn’t too bad, not too early at 7am. Cab arrived early, so we made him wait. Mikki and I were both feeling ropey, but for different reasons: - He because Luke had taken him out for a friendly drink and wasted them both, and I because it was so upsetting leaving home again. It gets progressively harder to leave the family each time, there’s no doubt in my mind. Cab seemed to take forever to get to the airport, although it actually only took an hour and a quarter. The sun was out again and burning hot by 9am. All was fine at the airport, checked in straight away, got out of the excess baggage charge (phew), with all the guitars etc, it would have been a few bob. We flew out of Heathrow to Brussels, sat there for 3 hours then changed for Tokyo. Finally boarded the plane at 2.45pm. Mo and I were in economy, but sitting in business class type seats. He denied a plot, but I wasn’t having it, he said Brocky had pre-assigned the seats, but he must have had a word. The others were none too pleased.... Still, do I seem like a man who’s overly concerned?
Narita was all change when we got there next day (23rd), a brand new terminal across the road from the old building, much bigger and spacious inside. Usual hassle with the customs men at the last fence before the door, Sniffer dogs akimbo, wasting their time and wearing out their noses. The first thing that hit you as you left the air conditioned terminal was the heat and humidity (unbelievable), but the crowning glory after the flight was the drive into Tokyo from Narita. The promoter had sent two vans for us, one for equipment and the other for people. The problem was that we needed both for people, so the equipment driver had to get some of us to the Roppongi Prince Hotel. He didn’t know where it was, and after desperately trying, and failing, to keep up with the van in front, he tried a short cut and got us lost. Two and a half hours after leaving the airport, we got to the hotel. Mo, Stew and I were most definitely un-chuffed, especially after the flight, but now I think about it, it was probably payback for getting the nice seats on the plane. C’est la vie, Karma and all that....
Slept immediately my head touched the pillow, as soon as I got in the room. Woke up 3 hours later, felt a bit groggy, but ok. Met up with gang, went to dinner with the promoter Yoshi (nutter). Had a typical Japanese dinner, ate too much, enjoyed every second of it, drank beer, felt bloated and woozy when we went to Pip’s Bar (where Snake & I had previously had the row that led to his sacking at the end of the 92 tour). Bush was there as usual (his hat stuck to his head like glue, covering his bald spot), he seemed in good form, although he said his marriage had broken up, and he was going back to the UK in three weeks. Felt sad for him and his troubles. Dave Murray and Blaze Bayley were in town doing promotion for the new Iron Maiden LP, they arrived and the beer began to flow like water. Oh Dear...
Lexington Queen next, the usual bunch of w*****s in there, including the Bananarama girls with their team of dancers, mincing around the place. It was great fun to watch Murray lose the plot and argue with all and sundry. He definitely needs to have a word with himself, he’s very tense, the words “bear” and “sore head” spring to mind. If he doesn’t calm down he’ll give himself palpitations.
Left the LQ at around 03:45 (I think), far too relaxed, saw Luke zig-zagging his way down the road, and caught up with him, then we both zig-zagged to the hotel. Had the distinct feeling breakfast was going to be funny.
TOKYO/NAGOYA - 24 Aug 1995
A day to savour, all felt extremely rough. A concoction of jet lag, beer and lack of sleep meant no one was particularly jolly as we met up the lobby at 12.15. The station was very hot and sticky, Harry went green, then puked into a plastic carrier bag in the minivan on the way there. At the station the stealth autograph hunters popped up out of nowhere as usual. The funniest bit was watching Harry make the guy hold his bag of puke while he signed his albums. The silly sod took it back afterwards! We missed the 1pm train, and had to wait for the 1.30. We stood around on the platform, feeling a bit like goldfish, as the fans watched, giggled and took photos. As we got on, Harry did it again, just as the Shinkansen lady representative was welcoming him aboard, up it all came, all over the train, the lady, and Mikki’s leg. Cleared out, he groaned as he said “Sorry about that!”, staggered to his seat and promptly fell asleep. The boys fell about laughing, but I was already in my seat, settled down and almost asleep. Strange thing, none of the locals reacted in any way, the business men just looked up briefly from their papers, then looked back down again, expressionless. The Shinkansen lady immediately shot off for a second or two, then returned with cleaning stuff and sorted it all out. Hmmm.
The scenery was amazing pretty much all the way, the industrialization was vast and went on for ages, then the countryside and farming did the same. The train was incredible, fast, comfy and civilized. Three hours later, we arrived at Nagoya. At the hotel, the van driver opened the back up before I could say anything and my computer bag fell 4 feet to the ground. I shouted out with concern, but my hangover prevented me getting more animated. I got to the room and turned it on, it was fine. Big relief… The bed looked extremely welcoming, and so, exhausted, I immediately fell into it and then a coma. Three hours the phone went, I almost fell out of bed getting to it, it was Pru at the office. She asked if I wanted to take out the Japanese no show insurance cover. I told her I’d already confirmed it with Steve last Thursday night. She said she’d get Steve to call me, but the call didn’t come. I spoke to Michelle, she seemed OK, the girls were shouting and screaming in the background.
