Dear Steve… Do you have any photographic art(s) on your walls (at home or at your studio, signed or not). If your answer is “no”, do you have a wish list from any kind of photographer. Thank you and happy New Year. Sey!

Not really, I’m a devout minimalist. If I were to be swayed I would go for something like Sergio Larrain’s work in miniature framed prints. I recently saw the Wim Wenders Polaroid exhibit at The Photographers Gallery and again, nice to see multiple miniature images hanging on white walls. That’s more my kind of aesthetic. But then white walls … why spoil them?

‘Behave’ by Fin Costello, the photo’ you posted here, where Mick is being rather naughty, where is David and where is Rob ? It’s a JBK photograph … essentially …. and so maybe it could be the cover for a JBK from-the-vaults rarities-and-unreleased or some other kind of JBK compilation?

Now there’s a thought …

Here it be, the full image for those not satisfied with the JBK edit.

Japan session for music life - test polaroid by fin costello

artistic and thought provoking photo session for ‘Music Life’ magazine circa 1979

(test Polaroid by Fin Costello)

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)

Regarding My New Career from Gentlemen Take Polaroids, you turned the beat around ( you performed the beat backwards ) after ghost notes in a fill . Was it a conscious decision or was it something spontaneous ? Was it something Mick triggered ? The drums sound very compressed . Do you remember finding the right compression for the drums?

Turning the beat around was a conscious decision.  Messing with the downbeat was always bit of a habit of mine and Mick would design bass parts to compliment this approach (‘Still Life In Mobile Homes’, ‘The Art Of Parties’ for example). In the case of ‘My New Career’ the beat turn around was employed to accentuated the chorus vocal line.

Drums sounds were generally heavily compressed in those days, it was a contemporary sound of that time. I wasn’t involved in sound engineering back then so it would have been the producers job.