Sunday, November 05, 2006

late show at the Rock Factory,back home by 3:15 am

We did a late show at The Rock Factory,with an 11pm starting time,giving us plenty of time to enjoy the night scene in Roppongi. It was a fine autumn night with just a hint of a chill in the air.
We started out with Running,Stranger and Inertia.
The dimensions of the venue make it a bit difficult to really let loose and it took us a few songs to take complete control of the room.
Johnny I did the trick and after that late night crowd was really onto it.Almost out of Time was especially powerful and I felt a strong connection with everyone in the room.
After the gig we discussed our trip to Adelaide.We are excited to go back to Oz and both play and listen to music.
HaseG got us back to Tsukuba in record time,going his usual 190 kph. Yes, I fastened my seat belt (in a hurry!).
Good night all

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rehearsal in Studio!

HaseG,Tanaka and myself got together for a second Thursday night in a row,to make new songs and revive some stuff we haven't played in a while.
Tonight we reviewed G`s new Bossa nova-like song and I sang the melody line I came up with. Tanakas lead fits in just right and HaseG suggested we make this an instrumental(I guess he doesnt like the melody line!).
We also tried to revive a song we had worked on before and I think it gonna be a smash!
Also practiced Best of Me(ahh brings back memories).
It was a good 2 hours. We are set for saturday night in Roppongi!.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Open Studio and Bar 303 gigs

All of us would like to thank the proprietors,staff and great clientele of the venues we played at in Melbourne.The Night of Oct 14th at Open Studio was intimate.Brett and Ascelin created some magic and we tried to carry it along We made new friends and also were happy to see old acquaintance. We hung out for a long while after the gig and enjoyed the scrumptious food.
The next day, I got up early and went into town. When i got back to Ascelins place, Nichol was there. I had heard about her from Asco, but this was my first Face to face encounter.
Her warm and strong presence had an immediate impact on me and she surely from then on helped our short stay to be more pleasurable.
That night we played at Bar 303,just down the road from Open Studio. We had the honor of opening for Tzigas, an amazing klezmer/gypsy ensemble.We had a good show,but those guys really filled the room with soul!
Thanks you guys!
I grew up with that kind of music and was really dumbstruck to find the `spirit` in Melbourne!

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Just got back from this years Halloween gig. i always say it, but this time its true. BEST GIG EVER. Relaxed , in control and not too loud,we played a room stuffed to the gills and kept it dancin all night.
Started out with Saudade,theChills,Perfect Wave and a Kanashibari, and ended up with Vonja and Bailar.
Running and Capo Verde stick in my mind.
Lots of great costumes. Satan won first prize.Played the stones song for him.Jon ROCKED, G FUNKED Tanaka WAILED Kenya HOWLED and I AVIED.
It cant get much better!!!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Practice,New Songs!

Hello,out there. Its a gig night tonight. Kenya will be driving in from Funabashi,in Chiba prefecture,about an hour and a half drive from the venue. I havent seen him since we parted on Swanston street in melbourne. Jon will being coming by train from Tokyo. We said hw is skipping an office party to make it tonight.Tanaka might be working until just before the gig,but then again he might have taken the day off,and i hope he did! HaseG will be meeting me at my place at about 6:30. We will then load all the gear up, and takre it to CorkHeads and begin setting up.
For tonight we havent done much publicity because there should be a crowd beyond capacity for the Halloween gig.I still will have to copy some fliers, and also somehandouts similar to namecards with our website and contact info. I will also prepare some copies of a recent article about us that appeared in the Joyo Shimbun.If I have time ill also try to make xeroxed copies of some of tanakas pictures from australia.I will also have to prepare some cds for sale and something to wear.
I`ll just try to stay calm and hope that everything goes well.
Thursday night was a mekhaye(a refreshing tonic). Tanaka,HaseG and I got together at song cycle for a song writing session. We basically when around the 3 of us, first HaseG then Tanaka and then myself, with each of us have to put out something for jam.HaseG`s Bossa Nova style line clicked instantly and I came up with a melody line and Tanaka played some very fitting guitar.The song is almost ready to go!!! I would feel comfortable with it tonight!!
We also practiced a song we havent played in a while,Capo Verde, and felt really good with it with HaseGs faster bass accompaniment.
Come tonight,if you can1 You might hear the fruits of that 2 hour session.
Thats all for now

