NMFT vol 3 Update
Bleak is a bit melodramatic but the outlook on cementing the line-up for NMFT vol 3 could be going a lot smoother.The Mornings have agreed to take part... although.. if at all possible, they'd like me to hold the tour in June instead of May. That would mean spending twice as much money on airfare, hence my response
The Mornings are on-board but they all have full-time jobs and it's difficult to get extended time off work. Having Golden Week at the beginning of May then taking more vacation time at the end of the month complicates matters. The Mornings want to come to Canada but they won't be able to play all of the tour dates. For example, they might play Toronto and Montreal but skip Vancouver.
Last year during New Years Eve @ Swan Song Council, SEBASTIAN X made me promise to bring them to Canada (and they even recorded me saying it on videotape). They discuss coming to Canada in this interview. But when I contacted their manager recently he said the band would have to talk it over and so far it's been a week with no reply. Mowmow Lulu Gyaban were supposed to particpate on the 2nd tour but had to back out due to scheduling conflicts. Their manager has always been prompt in replying to emails in the past but so far no response at all to the invitation for vol 3. One problem is that Mowmow's popularity in Japan has skyrocketed in the last 5 mos since I last talked with them. They're probably more concerned with maximizing their exposure in Japan as opposed to making a non-profitable detour to Canada. It doesn't make any financial sense for mowmow to take time off and visit Canada when they're doing so well in Japan right now.
Clammbon doesn't have any contact info whatsoever on their homepage!! Luckily they just held a contest for the 『clammbon2011 ドコガイイデスカ！？』ツアー (Clammbon 2011 "Where should we play?" Tour). They asked fans to send in suggestions on strange, intimate locations across Japan where they might have fun performing (What a f*cking awesome idea!). They'd love to play in crazy settings such as a kindergarten classroom, botanical garden, movie theatre etc. Anyhow, I finally managed to email them via the enquette for this special tour. Unfortunately my email might get filtered out by the webmaster since it doesn't have anything to do with their Oct 2011 tour. Luckily sgt and their manager are friends with Clammbon (and toe! and Rin Toshite Shigure!!) so I'm going to ask sgt to invite these bands for me. (In fact sgt already talked to RTS about coming in May which is when they told me I might have to pay to bring over their stage crew as well. That shit ain't happening. Regardless, next month I have a chance to talk with Nakano Pierre in person when he plays with his other band, Chaotic Speed King.)
Nisennenmondai play in foreign countries all the time (though they've been avoiding N America). I tried contacting them directly (to no avail), but I just found out they have a company called DOTLINECIRCLE that handles booking in countries outside Japan. I'll try booking nisennenmondai through them. Hopefully they don't charge some ludicrous handling fee.
Usotsuki Barbie would be an awesome choice for NMFT v3 but just like Clammbon, there's no contact info on their homepage!! 5 months ago I asked mothercoat to touch base with them for NMFT v2 but they were never able to.
Getting bands to participate via email is a bitch and a half. It's so much easier when I ask them in person. E-mailing MOTFD to take part in the original tour got me nowhere (not even a reply) but when I asked them in person for vol 2 they responded, "Hell Yeah!!" And as you know they did in fact participate on the last tour. When I talked to members of ミドリ in person they said they'd love to play in Canada, but when I formally invited them via email... no response. I asked a mutual friend to call Midori's manager and they confirmed their interest in taking part in NMFT vol 3. Unfortunately, there's a schedule conflict with May 2011 (recording a new album) but they plan on coming in Ocotber for NMFT vol 4. =)
The good news is I'll be in Japan for 3 weeks in December. I'll be able to invite bands to NMFT vol 3 in person making the chance of success much greater. The bad news is December may be too late. Many bands plan their tour schedules 6 mos in advance. Ideally I should have most, if not all the bands selected prior to my visit and use December as a means for discussing/planning/paperwork with bands already chosen.
