19 Oct 2000 - Rod On The Road: Japan 1
Bloody 6 in the morning and here I am typing away. Bloody jet lag - I wish I could get some sleep. And l'm not the only one.
It all started last Thursday - just 4 days ago - seems like 2 weeks. Not the tour or the place you understand - certainly not - just the travel. Virgin Airlines - Heathrow to Narita Tokyo - depart 11 am October 19. Arrive Tokyo, 9am, October 20th - 8 hours ahead of UK so you arrive about when you want to crash out. Good eh? Virgin is the best way to travel at reasonable price - but unfortunately the films are monthly and I've been to New York on Virgin twice already in October so I've seen every thing worth watching. Try reading my book - SCIPIO by Ross Leckie. Good book - I've already read Hannibal (no not Lecter) by Leckie. It's very good. lf you have any interest in ancient history check it out. If you don't, get it anyway - you will enjoy it. But anyway, back on track.
Sometimes it's hard to get into a book on a plane and on a long 12 hour flight you just end out in a sort of no-mans land if you've seen the movies - not awake, not asleep - living dead l guess. At least you could get bacon butties for breakfast.
Anyway, arrive at Narita on time 9am - customs and immigration not bad - luggage first off - unbelievable. Picked up super-efficiently by car from our promoter Mr Udo. Let's digress a bit.
We first toured here in 1979 with Mr Udo. This is our 13th - yes THIRTEENTH - tour here, and always for Mr Udo. He is a very class act. But what is also amazing - even more than the fact that Mr Udo just never ages - is the fact that his team is pretty much the same as it was 20 years ago, and they don't age either. Main production man Ishi is with us again - he did our first tour. We have a new tour manager - Aki Ueda - but he has toured with us a few times before he was promoted. And our previous TM's - Tak and Tommy Shigetoni - are out with other acts; Tommy is with Sting - bloody traitor. And NONE of them ever age. It's spooky. It really pisses you off. Tommy especially must be nearly 60 but he looks about 38. It's got to be the diet - so eat lots of Japanese food. Or the blood of virgins!!! We all love Japanese food - and sake - so we always really enjoy the various dinners here. Anyway back to the story.
Narita used to be hours and hours out of Tokyo when we came in the early eighties but now it only takes around an hour - such are the improvements in the roads, and to improve roads in such a heavily built up city takes some doing. But the Japanese have a tremendous will and an ability to sacrifice for the good of all. So you will get a major roadworks appearing out of nowhere at night effing up everyone's travel plans and then just as quickly disappearing by morning. And everyone just gets on with it, as they know it's the best solution. Imagine that in London - fat chance. Or even Paris, Milan…
So l get to the Hotel Okura at about 11am knackered. Nice hotel - pool, gym l intended to use frequently but not quite got there yet. Rooms have computer connections, which is always a great help but is now pretty well standard in decent hotels here and in North America. Europe… well no doubt soon… in the next century! And the toilet… The warm jet…I will leave Nicko to tell you about this as he will do so much better than me.
I don't feel like eating so l try to sleep for a bit and doze off for 4 hours or so. Then warm up the laptop and hit the emails. As you can probably imagine we are very busy right now. Not just with Maiden which is obviously my main priority and closest to my heart. But also HALFORD - check out his site robhalford.com done by our Sanctuary team - who really is a great guy and wotta voice. I've been a fan for years and it's a pleasure dealing with him. His band and the debut album RESURRECTION are terrific. Check it out - YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD!!! Also we are preparing the imminent October 30 release of HELLOWEEN THE DARK RIDE who many of you will know we have managed for many years. As always the new album is well worth the wait. Also you may have heard that Dave Mustaine has announced on his web site that MEGADETH are signing to Sanctuary Records, which is a real coup for our relatively new label. But l think Dave realises our real commitment to the music. And the new album is killer. Plus hot new COC album and a ton of other things, so it's not hard to spend a few hours online keeping up with the flow of mail. Email makes many things easier but can also create work if you are not careful by getting you drawn into things you could otherwise avoid - it leads to a very horizontal management structure. But enuff of the plugs - just go buy it all!!
So it gets to about 9.30 pm - 1.30 pm UK time but next day sort of thing - and you are wide awake. I get an email from Nicko. I had already called all band rooms and they were either out or avoiding me. They arrived a couple of days before me and played Sendai wed night. So anyway l know Nick was in his room, so just to stop going stir crazy in the room l called him to see if he fancied a quick sake in the bar - but since when have me and Nick had a 'quick' drink? After a couple, Bruce rolled in - after a couple more Jan strolled in. They shut the bar on us at 1.30am. Against my much better judgement l was persuaded (!!) to join them walking to check out the action in Rippongi. Rippongi is the club/ restaurant centre of Tokyo. It's amazing. Even at 7am it's happening - as you will soon find out.
So off we go - just a 10 min walk. Long term students of the Maiden site diaries may recall our last visit to Tokyo when Nick and l got so plastered before the first show on sake we both got in the s**t big time with Harry. So was l likely to go that route again and take the rap for Nicko ******* up at the gig? No way, no thankyou. But was Nicko going to end out there…? Yes you guessed it. And I am sure his diary will have a refreshingly different spin to the events which followed. Many shots and drinks at the Lexington - or anorexington - Queen followed. Bruce and l had a good chat and left about 5. Now Jan can drink for England….or Europe even….and Nick….well, god bless him!! So anyway, Nick ends out there by himself after Jan heads back and finally gets out of the club at 7am……and for the rest, read his diary!!! I gotta say Nick likes to have fun but as you all will have witnessed around the world it never affects the gig. Except Tokyo - every time!!!
It's 6.30 am - pissing down outside - time for breakfast.