Discovering Japan

To the best of my knowledge, this is how we ended up in Japan on this day 25 years ago.  There was talk of a Japanese edition of CMJ, and therefore it made sense for certain people to be exposed to some College Music.  Those people could have traveled to the U.S. for a first-hand experience, but instead it was decided that a representative act would make the trip east.  I don’t know how we became a finalist (I can’t honestly say I “know” any of this), but one day some focus group was asked to choose between our band, 24-7 Spyz, 13 Engines, and the Subdudes, and we won.  Georgia and I, along with Robert Vickers, our bassist at the time, were flown to Tokyo along with Coyote’s Steve Fallon and our pal, Phil Morrison.  I’m not going to even try to do justice to this trip.  I will say that our four concerts were very strange, and that none of them was as successful as the night Georgia, Phil and I sang at a local karaoke bar.  It was shocking that westerners were there–the songbook was overwhelmingly Japanese.  We sat and drank for a while, and then Phil and I decided to perform a duet.  Without thinking about the cultural implications of our selection, we picked “Surfin’ USA,” and only the eggs we were laying elsewhere permits me the immodesty to report we slayed ’em.  With our next number, “Ghostbusters,” we learned the karaoke lesson that knowing the chorus to a song is not the same as knowing the song.  Still, the other denizens of the bar responded enthusiastically to our stage craft, singing along when we pointed the microphone their way.  Georgia and Phil were up next, for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”  When Georgia pretty much laughed through the whole song, Phil finally went off book and pleaded with her, “Sing!”  She pulled it together for her closer, a duet with me on “Be My Baby.”  When one of the other patrons asked Phil, “May I sing with me?” we found ourselves with a future album title and some friends to tour Tokyo with on our last day in town.


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