Hi Steve. I’m curious about the Japan songs that you may not have played on. I’m guessing “Despair”, “Taking Islands…..”. Were there others? What input did you have in the construction of songs which you didn’t perform on?

We were a band and as such would each individually offer comments and opinions about what was going to tape, so whichever member(s) might be in the control room listening to others performing/recording there would generally be some (hopefully) constructive ideas on offer. Also, being the drummer, I was by default the executive level timing disciplinarian, and tracks like ‘Despair’ (which was performed to a Roland ‘Rhythm Box’) would have been scrutinised very closely indeed before overdubs were met with approval (bless Richard for being so patient although those piano mics do pick up a lot of huffing & puffing).

roland-cr-78

Roland ‘Rhythm Box’ (note: 3rd white button from the left = ‘Swing’)

I believe I played real Hi-Hat and possibly other percussion on ‘Taking Islands’ but Ryuichi Sakamoto pretty much constructed the entire thing on the Pro-5, and the man has great timing so it was like having the day off.

Japan at Air Studios (photos by Nicola Tyson)

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