A first-hand journal of The Reducers' Japan Tour 2004.

The Reducers at the El 'N Gee Club, New London, CT

June 2004 Archives

Tokyo July 1 - Thursday

Posted by Peter

A new day dawns...actually the sun came up hours ago. I'm getting back into my regular sleep routine - nodding out as late as I can and sleeping until I'm late for something!

Yesterday was a fun day off, and a good chance to relax and ponder what's been going on here for the past week. I had one realization - when I had been attempting to describe the show we did the other night at the Fiddler, I had said there was nothing I could really compare it to, but I rethought this and realized that I was thinking about it in the wrong way. I was trying to compare it to a gig we had played, but the easier comparison is to a gig that I've been to as an audience member. So, for instance - it was like seeing the Jam at the Rat in Boston with Hugh, Steve and Martha back in 1977. That's how good it was, but I was viewing it from the opposite side of the stage, if you can follow that. And, in the end, it's all about the feeling that I was trying to describe when I wrote the lyrics to "Pub Rocking" - "this is the way it should be, dancing to a rhythm that was stupidly good." I'm glad to have caught that feeling again - strange that it came all these years after, and so far away from home.

Enough with all that! Today a new adventure awaits us, and a new club will host the Reducers tonight. I think the plan is for Hugh and me to change guitar strings and do a bit of maintainance on `em - they've taken a beating on this trip! Maybe run through some songs in our room, using the mini-amps that I brought over with us.

Everyone's up now. Steve and Tom are parked in front of the hotel TV, watching the Yankees-Sox game! Boston was up 2-0, but the Yanks have tied it up and are now threatening to take the lead. It's 11 am our time, so this game is being played at 10 pm in what is yesterday by our thinking. Ooops...Sheffield just drove in a run to put the Yanks up! A gloom descends over the Reducers rhythm section.

Last night Hugh went out to dinner with a friend, and Richard spent some time alone, downloading the photos and some of the video footage he's recorded. (We got a late night preview and it all looks fantastic!) Steve, Tom and I went out and had a beer in the nearby park, which we now refer to as "Tom's Park," since he feels so at home there. Then we wandered down the street and discovered Sonny's - Tokyo's Dutch Tavern!! Tiny place, wooden bar, sports memorabilia and the Yomouri Giants playing the Tigers on TV! We stayed for a short while before heading back to get Richard and go out for dinner. The Dutch-like atmosphere was not extended to the cost of our stay - a 500 yen seating charge had been added to each of our bills, resulting in a roughly $10 per beer total! (Hmmmmm.......this gives me an idea for when I get home!)

We're having a blast, but we miss everyone at home. I hope this site is as much fun for you all as it is for us! Thanks for all the responses - it's like getting the morning mail and having letters from friends!

Uh-oh...."Godzilla" has just put the Yankees up another run. All is silent.

Posted by Peter on June 30, 2004 at 10:16 PM EDT | Comments (5)

Thursday, July 1?

Posted by Hugh

My eyes popped open at 5:30, so I went with it. Did some Tai Chi in the park near our hotel, and walked around the neighborhood. I've got this silly song forming in my head - something about Tokyo Bay. We`ll see...

Yesterday was quite relaxing and enjoyable as the Reducers played tourist once again. We spent the afternoon tracking down the guitar store neighborhood - a must for any Reducer road trip. We found it and were suitably blown away by the vast variety and priciness of vintage guitars here. Visited about ten stores on the same block, although none matched the guitar store we visited in Osaka. That place was like a museum or more like a shrine to the guitar. He had his most expensive models in a glass case on display with bottles of very expensive looking whiskey - Gibsons, Gretsches, Zemaitises, Fenders, Martins - all prime stuff, some of them going for up to $40,000.00, but most in the under $10,000.00 range. Still too rich for the likes of us. But fun to look at, if you like that kind of thing.

I went off with my friend Hiroko for dinner. She was an intern at the Magnet School a few years ago. She took me to this incredibly fancy restaurant in the Omote-Sando area, which is like the Japanese version of the Champs Elysee/5th Avenue. Very upscale. The restaurant we went to is devoted to the art of cooking tofu, which was a little disconcerting at first, but it was actually quite fascinating, and some of it tasted quite good. We must have eaten about 30 dishes in succession, all served in this private dining room presided over by a young woman in traditional dress, who explained each dish and how to eat it in great detail, but of course in Japanese, so I was clueless. We had two kinds of tea, and more forms of tofu than I ever imagined possible, as well as rice garnished with pickled minnows, shu mai, beef boiled in tofu milk with sweet mustard, seaweed salads, some kind of smoky custard, a tamarind? sorbet, and a bunch of things I can't pronounce or even describe. I gamely tried each dish and Hiroko was very understanding when I didn't finish every bite. I also learned some more Japanese. For example, toh-te-moh oh-ee-shee, means it tastes good. Mostly it did. Anyway, it was good to catch up with Hiroko and have some more cross-cultural experiences. She's coming to the final show on Saturday.

