Two days ago commenter Duncan Watson brought it to our attention that Anthony Reynolds’ book on JAPAN was now back in print at Burning Shed, and since we had missed the limited hardcover edition, this represents a great second chance that deserved a posting on it’s own. I recall seeing the news somewhere that Anthony Reynolds had written the coffee table book on JAPAN we’d all been waiting for for decades. The hardcover was not cripplingly expensive [thankfully] but at the time the cash wasn’t there for an immediate purchase. It was my bad luck that the hardcover sold out in just two months; curtailing my ability to purchase.
Reynolds had taken their story from their schoolboy origins to just after the dissolution of the band on a rarefied plane none could have predicted just four years earlier. Their journey from a third-rate New York Dolls pastiche band to Roxy Music’s peers was a developmental arc with clearly the widest range ever experienced by this listener. Sure, sure. You all probably know how I’ll pontificate for days on the stylistic distance between the first and second Simple Minds album as being a huge artistic leap, but that’s got nothing on what occurred between “Adolescent Sex” and “Quiet Life.” Then they continued on their stratospheric trajectory for two more albums before ultimately eclipsing their influences.
Long-time readers may know that I consider “Gentlemen Take Polaroids” as thr finest album Roxy Music never made. The fact of the matter was that in JAPAN, the group had a rhythm section that was so far ahead of what Roxy Music was ever capable in that department, that I’m sure Ferry looked on them with some amount of rueful envy. Ferry had auditioned for the King Crimson vocalist slot following Greg Lake’s departure, and was politely turned down at the dawn on the seventies. But out of the select club populated only by Bryan Ferry and David Sylvian; just one of them was asked by Robert Fripp to be the new King Crimson vocalist in the 90s… and his initials were not BF.
So this year has seen many substantial book about my favorite bands proliferate. While this tome was published in 2016, this will hopefully be the year when I have it on the bookshelf. The book was also made with the full cooperation of Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri, and Rob Dean. Obviously Mick Karn [r.i.p] was unable to participate and we would be shocked if Sylvian would even entertain such a thing. The book itself is 212 pages with 260 photos and a compact 8.25″ square format. This makes me happy since I am running out of space in my Record Cell/media empire room and I welcome the trend of smaller books. They’re easier to read in bed, too. This one is going for just $22.60 but is currently on sale for an even better $18.61 by clicking here.
But that book only takes the reader to the dawn of JAPAN’s solo/split era. There was a lot of solo and group water under the bridge in the next few years, and Reynolds has written the next step in his biographical program.
Currently available in hardcover at Burning shed is “Cries + Whispers 1983-1991” which takes a look at the band’s aftermath. Knowing full well how badly the Raintree Crow project went for the band attempting to form anew [even with a different name], the magnifying lens on this period would be a gripping page turner, I suspect. Even so, I’d buy it just for the goods on Karn’s brilliant “Dreams Of Reason Produce Monsters” album!
Reynolds has also cast his net to interview artists close to the band member’s careers such as Bill Nelson, Johnny Marr, Bill Bruford, Simon Raymonde, Ivo, Martin Fry, Paul Morley, Thomas Dolby, and even the late Colin Vearncombe [?!]. The foil debossed hardcover is otherwise made to the same specs as volume one in the series. It will cost a bit more. You may purchase it here currently at $53.20 – not an unreasonable price but act fast. The first volume did not stick around for very long before becoming OOP.
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