HEAVY METAL, MILES DAVIS & TIME TRAVEL – An Interview With Bob Simonson Of TAKASHI
Q: It’s good to be catching up with you again, TAKASHI has recently released a great new video, “Kill Or Be Killed 2000″…what can you tell me about it?
A: Thanks for asking about it, it was just released a few days ago. It was shot at our 2011 reunion show by acclaimed film director Carmichael Dakashi III. You might have heard of him, he does a lot of avant-garde artsy stuff. Anyway, we were on a triple bill with Loudness & Chris Jericho’s band Fozzy. People flew in from all across the country, and many music stars were there including Don Fair from Alien, members of Twisted Sister & the guys from VH1’s That Metal Show! At the end of the set, Dee Snider jumped onstage with us and did a song! That was pretty cool! As far as the song is concerned, I feel that lyrically, Danny’s metaphors cleverly exploit the interface between American action movies and the postmodern imagination…it’s really something to think about.
Q: In the 80s, TAKASHI was often referred to as the “Power Rangers Of Metal”, whose idea was it to refer to the band that way?
A: Please understand, in choosing a name reflecting Japanese culture, and then introducing it to a Western audience, tens of thousands of kids, sometimes turned on pharmacologically, listening to metallic electronic music designed specifically for their suggestable psychedelized nervous system…these kids were able to inject their OWN meaning into TAKASHI! So the FANS made us the “Power Rangers”…and that’s a beautiful thing!
Q: What was it like in the early 80s metal scene in New York City? How did the band get the attention of the fans in those days?
A: At first there was NO scene! It was just us, Twisted Sister, and maybe one or two other metal bands…over time, however, more & more bands joined up to fly the metal banner. Soon the noisy mess coming out of New York – Alien, Virgin Steele, Anthrax and about 17 bands named “Black Something” – became the antithesis of the disco-tinged 70s movement that preceded it. It was a rancorous celebration of raw unflinching individualism…so the kids picked up this sheet metal din and turned it into a brand new style of rock & roll, which was more metallic, heavy & crazed than anything heard on the face of the earth in 6000 years of Western history.
Q: TAKASHI’s 1st record “Kamikaze Killers” is considered a cult classic for fans of heavy metal next to other bands like The Rods, Manowar, Armored Saint, etc. You are part of the history of 80s U.S. metal. What do you think of what I’m telling you?
A: Well it’s great that people around the world enjoy our music…that’s what it’s all about right? I think that the 1980s provided a bit of a cultural revolution. Some of the bands of that time made the music they’ll be listening to 200 years in the future! I believe the effect of something like “Kamikaze Killers” on people around the world was one of incredible impact, like starting a fire in a fireworks factory! Even from the start, we attempted to stay away from the era’s plastic manufactured sound and narrow-minded aesthetic, instead of inspiring to a more virtuosic approach, with interlocking guitar interplay that Miles Davis & John Coltrane might have envied. Hopefully, we succeeded to some degree.
Q: In 1988 TAKASHI officially dissolved, what happened to cause this and what brought you back together in 2011?
A: It’s hard to say exactly why things fell apart the way they did…it’s the ancient, mysterious process of the spiritual search I suppose…perplexing, paradoxical, demanding…there were dozens of complex reasons I suppose. Probably a combination of bad decision making, personality conflicts, and substance abuse all contributed to our demise. I mean it was a crazy time, I’m hanging out with rappers, Tom is wearing Hindu beads and meditating with the Maharishi, Danny could have been Thom Yorke, but settled on super platinum rock god instead! But we always loved each other so when the time was right we knew we would return.
Q: Last question. Earlier this year, Jamsphere Magazine in the U.K. reported on the possibility of TAKASHI returning in 2021. Is there any truth to this news?
A: Well, I know Kory always has about 2 LPs worth of material ready to go, perhaps recording them in the new millennium would be incredible! Or would it be a time tunnel…should we take it? I don’t want to be trapped in a history tube…of course, you then realize that the past teaches us how to control the future and indeed, create the future. Are you going to come along with us to the future? So TAKASHI returns to the 21st century! Where will they go next? These have been great questions by the way!
Thanks for giving us a few minutes to answer these questions…and good luck with that whole time travel thing dude!