Saturday, June 23, 2018

1978 Los Angeles Punk: Black Flag & the Rotters.


Just a quick post. Hope it inspires you....

40 years ago, I played in a one-hit wonder late 1970s L.A. punk band called The Rotters. We had a smash hit called, "Sit on My Face Stevie Nix." 


That's me wearing my Kamikaze headband! See? I wore headbands even before those wankers in Guns & Roses!

I had a dream back then. We were a lighting smash success within a few months and on radio stations and charts all over America and Europe. 

One night, my band played at a new club in Hollywood called Madame Wongs with another band. We all were expecting a packed crowd of 300+. 

My band opened. When we hit the stage, we were dumbfounded to see a crowd of only about eight people. Eight! 

We played a flat and disappointing set. 




After us, the next band played in front of the same eight people... That band was fucking awesome! They were electric and exciting! Their power made the small crowd (including me) go simply crazy. 

After the show I asked the guitarist how they do it. My band was flat "because" of the disappointing size of the crowd; their band was explosive. The guitarist forcefully blurted out to me, "It doesn't matter if there's three people in the crowd or three hundred people - we always kick ass!" 

They did indeed. 

That was 1978 (79?) The guitarist's name was Greg. The band? Maybe you've heard of them! Their name was Black Flag. 



The point of it all? Live your dream. It doesn't matter if there is only one person who sees what you do or 10,000 people: Do it for yourself and build a legend. 

Sometimes, it doesn't matter what other people think now. It only matters what you think. 

In my case, I remember what Jack White from the White Stripes told me. He said he was a "Big Fan" of the Rotters and even bought our record when he was 13. He said: "It is better to have punked and lost, than to have never punked at all!"

James Dean said, "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die 
today."


Black Flag 1978. Nervous Breakdown.



------------------

Anyway, I made a movie. It premiere's at Raindance Film Festival in London on Sept. 25, 2017. You can get tickets here: 

Here's the trailer:


Here's our webpage: http://ghostroads.jp/

------------------------


About Mike in Tokyo Rogers: Mike has been a professional music/TV/radio/anime-related program producer in Japan since the eighties. He began in the music business in 1978 as lead vocalist with the legendary Los Angeles Punk Band, “The Rotters” (Sit on My Face Stevie Nix.). As a university student, he was assistant to the legendary Rodney Bingenheimer (Rodney on the ROQ – KROQ Los Angeles from 1980 ~ 1981.) So Mike has met Blondie, Phil Spector, The Go Gos, the Dickies, The Germs, Black Flag, the Vibrators, Slaughter and the Dogs, The Angry Samoans, the Ramones.) Mike was the first and only foreigner in Japanese history to become the General Manager of a major Japanese broadcasting station (TV Tokyo owned InterFM). Has produced a few smash hit programs (some real losers, too!) and several of Tokyo’s highest rated and most famous radio programs. A recent hit program was “The TV Show” (Set Program with “Ninja Slayer”) which, between April – Oct. 2015, garnered over 10 million viewers.  He is currently producing and hosting “WTF?” the hugely popular Sunday live show on InterFM 89.7. And his life’s dream is his just completed full-length motion picture, “Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story” which will world premiere at the prestigious Raindance Film Festival in London on Sept. 25, 2017.

… Oh, and he likes to write about himself in the third person!)


Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story Japanese Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxwJ4AfzOwM&t



Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Story Foreign trailer: https://vimeo.com/210533272)





3) These are short - and true. You'll laugh. please read: 

Rock N Roll Music and the Proof of the Existence of God!
https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2016/12/rock-n-roll-music-and-proof-of.html

Belinda Carlisle Naked, The Ramones, Rodney Bingenheimer and Me - Another True Story
https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/05/the-ramones-rodney-bingenheimer-belinda.html

David Bowie, Blondie, the Beach Boys, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and me! A True Story!
https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/07/david-bowie-blondie-beach-boys-paul.html

Friday, June 22, 2018

The "L's" and "R's" of the Japanese and Eric Crapton


Everyone knows the Japanese have a problems with "L's" and "R's." They keep mixing them up.

Well here's a hirarious tlue story:

About 15 or 16 years ago and Japanese record label (can't remember which one) put out a "made for radio only" cd of Eric Clapton's newest song (can't remember which one that was either....

Well, you know how Japanese have trouble with "L's" and "R's"? They spelled his name:

Eric Crapton. 

I still have a copy downstairs somewhere.

I keep telling the Japanese that they have it all wrong! It's "R" as in "Rondon" and "L" as in "Lome!"

Don't believe me? Here you go:


You can even buy one if you like at the collectors site called Discogs Marketplace (where they sell one that shows the Koreans may have the same problem with consonants).

