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  LOOPY'S WORLD: PART FIFTEEN B - JAPAN 1981

Steve 'Loopy' Newhouse

steve newhouse

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loopyworld

A few weeks later (although it could have been longer) we headed off to Japan. I had already noticed the new people we were picking up along the way in Europe, but it meant nothing to me then.

Colin Claydon had replaced Stuart and one of the Trust crew was on board but I had no idea why. Having had a brief get together with my ex and thinking things were ok, I found out the night before we flew to Japan that she'd be seeing someone else. I was devastated and when I told Dave lights, the two of us sat on the underground to Heathrow crying our eyes out.

The flight out to Japan was almost like a bus trip. We flew from Heathrow to Stuttgart, which was a short stop over so we didn't leave the plane. Then Stuttgart to Karachi where we had a fuel stop. This was going to take a couple of hours so a few of us got off the plane to check out the local airport.

Article continues below...

 
 


We couldn't go very far because our boarding passes wouldn't allow it. This is where most of us realised we had overdressed.

The heat was unbelievable. I got off the plane in tracksuit bottoms, sweat shirt and tour jacket. I got back on the plane, with all those items over my arm. Luckily, back then, I always wore shorts but I won't forget the heat. Oh yeah, local time that day was 4.00am.

Next stop was Bangkok where we also had to refuel. I really don't remember much about the place. As we weren't allowed out of the airport we headed to the nearest bar as usual. Well, we are British (mostly) after all.

That was when I saw what I can only describe as something you only see in a film. That hazy, humid, smoky effect you would sometimes see in a 1950s movie. Almost like walking into a bar that has a small cloud in it. That was exactly what I witnessed. It's hard to explain, but I hope you understand.

Next stop Tokyo, Narita Airport. And I wasn't expecting this. None of us were. Thousands of fans were waiting for us. I have to admit they were mostly girls, but a third were boys/guys (you choose).

The fans swamped the airport and it all got a little scary for a while. We had to have a police escort from baggage claim to the main exit where we had a fleet of transit type mini buses waiting to take us to our hotel.

That didn't stop the fans though. They chased us everywhere.

The journey from Narita Airport to downtown Tokyo took a couple of hours and what I remember most about the journey, although we were on a motorway, was a high wall or fence in between the south bound and north bound traffic, so all you could see was what was going on in front of you.

After spending two hours of looking at the number plate in front of us we finally burst into downtown Tokyo and, shortly after, arrived at our hotel, The Keio Plaza. For the next ten days this was going to be our base, but not home. I shall explain, eventually.

Having arrived at our hotel we were told to stay inside the vehicle until it was safe due to the amount of fans outside the entrance. This took another fifteen minutes then, finally, one by one we were led to the hotel entrance. Once inside the lobby things calmed down a bit.

The hotel itself was a massive piece of twin tower construction with its swimming pool somewhere around the 30th floor. Most of us were given rooms in one of the towers but we were much higher than the swimming pool. The view from the hotel window was staggering.

As we were handed our keys the noise outside was deafening and it was really odd to hear people calling my name while making that short journey from the van to the hotel reception.

I spoke to Lightsy about it later in my room and he heard the fans saying "Roopy" as much as I heard them say "Dave Rights". We had arrived and in a bigger way than any of us had expected.

An hour later most of us congregated in the basement hotel bar where we met the promoter, Udo.

This guy was fantastic. If you wanted anything he would find it. He told us all to order some food but suggested we try a steak sandwich. Of course it didn't take much working out. Having spent the last 26 hours on a plane a steak sandwich was perfect. I had three and, as Udo was footing the bill and at $7 a sandwich I was getting my money's worth.

While we ate Udo went through the itinerary with us and introduced us to a lot of his main people. It was a great meeting and we knew where we stood. Not much time for sightseeing, but we were there on business.

He also told us the best places to go for a drink, clubbing, and also told us about a friend of his that ran a bar called the Lexington Queen in the downtown area of Tokyo called Rippongi.

Doing as we were told, we went off and found the bar only to be confronted by the owner, an Englishman, who had been expecting us. We could tell by the pints set up along the front of the bar and the Tequila slammers just behind. Again, all this was organised and paid for by Udo.

Not far from the Lexington Queen was a disco building. That's the only description I can think of. You get in a lift, you press which floor you want and when it arrives at your chosen floor, you walked into a disco. But they were all differently themed. One floor would be rock; another would be disco, etc.

We only had a small amount of rehearsal time in Tokyo so were tucked away in a room on the seventh floor of a building in the city centre.

