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 Bon Jovi Tribute Band In Japan!



So....its 4am, i'm not a morning person. In fact, i've just sprayed shaving foam under my arm thinking its deodorant, my eyes are still shut and a real dumb sounding "huh?" escapes my lips. I wash my face with freezing cold water and that wakes me up. I swear at myself "bastard!" I'm not very nice in the mornings......even to myself. Anyways, at this point i remember i'm flying out to Japan today with my Bon Jovi tribute band. This soon cheers me up because i love music, i love gigging and i love visiting other countries and meeting new people. I like people......well......nice people anyway. I drive round to Strats' house, we dump his equipment in my car and we head on down to the airport, where we meet the rest of the guys. A couple of coffees later, we make our way to the relevant check in desk, and this is when things start to get a little weird.


The young lady behind the desk welcomes us with a beautiful, friendly smile. She sees the guitar and asks the world's most obvious question, "are you guys a band?" So i say yeah, she says this, i say that......and i finally realise she's flirting with me. At this point i'm scratching my head a little bit. I'm thinking "how did that happen? the young lady is easily a perfect 10, why is she taking an interest in me?" I was starting to think that maybe she was just super friendly, after all i am a pretty friendly guy myself.......when she hands me a piece of paper with her phone number on it and a message saying "call me whenever....i'm very flexible." The fact that she licks her lips slowly and sensually, like a model in a Cadbury's chocolate advert makes this even more weird. When did i become James Bond or some super cool rock star???


So we board the plane. I'm trying to forget the weird encounter with the gorgeous young lady by reading my book. Its a fantasy novel, the lastest installment of Game Of Thrones by George Martin. Its a good book, well written.....and i soon immerse myself in the story. Yep, there i am on my horse, got my sword, i'm ready for the bad guys, when someone taps me on the shoulder. "Say buddy are you the singer from Black Light Halo?" Black Light Halo is my new original band project. I'm thinking to myself, "what are the odds of someone recognizing little old me on a plane?" I have to admit that while its embarrassing as i am actually very shy, it is very flattering. It turns out my new friend is an American promoter from New York, he loves the band and wants to arrange some gigs for us in the USA. I know the guy is serious as he Skypes his office from the plane! I love the states so i'm almost peeing myself with excitement. Holy crap, is this supposed to be my best day ever? We arrive in Tokyo and say goodbye to my promoter friend after making arrangements to skype when i get back from Japan to sort out gig dates.


A few minutes later we are picked up in a super long stretch limo by Kazuki, who speaks good English, but allows me to practice my basic Japanese with him. Again, my jaw is on the floor and i'm scratching my head.(no, i haven't got fleas) I have done many gigs overseas in different countries, and i have been treated well, have been very well looked after, but i have never been picked up from the airport in a very luxurious, stretch limo. I'm thinking "they do realise we are a Bon Jovi tribute band right?" Kazuki drives us to the hotel in downtown Tokyo, i'm expecting to see a clean and functional hotel and a clean but basic room. Yep, you guessed it.....the fleas are back!! I'm scratching my head trying to think if there is any way at all that these guys realise we are not Bon Jovi. The hotel is a 5 star luxurious affair. The room is not a clean and basic room.....it is several luxurious rooms, more of a penthouse apartment really. We are right at the top of the building and even have our own pool! As soon as Kazuki leaves the apartment promising to pick us up later to take us to the gig, we all stop trying to act cool and we are whooping out loud, high fiving each other! This is going to be an experience we will never forget!


We chill for a few hours, leisurely explore the surroundings and watch people stare at us. Its freaking me out a little bit. I can't wait for the gig and i am so happy when Kazuki finally turns up to pick us up. He says its "jiggy, giggy time." We're sure Kazuki is exaggerating, as he is painting a picture of young Japanese models, the creme de la creme, going wild at our gig. We're thinking Tokyo's finest must have better things to do than to come and rock with us. As it happens, we're so wrong. The car stops in front of this massive building, its the very old, legendary, Budokan Hall. We are under the impression we will be performing inside a large club/bar within the Budokan. Once again, we are wrong. Shinji, the theatre director ushers into the bar for a drink and to discuss arrangments. He tells us he will expect us on the main stage of the Budokan Hall at 9pm. I'm thinking "we are a Bon Jovi tribute band, has the world gone mad?" Still, there's absolutely no way we are going to argue against this, we have always wanted to perform here. Once again i'm so excited i think i would pee myself if i sneeze too hard.(but don't tell anyone) Maybe everyone gets one amazing day in their lives where everything that happens is just amazing.