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Spirit of Ecstasy


Do you have something that motivates you? I mean, besides money or a family and kids? Do you have something that has captured your imagination since you were small or some item or object that enthralls you and makes you dream of what could be? Something that helps you to become your best? Something that helps and motivates you to be more than you could be by yourself?

I do. It is a statue of the Spirit of Ecstasy.



If you enter my home, at the very entrance is the Spirit of Ecstasy on a solid marble stand. It is big and it is very old and it is quite heavy. The height of the statue is about 70 centimeters tall (about 2'3" tall - 27 inches). And since it is bronze with a solid marble base, it weighs about 22 kilograms (about 48 pounds). 

Most people would know the Spirit of Ecstasy as the statue that adorns the hood of Rolls Royce cars.

Since I was a young boy, I had always been fascinated by art and this particular statue. If you have seen it once, you will never forget this historic and enduring design. The Spirit of Ecstasy is in the form of a woman leaning forwards with her arms outstretched behind and above her. Billowing cloth runs from her arms to her back, resembling wings. For me, she also represents the symbolic queen of what is probably my favorite art movement of all time: Art Deco.

Even as a child, the Spirit of Ecstasy captured my imagination. She "spoke" to me and she pushed me to chase my dreams. She showed that I could do the impossible, that I could fly. The Spirit of Ecstasy has always reminded me to never give up and to always push forward in spite of all odds! 

I had always dreamed of having my own Spirit of Ecstasy since I was small. 

When I saw this statue, years ago at an antique shop, I just had to have it. My wife agreed, but, to this day, she doesn't know the secret this statue holds and what it really means to me. I am serious when I say that, since I was a very young boy, this was one of the designs that has truly held my imagination all my life, and will continue to do so, until the day I die. 

I'd like to tell you why.

But first, about the Spirit of Ecstasy herself. 

Before 1910, her name was not The Spirit of Ecstasy but was "The Whisperer" or "Emily" or "Silver Lady" or "Flying Lady," and she was designed and created by sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes

There's a fascinating story behind this statue and the people involved with its creation too! From Wikipedia

The statue carries with it a story about secret passion between John Walter - the second Baron Montagu of Beaulieu (a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of "The Car Illustrated" magazine) and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Thornton. Eleanor was the secretary of John Walter, who fell in love with her in 1902. Their secret love was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. On the other hand, John Walter was married to Lady Cecil Victoria Constance Kerr.

By 1910 personal mascots had become the fashion of the day. Rolls-Royce were concerned that owners were affixing "inappropriate" ornaments to their cars.... Rolls-Royce Motor Cars turned to Sykes to produce a mascot which would adorn all future Rolls-Royce cars and become generic to Rolls Royce, with the instructions that it should convey "the spirit of the Rolls-Royce, namely, speed with silence, absence of vibration, the mysterious harnessing of great energy and a beautiful living organism of superb grace to evoke the spirit of mythical beauty."... Sykes chose to modify "The Whisper" into a version similar to today's Spirit of Ecstasy. He called this first model The Spirit of Speed... Some critics and fans have given The Spirit of Ecstasy the dubious nickname "Ellie in her Nightie", suggesting Eleanor's influence.... In February 1911 Sykes presented to Rolls-Royce the "Spirit of Ecstasy." The similarity with "The Whisper" was hardly coincidental because the model for both had been Miss Thornton. The sculptor's signature appeared on the plinth and were signed "Charles Sykes."

Eleanor, our heroine, died on 30 December 1915 when the SS Persia was torpedoed by a U-boat! She had been accompanying 
John Walter (Lord Montagu.) He was thought to have been killed too, but survived and was saved after several days adrift in a life raft.

A beautiful woman who was the model for this iconic design? A love affair between a baron and this impoverished woman? The baron and the woman are off having an affair and their ship gets sank by a U-Boat? The beautiful woman gets killed in that U-Boat attack? The baron survives after being adrift for several days at sea? The secret history of one of the world's most famous automobiles? 

Wow! What a story! Wow! The aristocrats! Where's the Hollywood writers?

But I digress, like I said, to me even as a young boy, the Spirit of Ecstacy represented chasing my dreams and flying towards success. 

What my wife doesn't know (to this very day) is why I was so insistent upon buying that Spirit of Ecstasy statue when we saw it. Before we found it in the antique shop, I had never seen one in real life except the tiny 4 or 5 inch tall ones on Rolls Royce cars. And, actually, I'm not interested, nor ever have been, in cars or clothes. 

But when I saw this bronze Spirit of Ecstasy statue at the shop, I knew I just had to have it. We've now owned her for over 11 years. 