Being curious of our surroundings, I ventured up to the roof and was blown away by what I found. I had no idea that baseball was such a big thing in Japan, or even golf, but wherever I looked, there were practise nets. I guess they had to practise somewhere, I just didn't expect it a couple of hundred feet up. Just goes to show how little we know about other cultures I guess.

The whole Japanese tour set up was a bit weird but we learned a lot from our ten day stay.

Firstly, each show started at about 4.30pm and was usually finished by 6.00pm. The load-in time was always from about 8.00am but we found at the first gig, in Tokyo itself, that there were a lot of people with note pads following you about.

The Japanese crew were quite happy to watch you set up but they were constantly making notes. And these notes were a kind of blueprint for the coming shows. And the attention to detail was quite astonishing. I remember the lights being focused and there was a guy making notes of where each beam of light hit the stage.

I cleaned my cymbals and had a guy take note of everything I did.

To cut a long story short, every gig we did in Japan was set up before we got there. Even the drum kit was set up the way I wanted it, but maybe not Clive.

As I said, we were only there for ten days but the experience will last forever.

Most mornings we were on a Bullet train at 5.00am travelling from one city to the next. Being used to home comforts I was expecting a cup of tea and a bacon sarnie at that time in the morning. No chance, or more appropriately, not a sausage.

The only thing available was sushi, which you could purchase from a guy on the platform costing about £5 for eight tiny bits of rice rolled up with raw fish. As it happens, I'm allergic to seafood so I went without.

There was also no trolley dolly on this service so, by the time we reached our destination, I was seriously hungry.

The journey out of Tokyo to Nagoya will be remembered by me mostly for the time it took to leave Tokyo itself. This city is so large; it took an hour from a three hour journey to finally leave.

Then we passed Mount Fuji, a spectacular sight, but then travelling at 200mph you still don't get a decent shot.

After shows in Nagoya and Osaka where we had our first real encounter with Adrian's alter ego (Melvin), it was time to head back to Tokyo where we did two last shows at the Sun Plaza, then it was Sayonara, Japan.

Udo, being the gent he was, made sure that everyone was given a parting gift. And, with our gifts loaded, it was time to say goodbye. By the time we reached the airport the fans had been camping out. There were thousands there to wave us off. I still think back on those days with fond admiration.

I loved the way we were treated like kings, yet we hadn't really done anything to merit that. With only two albums under the band's belt this was a sign that things would be getting better.

And yes, Paul really did introduce the song as 'Lunning Flee'.

****************************



Keith Wilfort is a big name in the early history of Iron Maiden. Keith was one of the band's first ever true fans, 'inventor' of the first ever Iron Maiden t-shirt and became the band's first ever fan club secretary.

Keith is not in good shape at the moment and is in hospital in California where he now lives and requires open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve.

He's had to have his teeth removed in preparation for the surgery and to save him from further infection. The surgery will almost certainly go ahead today (Friday 21st February).

The after care and medication alone will cost thousands of dollars and donations from the Metal community are coming in thick and fast to the GoFundMe page that Keith's family have set up. You can visit the page and donate by clicking here.

Two people have made anonymous donations of $1000 each and although Keith is in high spirits, he wants his teeth back so he can swear at everyone properly.

The band have been informed, and Metallica have also been alerted, due to the connection between the bands over the years.

So far the donations have hit $3,500, which is staggering in three days.

Keith and his family are updating his Facebook page with all developments and you can follow them by clicking here.


Click here for the Loopyworld index, including Steve's tribute to Clive Burr...




21.1.14


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Following their exhilarating headline sets at the European summer festivals, Linkin Park return for their own headline tour in November...

evil scraecrow AT LAST! A NEW VIDEO FROM EVIL SCARECROW
"It's an emotional thing for us to watch back. We hope that translates to everyone that watches it too!"

sabctuary SANCTUARY POSTS LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'EXITIUM (ANTHEM OF THE LIVING)'
Sanctuary continue that legacy that they started decades ago, delivering yet another fresh take on "classic-sounding" Metal...

electric mary ELECTRIC MARY ANNOUNCE MINI ALBUM AND UK TOUR
Australian five piece Electric Mary are back to spread Rock n' Roll's genuine flavour to Europe...

accept ACCEPT REVEAL LIVE CLIP OF 'PANDEMIC' FILMED IN FRONT OF 750,000 PEOPLE AT WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2014
UK fans can catch the band live at The Forum in London on the 27th November 2014...

hornet HORNET ANNOUNCE NEW EP AND SINGLE
"We really wanted to just expand the sound we already had by incorporating more of our influences to make our sound more modern and diverse..."

jimmy barnes JIMMY BARNES ANNOUNCES NEW 30th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM 'HINDSIGHT'
2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Barnes' debut as Scottish born Australian rock singer-songwriter...

