Udo are one of Japan's oldest promoters, and tend to specialise in rock dinosaurs, such as Santana, Eric Clapton and Aerosmith. On this occasion, I was lucky enough to get an invite to The Who at the Budokan on 17 November, 2008, I think, which meant that I had pretty good seats as well. I took Barney Boytim along with me, and he had a great time too.
This pass is from 1995, when I was scheduled to interview Southside Johnny in Wolverhampton. Unfortunately, he pulled out of the interview because, apparently, he was too tired, so the promoters gave me a pass anyway. He was playing at a Bruce Springsteen convention at Wolverhampton Civic Hall, presumably seen as the next best thing to The Boss himself! Having said that, it was a great show.
I should dislike this band intensely, as their form of power pop is something I'd avoid at all costs. However, having interviewed this Canadian band a couple of times, and seen them live three times, they're such a good bunch of lads that I've warmed to their music. If only more bands could be as helpful as these guys.
I interviewed KT Tunstall backstage at the Assembly in Leamington Spa, in the trailer that Tammy Wynette used to use for touring. She was a great interviewee and very friendly. The show was pretty good too, especially as I had a photo pass for the first three numbers.
Crystal Castles at the Roundhouse was quite a full-on gig and, to be honest, not really my cup of tea. However, I interviewed Nathan backstage before taking my place with the photo pack to attempt to get some pictures, an almost impossible task from the side of the stage with limited lighting.
This was my first backstage pass, at Cropredy Festival in 1995, so I was a bit nervous, especially when I was suddenly offered an on-the-spot interview with Fairport Convention's Martin Allcock. I'm not sure who was more embarrassed about my inability to react to the situation, but I know that it seemed like the longest five minutes of the entire festival for me!!
I interviewed the lead singer of Brahman as part of The Daily Yomiuri's preview for Fuji Rock Festival in 2009. He was a good guy, and invited me to join him for an all night drinking session at Fuji. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to meet up as I had to leave immediately after Brahman finished their set. This guest pass was for a show at Studio Coast, in Shin-Kiba, Tokyo, on 1 July 2009, and was an amazing gig, mainly because of the crowd. I don't think I've seen such a riotous crowd, definitely quashing any myths about polite Japanese audiences.
I heard about Bonnie Pink in about 1998 from one of my students at Shibuya Higashi Guchi Nova who worked for Space Shower TV (an MTV-like channel). More than 10 years later, I got to interview Bonnie, and she was charming. This show was at Akasaka Blitz on 30 July 2009, and was an excellent gig.
I interviewed Beck over the phone from his home in Los Angeles, and he was very interesting, with one of the quotes he gave me ending up on the Rolling Stone website. This guest pass was for his show at NHK Hall, Shibuya, Tokyo, on 26 March, 2008 or 2009.