Sometimes work gets me down or projects that I am working on don't go well or they get cancelled (like radio or TV shows)... Creating a movie or a radio show or TV show can sometimes seem like an impossible dream....

I can get depressed.... 

My wife knows this about my personality very well.

But what my wife doesn't know is that everyday when I walk out the front door or I come home at night, she is there waiting for me. The lady! The Spirit of Ecstasy stands at the front door and always cheers me on.

She always says, "Chase your dreams. Never give up! Always fly!" 

It must be my mental disorder that such an inanimate object can hold such sway over me and motivate me. I can't explain exactly why excepting that she has always been this way to me.

I think the story of the Spirit of Ecstasy is a fascinating one and find this sort of tale to motivate me and to make me think, "It's great to be alive."

Art that makes me happy or motivated, like the Spirit of Ecstasy does, is like magic. I hope that everyone reading this has some sort of item at home or office, be it a child's drawing, a painting, a photograph, an object or some art that inspires and motivates them. Doing so is a sort of mind control and can help you to overcome your fears.

Never forget everyone: "Chase your dreams. Never give up! Always fly!" 


She says goodbye to me and she welcomes me home everyday. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

True Story: Sandii & the Sunsetz, Go-Bang's and Rodney Bingenheimer and Me.


Some readers might know that I am a disc jockey in Japan. I have been doing this a long time. 

Long ago, I was the assistant for the legendary DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. It's how I got started in this business. And, since Rodney is my philosophical and spiritual leader for being a DJ, I have always tried to support new bands and new things like "Rodney Sensei" does. Today I want to tell you about the two hot Japanese girl fronted bands that were, I believe, the first Japanese bands that ever graced the airwaves on Rodney on the Roq's KROQ show in Los Angeles; one of, if not thee, most legendary rock n roll radio shows in history.

Earlier this morning, I had been talking with a friend about Little Tokyo in Los Angeles in the seventies and I was recalling a true story when I realized something for the very first time! That the very first Japanese band I ever got aired on the radio in Hollywood (on the World Famous Rodney on the Roq Show) had to have been Sandii and the Sunsetz (He played it once so he might not remember). 

The second one I got played on Rodney's show on KROQ, were the Go-Bangs which Rodney played heavily (He'd definitely remember them, I think.)

Here is my recollection of that time, to the best I can... 


See that? That just looks like a great record!


In 1980 ~ 81... I was a university student and assistant to legendary DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. 

On weekends, in the seventies and early eighties, I used to love going to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles just to hang out. Anyway, one day, I was in Little Tokyo wandering about and I walked by a bookstore. They had all sorts of Japanese magazines (duh!) and, right by the front door, they had a bin of used seven-inch records.

By this time, I had already played in a band and had a massive record collection. I became so cocky that I believed I could tell a good record just by looking at the jacket. 

I still do.

Anyway, I looked into the used bin and found a record by a band named "Sandii and the Sunsetz," that I thought, "This absolutely looks great!" But it was a Japanese band? How could I be sure? I couldn't. So, being a curious sort, I bought it and took it home to listen to and test my record selection skills. 

It was a GREAT song! I listened to it and loved it. That weekend, I took it to Rodney's show and handed it to him and he played it!

I can now honestly say that the first Japanese band that I ever got on air - in my radio career (and on the Rodney on the Roq Show), was Sandii and the Sunsetz - Battery. 

Maybe that isn't such a big deal to dear reader, but it is to me. I would have never guessed that so many years later, I'd be a DJ in Japan doing the same thing as Rodney: Finding new bands and playing them first!

Here's that video. I thought Sandii was a goddess!


Sandii and the Sunsetz - Battery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJVPlHbJfAI

Time would pass and I would move to Japan a few years later. I would find good music and send it to my friends like Rodney. Everyone liked Japanese versions of albums, because the Japanese versions always had extra tracks not available on the foreign releases.

In Japan, after looking a long time, I found another Girls band that I thought was fab! It was the Go-Bangs. I loved it!

I sent the Go Bangs song to Rodney and he liked it a lot too and played it several times. (I know he'd definitely remember the Go-Bangs!)

(The actual song, "Special Boyfriend" starts at about 2'30" into the video so you might want to fast forward to that. The other stuff is punk rock nonsense!)


Go-Bangs - Special Boyfriend: https://youtu.be/aVm9Ne1yMcc?t=2m31s

For me, being into punk music in L.A. since the early seventies, I felt that most Japanese music at that time was, well,  lacking... I felt the Go Bangs were a sort of Missing Link and liked it a lot too.... 