Friday, October 27, 2006

The TenGooz Down-Under part 2

Our first gig in Melbourne really hit a chord (a very STRANGE chord) with the crowd. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive. And though as usual we had fudged up some of our songs, we were flying high. at least the other guys were. I was about to pass out. Maybe it was the heat or it could have been exhaustion.I had to put it into overdrive at the end of the show and I was pretty much running on fumes.As the band packed up the gear, I was trying to stay conscious!
In the end my condition could probably be attributed to hunger,since after we crossed the street and had some humus at the little fast food Greek place, I felt much better.
We were waiting for Ascelin to come out of the club. He had been talking to the manager and the sound man. the sound guy told him that Kenya had the best tone of any Trombonist he had ever heard in all his years, Ascelin also brought out our pay, which thrilled the guys because it would would help to recoup some of our expenses!
The next day, though,lacking in sleep,we were awakened by the excitement of the previous evening and anticipation of things to come. I was a bit worried however, because the next 2 gigs would be at MUCH smaller venues ,without any sound systems. That made me uneasy.
We met up with The TenGooz at The Queen Victoria Market where we sampled an assortment of tanatalizing morsels, including figs stuffed with goats cheese and immense brautwursts with the works for the guys.We then systematically went through the souvenir market,trying to stick together,but still losing tanaka somehow. He was so engrossed in his new hobby,photography, that he went astray for a while.we then headed for the Botanical garden after parking by the Yara and checking out the barbecue scene. The Last stop in our days sightseeong was the Espy in St Kilda where we relaxed for a bit,before cutting through the just turned icy winds to the seashore and then headed back to Ascelins.On the ,we got a call from Hidemi and Ayako(original TenGooz members(they were in Cairns for a wedding) and we all chatted with them for a bit and were disappointed to hear that they wouldnt be able to make it to the gig.
The guys dropped in at house before heading back to the Barleycorn to get ready.Asceloin ,Brett,Yukari and I dropped by a studio to pick up a pa for me. We then headed for the venue.I was very nervous for the reasons I mentioned above, bit Geronimo,joined by Jon and kenya stirred up a magic in the room and we started out with Saudade and played for a couple of hours. The crowd was friendly and the staff very hospitable.Brett and Ascelin played on Stranger,Running,Ofuro and Infatuation and all in all we had a real nice night.It was great to have my old friend Ryan, Anthony and Yukari at the gig.
We then headed off to find a party in a warehouse, which we finally located and squeezed into. We stayed for a couple of hours(that means about 4) and danced to a great reggae band and then a DJ. HaseG and the guys disappeared were sleeping in the car.I really needed some sleep too!
To be continued
Avi Landau

Sunday, October 22, 2006

TenGooz Live in Australia!

East meets west as up-over goes down-under!The TenGooz have come back from their appearance at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. As always,I find that a trip to `MarvelousMelbourne` is a musical home-coming for me, as I have been so influenced by local musos Ascelin Gordon and Brett Johnson. This years pilgrimage was extra special,since all the TenGooz, Kenya,Tanaka,HaseG and Jon all Joined for the festivities.
We had a little scheduling trouble, and unfortunately the guys could not stat as long as I could,but they arrived in Oz 2 days before I did and had many adventures in their rented car, which they took out on the famous Great Ocean Road.
This was HaseG`s first time out of Japan and his first time on an airplane,and I was really happy that he could have such an experience and that his great bass playing skills could be seen and heard by people outside Japan.
I arrived on a Wednesday morning and had trouble getting in touch with the guys.Ascelin hadnt heard from them we were a TAD anxious.Fortunately, with the abundance of internet cafes in the city and the able assistance of webmaster Sarah we finally got hooked up, and agreed to meet in front of a club at which Brett would be playing with his old friend.It was a memorably joyful moment to find HaseG enjoying a cigarette out front. We stayed for that gig and saw Brett and Met his girlfriend Yukari and then went by cab to Bar-Open,our first venue, and caught one of Adam Simmons groups playing jazz and shakuhachi duets.
We were amazed by the control of color and realized we had to PRACTICE! The next day we had a special morning practice,arranged by Ascelins special connections, at a studio inside an old warehouse. I loved the place and its rustic wabi-sabi interiors. We went through our songs and for some reason had trouble with BOMBS AWAY and decided not to do it in the show. As usual, we couldnt make up a set list, but came up with a provisional one,
during a coffee break. after practice,the guys headed out to Philip Island where they hoped to see the famous little penguins(which I think they never did!)
The next day we also had a rehearsal scheduled and i arrived quite early(as opposed to the previous day on which I was very tardy!),but the guys didnt show up for over an hour! I was really starting to panic! What if they had an accident! Just when I was at about to really have a stroke,the TenGooz pulled up, unharmed.
Our practice did not sound good at all. Kenya then told everyone to play more softly ,listen to each other and work as a team,not as individuals. That changed things and from that point on we felt more confident.
We had to rent drums, and it wasnt cheap! Getting the equipment upstairs at Bar-Open was no picnic either.Anyway, we started at 10 and had a really good crowd.They were into it right from the start and got more and more into it as the show went on. Ascelin and Brett played on Running and Ofuro and Infatuation.
We also had the help of a GREAT soundman who was a true magician.He later said that in all his years of mixing,Kenyas trombone tone was the best he had heard. Kenya certainly put on a show and people loved him!
As usual, Innishmoor got the crowd all together for a stomp. Ascelin said he had never seen that before at a club like that.
Anyway, to put it succinctly, the audience response was terrific.I was knocked out by the heat and hunger and was in bad shape by the end of the show.
Thats all fgor now. i will continue to document the trip over the next few days and hope the guys will also post their stories. Goodbye for now
Avi Landau

