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

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

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Peter's japan photos

Posted by Peter

Hey all! I've been a bad Reducer! It's taken me forever to get my photos from the tour up on the web site, but they're all there now, for your viewing pleasure! (Go to the "photo gallery" section of this site.) There's a lot of great pics, but the ones that really knock me out are the shots that I took from various stages during our shows over there - if you thought that we were exaggerating the response that we received over there, just have a look at those photos! That'll give you an idea of what we were dealing with! It was nuts, and those shots give a good indication of just how crazy it was, every show we played! (Man, I want to go back!) Once again, I recommend the "slideshow" format, since there are a lot of photos to get through. Hope that you all enjoy them! (Sorry that it took me so long!)

Check in here once in a while, since I know that other stuff will be surfacing - Steve & Hugh both took some photos, and maybe they'll make an appearance. Also, I know that Richard is going through his vast stock of video footage, and will be posting the occasional video online. (I hope everyone was able to view the "Get Out of Denver" video from the first Shelter show.) I've had a preview of the next potential posting - us doing "Capital Radio" with guest vocals from our pal Shintaro at the final show in Tokyo - maybe the third or fourth encore that night! It's great!

Looking through this batch of photos brings back such great memories, and reminds me of all the great new friendships that we were able to establish in Japan. We can never say enough about how great our hosts were - Jimbo, Fifi and Fink were with us every step of the way, and Firestarter's mysterious bassist Sammi was also a wonderful guy! (What is it with mysterious bassists?) On our final night in Tokyo he presented me with Japanese baseball cards, souvenier baseball stufff, and an impossible to find LP of demos that he did with Fink in the Raydios - a band they had between Teengenerate and Firestarter. Priceless! Thanks to all the guys in Firestarter - friends for life! But, also I realize that we met and got to know so many other great people in the short while that we were in Japan - it's just amazing! I miss them all!

Also - we'll have a limited supply of the Japanese tour t-shirts available soon! We should have them in a couple of weeks, and once they're gone, that's it, so if you want one.....stay tuned!

That's all for now.

Posted by Peter on July 19, 2004 at 02:08 AM EDT | Comments (3)

Monday, July 12 (post-Sailfest)

Posted by Peter

Whew! - A wild weekend in New London. The Reducers played on Saturday night and it all went great! We played two sets, with the spectacular Grucci fireworks in between. (I'll put up set lists tonight maybe.) The response was great, the weather was perfect and the band played really well - it was great to be playing through our own amps again! All the equipment that we used on our Japanese tour was fine, but not what we're used to. I love my Hiwatt amp, and aftrer 20 years playing through it, I know how to get a good sound! (It only took me about twelve years.) Speaking of Japan, we put the banner that Coggi made for us up behind us on stage on Saturday and people seemed to get a huge kick out of it. We were all still running on the adreneline that built up playing with Firestarter and the other great groups we played with in Tokyo and Osaka. (I wore my Firestarter t shirt!) Now we take some time off, after a very busy few weeks.

Richard came up from NYC for the show, and I hope that he'll be putting some of the photos that he took up on this site so everyone can see them. Also, I got my photos back from our time in Japan and I'll be sharing those any day now. They're great, and the shots I took of the audiences are amazing! (Tachi seems to be in every one of them!) Look for them soon!

As they say, the beat goes on!

Posted by Peter on July 12, 2004 at 09:56 AM EDT | Comments (3)

New London - July 7 - Wednesday

Posted by Peter

Just a quick note to let anyone reading this know that Michael has put up a whole mess of the photos that Richard took during the duration of our little tour. They're located at the posting labeled "photo gallery" and you can view them in groups of about a dozen, up to as many as twenty something! Since there are so many, I recommend using the "slideshow" function which puts up the photos one after another for about 3 seconds each.

Hopefully we can begin to caption them all, but even without that, you'll start to recognize the regular cast of charactors - our excellent hosts Jimbo, Fifi, Fink, and new friends Shintaro, Masa, and Tachi, etcetera, etcetera... And you can track the progress of Richard's beauty of a shiner (sometimes even 3 seconds can last too long)!

Stay tuned....my batch of photos, which will include numerous shots of the crowds, taken from the various stages we played, should be up on this site before too long.

We hope to see you all at Sailfest this Saturday evening!

Posted by Peter on July 07, 2004 at 09:25 AM EDT | Comments (0)

New London, July 6 early am

Posted by Peter

Okay....our most excellent fantasy dream life is now over, and it's time for me to shake the jet lag and starry eyes and get back to "real life" as I know it - in a few hours I'll be back flipping burgers on the grill at the Dutch. But, please believe me when I say that I will never forget what we just experienced in the past two weeks, nor will I ever forget the kindness of our host's over there! The people we have met in Japan have been the most gracious guides, and enthusiastic fans, and wonderful friends that we could ever imagine! And, as I cook burgers, and change kegs, and mop floors at the the Dutch in the upcoming weeks, the memories of our trip to Japan will make everything easier! Maybe it's the lack of sleep, but I feel like I'm floating on air! (Or maybe it's just the change from Sapporo to Budweiser!) I am still very glad in my heart! (Oops...yeah, it's probably the Bud!)

