Some clips of the last ever Japan gig (which was 33 years ago today!) have just been posted on facebook. Do you have any real memories of this gig (other than the dancing panda?) – as a band did you plan to make this gig ‘one to remember’, or was it just a massive sense of relief, that it was finally all over? And did you really believe it would be the final time the 4 of you played live together….

As far as I recall the only preparations were for Sandii and the Sunsetz to join us for the encore. The rest of the onstage shenanigans were not anticipated as it was a covert operation. It wasn’t a massive relief because we were performing well together and it was a fairly harmonious tour from the bands perspective. The audiences were incredibly responsive throughout and that was special, but we had played the material to death by that point and it felt like time to move on. There was a general sense of being done over by the business end as we weren’t personally making much money from the tour so all the hard work was lining the pockets of management, agencies, merchandising and record companies, but not the artists. Feeling let down by the industry did add to the sense of good riddance and I firmly lay the blame for that on management. From my perspective there wasn’t a significant sense of finality as I knew I would be playing and working with the same guys in many different forms for many more years and that it would be a much healthier way to develop artistically.

What do you think Japan and others (or just yourself) would be like if it were placed in the current time?

If you mean us being in our teens in 2015 and just starting out? … it’s a complex question and I find it impossible to imagine. Our connection with music was borne out of a need to sidestep the society we were in at that time which was very different to now. There was plenty of suppression and angst which I don’t think is as prevalent anymore(?) and that put fuel on the fire to explore the alternatives we so wanted to discover. Travelling across London from south to north most evenings after work (or in my case school) to rehearse as a band and learn our ‘craft’ above a butcher’s shop in Holloway. It was that naive belief and determination, that enthusiasm to be ‘players’, which propelled us and formed our approach to making music. The lack of technology and access to equipment also contributed to the sound of course. To put all that in today’s context, I really couldn’t guess. I suppose the best one could do is look at current bands whose approach to work centres around musicianship and exploring arrangement as opposed to commercial songwriting, and I’m sure there are quite a few out there that do it much better than we ever did.

Hi Steve! Just curious, but what kind of artists did you listen to growing up? And if you weren’t in Japan, what do you think you would have been doing instead? P.s I hope you have a great day, and your birthday selfie was lovely (: x

You should know the answer to that already, davidalanbatt …

Actually I think it’s all been documented before. Particularly with the release of the recent biography by Anthony Reynolds. It’s a real eclectic mix.

It’s tough for me to say what I would have been doing had I not decided to become a musician and play in a band because that’s all I’ve known since school. Never had a plan B. Never had a proper job.