Saturday, August 06, 2005

japan - day 6, billy corgan & home

I ended up skipping tink tink (dammit) in favor of going to see billy corgan at a tokyo club. my interest was especially piqued because he had been quoted in some magazine or other saying that the dresden dolls had influenced his last record. what? ok, maybe. stranger things have happened. i know very little about the man and his music, other than seeing the smashing pumpkins open up for the chili peppers in 1991 (along with pearl jam, also then pretty much unknown - i touched eddie vedder's leg when he crowd surfed!! whoo!). one interesting thing about my musical history was the aparent bubble i unwittingly lived in during the nineties. i didn't really learn about nirvana until kurt cobain was dead and i never listened to the radio or watched MTV so i was (and still am, for the most part) completely clueless about most of the rock icons of the nineties. i see this as an advantage most of the time. at least i can still discover the best of it (when i finally bought Nevermind in 1999 i was like "holy shit! nobody told me this was GOOD!"). i continue to astound brian (and emily, especially, the true child of the nineties) with my ignorance. Stone Temple Pilots....they were a rap band, right?

no-one else was interested in coming, so emily and i arranged tickets and went off to see what Billy Corgan Solo looks like. and it looks very beautiful, turns out. the light show was a genius set of folding screens behind the minimal keyboard and drumpad band, whose instruments were encased in flowery, hand-welded art nouveau sculptures. for better or worse, the music blew my mind: it was as if someone had taken me and transported me to a random nightclub in 1983. it was not was more like being in a sound museum. very mid-tempo, very joy division, very intense. every time mr. corgan looked in our direction, i felt bullet eyes piercing my brain. whatever kind of music he was playing, the guy had an unbelievable stage presence. afterwards we said hello and hung out for a minute or two, talking about japan and japanese culture. mr. billy corgan seems very deliberate, that's the best word i could come up with. a guy who has spent a lot of time thinking and working through and measuring carefully. turns out he had found out about the dolls through an agent we know who passed our disc along. things happen. they keep happening.

our last morning in tokyo i woke up early and wanted nothing more than to just be alone and soak up the last few moments. i took a long walk around our neighborhood and paid a visit to a nearby temple, where i sat in a chair for a while, half meditating and half watching the monks going through their rituals, and then took a walk through the cemetery. there were lilies in the garbage. i took one that wasn't too wilted.

13 hours on a flight to new york and then a 3 hour layover and 2 hour delayed flight to boston.
i watched the wizard of oz (cried four times, mostly towards the beginning) and million dollar baby for the second time this month (cried twice). flying means there are a lot of movies. i never used to see any of them, now i am in touch with the culture.

there are no lights on in my apartment. the power is out. go downstairs, where pope and zea are still up working. do you know why the power is out? lightning? ok., fair enough. go back upstairs, head for bed. there are british people in my bed. go back downstairs. do you guys know why there are british people in my bed? houseguests of lee (our benevolent landlord). ok. where's lee? in the hospital, with a terrible flu. ok. is there beer? yes. time to drink some. i try to explain, sitting on the stoop drinking beer, the double mindfuck feeling of not only seeing your apartment in the complete darkness when your'e not used to it, but also being able to vaguely make out the foreign-shaped belongings of strange surprise british houseguests. i see something on my kitchen table that doesn't live there, but i can't really see what it is. foreign amorphous objects in the bathroom. all will be revealed tomorrow, when the sun comes up. for now i am camping out in lee's bed upstairs and finding comfort in the familiar glow of my mac, which is one of the only sources of stability in my life lately. i awoke the strange birtish couple. no, no! stay in bed, you look very comfortable. we'll meet tomorrow and in the meantime, keep sleeping. good night.

i am home again. i am happy. already i have drank three cups of tea and played the piano and gone to my yoga studio and sweated my brains out. the piano is like an anti-magnet but i did finish one song that's been bouncing around in my head for the better part of a year now, and it represents a real milestone for me because i actually finished the lyrics On The Airplane, which means On Tour, which means Away From Home which I can traditionally Never Do. So maybe now i can creep out of my nasty habit shell and actually start writing a little more on the road. i can only finish writing lyrics when the song is more or less finished in my head and i just need words combined together and filling in blanks, but it's a start. music is all in my head, it's not in my fingers and i need to remember that i can do whatever i want. i'm honestly like fucking rainman when it comes to songwriting. i need to cure myself.

currently listening to spiritualized (ladies and gentleman we are floating in space), i forgot how brilliant that music is for calming nerves, and it's starting to feel a little tiny bit like fall, so i put on my Nad Navillus CD (iron night) which is one my favorite fall CDs of all time, to, like, kind of prepare for fall coming. so i'm not surprised. fall always scares me a little. because then comes the winter. anyway.


dresdendollchick said...

i hope you had a good trip.

glad to see you home.

crazyjaneski said...

