Hey hey In rockers and welcome to The Lobby, I begin writing this month’s column for you today at 730am in a long, long line with an army of excited little kids at Kidzania in Tokyo. For those of you unfamiliar with Kidzania it’s an educational amusement park for kids here in Japan that lets young people try all sorts of occupations in a play setting while parents uncomfortably stand by and tap away on their smartphones… one of my daughters favorite things to do while we’re in Japan. Oh … I guess I should go back to the beginning of the month and explain how we ended up back here again for a visit this time around!
Goo Goo Dolls played a show during The Super Bowl (America’s National football league’s final championship game) in Houston Texas doing a set of “greatest hits” opening for Sting at a small 300 capacity club for a group of enthusiastic VIPs. It really was amazing seeing Sting playing with a small band, doing mostly Police songs actually, pretty inspiring to see him up there kicking so much ass at 65 years old.
After a few days home in Buffalo, I spent a few afternoons in my studio working on some demos for a new Goo Goo Dolls project that we’ll be announcing soon and then we headed off with the band to do a couple of shows in Asia for the first time ever!
We performed first in Manila, Philippines at a Araneta Arena, (where the infamous Thriller in Manila Muhammad Ali boxing match occurred back in the 70s). Aside from a fire in the dressing room before the show which was swiftly extinguished by the local fire department, the show went off like a dream. The Filipino people re so kind and genuine no they showed up ready to sing and celebrate our first ever visit to their country. We did a ton of press and met over 200 fans before we took the stage and had a great time together with the over 7000 fans that came out for the show.
After leaving Manila we made our way to Bangkok, Thailand, (another first for my band) for a show at The BCC in front of another enthusiastic crowd ready to hear our songs after a 30 year absence from their country. The morning of the show we got a huge surprise when our keyboard player Korel felt sick and was admitted to the hospital to have his appendix removed!
But, as they say, the show must go on, so we got him to the hospital, made a few quick changes to the set, threw together a quick rehearsal at the venue and had a great show in his absence. It was a pretty special show because of the situation at hand and a very unique moment for the fans in Bangkok and our band as well!
I got a chance to do a bit of sightseeing in Thailand
with our drummer Craig, visited the Golden Buddha and fulfilled my dream of having Thai Curry in Thailand! The rest of the band boarded a plane home and Korel is now safely back in the US (minus his appendix) …. and I made my way to Japan to meet my wife and daughter for a little vacation as well as some meet ups with a couple of the bands on our Good Charamel record label here in Tokyo!
Every visit to Japan is very special for us as we get to visit our family with Hana and catch up with our friends here again. But we also do our best to see some things we haven’t experienced in my 15 years of visiting, and this trip we had a great time visiting the hot springs at Ito (private of course due to an excessive amount of tattoos I’ve gotten over the years) and enjoyed a meal of Chunko at Chunko Kirishima in Ryogoku.
I also appeared on the What The Fun Radio show on InterFM radio in Tokyo with Good Charamel artists MOLICE for an interview with George Williams and Mike Rogers about working with Japanese artists at my studio in the US and working with bands from Japan on an international stage. We had a great time chatting and I was invited back when I make my next trip to Japan to continue our conversation!
And this trip ended with a very special visit to the National Museum of Art in Rippongi to see a life spanning exhibit from one of my favorite Japanese artists, Yayoi Kusama. Her crazy world of color, shapes and emotions was an amazing way to close out this trip to Japan (and Hana loved it too!).
Ok … Narita tomorrow, dinner with our family tonight and it’s time to pick up some omiage for our friends back home!
Have a great month, and we’ll talk soon once the jet lag is gone and we’re back in full swing with Goo Goo Dolls as we gear up for another 60 shows across the USA and much more …. stay tuned!
Talk soon and Peace!