Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Played at the Japanese Marijuana Smokers Convention

Just kidding, I really played at a giant high school here in Tokyo last week. It was funny because that big gold leaf, which is the official school leaf, next to the Japanese flag looks exactly like a marijuana leaf to me (take a good look at the photo). It was hanging up behind the auditorium stage. Japanese schools all have an official leaf (go figure). I wonder what they would think if they found out theirs looks like a pot leaf. Maybe it is. It would be more fitting for my old high school really...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of those days when you show up to work and the guy who sits next to you has the exact same look going on? I showed up to teach my classes at college here in Tokyo and the music business guy was my twin.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Guitar Tools pt.2

My second installment of the column I write for guitartools.co.uk. This one is dedicated to treble boosters and especially the most famous one, the Rangemaster.

Treble Boosters
– As we learned in part 1 of this column, guitarists in their quest for rock and roll tone often turned to fuzzes to push their amps to the breaking point, but another group of guitarists used a different device. To add some sparkle to the dark British amps in the sixties, many guitar players turned to treble boosters. In addition to adding more high frequencies, they also helped drive their amps with a dbl boost and some added distortion. Although a very 60s sound, the treble booster sounds completely different than the fuzz but if you want and need a varied classic type sound, having one of these in your bag is a must. More >>>

Friday, September 25, 2009

More Nutty English in Korea

I recently played a show in Korea and look what I found on the door in front of the bathrooms:


Add Image MEN

Does this mean you have two bathrooms, one for grown men and one for boys? Pretty funny..


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A T-Shirt With a Message

This is a lot of message for one small T-shirt. Pretty funny. It even has a title:

Everything that
Irritates us

and then goes on:

Everything that

Irritates us

About Others

Can Lead us

To a Better


Of Ourselves

Don't Push my Buttons

I don't know, is this funny? It sort of cracks me up. I mean it sort suggests that you choose the button you like best rather then the coffee:

Please Push Your Favorite Button

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Nutty Japanese (English) T-shirts

Hmm... A young girl with a Despot shirt on. If you didn't know, a despot is:

des·pot n

1. a tyrant or ruler with absolute powers

2. somebody who acts in a tyrannical way towards people

3. a minor emperor or prince of the later Roman, Byzantine, or Ottoman empires

Makes you wonder....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Column on GuitarTools

I've started writing a monthly column on guitartools.co.uk focusing on guitar effects. I write about how they work, the history behind them, the ground-breakers and new ones that I like. It should be a lot of fun and it gives me an opportunity to showcase some of the manufacturers that deserve more recognition.


effects on guitartools.co.uk

Friday, August 07, 2009

Hershey Park

I know this is a real T-shirt because there is a Hersheypark PA. But I can't help it. It's sort of funny. How can I say this without insulting anyone. Well, let's just say the word Hershey sort of gets used in a lot of gay jokes, so HERSHEYPARK IS FOR LOVERS with the hearts and that thing I'm pointing to that, well, um, sort of reminds me of a butt hole, gives me the crack-ups. Plus, his face is also making me laugh. This photo was taken backstage at a show we did, the Hersheypark lover guy is Kenichi Fujisawa, the bass player in my band.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Podcast Interview

I did another interview on the "One Minute How To" podcast. If you'll recall, the last one I did was on how to eat Sushi. This one is on how to avoid jet lag, obviously something I've learned to do considering I fly about 100,000 miles a year. The "One Minute How To" podcast is a fun way to get the word out about my music and books and I get to talk about something other than music (barf). Anyway, it is sort of goofy so have a listen if you have a chance but especially if you are going to be doing some traveling.