The real reason that I'm writing this at such an ill advised time is to assure everyone who's checking in that we're not through chronicling this trip! Many more photos and memories will be forthcoming, although it won't be from such exotic places as has been the case for the past two weeks. Richard is no doubt assembling video and photo montages as we speak! And, I'm sure we'll all check in with some newly remembered highlights. Even Mr. Pleasure!!

Stay tuned! And I hope we'll see you all at Sailfest this Saturday.

Posted by Peter on July 06, 2004 at 02:33 AM EDT | Comments (1)

Tokyo - July 4 - Sunday noon

Posted by Peter

Okay...it's time for our excellent adventure in Japan to end unfortunately. A long airplane ride is what lies ahead of us. Our time here has been unbelievable, and last night's gig was no exception. The Shelter was filled to the absolute maximum - literally wall to wall people. (The photos will prove this!) A great final night here. Firestarter played ferociously, and the opening band, Pay Channel were equally excellent. Crowd was with every band every moment of the night, and after we were done our set, and FOUR encores(!) the after show party continued for hours! We have so many new friends here, and it was hard not to try and thank each one of the individually. Two girls cried at the mention of our leaving today, and I am not making this up! We were blown completely away by the affection and respect that we have been treated with! It is time to leave for the airport, and so this will be our final message from Japan.

The Reducers love Japan, and have great new friends here!

Posted by Peter on July 03, 2004 at 10:44 PM EDT | Comments (1)

Tokyo - July, 3 - Saturday

Posted by Peter

Okay, our time here is winding down. We have one more show to play tonight - a return to the Shelter club , and a last chance to share the stage with our new friends Firestarter. Everyone seems particularly excited by the prospect of tonight's show, and we need to play our best! Many of the people who have come to the recent shows will be there again tonight - we're beginning to know most of the more enthusiastic fans. It should be a blast, and I imagine the after gig party will be particularly joyous.

As Mr. Pleasure has reported, we had a great time at the baseball game last night. Something so familiar, and yet so different! Sake and sushi....it ain't Shea Stadium! We sat in the bleechers, with most of the more vocal supporters. And how about this - to save on expenses, we brought a dozen tall Sapporo beers in with us! Once again...it ain't Shea.

Jimbo then accompanied us back to our neighborhood, stopping at one point in the eye-popping Shibuya, which on a busy Friday night was an unbelievable sight! We ended our evening together at a small bar where the woman "master" sat and talked with us, gave Richard a complimentary Suntory scotch, and generally made certain that her guests were taken care of. (Very different to the ways of the master at the Dutch Tavern!) We laughed, chatted, and enjoyed a few beers before Jimbo walked us back to our hotel and then departed on his scooter to navigate his own way home. Another great day in a trip which is already starting to turn into a wonderful, dreamlike memory.

We're going out to do some shopping. It's a beautiful day outside. (Despite this being the "rainy season," it has been sunny almost every day.) Today it doesn't feel too muggy either.

Tonight we rock...tomorrow we fly home.

Posted by Peter on July 02, 2004 at 10:15 PM EDT | Comments (2)

Tokyo - July 2, - nearly noon

Posted by Peter

Hey all - It's great to read all the responses to our postings, and to know that folks at home are following along with our crazy adventures here. Please continue to keep in touch - it means a lot to us!

Once again, the day starts with last night's Yanks-Sox game on the tele, broadcast live. They're deep into extra innings at this point, dead-locked at 3-3. Kinda nuts to be able to watch baseball over here, but very cool - a bit of normalcy in our otherwise bizarro-world!

Today sounds like it could be a good one. Record shopping is definitely on the agenda, and Steve may do some guitar trading. Then...a baseball game in nearby Yokahama! The Bay Stars play the Dragons...not exactly Yankees and Sox, but I bet it's going to be a blast! Our wonderful host Jimbo will guide and accompany us to the game, which is apparantly about 40 minutes by train. Jimbo has overseen all the logistics of our stay here - a none to easy task - and has done a fantastic job! If he cannot be there to personally show us when and where to go, someone will take his place. For instance, our record shopping jaunt will be guided by Coggi - the bassist from Rockbottom. He should arrive soon, although the after gig celebration went a little later than usual last night, so maybe everyone's off to a slow start.

The weather is beautiful, although pretty humid, our hotel is very comfortable, the people we've met are wonderful, and the food is delicious, if confusing. As we say in my country....what's not to like? (Oh yes,..beer vending machines - so civilized! Although I may have partaken in a few too many Asahis last night!)

The gig last night was another great time. Inevitably it did not match the joyous frenzy of the Fiddler gig, but it ended up nearly as wild. Once again, I snapped some photos of the crowd from the stage which I hope will give evryone an idea of what our vantage point was. Rockin' Enocky was cool, although our mysterious bassist may beg to differ! The Refugees were young, enthusiastic and cool. Great haircuts! Cute drummer! We played well and have another good gig under our belt. The Statto club was cool, and we rocked it!

Okay...this baseball game is getting pretty exciting - Jeter just ended up deep in the stands after making a great catch for the third out. Think I'll watch it a little more closely.

Over & out!

Posted by Peter on July 01, 2004 at 11:03 PM EDT | Comments (7)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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