Monday, October 09, 2006

TenGooz in Australia, Avi`s country drive

Four Tengooz left Narita yesterday and are assumed to be in Melbourne. I spoke to the guys at the airport and it seems
that Tanaka and HaseG were having trouble getting through the metal detector and had to pass through it 4 or 5 times until they were finally cleared! I've been worried about them all day and there has still been no email from them. Well, no news is good news!
I will be leaving tomorrow night and decided to spend my last day(and a beautiful day it was!) taking a drive in the countryside. It was refreshing and invigorating indeed!
Japan is truly a land of many faces and within minutes off the main road. It was like entering a new world through a time slip. Huge traditional farmhouses,shrines,temples and roadside gods. I will post a couple of Pics so that the guys can get a glimpse of home. A nice view of Mt Tsukuba(should bring tears to their eyes!) and a roadside Jizo with straw sandal offerings.
See you soon TenGooz!

Avi Landau

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Great gig after a bad start!Tickles lazy day!

I had been wondering what the effect of such a long hiatus would be on our performance. Well, now we have confirmed that the lack of rehearsal time left us more than a tad RUSTY, and it took us a whole set to start getting things rolling.
When we got to the club, there were much fewer people than there usually are and that also might have had the guys low.We decided to begin with a slow set, starting things off with Perfect Wave. Everyone seemed to be completely lost at the beginning but the song, but somehow it came together and we got through a first set of Lost in Translation, The Chills ,Time flow before Jon finished things on a strong note with Smash it.
Crowds stated to trickle in until it was quite FULL and the joint really stated to JUMP! Hardcore TenGooz fans sang along with Face to Face, Running, Innishmoor, and Mio Mine, and as usual. The dancing reached its fever pitch during Innishmoor when the usual line dance(with me in it!) was more intense than usual.
Mickey came by early in the morning to help me put away our gear. what a great guy! Thanks Mick!
Though I went to bed at 4am I was too overexcited to really get any sleep, so ive been up since early, doing chores in my peculiar,little by little, way.
Im happy that for once, i didnt have any schedule the day after a big gig.Tickles took it easy too!
I hope we can raise that kind of excitement in Melbourne!
Until next time!
Avi Landau

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Wildlife around the ice palace!

In winter, the other members of the TenGoz usually refuse any invitation to my home, always coming up with a convenient excuse to avoid the frosty drafts and icy floors.
Summers though also put off many friends because of the plethora of creatures residiing in and around the house!
Last week, while hiking through the ancient Malayan rainforest, I couldn't help mentioning to european fellow hikers gawking at the plant and wildlife, that they would be much more astonished by a viait to my place in Tukuba!
Here is a beautiful spider which guard my front door. The rear is protected by this 2meter long snake which usually spends the afternoon sunbathing on top of the tool shed.

Well, it's time to start packing up for tonights gig. We haven't rehearsed in a while. Let's see if that has a good or bad effect on our show.
Only time will tell.

Avi Landau

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Taman negara adventure!