Link: "One Minute How To" Podcast

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kei Akagi

Kei Akagi came to the college to do a seminar today. I was thrilled to meet him (2nd time) and it was a pleasure to hear what he had to say about playing with some of my heroes, like Miles Davis and Allan Holdsworth. I originally saw him play with Allan years ago in Hollywood. He is a complete genius. For those of you who aren't familiar with who he is, he was born in Japan but grew up in the states. He has played piano with Miles, Joe Farrell, Al DiMeola, Airto Moreira, Art Pepper, Blue Mitchell, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Charnett Moffett, Tom Harrell, Bobby Shew, Eddie Harris, Slide Hampton, Steve Turre, Robin Eubanks, Jean-Luc Ponty, Jeff Watts, Allan Holdsworth, and others. He is currently the Chancellor Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine. It was a very exciting day and I usually don't get very excited about things like this, last time was when I met Jeff Beck.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Even More Nutty Japanese (English) T-shirts

I think they got the message wrong with this one:

Drugs Not Hugs

Probably backwards....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dedication to my Father

Dear Dad,

Sorry to be late again. I had actually forgotten Father’s Day this year. Since I became a father myself, I don’t particularly like Father’s Day, matter of fact I hate it. I love being a father, but during this time of the year, I’m in Tokyo and being separated on Father’s Day from my daughter is especially difficult for me. While all the other fathers in Japan are getting cards and presents from their kids, I’m stuck by myself. So I was actually trying to forget about Father’s Day.

But a few days ago, one of my old highschool friends, told me that he had gotten the guitar book I wrote as a present for Father’s Day and it reminded me once again of you.

I did a lot of soul searching over this and wanted to tell you something, something I probably never said before. Although you never talked much about it, I know you grew up in way worse times than me. You were fourteen when World War II ended and having grown up in Hamburg, probably the most bombed city in Europe, had your share of tragedies. I remember you told me once that your home got bombed while you were out during the day, and you told me of the sirens going off in the middle of the night and rushing to the basement of your building to put on gas masks. And you told me that you would go up to the roof of your apartment building after the air raids were over each night to count the fires in the city. I recall you once told me that you had no place to live and lived on a boat for a while.

But usually these stories only came when I asked you about your childhood, you never once gave me that; “You kids have it too easy, you know, when I was a kid we….” type of talks. I remember a story you told me about the war, how you kept a goat for milk and cheese and how it got stolen. And that the thieves were decent enough to leave the head behind so at least you could make soup. I never knew till Mom told me that your father had been away in the war for years and years and your family thought he had died till he finally came back after the war was over.

You never got the chance to go to college and become an architect like you wanted but because of you I had the chance to become anything I wanted. Sorry I became a musician, even you never complained about that either. You never said you had a miserable childhood and never complained about the bad set of cards you got dealt in life. I know you had your demons to deal with and unlike so many people, you kept it a private battle.

When you got in your twenties, you packed your bags and looked for a new life in America. You came on a boat from Europe with a couple hundred bucks and a German/English dictionary, landed a job, got married to a beautiful American woman and raised a family. You took good care of us and your spirit of adventure rubbed off on me. Because of what you did; leaving home to find new opportunities, I could find the courage to do it too. First Los Angeles, then Tokyo.

I suppose you never wanted us to have the kind of life you did and we didn’t, we grew up never knowing of such things. Matter of fact we were spoiled, we never wanted for anything. We never knew what it was like to not have three meals a day, to not have new clothes when we needed them. You worked six days a week, gone before I got up to go to school and back home at nine or ten at night. You were never out drinkin’ it up with the boys like I do. You had only Sunday off and you never failed to take us somewhere, to the beach or to the car races. We had a nice family vacation every year in Ocean City. You taught me how to tell time and to tie my shoes. You bought me my first guitar. And I never said thanks for anything. Even though I spent the last few days of your life with you in the Hospital, I didn’t even tell you then.

So let me take this chance to say thanks to you Dad. I’m so sorry I didn’t say it while you were alive. And I’m sorry I had to post it on the internet, but considering Heaven must have an internet connection, it is the only way I figured you’d be able to read it. I can’t help but wonder if your goat that they stole got to heaven too?

