The quick answer is that Billboard have a huge store of instruments at their live venues and it was a simple case of using what they had as opposed to going through the process of organising a separate process with TAMA. I don’t officially endorse TAMA but they are my drums of choice. Billboard had Yamaha only.
The photographer Thron Ullberg, renowned for his portraiture work, wanted to incorporate it into the shot. I think it breaks up the image and provides a good focal point and additional texture and perhaps makes people wonder why. Portrait photographers often incorporate props for these reasons.
Thanks for your continued support over many years, Hans. Regarding your second question the answer is no, you can rest assured you witnessed the very last tour of that kind. Regarding your first question, it’s not a question for me.
That’s a bigger question than you can imagine. I think the best thing I can do is point you in the direction of a recent book by Anthony Reynolds titled: Japan – A Foreign Place
The intent of the book was to shed some light on the workings of the band, in particular how the music was made. As that hadn’t been tackled before it was the reason I agreed to contribute. I think it provides the sort of insights you’re looking for.
I used the Roland Handsonic back in 2002 on a few songs live: ‘Rooms of the Sixteen Shimmers’, ‘Krishna Blue’ and an encore track that I can’t recall the name of.
Not much, I would say. We were quite strong about what we wanted to do musically. Working with Moroder was a whole lot of compromise. I believe the idea to collaborate originated with the German label we were with at the time. That project, as well as ‘I Second The Emotion’, were business decisions and were musically much more conventional than we would normally want to be, purely for the purposes of appealing to a wider audience.
I took the cover image, a headstone at Kensal Rise cemetery.