Tonight we play at Statto, which has been described to us as a 'party style' club, whatever that means. I believe we're playing with "Rockin' Enocky" the one-man band. Should be interesting.

Tonight, my good friend, Hisashi, is coming down from Sendai, about 8 hours away, to see the show. Hoping for a good night.

Posted by Hugh on June 30, 2004 at 08:43 PM EDT | Comments (3)

Set List Fiddler, Tokyo 6/29/04

Posted by rpb

Here's the set list for The Fiddler show. There were lots of impromptu changes as the night went on so this is our best reconstruction of what actually got played.

Set 1:
Thought I Heard A Heartbeat
Three Bells In A Row
Bums I Used To Know
That'll Be Just Fine
Life In The Neighborhood
Baby Come Back
Let's Go
Maximum Depression
Shake Some Action
Out Of Step
Company Man
Heart Of The City

Set 2:
Don't Mind Rockin'
Black Plastic Shoes
Catch That Train
Little Punky Hood
Subject To Change
Fine, Fine, Fine
Hurt By Love
Dirty Water
Capital Radio (with Shintaro on lead vocal!)
So Civilized

Set 3:
San Antone
First Time
Cruise To Nowhere
Take The K.A.S.H
Get Away
Spaghetti Western #6
Pub Rocking
99 1/2
Your Mother
Secret Agent Man
96 Tears
She Does It Right
Peace, Love & Understanding

Encore 1:
Complete Control
Something Better Change

Encore 2:
Route 66

Posted by rpb on June 29, 2004 at 11:39 PM EDT | Comments (1)

Wednesday - June 30 11 am

Posted by Peter

Well, it's going to be hard for me to describe last night's gig at the Fiddler. For one thing, my expectations for this show were not very high to begin with. And once we arrived at the place, my worst fears appeared to be confirmed. The rude guy behind the bar suggested that since it was our first time in Tokyo and we were an unknown commodity at the Fiddler, we'd probably be playing for "a couple of our regulars." Then he enquired as to the name of our band - he had no idea who was even playing that evening!

Fast forward a few hours, during which time we ate, drank and got set up and sound checked, and everything had changed! The mood was positive, the room was rapidly filling to capacity, and the band was psyched to have a good time. And what a time it was! Three wildly careening sets of loose, rough rock and roll, egged on by the ecstatic, jam-packed crowd of Japanese kids. I don't really know what to compare it to, but it brought to mind very early shows at the El n Gee Club. It's hard not to get emotional in thinking about, or trying to describe the response, and once again I don't really have much to compare it to.

The crowd was absolutely nuts! With us every single moment of every single somg, despite forgotten chords, missed notes, tuning disasters (I'm guilty on all three counts,) and general mayhem. None of it mattered - everyone was just on some different level. Musical perfection was out of the question, but rock & roll nirvana was attained again and again and again! I use this description a lot regarding this trip - it was mind blowing. From our vantage point on stage, all we could see was a mass of ecstatic, raving Reducer maniacs!

Single images stood out - an adorable tiny Japanese girl go-go dancing furiously on a bench against the wall to my right,... a group of three young guys tucked into the furthest corner, once again on a bench above the heaving crowd, screaming the chorus of "Pub Rocking" and punching the air with all six fists,... the solid mass of grinning, lunatic faces directly in my face all night, singing along and gesturing "more, more, more!" Etc. etc. etc. I could go on and on.

None of us will ever forget the night we played at the Fiddler! Richard claims it was the best Reducer show ever, and I can see what he means. There's no way we'll top this show, either in the remainder of our time here in Japan, or anytime else. Maybe we can try, and I'm certain that we will, but it seems unlikely.

After the show there was some ugliness regarding, (what else?) money (some things transcend cultural differences I guess). But I was determined not to let anything spoil what to this point has been the easy high point of this trip of ours. It's all been a gas, but last night was a once in a lifetime evening. Richard took photos and video, and I snapped occasional shots from the stage - I hope they come out so I'll be able to show people the phenomenal scene that was taking place before my eyes for a few hours last night. I'll say it again - I will never forget it!

Punk rock Kings?....I'm not sure. Pub Rocking?...most definitely!!!!

Today we have off, and it's raining unfortunately. The weather here has been sunny, hot and very muggy, but today the skies have opened up. We'll attempt to do some more exploring in this huge city. Tonight I'm going to try and get us into a baseball game. The Yomouri Giants are out of town, as are the Swallows. Howvever, Tokyo's third team, the Nippon Ham Fighters(??) are playing in the Sapporo Dome, so the game will go on despite any bad weather. Now, we just have to locate the place!

We miss everyone at home, and look forward to returning to familiar faces and routines, but as you can tell, this has been an incredible adventure that we're on.

ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Peter on June 29, 2004 at 10:50 PM EDT | Comments (4)

The Fiddler last night

Posted by Tom

The gig at The Fiddler was a rock-em sock-em night. I had a good night, and I felt pretty good about the drums - it was a Yamaha kit that sounded pretty good for a kit that gets played every night by a different drummer.

The first set went great right off the bat - I thought we took right off. The audience just loved it. They were screaming and yelling - it felt great and I was smiling the whole time. After the first set I went out and did the "meet & greet," walking around to different tables saying hello. Everyone I met was just smiling and so happy. Sometimes language is a barrier, but we seemed to cut right through.

As time went on after the second set the audience got wilder and by the end of the third set it was just crazy time. The screaming and yelling went right through me - it was deafening. The place had a pulse and they wouldn't let us leave the the stage.

Finally we called it a night and I went out for a little more of the "meet & greet."

Playing a three set night when the conditions are right is something I think we do best. Sometimes a one set showcase gig is a little tension filled, but shows like this give us a chance to stretch out, show what we do and find that groove.

It was a great night, probably one of the best we've ever had. It was pretty exciting stuff.

Posted by Tom on June 29, 2004 at 09:50 PM EDT | Comments (2)


Posted by rpb

It's tough to describe the show last night without sounding like we're laying it on a little thick, but I promise that there's no exageration - last night was probably the most exciting Reducers show that I've ever seen.

As Hugh mentioned, things started off a little rough but there was nothing but joy once the music began, and the feeling in the room became overwhelmingly positive. The crowd just couldn't get enough and their knowledge of the band's repetiore (both covers and originals) was staggering. The enthusiasm of the crowd was the key element to the success of the evening. The unrestrained exuberiance of these kids was a sight to behold. Flailing arms, pogo dancing beaming faces were the order of the evening and it went on for almost 3 hours (with a couple of breaks for rehydration).

The sound system in the place left a lot to be desired. We just put the vocal microphones through the PA and left the band to use their amplifiers to fill the sound in the room. Kind British expact (and Fiddler regular) Julian really helped to get the the PA in order and I made sure that the blend between PA and live instruments worked. There was a little squealing every now and then, but for the most part I think it sounded good. There were no facilities to record the sets on audio tape, but I did get lots of video footage. We watched a few minutes last night and I think it conveys some of the frenzy of the evening. It'll be great when we finally get to share some of it with everyone.

We've got the day off and I think I'm going to try to hit the Disk Union, yet another completely amazing record shop I sniffed out in Shinjuku. 7 floors (SEVEN FLOORS!!) of great stuff. I might need another suitcase.

Posted by rpb on June 29, 2004 at 09:35 PM EDT | Comments (3)

The Big One

Posted by Hugh

I'm sure I won't do this justice, but perhaps with the viewpoints of all parties combined you will get a sense of what yesterday, and especially last night, was like.

Before I get into it, I want to mention something that has been implied in many entries, but perhaps not stated explicitly enough. The hospitality that our hosts have demonstrated time and again, in ways both large and small, has without a doubt, been the most moving aspect of this whole experience for me (and perhaps for all of us.) Fifi, Fink, Jimbo, and Sami, Tetsuya (aka Tachi), Cozy, Cohe, Shintaro, Masa, and many others whose names I would include here if I could remember how to pronounce them, have made us feel as if our well-being is the single most important thing in their lives right now. We have been guided with grace, understanding, humor and compassion through every step we take in this complex and exciting cross-cultural experience. I could go on, but I don't want to ramble too much.

Yesterday: I walked for an hour and a half this morning along this tree-shaded walkway that extends through the Tokyo neighborhood where we're staying (known as Hatagaya). I was listening to tapes and just taking in the daily routines of our Japanese neighbors. Very relaxing and enjoyable after being cooped up in a car all day yesterday. In the afternoon, we went up to the top of the Metropolitan Tower in Shinjuku (the central district). From there we could see Tokyo spread out forever in every direction - it never seems to end - with the outline of Mount Fuji presiding majestically over it all from a great distance. Breath-taking!...

Last night: Gig at The Fiddler - 3 sets at an authentic English Pub in the Heart of Tokyo!

The place smelled dank and puky to use Tom's words. The bartender was an A**HOLE from New Zealand who set the tone by saying that since it was our first gig there, we wouldn't be getting paid. He looked sort of like Gene Simmons from Kiss, but without the make-up - ugly? You bet. I ordered the Shepherd's Pie but got the Poughman's Lunch. It figures. Oh yeah, the equipment was for sh*t. Mostly solid state Peavey stuff. But Richard and this kind Brit, named Julian, taped together something workable. But that's not what this is really about.