The Go Gos, Bangles (in America), then a Japanese "punk taste" girl's band named the Go-Bangs... They were the first ones to get big. 

Those were the days before the internet so it was hard to get information on music. Not like today...

Nowadays, there's a cool Japanese rock/garage music boom. We have the internet. I still have a radio show... 

And, recently, Rodney Bingenheimer has been playing a steady stream of cool bands from Japan. 

Thanks Rodney!

So, the point? I just wanted to set the record straight; the two bands that really allowed all these other Japanese bands to get airplay on the world famous Rodney Bingenheimer show, and the first two Japanese rock bands I got on air in the USA were Sandii and the Sunsetz and The Go-Bangs.

So, those artists have a special place in my heart and my Dj history.... 

If anyone from Sandii and the Sunsetz or The Go-Bangs wanna come and be guests on my show, my doors are open!!!!


---------------

Rodney Bingenheimer has been playing some cool Japanese bands these last few years too. here's a couple of them:

The Privates - Action Woman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlHfjMx31Dw
(I made this video with Ken Nishikawa and some friends. Rodney plays this a LOT!) 




taffy - Snowberry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3Aukza1gpY
(90's Brit Pop better than the British can make.)


The Routes - Perfect Hell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RbUuHB4bcA 
(The Routes have to be, by far, the most played band from Japan in the entire history of the Rodney Bingenheimer Show.)




---------------

The Rodney Bingenheimer Show is on Sirius Radio! Check it here: https://www.siriusxm.com/

Here's his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ROTRLOSANGELES/


Thanks to Gene Gingatake for shaking the old cobwebs loose and reminding me of good times long ago.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Aerosmith and Me. A True Story.


I just realized that today is April 1st, so you guys will think this is a joke, and won't believe this is a true story (people who know me well, will know it is). But, I swear to god, strike me dead, that this is absolutely 1000% a true story. 

About twenty years or so ago (maybe a little more), I used to appear on a TV show (on Music-On-TV) with still-to-this-day famous VJ in Japan, George Williams. 

George interviewed artists as himself, of course, but I participated in the interviews as "the Masked DJ." 

I kept my Masked DJ true identity a secret and wore a pro wrestling full-head mask to conceal my identity. The Masked DJ's schtick was that his super-powers helped him to rid the world of crap music.

There was, and still is, a lot of that.

On that show, we often interviewed some the most famous bands and artists who came to Japan. George would ask the normal questions and I would ask stuff from out in Left Field. (Not like regular Japanese TV shows where they ask incredibly stupid questions like, "What is your favorite color?" or "Can you eat with chopsticks?")


No. Of course, there are no photos with the Masked DJ. Even if there were, you wouldn't recognize him. He wore a mask. This photo is fake but this recollection is not.


One day, the entire gang from Aerosmith were on the show. We got to do the interview on nationally broadcast TV.

George was asking the Aerosmith guys about their new album and tour. I was asking Steven Tyler all sorts of stuff; like if he was getting longer nose hairs as he was getting older (I could relate).

The interview went great. Towards the end of the interview, the Masked DJ asked the question that everyone in the nationally broadcast TV show in Japan was eagerly anticipating. 

The Masked DJ said to Aerosmith: "Wow! I'm your biggest fan in Japan. I go way back with you guys. All the way back to high school! I have all your records too! But there is one question I have that I'd like to ask since you aren't wearing your makeup..."

The boys from the band furrowed their brows and listened patiently and the Masked DJ said, "...So, the question I'd like to ask is, er, which one of you guys was the cat? And which one of you guys had the star on your eye?... And which one had the bouffant and super long tongue? And..."

As the Masked DJ was asking the questions, he could see Steven Tyler's face turning red, his cheeks beginning to quiver, his eyes starting to bulge out, and what looked like steam coming out from his ears and nostrils...

Just as Tyler was about to explode, Joe Perry and the other guys burst out laughing and laughing. Joe Perry was howling and said, "I was the one with the star on my eye!" and other members started joining in, "I was the cat! I was the cat!" 

Soon, even Steven Tyler calmed down and realized it was a big rock n roll joke and started singing.

I am now proud to say that I believe that am the first (and only?) person in rock n roll history who got Aerosmith to sing the Kiss song, "I wanna rock n roll all night, and party every day!" on nationally broadcast television. 

Judging by Steven Tyler's initial reaction, I am sure I will be the last too. 

Later on, when the show was over, walking out of the dressing room, sans wrestling mask, the Masked DJ (in real-life then mild-mannered Mike Rogers) overheard Joe Perry insisting to their manager, "Now THAT'S the kind of interview we wanna do in Japan!"