2 weeks ago I thought I had 3 bands (the Mornings/Sebastian X/Mowmow Lulu Gyaban)who were definitely participating. But at present only one band has committed and they won't even be able to play all of the shows. With this line-up I was going for an all-out crazy/fun party atmosphere. However, Sebastian & Mowmow not replying may be a blessing in disguise. As immensenly entertaining these 3 bands are it's definitely a line-up geared towards a younger/juvenile crowd. Now I have the flexibility to add 1 or 2 bands with a more mature/sophisticated sound. Don't get me wrong, a line-up of the Mornings/Sebastian X/Mowmow + 1 other band would make for an AMAZING high energy tour but I'd like to balance the line-up with something more soulful (eg Clammbon, viridian, Shugo Tokumaru) or technical (eg toe, the band apart).
There are a number of bands I'm considering inviting. Bands like toe, Clammbon, Rin Toshite Shigure, nisennenmondai, Usotsuki Barbie are no-brainers and if any of these bands agree to participate they have a spot, no question (as long as I don't have to pay to bring an entire entourage of non-band members eg RTS).
But there are some potential bands I'd like your honest opinion on regarding how much you'd like to see them on the next tour. Please leave a comment with your thoughts on each of the bands or at least the ones you would like to see most. Giving them a score out of 100 would be a big help in systematically ranking popularity but in the end I'm looking for a gestalt sense of what the discerning fan wants.
First off are the instrumental and "technical" bands: (note: I'd love to bring a band like Natsumen but they have 8 f*cking members making it prohibitively expensive. Same goes for bands with 3 guitarists eg Mudy on the Sakuban. I would rather not have to rent 3 guitar amps and a bass amp if i don't have to. Ditto for bands with 2 drummers.)
rega - AWESOME musicians AND their music is fun/danceable. Bringing them with labelmates, viridian (or Mowmow for that matter), would be ideal.
the band apart - these guys are one of the most popular indie bands in all of Japan. I've already brought a band with a similar sound in susquatch... but c'mon... this is the BDAPT!!!! susquatch are great musicians but the BDAPT are world class. I've talked to Hara about the tour before and susquatch are good friends of theirs so it's not a longshot to have them participate. Also, they've played in the US before. (note: having a heavily renowned band like BDAPT participate makes it much easier to invite similar big name bands like toe, Clammbon, etc. in the future.) warning: You may have to change your undergarments after watching the breakdown between 1:31-1:46.
Special Others - Okay, now we are getting a bit into unrealistic territory since these guys are as big as the band apart and I don't really have any connections to them.... aside from Yucali of HalCali who's a fan and friend of theirs. It would be a longshot to just email them directly and get any kind of response.
Sajjanu - getting distribution on Joan Zorn's Tzadik label has made them a household name.. well at least in prog rock circles. Ootake Yasunori is a bonafide guitar god. You almost want to quit playing guitar after watching him on realizing you could practice for a million years with anti-aging medication and still be nowhere near as good as him. Definitely more on the nutty, experimental side but their mastery of instrumental skill is almost unfathomable.
wozniak - These guys are slowly but surely making a name for themselves as one of the most astounding instrumental bands in all of Japan. Their motto is "1+1=4"... b/c the drummer also plays guitar and the bassist plays both bass and keyboards AT THE SAME TIME. To some degree the greatest impact of their live performance derives from the incredulous sight of 2 people playing 4 instruments. The songwriting itself isn't quite at the level of their idols/influences toe and LITE but they're a young band that will continue to get better and better. They're definitely a band whose undeniable skill will make your jaw drop. Also, in talking to them they'd jump at the chance to come to Canada.
This post is already too long so I'll place the other potential bands in another installment tomorrow.
Oh sh*t. As I was writing this post, I got a reply back from Himeno (only the most awesome female drummer in the world) of nisennenmondai. Unfortunately, they are already commited to touring Europe in May. (Damn Europe!!) HOWEVER... although they still need more details... they're are interested in coming to Canada another time. F*ck yeah!! (But one of the questions she asked is if they get a "guarantee" on top of the airfare/hotel expenses I pay. ミドリ, on the other hand were upfront in saying they wouldn't need a guarantee since I'm paying so much in expenses (giving them a free trip to Canada) already. So... depending on the "details" it could be nisennenmondai joining ミドリ in NMFT vol 4.