The gig: By 8:45 the room was close to full. (Richard used the leverage of the nearly full house (100 people?) to get some kind of concession about the pay from the barkeep- like, OK we'll pack up our gear and leave! Richard rules!)
At 9:02 we went on. Fifi and Tachi introduced us. It started as a slow boil - Heartbeat. The rest of the night is kind of a blur for me, but here are some highlights that have stayed with me.

Richard fixed my amp so that I could get some more volume after the first set. The first set was sort of like the other two gigs. Strong audience response. Lots or energy and support. Then, right before the second set, they took out some tables and stools and made a small dance floor. Immediately it was packed. We started the second set with Don't Mind Rockin' Tonight and the place erupted - I mean it ERUPTED! And it stayed that way for two more sets plus a number of encores (I lost count).

Fifi and Tachi were the instigators, and the crowd pogoed madly, veering drunkenly as a single entity from side to side, back and forth, onto the stage(!), singing on every chorus, knocking over microphones repeatedly(Peter and Steve both took one in the teeth), knocking guitars out of tune, ecstatic over every pub rock number, making requests for Clash and Hippy Shake. Shintaro came up and sang Capitol Radio with us. It definitely ranks as the single most intense Rock and Roll experience I've ever had - like the ElnGee in our heyday. but triple that. No, quadruple that! Before the second encore the whole crowd was chanting our individual names, each for about five minutes it seemed - Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom....Steve Steve Steve...., etc...) Mind-blowing! (And Richard captured most of it on video!)

After the show, Jimbo told us to go mingle with the crowd, because Japanese people are shy even though they really want to talk to you. I just walked over to tables and people were just incredibly friendly and gracious, thanking me for an unforgettable experience and a precious memory (I told them it was unforgettable for me too, and that's the truth).

I'll leave the commentary about what happened next to others who were closer to the action, but for me, what I've just told you is a brief sketch of what I'll always keep and cherish.

More later.

Posted by Hugh on June 29, 2004 at 09:00 PM EDT | Comments (4)

Set List Pipe69, Osaka, 6/27/04

Posted by rpb

Here's the set list as performed in Osaka:

Don't Mind Rockin'
San Antone
Nothing Cool
I Call That Living
Fashion Of The Times
Fistfight At The Beach
Jackpot Fever
Kid's Game
Scared Of Cops
Bums I Used To Know
Life In The Neighborhood
Black Plastic Shoes
Hurt By Love
Out Of Step
Let's Go

Encore 1:
No Ambition
Something Better Change

Encore 2:
Pub Rocking
Head Kicked In

Now in a previous post you might remember that I mentioned something about the blissed out audience shouting "Punk Rock Kings...."? Well Hugh seems to think that they weren't shouting that at all, and were just asking for Pub Rocking as an encore.

Hmmm, "Puh-bra-king! Puh-bra-king!" or "Punk Rock Kings! Punk Rock Kings?"

I dunno, Hugh.

Posted by rpb on June 29, 2004 at 03:58 AM EDT | Comments (2)

Greeting from Tom

Posted by Tom

It's almost a week into the trip (well I guess we lost a day with travel) with a hectic beginning. I'm starting to settle into our new home and looking forward to a new adventure in Tokyo.

The food is an adventure. We've been pointing at pictures on menus to choose our food, but you must be careful - the pictures don't tell the whole story, but so far so good.

The audiences have been great at both gigs. Very enthusiastic, but most times they get real quiet while they anticipating the next song. Then when the song starts they're shouting and singing the choruses. It's quite exciting.

Posted by Tom on June 28, 2004 at 10:01 PM EDT | Comments (3)

Tuesday - June 29 pre-noon

Posted by Peter

Hey ho! It was fantastic to get out of Tokyo and see not only the countryside passing by on our long drives, but also the passing cities and roadside attractions. Unfortunately we missed seeing Mt. Fuji again, since it was already dark when we passed that point last night. Also the chance to get a small sample of life in Kyoto and Osaka was a priceless experience. The two cities appear very different, but both were fascinating. Kyoto, the original royal capital of the country was much less built up, less modern maybe. It still features lots of old architecture, including ancient temples and shrines. (We learned the difference!) Osaka on the other hand seems a huge modern city, with much more ethnic and cultural diversity than we have encountered here in Tokyo. (Maybe we just haven't found those neighborhoods here.) Now we are back at our home base in the capital, and it will be nice to be able to use some of our free days to explore diffent areas of this sprawling city. I think our plan for today is to take the subway back into the Shinjuku district and explore more it more thoroughly. Our first night there we were jet-lagged, overwhelmed and just to excited to take it all in with any efficiency. Information overload!! Today we can have a better look.

I'm looking forward to tonight's gig at the Fiddler, for a couple of reasons. It'll be good for us to be able to stretch out a bit, and play for a long time. Our sets so far have been of the "all killer, no filler" variety - wham bam! Tonight we can stroll through our vast catalog of covers and some originals we might ignore in a shorter set. For another thing, I'm hoping that the Fiddler might really be close to an english pub sorta setting! If so, then I'm going to feel right at home! Fish & chips and pints of Fosters!

