The New Deal in Japan!

So we’re finally making it to japan after all this time…

Everyone is very excited to be making the trip cuz we feel we’re going to show the people in japan a lot of great new deal music. Our promoter takanori has informed us that there are a lot of people excited that we’re coming, which makes us feel all fuzzy and warm inside.
Checking in at the airport was a breeze, as I was traveling business class and that allowed us to bring more gear, so off we went with most of what we wanted.

Here’s my seat for the flight. I rocked the business class.

Dan, Darren and Kevin weren’t as lucky/important as me so they sat with the regular folks (actually, I used points to get the fancy seat).
The 13-hour flight went surprisingly smoothly (I guess sleeping for 8 hours of it tends to take the edge off the time).

When we arrived we were greeted by a number of people, including health inspectors, customs inspectors, and drug dogs. Happy to say we passed all required tests and made our way out to the arrivals area.

We were greeted by our Japanese hosts/friends/promoters. Here’s a shot of our man Takanori from the band COMA. They were our hosts for our week-long tour.

After driving for a bit we arrive at our hotel in our first city, which is KASHIWA, just outside of Tokyo. We head out for dinner with a group of about 15 and had a wonderful meal of fresh Japanese seafood, grilled meats, soups, rice, etc – and apparently this was a casual meal.

Off to bed at 8:45 PM because we’re up at 4AM to head to the Tokyo Fish Market to check out the giant tuna.

Wandered around the market at 5AM (jammed full of people), ate some awesome noodles for breakfast at around 6:30, drank some cold coffee in a can, drove around in a wood-panelled Honda and now back to sleep at 9AM for our show tonight at 2AM!


Show in Kashiwa was great. We got a chance to check out some other Japanese bands and it’s amazing to see what a scene they have over here for good danceable music.

Our set started at 2:30 and went until 4AM. The entire place was bouncing from the minute we started until the minute we ended. It was nice to see the same looks on people faces here as we see in North America.

The sun was rising as yet more bands took to the stage… we hung out with some super people and finally staggered back to bed around 6:30 AM… here’s a shot of dan and myself sometime around sunrise…

June 6th

Woke up at 1pm (which is irrelevant when you’re 13 hours off your regular schedule and are playing shows at 2:30 AM) and hopped in the car for the 9-hour drive to Osaka. Darren and Kevin took the Rapidtrain while Dan and I opted to view the Japanese countryside from the seat of a moving van.

Ours was a good choice.

Our drive was nothing short of fascinating. Unfortunately we weren’t able to catch a glimpse of mount fuji due to cloud cover, we were still able to see the fantastic layout of japan as we made our way from the Tokyo area south to Osaka. There is no way we could take in the beauty of japan if we hadn’t made this drive, and hanging with our friends Ryohei and Takanori was a great time as well. Lots of music…

We arrived at our hotel in Osaka, had a bite to eat and passed out around midnight, ready to tackle tomorrow’s gig.

June 7th

Osaka – nice place. Got to walk around and explore the place with my friend Jay who lives here. Had a nice dinner with him and Kevin. Here we are in the middle of town.

Interesting experience here in Japan – getting stopped on the street by locals who can’t speak English but know my name cuz they’re on the way to the show. A couple of them even helped Kevin and I find the venue!

Show was great, another sell-out. – It’s really interesting to play in a new country and have all these people pay money to come see you even though you have no “above-the-radar” promotion like radio or video. It just speaks to the power of the internet, tape-trading and the universality of good music.

June 8th

Kyoto – saw the sushi train today at lunch. It carried our food then ducked back home to help another set of patrons in need. (see darren’s videos for further explanation).
Another day of enjoying a cool Japanese city and soundchecking for our show. Another sell out. This will never get boring.

June 9th

Morning – Kyoto. This is when we visited the temples and holy areas. Fantastic visit – I have to say, traveling with a bunch of people who live in the county is really the way to go – they know the ins and outs, they know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em… I recommend it to anyone traveling – pick up another band and travel with them! ☺

Had a fantastic Udon lunch at a supposedly famous place in Kyoto, then took the bullet train into Tokyo. 300 KM/H turned our 9-hr drive up to Kyoto into a 3-hr return train ride.

Spent the evening in Tokyo with our friend Chiaki (the guy with the ponytail in darren’s videos) at his friend’s restaurant and then at another friend’s bar. The drinks were plentiful and the evening was long, particularly for a couple of members of our touring party (I won’t say whom!). let’s just say that (to paraphrase Lowell George) their nights turned into our mornings… good times.

June 10th – Tokyo

What a city – unlike any other in the world. A vibrancy and energy unto itself… and that’s just during the day!