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE SUPPORTS ANNOUNCED FOR FORTHCOMING TOUR
London based hard rockers Neonfly will support in the UK mainland, with Northern Irish Metalheads Conjuring Fate doing the honours at the Belfast and Dublin shows...

within temptation WITHIN TEMPTATION TO HEADLINE BLOODSTOCK 2015
Within Temptation appear as a UK exclusive. Prog Metal titans Opeth will also appear on the bill...

emigrate EMIGRATE CONFIRM NEW ALBUM FOR UK RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
'Silent So Long' is the second album from the band formed by Rammstein's Richard Kruspe...

highway to hell WINNERS OF HIGHWAY TO HELL 5 ANNOUNCED
Texas Flood are the overall winners from an outstanding field, winning a contract and an appearance at Hard Rock Hell...

grim reaper THE LEGENDARY GRIM REAPER RETURN TO LONDON
Get down to the Boston Music Room on 27th September for Grim Reaper with Amulet and Dark Forest...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR NOVEMBER 2014
The 30th anniversary celebrations continue with a world tour including a trip to North America and a nine date UK leg...

eric martin MR. BIG SINGER ANNOUNCES UK SOLO ACOUSTIC TOUR
Eric Martin will play nine unplugged dates in December 2014 with a mix of solo and Mr Big material...

absolva ABSOLVA ANNOUNCE NEW BASSIST
British classic Metallers Absolva are delighted to announce the appointment of new bassist Karl Schramm...

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM PLANS AND UPDATED TOURING SCHEDULE
Manowar will headline Loud Park Festival in Tokyo on October 18th 2014 and will then resume the 'Kings Of Metal MMXIV' World Tour...

skyscraper SKYSCRAPER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'MONDAY MORNING'
This dynamic band has been taking critics by storm with their inimitable brand of melodic hard rock...

the more i see THE MORE I SEE ANNOUNCE OCT/NOV TOUR WITH SAVAGE MESSIAH AND BULL RIFF STAMPEDE
Featuring world renowned guitarist Gizz Butt, the band always deliver incredible live shows that combine passion, energy and breathtaking musicianship...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND REVEALS Z DETAILS AND ANNOUNCES SPECIAL ROYAL ALBERT HALL PERFORMANCE
Devin Townsend is extremely pleased to announce the release of long-awaited new double-album...

blastfest AT THE GATES, DARK FUNERAL, ROTTING CHRIST AND MORE ANNOUNCED FOR BLASTFEST 2015
Bergen, Norway, former home of the legendary Hole In The Sky Festival and considered thee black metal capital of the world...

exodus EXODUS REVEAL SPECIAL GUESTS ON NEW ALBUM 'BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT'
Bay Area thrash Metal provocateurs Exodus proudly announce the special guests appearing on their latest showcase of unrefined rage...

panzer PANZER STREAMING LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'THE LAST MAN ON EARTH'
Brazilian thrash/stoner act Panzer have just released a new lyric video on for the second track of the album 'Honor'...

bush BUSH ANNOUNCE OCTOBER 20th RELEASE FOR 'MAN ON THE RUN'
Multi-platinum alt-rock band Bush have announced an October 20th release date for their highly anticipated new album...

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'LIVE FOR THE FIGHT'
The video features Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) who is playing bass for the band on the forthcoming European Tour...

giants of rock GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL: FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED
The reformed Family and pomp rockers Magnum will headline the event...

weapon uk ESTRELLA TO SUPPORT GILBY CLARKE ON TOUR AND ANNOUNCE A NEW SINGLE
The band are currently gearing up for a thirteen date trek with Clarke that includes dates in Wakefield, London and Edinburgh...

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER
Weapon UK have tour dates confirmed in support of their critically acclaimed album 'Rising From The Ashes'...

amulet AMULET DEBUT ALBUM 'THE FIRST' RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER: FIRST TRACK NOW ONLINE
The album track 'Mark Of Evil' has just been uploaded to Soundcloud. Raise your fists and bang your heads on this one...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S GUITARS STOLEN FROM GERMAN RECORDING STUDIO
German police are examining evidence and the studio for fingerprints and DNA evidence to help catch the criminals...

jimi jamison JIMI JAMISON OF SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY AGED 63
Jimi Jamison, lead singer of Survivor, very sadly passed away on Sunday night...

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