We're all enjoying this web site as much as you all have. It's great, and it's great fun for us to feel in touch with everyone at home. Please continue to write into it, because we treasure any contact with our world at home! (Hopefully Steve & Tom will get in on the act!)

We'll let you know how the show goes tonight. Now it's off to Shinjuku!

Posted by Peter on June 28, 2004 at 09:21 PM EDT | Comments (6)

6/28 Tuesday Morning, Tokyo

Posted by rpb

We're back at the Tokyo hotel and the coffeee is delicious! It was like coming home when we arrived last night and we celebrated by getting comfortable with some refreshments from the 5th floor vending machines and some food from the burger joint down the block (Mos Burger - very delicious burger).

We're planning a little excursion to some new neighborhoods this afternoon but will return in the afternoon to prepare for the show tonight.

I've just tried to encourage both Steve and Tom to sit down at this thing and write a few notes but they're being a little shy. We'll see if a little more peer pressure will get them to sit down and write a few words for the people to see.

So how's my eye? Well it's very colorful (VERY colorful) and thanks for asking.

Just don't ask about my back...

Posted by rpb on June 28, 2004 at 08:34 PM EDT | Comments (0)

Things to remember

Posted by Hugh

Some things we learned by making mistakes:

Don't blow your nose in public, (Richard!) it's very rude.

Never pour your own drink. Let someone else do it.

In Osaka, for hello, it's mah-ay-doh. Thank you is oh-kee-nee. In Tokyo it's different.

Ee-kuh-zay means Let's Go in Japanese.

You count on your hand by putting fingers down (starting with your thumb) instead of putting them up.

Long haul back from Osaka, but we pulled in around 9 pm. Tonight we play three sets, mostly covers, at The Fiddlers in Tokyo, a British pub in the middle of Japan. Meanwhile we plan to go exploring.

More Later.

Posted by Hugh on June 28, 2004 at 08:08 PM EDT | Comments (3)

Tokyo - Monday June 28

Posted by Peter

Back in our Tokyo hotel now, after an all day journey from Osaka. Beautiful day for the drive.

The show last night went great! Another nearly full house, and they were with us the whole way. Singing along, pogoing(!) and completely into it. The temperature on stage was deadly, and it was hard to breath it was so hot, but we hung in and gave 'em a good set. Several in the crowd had taken the long drive down from Tokyo! Wow! Once again, we were called back for two encores, and decided against a third, due to exhaustion.

Once again, Firestarter preceeded us with a great set. Those guys are just a great band, and it's a pleasure knowing that we still have another show to play together. Also, they have been wonderful hosts to us on this trip to their country.

Osaka is a huge, teeming city, and the area where we played was the most active, crowded area of all. Our hotel was around the corner from the club, Pipe 69, and so we moved back and forth on foot. And, after the show, we once again all went out for eating, drinking, toasting, laughing and generally celebrating the evening with Firestarter and several new friends.

Another great couple of days, and two wonderful gigs under our belt. So far our time here has been great, and the reception we have received in Japan has far exceeded our expectations. Tomorrow night we play a different sort of affair - three sets at an english style pub. We'll all be in touch.

Posted by Peter on June 28, 2004 at 09:11 AM EDT | Comments (4)

June 28 Osaka 11:43m

Posted by rpb

It's the morning after the Pipe 69 gig in Osaka. Hugh and I spent a half hour searching out an internet cafe and ran into many nice people who managed to steer us in the right direction despite our obvious lack of language skills. (Hugh descriptive language - "Eeeenternet Kah-fay")

It was another winner of a gig last night for The Reducers. The crowd's excitement level built into a frenzy by the end of the set and I have documentation of the audience chanting "Punk Rock Kings! ... Punk Rock Kings!..." to lure the boys out for their encore. A rockin and very, very sweaty night! I'll leave it to Hugh to go into the details.

Now, regarding my physical state... I'm taking a little bit of a beating here but fighting back every step of the way. My right eyelid is a little black and blue as a result of "The Table Incident" from a few days ago, but I've been assured that the color suits me. More than one other Reducer has suggested eyeshadow for the left eye to complete my new fashion statement.

8 hour drive back to Tokyo today (oy!) and then we'll prepare for the gig at The Fiddler tomorrow. The Fiddler is an English Style pub and the plan is for The Reducers to play more relaxed sets with plenty of cover songs. The crowds will go nutty, I'm sure.

Apologies that I haven't been able to get photos through. If we aren't able to do it by the end of the trip I'll put together a comprehensive photo album right after we get back.

OK, I'm gonna go back toward the hotel. There's a record store next door that easily ranks as one of the best I've ever seen. Amazing picture sleeves, comprehensive stock of oft-overlooked artists and tons of things I've never seen before. I've got a yen to spend yen.

