HEY HEY In Rockers and Welcome t the Lobby, coming to you again today from way up high in the sky as I make my way to Los Angeles for a second set of band rehearsals for our upcoming Dizzy Up The Girl 20th Anniversary US tour which starts on my birthday (Sept 30th) in Phoenix, AZ. But it has been a whirlwind of activity for the last month as my wife Miyoko makes her way around America with Osaka’s Shonen Knife tour managing and selling merch for 5 weeks. I have been between rehearsals in NY and LA and on a single Dad adventure with some help from my parents in back home who are kind enough to help out when I need to be away.
If the aforementioned set of circumstances didn’t make it chaotic enough, in the midst of all this on September 9th was the 16th Annual Music is Art Festival in Buffalo. For those of you who have been taking this literary journey with me here in the pages on In Rock may know of the festival, for those of you who don’t know it’s a music/art/dance festival, which I have put on with a group of dedicated volunteers, which grows a little bigger and more exciting every year. This year we had 20 stages of music of all types including Jazz, Country, Metal Alternative and EDM , multiple performance art areas, dozens of live artists, poets and dance groups who come together for this yearly celebration of talent in my hometown. I’ve been seeing some of the attendees since they were kids coming with their parents, I end up taking tons of pictures with the attendees and have been for 16 years, feels a little bit like families coming for their annual picture with Santa Claus at the mall! Now that the festival is over it’s time to get the planners together for a review of the event and gather our ideas for 2019’s celebration!
For the last decade we’ve been doing our best to share some Japanese culture with our city at The Music is Art Festival, this year was no exception! We featured the rock band Peelander Z from Japan, they bare currently living in Austin and their lead singer Peelander Yellow also painted a mural live for the attendees. Harumo Sato an artist from Sapporo also came to paint a live mural in her “pop” Japanese style along the river. The Buffalo Niagara Shibuki Taiko group performed as well on the festival main stage; Shibuki Taiko also performed a song with the rock band The Molice from Tokyo who have been doing an artistic residence in Buffalo since April. The Molice just released a new album called “GATE” on my record label, Good Charamel Records, two other bands from the label are now in the US touring as well, Tokyo’s Pinky Doodle Poodle and Osaka’s Shonen Knife as I mentioned earlier in the column!
I spent a weekend producing some music in the studio with one of my favorite new bands “Beach Slang” from Philadelphia working on a single with them alongside producer/engineer Jay Zubricky at my GCR Audio studios. We did a set of cover songs with vocalist/frontman James Alex and his crew, we look forward to that single being released soon!
Rehearsals have been going very well for the upcoming “DIZZY” tour, you see, we’ve never performed an entire album before, so this is a new experience for us. We have a pretty standard set of about 14 popular songs we like to perform every night full of “fan favorites” and it leaves little room to be play too may B-sides or deep cuts during the show, but as we are playing the full DIZZY album for the first half of the show this unique situation has allowed us to leave that usual format and go deep into the catalog. We’re spending our days re-visiting some songs we haven’t played in nearly 20 years so it’s really become a very special set of music for us. It’s going to be a great trip for us.
I think that’s it for today, we’ll be in the thick of it next time we talk, and I’ll be bringing Hana out on tour with us to do a little daddy/daughter time on the road, living large in our tour bus, hotels and theaters of the GGDS Fall Dizzy Adventure …. pretty cool kid ….. OK, I’ve gotta run, be cool, stay happy, enjoy the Fall and we’ll talk again soon!