Thursday, 24 April 2014

Day 3, Tuesday – ZZ Bar, Shinbashi 2/7/13

7:42am – I feel that I conquered at least 3/8ths of the hotel lobby’s toilet today. There are 8 buttons on the shitter and I worked out what 3 of them do. Great success.

9:35am – This is certainly a first for me. Waking up early to rehearse for a musician is almost an unspoken taboo. You just don’t do it. On a positive note the rehearsal studio was absolutely amazing. The rigs were new & clean, the lights were mesmerizing and even the microphones smelt minty fresh.

3:58pm – On the train to Shinbashi. Watched an advert for vacuum cleaners with driving lights. Fair enough I thought. Nighttime hygiene must be a thing over here.

4:23pm – Sound check at ZZ Bar. Just heard the best cover of a Led Zeppelin song over the PA by a band called ‘Chor’

6:14pm – Dinner & Beer on the street outside ‘Family Mart’ (as there seems to be no benches or places to sit and eat in Tokyo). The beer that I bought said ‘Style Free’ displayed on the can. I thought to myself, ‘as a man with little style and or dignity, this could very well be the beer for me’. It turned out to be ‘Alcohol Free’. I shan’t be fooled again by that cheap trick, thank you.

8:30pm – The band before us was really cool, a little cold and clinical, but still very cool. The male guitarist and singer from this 3 piece wore more make up than most of the ladies I have seen so far in Tokyo. After a beer (or 7…plus half a bottle of whisky that the others didn’t know I was packing) he seemed to look more and more like a women and less like a man. He was starting to look attractive. Hopefully this is just the beer talking and his androgynous ways and that I wouldn’t have to look at myself in the mirror the next day and seriously rethink some things regarding my own sexuality. Wait and see I suppose.

9:09pm – Our set was OK, not great but not terrible (probably could have been better with some sobriety on my behalf, but who’s pointing the finger here?). During our set we had some guests join us on stage. It was a little chaotic, but fun nonetheless. It was awesome to meet Kevin’s Japanese friends that either had come out to support us or play on stage with us. They were all a top bunch of blokes. Mr Ohto sang a Beatles song with us and Mr Kazo & Mr Makoto played bass & double bass on yet another cover (yep…you guessed it) Smoke on the Water. It seems to be a cult classic over here. Maybe they just haven’t heard it enough like we have in Australia. I shall have to introduce this riff to as many music stores whilst I’m over here and gauge the response from the apathetic cashiers. Hey, it’s all in the name of cultural diversity.

9:50pm – We all enjoyed a few ales and tried this thing called ‘Hoppy’. We thought it was just a different type of beer, but it also was mixed with sake and caught up with us pretty quickly.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Day 2, Monday – Naritta Airport and Tokyo 1/7/13

6:15am – Landed in Narrita Airport and made it through customs without a hiccup. Hugh ‘Mr Details’ Blemings guided Ben and I through the airport to train station where we boarded the express train to Shinjuku. The Tokyo trains are amazing. They are super clean and they fang around like fucking rockets. Even their shitty trains are ten times better than our good ones back home. They have no graffiti, nobody pissing on them and their cup holders work better than most of my household appliances.

8:31am – Arrived at Shinjuku station and searched for the ‘Hotel Sunroute’ where we would be staying for the next two weeks. Met up with Kevin ‘The Wizard’ Windross, our fearless bandleader and friend (the term friend is used very loosely here of course). Before we could hear the sound of our luggage hitting the hotel room floor we were out of there and back on the next train to Shibuya to meet Kevin’s friend ‘Mr Kazu Ohto’. Mr Ohto had been organizing most of the logistics surrounding our tour from Japan prior to us flying over.

9:40am – Met Mr Ohto

9:47am – Within 7 minutes of meeting Mr Ohto we find ourselves in a karaoke bar in a private room singing songs of ‘The Beatles’ and ‘Toto’. Now, we’re all aware of the Japanese stereotypes about karaoke and their deep-seated admiration of the art form (roll with it), but I never imagined I’d be singing karaoke so early into our trip. Especially not the minute we stepped off the plane.

12:00pm – Back to Shinjuku and eating off the streets of Tokyo (literally). The streets in Tokyo are so clean you can eat off them. I dropped a large portion of my meal on the street and proceeded to eat it out of sheer faith of the cleanliness of the Tokyo streets. Later that week I discovered people hosing off the pavement here at least twice a day. That means that the streets of Tokyo get cleaned at least 273 times more per year than my house does. Frightening stuff.

3:14pm – Just watched an advert on the train for the video game ‘The Sims’. It scared the shit out of me.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Day 1 – Home, Canberra Airport and a Boeing 747 (Sydney to Naritta) 30/6/13

9am – The day started just like any other. Dry mouth, headache and sore eyes. I’d been out the night before to see some mates play in a band called ‘Decadence of Cain’ or ‘Decadence of Cunts’ as I’d saved them in my phone. We’d been up drinking until 4am-ish and I now had 3 smelly Melbournites camping in my house or front yard somewhere. Dry mouth is a real problem these days they explained to me.

10am – Bacon, juice, showers (all of which were cold) and they were good to go. Decadence of Cain were off to Sydney to play another show and I had the rest of my packing to do.