Posted by rpb on June 27, 2004 at 10:45 PM EDT | Comments (4)

Osaka - Party Town

Posted by Hugh

After a peaceful night (for some) in Kyoto, I explored the Imperial Palace garden (now a public park), watched some factory teams play baseball, and found a hidden lagoon in one corner of the park.

We hit the road again at 10:00 am, with only a few members of the entourage feeling a bit hungover. In the early afternoon we were treated to a tour of a famous Buddhist Temple called the Kiyomizu-Dera. A chance to be inspired by the architectural and natural beauty of Japan, and more photo opportunities as well.

When we got to Osaka around 3:30, we were immersed in party central - St. Mark's Place to the tenth power - mobs of young people (college kids, school kids, freaks, rockers, every ethnicity, everyone on display) everywhere, more clothing shops than I've ever seen in one place, discos, clubs, fast food, cafes, record stores (Time Bomb Records - record collector's dream - wish I had more time and money to spend there), loud music, mostly techno, blasting from every storefront, everything drenched in neon. What a scene.

Our club, Pipe 69, was a little smaller than Shelter, but with a similar vibe. Our hotel was right around the corner.

The gig:

Almost capacity crowd again, maybe 150 people? Hot, in spite of the AC, smoky with not much ventilation. First band, Frantic Stuffs, loud and fast, just the way we like it. Guitar player had a Flying V. Second band was the Money Spyders, eccentric sixties sound with organ and heavy bass. They covered, Don`t You Just Know It, and California Sun. Room getting hotter.

Firestarter once again blazing through their set, adoring crowd went wild. Steve leaned over to me and shouted - These guys are a great band! Coming from Steve that means a lot coz he hates everything. Lots of young people in the audience. I get the sense that Firestarter are spearheading a renewed interest in Rock and Roll even among the techno generation. Impressive as hell!

Once again we tried to step up to the challenge. At least 100 degress F. on stage. Drenched in sweat after the first song. Exhausted by the third song. Running on fumes for the rest of the set, spurred on by the incredible energy of the crowd. Raucous, sometimes out of tune, sometimes sloppy playing, but the crowd still with us. First encore, didn't know if I could continue. Another song, staggering like a drunken man. Second encore, short of breath, but they still want more, demand more, I'm starting to see stars - we head for the dressing room, can't catch my breath, dehydrated big time. Thanks to Richard, I revive after fifteen minutes or so. What a night! Rest of the band heads out to a post gig party - I crash.

In the morning, Richard and I explored the neighborhood looking for this internet cafe (where I'm writing from right now) and discovered we were also in the middle of Osaka's red light district - ay ay ay. More Later.

Posted by Hugh on June 27, 2004 at 10:33 PM EDT | Comments (4)

Kyoto Sunday

Posted by Hugh

Some impressions since our arrival:

Many things are the opposite of what we know - like left side driving and walking, so it takes some getting used to.

Meals have many courses, lots of little dishes of things that everybody can try out.

The gig at Shelter:

Cozy from Rockbottom made two gigantic glossy banners with our name and logo on them to be displayed behind the stage. Way cool!

Jimbo from Firestarter setting up the aggressive marketing of Reducers/Firestarter/Rockbottom/Trio merchandise in the corner.

The sound engineers and stage managers were these two girls who were incredibly efficient and accommodating. Massive sound equipment for a room half the size of the ElnGee Club. A chest-high fence in front of the stage, which we didn't understand the need for, until later.

The first band was Trio - loud, angry, fast and exuberant. At first the crowd seemed kind of sedate. Standing in line for T shirts and CDs, polite applause, a few hoots, then utter silence. Is this a cultural thing?

Then Rockbottom came on - catchy melodies, Cheap Trick influence, Tetsuya on Rick Nielsen Hamer Guitar with great leaps and cool feedback between pickups. The Japanese answer to Keith Moon on drums - very complex and very fun to watch. The crowd getting more animated, the occasional pogo dancing - that's all there was room for in this packed space.

Finally, the band I've become a huge fan of - Firestarter! They virtually exploded onto the stage. From the moment they started to the moment they ended their well-deserved encore, the crowd went f*****ing crazy! Pogo dancing, moshing, swaying in time, singing along with every chorus, even stage diving. Certain songs - two of my favorites - She's Red, and I Don't Mind - brought shrieks of approval and more frenzied audience response. From where I was in the wings of the stage, I could see that this was a synergistic love fest. Amazing, unforgettable!

How were we supposed to follow this? But we did our best to step up, and Firestarter's crowd embraced us too. Incredible energy. Autographs and good wishes after the show. A great night. More later.