I have no doubt in my mind that if you ask the Aerosmith guys today if they remember singing "Rock n Roll All Nite" on Japanese TV with the Masked DJ, they would absolutely. No doubt about it.

I remember and will never forget either. It's not everyday Aerosmith sings Kiss songs on national TV!

-------------
Thanks to Lisa Mychols for reminding me about this. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

HOLLYWOOD EXCLUSIVE! The Script for the "Return of the Hulk" Hollywood Blockbuster 2020!

HOLLYWOOD EXCLUSIVE! 

It has been revealed to this writer (from anonymous sources who cannot be named) the Top Secret and Exclusive Story and script for the upcoming $550 million dollar budget "Return of the Hulk" film set for theatrical release in early 2020.

Here is the story:

Bruce Banner, feeling lonely, embarrassed, and dejected after the miserable failure of that crap Marvel Movie Club: The Incredible Hulk feature film in 2008 
(IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0800080/?ref_=fn_al_tt_4) hadn't been seen in public for years. 

During this time, Bruce, chasing Dr. Elizabeth "Betty" Ross's tail for over 5 decades, finally gives up on her and starts drinking heavily to wash away his feelings of being a complete failure in life. 

One fine day, Bruce Banner is sitting at home on Sunday morning watching an NFL game and drinking Buttwiper beer with his friends and their girlfriends. He is amazed at just how everybody is so freaking enthralled with NFL football players. He can't believe it. 

Neither can I.

So, he decides that he can redeem himself if he becomes a pro-NFL player. He goes out to try out for the position of middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears... Because he is so nervous, he fails to turn into the Incredible Hulk everytime he's put into the scrimmage and he gets his ass run over by guys three times his size. 

Finally, Bears coach, Dick Buttkiss, cuts him from the squad.

Soon after, Banner gets so pissed off at himself that he turns into the Hulk and wrecks the locker room where he is spotted and picked up by a scout from the Green Bay Packers!



The Packers sign the Hulk. That year, the Packers, with the help of the Incredible Hulk, who had 627 interceptions, 2879 unassisted tackles, 97 blocked extra point and field goal kicks, and 278 TDs in his rookie year, go to the Super Bowl.

Just before the Superb Owl, Betsy calls Bruce at home to ask him if he's going to the big game. Bruce says he will and promises to meet her there right after... But now Bruce really knows he's in love with Betsy and she loves him, I mean, Bruce, er, the Incredible Hulk... Whatever...

Bruce decides that when they win the game that day, he will give the Super Bowl ring to Betsy and finally admit to her who he really is and then he is going to ask her to marry him. Happy ending, right? 

Not so fast!

Just before kickoff, while sneaking into the locker room to change, Bruce actually spots Betsy in the stands waving to him and blowing kisses before the big game, he is so happy and gleeful that he fails to turn into the Hulk for the entire first three and 1/2 quarters of the game. 

When coach Buttkiss threatens the Hulk with a suspension and a $1500 fine, for freaking not even showing up to the game, and Bruce hears this and has a cow (realizing he might not get a Super Bowl ring to give) he turns into the Incredible Hulk, and joins late in the game.

There are 3 seconds left on the clock. The Denver Raiders have a chippy shot 15-yard-field goal to kick. The Hulk runs onto the field as the crowd goes wild!...

Just as they are about to kick, the Hulk glances at Betsy in the stands and his heart melts....  He feels like he is turning back into Bruce Banner! 

Can he hold on being the Incredible Hulk just long enough to block just one more field goal and win the big game?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Queen of Rock n Roll is Dead. Long Live the Queen! Kak Channthy from The Cambodian Space Project!


The Queen of Rock n Roll is Dead. Long Live the Queen! 

Kak Channthy from The Cambodian Space Project has passed away. Damn! I've been pushing this band hard for the last 3 or 4 years.

Recently, even Iggy Pop on his BBC show has picked up on them and was pushing them big time. It is rumored that Iggy agreed to appear in a Cambodian Space Project movie as music video - as well as an Iggy Pop Tribute Compilation!

Kak san! You were/are the best! God bless you our love!

The reports of her death: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/breaking-kak-channthy-cambodian-space-project-frontwoman-killed-crash-38

The Cambodian Space Project -- Have Visa No Have Rice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1oG4x2Y_HE


Cambodian Space Project - House of the Rising Sun: 


Goodbye, dear. you are the Asian Rock n Roll Legend!

1978 Los Angeles Punk: Black Flag & the Rotters.

Just a quick post. Hope it inspires you.... 40 years ago, I played in a one-hit wonder late 1970s L.A. punk band called The Rotters. We h...