Your Loving Son,


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Curry In Japan

This is one of my new goofy Japanese adventures involving Indian Curry. Let me start from the beginning by introducing my friend Hiro, he's the guy down there wiping his face with a towel. Hiro and I live in the same area of Tokyo, Monzen Nakacho to be exact. We have been on this mission, like a lot of middle aged men, to become real men. So we started by going to the gym every other day and running 5K followed by a weight training regiment. Needless to say we are getting buff. After our training sessions, we make way to the local Indian Curry restaurant, Binita. The first time, we ordered our curry, vegetable curry if you really need all the details, and started at level 4 out of a possible 10 (look at the poster on the wall) because we were scared. And it was pretty hot. We agreed that we would try to work our way up to the highest level, 10. Now our motivations were quite simple, we imagined that we would train ourselves to be able to eat the level 10 atomic curry and then go out to dinner with some young girls and when they ordered their curry at girly level 3 or 4 and we would order ours at 10 and eat without even breaking a sweat. And of course the girls would think us manly men. Today we reached the pinacle, level 10. It was a fun journey. The Indian man who runs the place and all the other Indian people working there, learned of our amitions and instead of the usual "Irashaimase," meaning welcome in Japanese, when we entered their fine establishment, they would say; "Today is number 9, right?" We would drink our complimentary beer and partake in our atomic curry. When we got to about 8, the waiters would peak out at us to make sure we were OK. Hiro would sweat more at the curry place than at the gym, bringing an extra towel with him everytime.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Yes, More Nutty Japanese (English) T-shirts

Not that crazy, but still a little nutty:

I (love) Smile Again & Girl

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More Nutty Japanese (English) T-shirts

I don't know, not really outrageous or anything, but still made me laugh a little bit:


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Japanese Bathtub

I'm used to the whole thing but if you don't know about taking a bath in Japan, I'm going to explain it real slow. This is my bathroom in Japan. I mean Bath-Room, because in Japan a toilet and bathtub do not go together, they are separate. As a Japanese person would say, why would you want something dirty like a toilet next to your bathtub? You get clean in one place and relieve your bladder in another. Anyways, one of the things I miss when I'm back in America is my bathroom. As you discovered in one of my previous posts, my toilet, with all its buttons and butt cleaning gadgets is missed as well.

Anyways, here is how it goes: After I get back from a long day of playing guitar and Sushi out on the town, I'm ready for my nightly bath. I open the door and push the "fill up bathtub button" and my bathtub fills up with water. It is set to fill up with as many liters as I want, so if I was a big fat guy, I could set it so it fills up with less water. The Bath-Room is a separate room with a bathtub and shower all contained in there. So you could go in there and spray water all over the place, up on the ceiling, down on the floor, on the walls, it doesn't matter.
Their ain't no toilet in there so you can't get the toilet paper wet, basically the whole thing is a waterproof compartment.

But I'm not in there yet, because I'm checking my email as it is filling up at my desired temperature of 42 Celsius. 42 Celsius is 107.6 Fahrenheit and if you didn't know, 42 Celsius is the generally accepted bathwater temperature in Japan. It feels a little too hot if you aren't used to it but after years in Japan it feels normal to me. You could set it a little lower if you are a big baby and can't deal with it.

After about ten minutes a speaker on the wall tells me the bath is done with Pachabel's Cannon in the key of C and an announcement in Japanese saying: "Your Bath is Now Ready!" You can probably change the song but I haven't figured it out yet. Now I'm ready to get clean. Now here is the deal: You can't get in the bath without washing yourself real good. Japanese don't go for any soap in the bathtub. A Japanese bath equals a shower with vigorous scrubbing with a painful nylon cloth and soap and a good rinse before climbing in there. You also get a groovy plastic chair to sit on if you like taking your time. There is a mirror so you can sit there all you want and shave or whatever. If you spend an hour or two in there and the bath gets cold, there is a reheat button that will bring the temperature back up the standard 42 C. Click on the photo over there for a close-up!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Infinite Guitar

I've entered a sales contest sponsored by the publisher of my 266 page book "The Infinite Guitar." The book is somewhat popular and has moved from about 40,000 on their top sellers list to number 164 this month. If I win I get a lot of exposure and some financing for a new book. It is a guitar instructional book and is basically an encyclopedia of what I have taught over the last twenty years, pretty much covering every topic you can imagine, from scales and modes to chords, composition, ear training and composition. Only physical book sales count and not e-books. If you know someone who might want this book or you want it for yourself or a guitarist friend, a 10% discount is offered as well with this code: JUNECONTEST10. You can find the book here:


Saturday, June 06, 2009


The opening number from my second CD, "Sweet Melissa" was used in Australian filmmaker Sean King's newest short film, "Regrets." Pretty exciting and I'm listed in the credits as well.