Backstage, the dressing rooms are something else, all the comforts of home. As it happens, i decide to do a little workout because i am so wired and ready to go that its either work some of that energy off or be shot by a vet with a horse tranquilizer. Time seems to drag, but at last its gig time! We can hear the jungle drums of the New Jersey album, thats our intro music........its time.......we're on. Our band tries to convey the feel of a Bon Jovi gig by staying in character from start to finish of a gig. As always, someone says "what a great day to rock n' roll." Our Richie says "where's the stage, where's the stage?" And then.......and then the wall of sound hits us. Tokyo's finest are here in force, and boy can they scream! We step out onto the massive stage, and i've got to say its a little emotional. I've always wanted to perform at this massive, legendary venue, and now here i am!


We open up with Raise your hands, followed by You give love a bad name. The crowd goes wild, and being a dude, i do kinda notice that Kazuki was right. A ridiculously large portion of the crowd does seem to be made up of young Japanese beauties. They're going crazy. I don't get it. We're good at what we do, but we're just a tribute band. Maybe thats just how the audiences are over here?? At times the crowd is so loud i can't hear the music clearly. This is crazy, as is the look of happiness on Strats' face as someone's underwear lands by his feet. This is the gig of our lives, and its over much too quick. It seems like we have only been playing for a few minutes when i yell "goodnight!" into the microphone and we head off to the dressing room to shower and chill for a bit. As we walk off stage we look at each other and say "WTF just happened?" So we're chilling backstage when Kazuki comes in and says that he has taken the liberty of inviting a few people to our after show party back at the penthouse. I'm getting to know Kazuki quite well and seeing the smile on his face ask him "did you invite any guys?" You already know the answer so i won't bother typing it out.


Shinji, the theatre director, stops by the dressing room and tells us he is taking us to a restaurant for some food. There is so much food, so much variety, we're dudes, dudes like food......and its free. Its on like mud on a pig. The best day ever carries on as we eat until we might explode. As we slouch at the restaurant waiting for the food to go down, Kazuki remembers that we also have a free bar. Firstly, we slap Kazuki for forgetting to mention this amazing fact sooner, and then we get him a drink.    :)

Dudes like alcohol, we're dudes.......and the Jack Daniels is free. By this stage i'm thinking "holy f*****g Toledo, have i actually died or something, is this heaven?" Its midnight, Kazuki drives us back to the hotel as its now time for the after show party. By this time, i have to admit i'm pretty tired, i've been drinking, i gave everything i had on stage.......and i'm getting old.     :)


I open the penthouse door and we are greeted with music and female voices, but we can't actually see anyone. We walk further in and i now know that i must have had an accident i cannot remember because the boys and i are surely in heaven. Its a bikini pool party......in OUR penthouse.....the guests are all female, Japanese models......and they are very friendly. By this stage i have given up trying to make sense of anything. I walk up to a small group of girls and i say "you, you and you.....my room, now.......and bring a friend." Yes....i know that sounds terrible.....but this is the best day ever, i'm utterly drunk, i'm only a man at the end of the day......and i must be in heaven anyway, what's the worst thing that could happen by acting in this way? As i lead the girls to my room, i ask Kazuki to later find out the girls' doctor's details so that i can pay for the damage that is about to be caused......hey, at least i'm showing some consideration. Then the bedroom door is shut and things get crazy. There is moaning, groaning, thrusting, sweat and tears.......someone even swings from the chandelier shouting "bingo!" as they jump onto the bed.....erm.....it might have been me. In the room next door i can hear one of the guys say "it was an accident, i didn't mean to break her pelvis." The world's gone crazy. We've been flown to Tokyo first class, been put up in the most luxurious penthouse in town, gigged at the Budokan Hall, been stuffed with free food and Jack Daniels......and are now enjoying our own private harem of Japanese models. The best day ever!


The best day ever is blending in with the wildest night ever.......until the hotel's fire alarm starts buzzing like an angry bee on acid. Aaaaaaargh my head!.....shut the f**k up!!" The best day ever.....i'm struggling to even think anymore with that damn noise going on in the background. I'm finding it hard to breathe. The best day ever.....i open my eyes.....my cat is sitting on my face.......my alarm clock is going crazy and i got to be at work in 20 minutes. The best day ever............ain't life a bitch?        :)