Posted by Hugh on June 26, 2004 at 08:33 PM EDT | Comments (2)

Saturday/Sunday - midnite Kyoto

Posted by Peter

Okay! - Just got dropped off by taxi at our rather plush hotel here in Kyoto after another night out "dining" with Fifi, Fink, Jimbo and more new friends in the heart of this amazing city. I won't go into too much detail about dinner, but sushi, pig's ears and many, many beers were consumed!

The ride down here was an all day affair, but fascinating. Saw the Pacific Ocean for a stretch of the drive, and would have seen Mt. Fugi if it hadn't been enshrouded by clouds. Stopped at several "Hello Stations" for refreshment. Listened to great music - Pirates, Lew Lewis, Ian Gomm, etc. All provided by Fifi.

The show last night was unbelievable! It took place in a great club in the very happening Kitazawa neighborhood. By the time the doors were scheduled to open there was a long line waiting in the rain! The club soon filled to what looked to be capacity, although they say that it will be more packed when we play there again next weekend!

Things happen early here - opening band was on at 7:30 and the whole show was done not much later than 10:00. We were preceeded by three bands, and were knocked out by all of them. Trio opened, followed by Rock Bottom, who did one song that is still lodged in all of our heads. Then Firestarter, who are the reason we are here to begin with - they were fantastic, and got the crowd going! By the time we went on, everyone was in a good mood, and we went down a storm, if it's okay for me to say that (and if not - there's video to prove it).

The sight of a roomful of people singing along to your songs is always a thrill, but when it's a half a world away....well, that's a real mind-fuck! (Excuse me, I mean head-trip!) After doing two encores, and deciding against a third, we settled in to what turned out to be a rather bleary after-gig party. Let me just say that many large bottles of Kirin appeared, and by the time we were all done, they had disappeared. After such a great night, the great thing was to know that we were scheduled to be back at the same place in another week. It'll be a blast!

So far, this whole thing has been a blast, and we're all just enjoying the wonderful ride. Tomorrow night we play in nearby Osaka - Japan's second largest city. From what we hear it'll be a rowdier crowd. I look forward to it with the utmost glee!

We'll keep updating this thing, so check back in. Until tomorrow.......


Posted by Peter on June 26, 2004 at 12:47 PM EDT | Comments (2)

Shelter, Tokyo 6/25/04 Set List

Posted by rpb

Don't Mind Rockin
San Antone
She's Having A Meltdown
I Call That Living
Fistfight At The Beach
Jackpot Fever
Bums I Used To Know
Scared Of Cops
Life In The Neighborhood
Black Plastic Shoes
Hurt By Love
Out Of Step
Let's Go

Encore 1
Pub Rockin'
Peace, Love & Understanding

Encore 2
Get Out Of Denver

Posted by rpb on June 26, 2004 at 05:40 AM EDT | Comments (1)

Saturday, June 26 7pm

Posted by rpb

Wow - what a few days it has been. We've arrived in Kyoto and have just finished checking into the hotel.

The first show last night went over better than any of us could have hoped. The boys played great, the crowd was singing along, jumping up and down, and having a great time. I was stuck behind the sound board taking pictures and shooting (shaky) video, but I think I'm going to put the cameras aside for a few minutes for each of the next shows and get down into the crowd like the Reducers fan I am.

Now in a previous post I mentioned some misadventure...

The only downer of the night was that I tripped while shooting video at the after-show party and my forehead came into unfortunate contact with a table. I was more embarrassed than hurt, but a big bump quickly rose on my forehead. My thoughts soon turned to my lack of Japanese Emergency Room vocabulary (my guide book only mentions "nukanaide kudasai" which translates to "I don't want it extracted" - - yikes!) and I was going to manage this bothersome little crisis.

Luckily there was plenty of ice available and I applied it liberally for the next hour or so. So how does it look now? Amazingly my forehead shows minimal to no signs of the accident, although it seemed certain that one half of my head would be black and blue. Road scars! I've got road scars!

So despite that little bit of drama, things are going really, really well.

Tonight we stay in Kyoto, have dinner, drink and sleep.

Tomorrow we sight-see, drive to Osaka and rock!

Posted by rpb on June 26, 2004 at 04:51 AM EDT | Comments (1)

Friday Night Shelter Show

Posted by Martha

Hi everyone - had a call from Peter early this afternoon - it was 2:00 a.m.+ tomorrow morning over there - he said the show was a blast! Sold out, wall to wall people, and when they started playing everyone sang along, they knew all the words!! Peter said that the show was great, the band played really well and the audience was amazing -- and if he said that, you know it was really good!! Also, he said that Richard got the whole thing on video - yay! Now they are sleeping, have to get up early to head for Kyoto, which is a day off touring on their way to Osaka.


Posted by Martha on June 25, 2004 at 08:02 PM EDT | Comments (2)

Friday, Noon 6/25/04

Posted by Peter


This has already been a rather mind-blowing experience for all of us, and we really haven't gotten started yet! We were met at Narita Airport by Fifi and Jimbo, who then accompanied us by train to our hotel. Once checked in, we went with them to the jaw dropping neon sprawl that is the Shinjuku district (Think of a bigger, brighter Times Square).