1pm – Met up with a mate (Nick Peddle, Canberra drummer/extraordinaire) for a sneaky beer (I use the term ‘Mate’ and ‘Beer’ very loosely here as the soft prick had a coffee. Good thing I made up for him by having a couple of beers. Crises averted).

3:30pm – My narcissism got the better of me as I watched a short documentary of my own band ‘The Barren Spinsters’ whilst in transit to the airport. In my defence, it had only been uploaded to YouTube for less than 10mins and I had to test it to see if it worked (I couldn’t leave the country until it had at least a single viewing registered with YouTube).

3:40pm – As I lift my bass out of the car at the airport, the handle fell off. I had to laugh. This is obviously a sign that I shouldn’t be doing this. Nobody tell Kevin.

6:30pm – Christ, how many people in this airport want to see my passport and ticket? I would have sent a group email if I knew it was going to be like this.

9:30pm - On the plane, hearded in like cattle.

10:30pm – The gentlemen next to me on the plane and I didn’t get a meal. I know that I look like trouble but this guy seems to be pretty harmless. Good thing I ate (and drank) myself a new arsehole at the Qantas club lounges at both Canberra & Sydney that our band mate Hugh Blemings somehow got us all into. Cheers Hugh.

1am – Take an international flight they said. Drink all the free piss you can hold they said.  What they failed to mention is that the hostesses won’t bring any more drinks, as it is now 1am. After 1am is when I do all of my best drinking. I even pressed the little button but nobody came. They asked me all sorts of things and made me tick all sorts of boxes declaring this and that but not once did anyone ask me for my preferred drinking times. I would have taken the form more seriously if they had put some alcohol related questions on it.

1:15am – Never taken a piss on a plane before. I’m off to see what that’s all about.

1:17am – I don’t recommend it. Pissing on your own pants at 40,000ft is a sobering thought.


Monday, 24 February 2014

Day -15 (that’s right, minus), Cash Converters, Woden Plaza, ACT Australia

10am – It was a Saturday morning, exactly one minute after the store opened I was mildly surprised to find myself standing in line behind no less than 8 other people.

‘What do you want for it?’ asked the seemingly polite, yet patronising gentleman behind the counter.
‘It’s worth at least 60 [I assume she meant dollars]’, explained shivering junkie No. 1 (referring to her shitty bracelet).
‘I’ll give you $10 for it.’ Countered the Cash Converters guy.
There were some minor unpleasantries spoken shortly before shivering junkie No.1 accepted the offer, received her $10 and left.

Junkie No. 2 sported a used whipper snipper under her arm. I don’t know what she wanted for it as I wasn’t paying too much attention and now unfortunately I will never know. As much as I like Antique Roadshow, and could seriously appreciate a junkified spin off version of the show, I had things to do that morning.

The real question is why was I at Cash Converters at 10am on a Saturday morning? Social Experiment? Maybe. The need for urgent money? Definitely!

As both a Houlahan and a hoarder, it was pretty impressive to see me part with, let alone sell some of my ‘unused musical equipment’ (even though there is no such thing as unused musical equipment).

The real underlying reason for me gaining quick cash laid in the future plans to tour Tokyo, Japan, with the Kevin Windross Band and apparently our rock star status did not yet (at this point) include plane tickets.

The only thing different this time is that the trip wasn’t just going to be a series of covers gigs. We were off to Tokyo for two weeks to play originals, the music of Kevin Windross. Rylstone, Young, Orange, Tokyo… it seemed to be the next logical step.

Now, we all knew that Kevin was mad…we just didn’t know how deep the mad rabbit hole was.. The above is to set the scene. The next installments are to paint a picture of one of the craziest and influential experiences of my life.

Strap yourselves in, we’ve only just begun.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014


This morning I had to throw out a pair of thongs (flip flops) that were purchased in Tokyo, Japan about six months ago from a 100-yen shop ($1 shop approx.).

There is a saying that I recently learnt “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a saving is long forgotten”. This saying doesn’t apply to this situation.

I wore those dollar pluggers all over Tokyo for two weeks of constant street walking and then for a further six months back home in Australia once I returned. Please pardon my language here, but I got a fucking bargain with these 100-yen thongs. Thanks Japan.

Why do we care Brendon? The answer is you probably don’t or shouldn’t if you do, however the sudden demise of these thongs reminded me that I should start to blog my travel diary from my time in Japan with the KWB.

KWB? Exactly.

The Kevin Windross Band, fronted by none other than Kevin Windross is one of Canberra’s premier progressive rock bands. All jokes aside for a (very brief) moment, Kevin is one of the most talented and original guitarists in Australia and dare I say the world. His playing is like a whirlwind of energy that you just can’t help but be swept up by. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I can never remember) his personality is exactly like his playing. Loud, fast and highly infectious. Thankfully (or unthankfully, I can never remember), there is but only one Kevin.

In July of 2013 I had the pleasure of playing bass with Kevin and his amazing band on the international tour. The following posts are my unpublished journal entries from that tour that have until now never read by anyone other than myself.

Hope you enjoy,


P.S. My Mum & Dad still don’t know that I went overseas, so can I please ask the whole of the Internet community not to tell them. Thanks in advance.