Hi Steve. Hope you are well. A few things… Do you tire of people asking you questions about Japan? (Apologies for asking this, because there’s one or two coming up…) And, as someone who schlepped up to every early gig that I could, the first couple of albums had a profound effect on me musically and I continue to listen to them regularly. When was the last time you listened to AS and OA? Also, while I’m aware there’s some dislike of these albums in band circles, do you not carry a small debt of gratitude to them? That without AS and OA, there wouldn’t have been the rest of the catalogue? Cheers Paul

Gratitude in the sense that the studio recording learning curve began with them, you have to start somewhere … but musically they were somewhat premature in our lives as musicians and many of the tracks lack focus, taking a stab at various different musical influences with no real follow through. There are a few tracks which shine through as an indication of where we were heading but the majority are more a case of wanting to sound like a band that can play their instruments rather than creating something with any depth, which was down to our age and wanting to prove ourselves, as well as inexperience, (although I can understand why some people would enjoy them for that very reason, but it’s subjective). I also feel that the production was wrong, should have been more edgy, because our influences at the time were more in line with American punk, and at that age had we teamed up with the right kind of producer steering the recordings with a bit more imagination then perhaps something better might have emerged. I’ve not listened to them for many, many years but it’s not something you forget.

London 1978 (photo by Günther Rakete)

JAPAN 1978-photo by Gunther Rakete


Hi Steve, being a drummer myself, I’ve always felt really amazed by your drumming, your unique beats and rhythmic constructions for songs. Have you ever practised on a regular basis? Any favourite drum books? And any posture problems due to playing drums, ever? Lots of respect and admiration here. Your drumming has always inspired me. Best regards, all the way from Brazil. Edu

Thanks very much for the compliment.  I used to play virtually every day when I first started out, not so much practicing drums as such, more playing within the band and coming up with patterns. I didn’t have access to any drum books so it was a case of listening or watching and figuring out how things were done. I guess I compromised on technique by jumping straight into things in that way and then adapted my abilities accordingly. I don’t think I’ve had any posture issues due to drumming, (perhaps I would have had I not started using drum stools with back support), but I never had great posture to begin with.

In rehearsals 2001 (photo by I. Chavez)

Steve Jansen rehearsal 2001

Hi Steve. As an avid collector of your work , both music, and photography, i wonder , do you collect anything obsessively ? Is the `collecting`of your own personal ephemera (scarves, hats, old instruments etc …) a source of bemusement or something you can understand , assuming you collect yourself ? Kind regards Craig x

I’m not the collecting type, I accumulate rather than collect but will jettison en mass. I’d say space is more important to me than possessions.

Tender Extinction is a very beautiful album and has been the soundtrack of my life for the last few months. I really enjoyed the fact you decided to sing on it. I read you didn’t particularly agree that you had an interesting voice but I know a lot of people who do and to me it adds something to the album, making it more personal maybe. It definitely adds to the collection of vocal textures the album represents. I wondered if you had taken photos of the album sessions? It would be interesting to see the different vocalists in action. Assuming there were such things as sessions or did these collaborations happen via email whereby you’d send them the finished instrumental parts and they would add their own contribution separately? I’m also very grateful that you invited Perry Blake to appear on Her Distance. All the Best, R.

Thanks for letting me know you enjoy ‘Tender Extincton’, it’s very much appreciated. The entire album was made virtually by exchanging audio files so I’ve no photographs of work in progress. I think it’s a great method for musicians and vocalists to take their time to attain the performances they’re happy with, provided they have the facilitates to self-record, and it’s easy to go back and fourth so you don’t have to go with the initial ideas. I haven’t met Perry since we worked together in the early 2000’s, I’ve not met Nicola since we worked together on her Mandalay project some 30 years ago, and I’ve never met Melentini. Thomas and Tim I meet more frequently but not during the recording of ‘Tender Extinction’. That might seem odd to some but I think a lot of us like working this way.

Hello Steve… Could you pls tell us more the photo sessions with Sheila Rock? You shared some photos from her with you before. They were looking like not a planned session but “a friend photographed to another friend…” Her frames were more snapshot-esque than controlled proffesional business. At least, the photos you shared before like this type. Thanks a lot.

Sheila and I lived together for a number of years and occassionally I was the subject of her photo tests as she was broadening her skills into fashion. She would also provide images for certain publications around at the time who would have an interest. Our Weimaraner was coerced into joining in sometimes:

(self with Kaff – photo by Sheila Rock)

photo by Sheila Rock

Hello Steve! I absolutely adore your work, you’ve really inspired me to persevere more with playing music. Apologies if you’ve been asked this before, I was wondering about the context of this picture – what exactly was going on here? Many thanks :) x

Thank you!

Hmmm the photo … I think I was being guided to the front of stage to throw flowers out during an encore … that’s about all I remember. By the look on Mick’s face I’d say he may have been tempted to push me off.