I had to laugh at what you say about your mac being a source of stability. I have just the same experience: I've just moved to Prague from Los Angeles, and everyone I know here is gone for the summer, so I've just been trudging around, looking for, and finally finding a flat, and living on my own planet with my mac as my line back to everything familiar, and my iPod making everything around me feel alright, because even if I am out on the limb of setting up shop in a foreign land, I have all my beloved voices to come along with me and give it all a good soundtrack.

I'm not sure what I'd do without my Mountain Goats, Neutral Milk Hotel, good old Trent, and yep... The Dresden Dolls. Thank God for music.

I can't wait to hear your new song!

martin_m said...

Cried my eyes out during Million Dollar Baby.
I use books for that same sort of stability you get from your Mac. I was in Prague for a few months and feeling out of sorts and disconnected when I happened to stumble across a book by William Gibson (Pattern Recognition). I picked it up immediately and read it over the next few hours. I really can't explain why it made me feel better but it did - the words never change, I new what to expect - for me he brings a warmness to his characters and I feel as though I know them. I just felt surrounded by friends.

Jen said...

yeah....while i was in korea my comp was a source of emotional security. the one steady thing i could count on...and a nice place to hide.

anyway glad you're back in the states...for a short time at least. hope the jet lag doesnt hit you too hard. rest well and i hop to hear your new work soon.

VenomEyes said...

Yes,Billy Corgan is good isn't he? Wizard of Oz makes me cry too. Bet its good to be home.
I can not wait to hear your new song. If it's anything like what's come before... It's got to be good.
Pardon the ramble, I just find it... nice that you keep a blog that fans can read. most groups... there's no idea of what goes on with them, but the fact that you write about it, it gives a sense of reality that alot of bands don't have..

TripleBypass said...

I saw Billy Corgan too, phenomenal light show. It was so funny a little girl kept sreaming Billy in a really high pitched shrill voice, everone was laughing. He finally said his name was William. My Mac, is also like family. Glad u had a good trip.

PaisleyPersonality said...

Not really related to the post but here are some bands I think you might enjoy: Tin Hat Trio, Faun Fables, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum & Mindless Self Indulgence. Enjoy.

PaisleyPersonality said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ravening Lunatic said...


I just wanted to say how much I love your band.I saw you in Brisbane Australia late last year, I hadn't heard any of your material at that stage, but from what I'd read and the photos I'd seen, I knew I'd regret not going.

Anyway, it was an incredible show, but I really wish I knew the songs at the time, I seem to enjoy shows a lot more when I'm familar with the material.

I actually just met Billy Corgan myself on the 29th July. I really enjoyed his show, but I couldn't help but be a bit disappointed at his reliance on computer generated sounds. But he interacted with the crowd well and had a bit of a chat to everyone at the end.

After the show we hung around the bar for a bit, because it was at a really cool old theatre house and we really enjoyed the atmosphere. We saw him talking to a few other fans so thought we'd say hello - I know what you mean when you say he's 'deliberate'. Talking to him reminded me of when you see a satellite interview on TV, theres a brief but noticable delay before he actually responds to what you said and he'll pause mid sentence to think of the correct word he wants to say. The Smashing Pumpkins video for 'Tonight, Tonight' reminds me a lot of your band.

Anyway, just wanted to say hello and I looks forward to seeing you next time you tour australia again!

paper-doll said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
paper-doll said...

I love you :) Come to Australia, all ages concert in Brisbane?

Lizzie said...

Oh wow. Japan sounds amazing.

& I totally agree with those saying come back to Australia!<3

dissonanceink said...

There is a disturbingly high correlation between mac users and Dresden Dolls fans (I'm on my 12" powerbook now). Had to remark on that.

I am forever envious of you for meeting Billy Corgan! I have always thought he was one of the most interesting, talented people in the industry.

It goes unsaid that I think you are absolutely amazing, you've been on repeat on my iPod since I first downloaded Girl Anachronism (you have no idea how much I appreciate having to look up a word in the dictionary).

There's this optimistic desperation in so many of your songs that I relate to. I found you because of NIN, but I now think you've officially stolen Trent's place at the top of my list. Thank you for being original, refreshing, and fantastic.

Kulturekid said...

I remember when I read that you were using a PC, and I was suprised and disappointed... Then you got your Powerbook, and I was a happy camper... If you have not updated to 10.4.2 Tiger, you are really missing out... Spotlight and Dashboard are extemely addicting...

I hope you are touring through the winter, cause I will be able to make many of the shows... Oct. is a rough one for me, cause work is really gruelling, but then it slows, and I should be able to follow you around for a couple of months...

Japan sounded like a much needed vacation instead of work..

See you in Colorado at least...

DAVE aka Kulturekid

Kulturekid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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Merran said...

Ok, well I need soo much more time to read all ypur other diary entrys maybe a week off school or something. The Dresden Dolls seriously need to come to New Zealand and dont do a gig at a R18 bar god, so many bands have done that, bought me to tears.

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