We arrived at our seventh floor restaurant where, once our Converses were all removed, we were greeted by two members of Rock Bottom - another band on tonight's bill at the Shelter. We allowed our hosts to do the ordering, and the table quickly filled with beer steins and plate after plate of scrumptious foods. After it became apparent that certain members of our touring party were less than adequate with chopsticks, some forks were procured and the eating continued in earnest. Drinking, story-telling, laughing, comparing musical faves, drinking kept going long after we'd eaten our fill.

After two hours of bonding with everyone, (oh yes - at one point Fifi's brother Fink joined us at the table) we called it a night and returned to our hotel - a quick two stop train ride to the Hatagaya Station. We were all tired, after a full 24 hour day of travelling, but we were revitalized enough by the evening's entertainment to make a few stops at the beer vending machine before nodding out. (We have TV's in our room, but there's little on that doesn't seem confusing and/or ridiculous.)

A fantastic first night in Japan! It's almost embarrassing how enthusiastic everyone is about our being here. We're psyched to play tonight, and I think we're gonna give 'em our best!

Stay tuned!

Oh yes! A big happy birthday to my little brothers, David and Todd. From half a world away!

Posted by Peter on June 24, 2004 at 11:03 PM EDT | Comments (6)

Good Morning Tokyo

Posted by rpb

It's just about 9:45 Friday morning and we're all getting past our first night of sleep. Yesterday's travel was exhausting, but we're all feeling great and can't wait to explore. In fact, Hugh and I took a little walk around the neighborhood of the hotel this morning and only got lost once!

Spirits were high last night as we went out for dinner and drinks with the fellas from Firestarter and Rockbottom. These guys know how to have a good time!

Sound check is at 5pm this afternoon, show time is 9 and the band is readier than ready.

Internet access in the hotel is limited to a common computer so I'm not sure that I'll be able to get photos and video to the web site as easily as I had hoped. Still, we'll keep on writing and keeping everyone up to date.

Posted by rpb on June 24, 2004 at 08:51 PM EDT | Comments (3)

Safe Arrival!

Posted by Hugh


We passed over the frozen tundra above Hudson Bay on our way East, I mean West. The movies sucked, the food was Ok and the flight attendant gave the boys two beers at a time. What's not to like?

First evening in Tokyo with members of Firestarter and Rockbottom. It was like discovering long lost brothers: "Oh you like Ducks Deluxe too? Great!"

After a fantastic meal without shoes and countless toasts of Kampai! we stumbled off to bed.

Last night we drink. Tonight we rock!

Posted by Hugh on June 24, 2004 at 08:36 PM EDT | Comments (2)

Here We Go...

Posted by rpb

Here I am in Brooklyn just a few short hours away from meeting up with the boys at JFK. Most of you out there don't know me, but I'll make a quick introduction. I'm Richard, I like the Reducers and I'm going to Japan!

I will be your eyes and ears for this trip as I make every attempt to document every misadventure and musical utterance. Keep an eye out for updates here and keep your fingers crossed that we have a nice easy time with Internet access.

Let's Go!

Posted by rpb on June 23, 2004 at 09:51 AM EDT | Comments (4)


Posted by Hugh

It's 6:00 am as I groggily type in my first test entry. I'm almost packed, and ready. Just finishing up packaging some Dogbite CDs to bring as presents. I hardly slept last night. I guess I'll sleep on the plane.

Hasta luego,


Posted by Hugh on June 23, 2004 at 06:03 AM EDT | Comments (2)

New London 6/22/04

Posted by Peter

Okay,...so the idea is that we're hoping to file regular updates from our visit to Japan on this "blog" thing that Michael D. has been kind (and savvy) enough to set up for us. Hopefully accompanied by photos!! So, if anyone would like to keep up with our travels and adventures in the land of the rising sun....check in here regularly!

We're jazzed out of our minds by the whole idea of this little tour - it's a thrill to know that people half a world away seem excited by our imminent arrival in their country. Preparations have gone smoothly, and are nearly complete! (I'd better start packing!) We head to JFK first thing tomorrow, and fly eastwards at 2:20! More to come! Stay tuned!! -Peter

Posted by Peter on June 22, 2004 at 08:43 PM EDT | Comments (4)


Posted by McD

You are reading the initial posting to a web blog that will be used to document the 2004 tour of Japan by The Reducers. Firestarter, which helped to co-ordinate the tour, will be playing at three of the gigs. Here is the complete tour schedule:

You can find the latest details about the tour (in Japanese) at this site. A rough translation to English can be found via this link.

So, spread the word to anyone you know who will be in Japan between June 25th and July 3rd.

Posted by McD on June 12, 2004 at 05:32 PM EDT | Comments (0)

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