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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Big in Japan

its always interesting when you discover where a band got their sound..where they borrowed from...and make no mistake everyone takes from somewhere..the question is do you take to create or because you are unable or unwilling to fashion your own identity..its always a fine line...i recently acquired, on a whim, a live double lp by a band i'd heard about but never listened to: japan..the leader of this band was david sylvain and the band also includes mick karn... anyhow... japan is apparently the band duran duran ripped off...the similarities are too great... david sylvain's vocals sound much like simon lebon (yes, that pseudo croon you know you've heard).. then you've got guitar, keyboards and sax very much in what would become the duran duran vein...even thematically the bands are similar: japan's 1980 "gentleman take polaroids" could be viewed as a precursor to "girls on film"...while stylistically or fashion wise as all music guide writes about that LP's back cover photo: "looking cool in glossy, elegant nightwear, the quintet had a clear impact on Duran Duran, to the point where Nick Rhodes obviously was trying to be Sylvian in appearance"....

anyways, apparently japan were the first "new romantic" band arriving on the english scene around 1977!...its hard to imagine them in the time of the sex pistols but such apparently was the case although they evolved from glam rock roots to scene makers by 1980.....they get little mention or credit but constitute one of the first post-punk bands...their relatively low modern day profile may owe itself to the fact that they were one of those bands that broke out everywhere except the US and when that happens you know history ain't going to be too kind to you! the way in the interests of full disclosure this double live lp -pictured above- "oil on canvas" was recorded in 1982 on japan's last live tour and served as their final release

japan, as befits a band with such a name, were very succesfull in...... yes..... japan.... and i remember them a bit from when i lived in ........japan...curiously enough.. the new romantic movement of the early 1980s was particularly big in japan and duran duranmania there huge...what am i getting at? japan even created the market for duran duran to break out in... however, lets not blame japan, band or country, for "wild boys"...

japan of course borrowed quite a bit from roxy music...but thats another story for another day...

for a history of japan click here

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