thanks for answering my questions! :-) i was also wondering if you read drum notation or just memorize the music? also is any of your music available as drum sheet music because i just got my first kit a couple months ago and i’d like to be able to play along!

Everything by ear and memory, never had a need to write anything down except when I had to rehearse many unfamiliar tracks in a short space of time, in which case I would make up my own primitive method of drum notation as I’d never learnt the proper way. I think there was some sheet music printed in Japan way back, after the second album maybe. Try listening and having a go, it’s much more fun. It’s not like other instruments whereby you need to learn chord shapes, you just need to play the beats as you hear them, and each element of the kit is pretty easy to determine.

I remember seeing David playing bongos (?) during the In Praise of Shamans Tour. Seems like Mick must’ve certainly had an affinity for percussion instruments as well. Did you ever switch instruments in JAPAN as an experiment and/or did you ever try playing Mick’s bass?

Guitar isn’t the kind of instrument you can play convincingly as an occasional player, as is also the case with drums and percussion. There wasn’t a desire to switch probably because we were always keen to try to push ourselves on the instruments we’d chosen. I was called upon to play keyboard parts purely for the practical reason of accuracy of timing, since JAPAN albums were recorded before the days of midi and computers, so particularly on ‘Tin Drum’ this was the case, but it wasn’t by way of experimentation. I think the only time we all sat around recording ourselves bashing percussion was during the Rain Tree Crow sessions. As for David on live bongos (probably you mean congas) I must have been looking the other way.

In Robert Fripp’s diary from 20 October, 2004, he pointed out that he met you and David at Eden Studios, London, which — he pointed out — is located “conveniently” around the corner from bijou Chateau de Petite Chevalle. The entry includes in-studio photographic evidence, RF playing soft chords and David calling out, “Giles, Giles, Fripp” … Do you remember this and what became of what was recorded that day?

It was a session for a track on the Nine Horses album ‘Snow Borne Sorrow’. Due to that particular track going through further changes, Robert’s contribution was not ultimately incorporated.

how do you feel about the surge of younger kids taking an interest in Japan? what do you think brought it on?

It’s not unusual for younger kids to look back into musical history, I think we all do that at some point, but perhaps the difference now is that the internet can create more of a trend in that respect, particularly if the band were very visual. Maybe another contributing factor is that because we were not the type of musicians who felt compelled to keep churning out the same thing for decades in order to remain commercially successful, JAPAN has become very much isolated and of that time, and perhaps that’s part of it’s charm. Having never been exported out of the 80′s it’s maintained a sort of idealistic purity, and subsequently allowed the original members to musically evolve.