Evening came and we went out to eat, Yoshi and Tom (our interpreter) were very gracious, took us to a nice restaurant specialising in chicken wings, which were fantastic. Boys hit a club after we got back to the hotel, but with a show tomorrow, I returned to my room for some work and bed. Felt very saintly but a bit miserable to be missing out. Ho hum..
NAGOYA - 25 Aug 1995
SHOWDAY - BOTTOM LINE
Woke up to the sound of the phone at 9.25am, it was Ben, asking if I wanted to go out for a walk around town. Having seen on the way in from the airport that we were nowhere near anything interesting, I thought my time would be better spent studying the back of my eyelids, so I declined and slipped back into slumber. This travelling lark is exhausting..
Worked after I eventually woke up and then showered, basically caught up on all the stuff I hadn’t done in the mad 3 days before we left the UK. Went out for a 20 minute jog to clear the cobwebs. Met the others for the sound check at 3pm. The fans, by now, had found out where we were, and they were camped out all over the lobby and the street outside. Fly On The Wall and River Of Pain have apparently both been number 1 on the CBC Top Requests Radio Show here in Nagoya (FOTW 3 weeks & ROP 8 weeks), so the positive effects of radio play are plain to see, because there were so many more fans than last time. Not only that, but they’re so much more excited and determined to get your autograph, photo etc. Poor old Mikki is finding it all a bit much already, he can’t seem to get his head around the Japanese fans’ devotion. Still, I’m sure he’ll get used to it quick enough, rest assured that good old human nature will take over...
Having fought our way through the fans (1 boy, rest girls), we walked round to the club, 5 minutes away. All was up and just about running when we got there, Stewart was as headless a chicken as I’ve seen him, definitely on fine form and very amusing to watch while he had Tom running around all over the place. Pat the monitor engineer was local as was the LD, so communication was limited to signs and thumbs up and down sort of stuff, but we seemed to muddle through. Luke was jet lagged and edgy, the initial sound on stage was atrocious and he was a bit twitchy with all and sundry. The rest of us were fine, Pete got over his low end 80k rumble after 3 or 4 songs, and we left the stage with a due sense of dread for later. Not so much a technical or musical dread, but a “loads of guitar changes, acoustic on and off stage, time for Pete to reset his effects” sort of dread.
We needn’t have worried because, even before we went on, the crowd was so bloody loud that they wouldn’t have noticed if we’d have played all the songs backwards. Seldom have I heard screaming like it, as we stood by the steps waiting to go on, I was convinced someone had jumped onto the stage and took their clothes off. The show was brilliant, they screamed and sang and clapped at all the requisite times, louder and with more passion than most audiences I’ve heard anywhere. This was up there with Rock City! The band was very much spurred on by this, as you can imagine, and despite the Tropical + Nuclear Reaction + Erupting Volcano = Seriously Not Funny At All-type heat, we played a blinder.
Afterwards we had the usual Roger (Mellie not Melée) in the Dressing Room, the CBC Top Requests chap was there with his radio crew for an over the top noisy interview, followed by some of the fans who’d called in and made us number 1 (love them!!), then we had the Fan Club reception. The end result of all this was that despite going onstage at 7pm, we never got out of the venue until 10:30pm. Back to the hotel, lobby ambush for autographs, photos etc, then showers and calls to the office, and finally back to the bar & grill underneath the club for dinner. The Club Manager (Mr Kobiyashi) was very nice and hospitable, lovely food galore followed by drinks akimbo, then the entertainment: A nutcase acoustic guitar player (Japanese), with a pick up stuck on his guitar and an amp, and a portable radio, wired up for maximum tuning type interference. He was like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan rolled into one (no not dead), but on the fastest medication known to Man. Twenty five songs segued into each other at breakneck speed, interspersed with foot and hand controlled, distorted radio tuning. I’ve never seen anything like it, luckily I had my video camera. It was all over in 15 minutes, but you felt exhausted just watching him. Mikki got all excited about him (Muso!) and decided Tequila was in order, ordered loads and drank himself into that Swedish condition again. Dinner done, I went back to the hotel with Pete, did autographs and photos again, hit the room, spoke to the office, then out to the club.
SETLIST - NAGOYA, BOTTOM LINE
25 Aug 1995
Castles In The Sand
Gimme Some Lovin’
Until My Dying Day
‘Til The River Runs Dry
Moth To The Flame
Low Life In High Places
River Of Pain
Ball & Chain
A Better Man