More info can be found here: seankingonline.com

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Crazy Japanese (English) T-Shirts!

This is one of the strangest ones I have seen yet. I actually had to open up a dictionary to find out what it means. Anyway, here it is in all its glory. It says:




and............................................ Semen for you

I wasn't quite sure what Perdition was, I knew it was something religious regarding Hell or something so I looked it up to be sure: Perdition: a state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful and unpenitent
person passes after death. But the "Semen for you" had me laughing and laughing, especially because the font is so cute. I want one of these for sure but I don't think I could wear it anywhere.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Sushi Podcast

I completely forgot about this. Last year I did a radio interview on the "One Minute How To" podcast on the proper way to eat Japanese food. For those of you who enjoy eating Sushi, you might find this fun and informative and maybe a little goofy! Link:


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wacky English on me!

I couldn't resist buying it. I mean, who could blame me? It says:




Playing in a brothel is my favorite

That's what it says, I'll have to think about what this means exactly.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

My New Pad and Japanese Scientific Advances

I've been renting a pad here in Japan, in the Monzen Nakacho area of Tokyo to be exact. It is three stops from Tokyo station. I thought I would let everyone in on Japanese technology and the way people live here. We should have these things in other parts of the world really. Anyway, I'm starting with my toilet. Click on the photo over there to see the features up close but I'll fill you in anyways. First off, it has a heated toilet seat that you can time. I guess this comes in handy if you are real regular and know what time you'll be sitting down everyday. It has a butt washer too and you can move the nozzle back and forth. I guess in testing they found out that the spray nozzle doesn't match everybody's butt so you can move it to your butt hole location. It has another butt washer that doesn't have such a narrow stream, I guess more of a general butt wash rather than an intensive directional spray. It also has a washer for other areas, it has "Bidet" written for this button but basically it is for chicks. And it has a smell sucker intake fan so you don't smell up the bathroom. So you don't need one of those pine forest sprays after you go because the fan in the toilet takes care of unwanted odors. There are some more buttons too but I haven't figured them out yet. I'll let you know when I do. Stay tunes for my bathtub.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's Everywhere

Yes it is everywhere, strange Engrish. On my never ending search for it, I ran across this one by the elevator in my hotel: "The emergency steiroase is automatically locked." I get the meaning but the word "Steiroase" sort of made me giggle. I found another one at breakfast but couldn't take a photo. You see, Japanese cell phones make a noise when you take a photo. The reason is because, Japanese perverts, unlike their American counterparts, are sort of juvenile by nature. Japanese perverts are more likely to take a photo with their cell phone up a girl's skirt and for that reason they all make noises making it harder to get away with it. For that reason it was difficult for me to take the breakfast Engrish photo in the quiet room. Everyone would have looked at me and wondered why the "Gaijin" (foreigner) was taking a photo of the macaroni salad. I'll see if I can pull it off tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Strange English Already

I've only been in Japan a few days but it doesn't take long to find strange English even when you aren't looking. I found this one on my way to a gig here in Tokyo. I've heard of petty theft or petty cash but "Petty Dining" is a first for me. I wonder what they were thinking.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

CoreX2 Cables

I recorded some tracks demonstrating the different cables made by Core One. It was fun playing some of the famous riffs from the songs I grew up listening to. The cables made by Core One are really top notch by the way, great sounding and durable. Besides the CoreX2 cables that I use, they also make Bullet Cables featuring some wacky designs including a retro coil cable that reminds me of when I was 12 and first started playing. As well as the CoreX2 instrument cable, I also use the do it yourself kit that comes with 20 foot of cable, a cutter blade and ten connectors so I can make custom length cables for my pedal board. I was recorded through an Orange Tiny Terror amp, great sound..

YouTube link for the tracks>>>