Our man Ryohei (a great guy who was indispensable as a guide/handler/driver/lead-arounder/translator) took us to his brother’s restaurant for lunch where we enjoyed a nice traditional meal of risotto, pasta and some meats – just like in italy. Pretty great food…

Headed off to soundcheck at O-Nest, a pretty cool club in the Shibuya district. The show that night was off the wall… mayhem to the highest degree. Unbeknownst to us, there has been a pent-up demand for the New Deal in Japan for a number of years, and the club we were playing that night was not big enough to accommodate the demand… a lineup snaked around the club and down the street for quite a stretch – an interesting (and nice) thing to see in a country far away from your own.

The performance was similarly charged and we had a great time. We then spent the next number of hours chatting with fans and friends in the bar section of the venue. A fitting way to cap off a great stay in a great country.

We look forward to returning there sometime in the very near future – we’d be silly not to.




Jamie here.

Welcome to installment number two of the New Deal Tour Blog. We’ll try and make it more than a once-yearly situation… I mean we do play more than one show a year…

Currently flying with Darren to BWI to begin our week’s worth of March shows to some places we haven’t been to in five years, and to some places we haven’t been to ever. Things are moving along as planned, although we had a bit of a scare last night as dan informed us that he was too sick with the flu to stand up, let alone endure an 8-hour flight with 400 of his closest flying companions from London to Washington to play tonight in Falls Church, VA at the State Theatre.

Many nails were bitten and many fingers were crossed and when the news was sent that Dan was well enough to stagger onto a plane in London, a great cheer was heard throughout the greater Toronto area, or at least Terminal 1 of Pearson airport in Toronto.

Here’s a picture of Darren sleeping on the airplane. That’s his elbow sticking out, not his gut…

Poor Dan was sick up until he stepped on stage… and then he was sick some more, but he pulled thru like a trooper and we had an enjoyable show at the State Theatre in Falls Church, VA. It was nice to get back to Virginia, a place we’ve neglected over the years. We look forward to coming back to this part of the country more often. The State Theatre is also a beautiful venue. I urge you to check out a show there next time you’re in the area.

The always-genial Tim Walther (the man responsible for bringing us and a million other great shows to the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area) brought us a nice welcome gift of a mason jar of moonshine. Needless to say, we happily shared in the ‘shine, you know, just to be polite… it was the best moonshine I’ve ever tasted. It was also the only moonshine I’ve ever tasted.

For some reason, I’m now obsessed with the song “Reminiscing” by the Little River Band. It’s a pretty bad slice of late ‘70’s pop music, but I’m just that kind of guy. Needless to say, Darren and I played it at soundcheck in State Falls. Let’s see how many more times I can cram that cheesy tune into people’s ears this week.

Now I sit in the lobby waiting to head out to a late-night show in Asheville… more to report later.

Great drive to Asheville… took us through some places we haven’t been to in a while… Virginia, Tennessee and into beautiful North Carolina.

Our set was 2-4 AM… great crowd, fun times. Our crew worked pretty hard that day and had some long long hours… so next time you see John or Kevin, give them a big hug – they deserve it.

After a few hours of sleep, we headed off to Raleigh, NC, which is a rarity in New Deal land – a city that we’ve never played. While this little mid-atlantic run takes us to some cities we’ve sorely neglected over the years (and some, like Baltimore that we haven’t been to in seven years), this is the first time in a very long time that the New Deal is hitting a city that we’ve never played. We weren’t sure what to expect, but turns out that Raleigh is a beautiful city with really nice people. Our show at the Lincoln Theatre was great and we were happy to see so many people turn out to rock with us. The vibe was intense and we’re pretty sure that everybody (including ourselves) had a great time. We will be adding Raleigh to our list of “cities we must return to soon”…

We also met the guys from Telepath who would be opening for us over the next three shows. Nice people, funny guys, good band. We hope to share more stages with them in the future.

Next show – Baltimore. Now THERE’S a city we haven’t been to in a while. Seven years, as I mentioned above. We didn’t know what to expect in terms of crowd size or vibe, but turned out to be great. 600 people joined us for a dance-frenzy and we were having such a fun time playing that we didn’t realize we had played past the time limit. Oh well, maybe the club management will forgive us…

Dan – en route from Baltimore to Norfolk, VA

Norfolk, VA – The Norva. For those who haven’t been to this venue, I strongly recommend that you check out a show there, should you be in the neighbourhood. For those who might not get a chance to check out the dressing rooms there, allow me to give you a little tour. These dressing rooms might be considered some of the nicest for this size of venue (1200 people). It has a hot tub, tv lounge, multiple bathrooms and showers (a big thing for touring bands), a BASKETBALL court, and some really nice people to help you out backstage. Hands down one of our favourite places to visit, if just for the dressing rooms.

We also had a great show there, complete with a fantastic crowd. Maybe that backstage hot tub really did help!

The Norva dressing room –

Anyway, all in all it was a great week. We were able to visit some new markets and open them up to future new deal onslaughts, we met some great fans, saw some old friends and rocked a bunch of houses.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the next batch of shows