Hello again,faithfull TenGoophiles ! How have you been?
Hase G and I were at the studio last Sunday, putting the final touches on our upcoming album, Its Time! After the recording session I had to head off to Abiko to catch a rakugo performance by my friend Tonraku. Rakugo is traditional Japanese comic story telling and its a great way to learn about traditional Japanese culture. The dinner box was also excellent and i was invited backstage after the show for some sashimi and fruit.tonraku performs in Abiko every 3rd Saturday. Let's go again soon.
The next day, I set out for Singapore,as the first step in finally getting to one of my dream destinations,Taman Negara, an ancient virgin rainforest in the center of the Malay Peninsula. Though I had been to malaysia several times I still hadn't made it to the great reserve,home to adundant plant and wildlife and hunting ground for a tiny tribe of aboriginal people.
It was great to be back in Singapore, a place many visitors,for some reason, call sterile and boring. For me,it is
a place of wonder and discovery, and no matter how many times Ive been there( about 20) I never get tired of it.This time as usual I stayed in my favorite of the city states neighborhoods ,Little India, where I found(and recorded) some great temple musicians and partook of the splendid south Indian fare.
On Tuesday, I boarded the so called Jungle Train and spent the next 8 hours slowly moving Northward over the Malay Peninsula, reading, writing and enjoying the scenery.stayed overnight in a town called Jerantut where the hotel I stayed at(what great luck!) provided all the info I needed for my sojourn into the jungle.
The next morning, an hour by bus and then a 3 hour motorized canoe trip upriver to the park.
Met lots of good people, and saw lots of wildlife. Monkeys, sambar deer, mouse deer ,widboar,eagles,etc. Also did a cave excursion and found myself completey covered with bat dung!
I hope to go back again for some longer more strenous hikes.
If anyone wants to know more about Taman Negara, how to get there,etc, please send me an email.
Back in Singapore after a harrowing overnight train journey in which i was saved from the frosty air-con by a blanket of newspapers, I went right from the Woodlands immigration terminal to the Sungei Buloh wetlands Resarve where
I enjoyed the mangrove swamp and immense monitor lizards sunning on the extensive trails.
Hope to post again soon.
Avi Landau

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Climbing Mt Fuji and 5 hour rehearsal!

This past Sunday, the TenGooz gathered at 5:00pm
once again for a five hour,gruelling rehearsal as part of our preparation for our gigs in Melbourne Australia.Next time you catch our show you'll be surprised at what we've done with Jin Jin as well as some other songs which we have been making changes with.
Let me take this opportunity to recount one of the highlights of summer 2006 and I might add, one of the standout experiences in all my travels. many of you might be surprised by this, but im talking about a climb to the top of Mt Fuji! I know many of you think that the ascent up the
highest mountain in Japan was tainted by piles of trash,huge crowds and boring scenery.That image is what kept from taking the climb for all these years.
Luckilly,my friend and avid trekker taguma San suggested that we do Fuji(she had made it to the top several times) and I unenthusiastically agreed, since I thought it might be good to just get it over with and finally be able to say that I had made the climb. Taguma San wou
ld also be providing logistics and transport which made things sound convenient and a little more tempting.Just before stting off, I started building up a little excitement and convinced my buddy rick Weisburd to join us and fortunately he came along.
Fortunately for the two of us, despite the pessimism and badmouthing of the sacred mountain by numerous people, we found the trip to be dramatic inspirationaland at times thrilling and we found the trails spotlessly clean,convenient facilities and great folks climbing with us.
We set out from Tsukuba by car and due to traffic in Tokyo,made it to the parking lot at the 5th level(half way up)
by 1:00pm. from there we just startd walking.It about one hour between each station(Fuji is divided into ten stations)and we decided to take a rest at the 8th station as the sun was setting.This part of the trip posed the only negative aspect of our climb.For 8000yen you get a hurried meal(there isnt enough room for all the guests to eat at once so we have to take meals in shifts!) and after eating I wanted to sleep for a few hours before making the final assault up the slope. This however proved impossible for me as we had to sleep za ko ne or as we might describe it
sleeping like sardines in a tin!It was impossible for me to relax with a strangers face almost pressing against mine.
So I decided to just sit up for a few hours and set out at 11
By 11 I mean 11pm ! We set out in total darkness using our flashlights to try to avoid misteps. My light burned out after what seemed like only an hour.The last stage proved to be the hardest as the sandy trail made the going slow and the high altitude brought on breathlessness after a few steps.
Before we knew it,though we were at the summit waiting to see the sunrise(goraiko).unfortunately we arrived an hour too early and had to endurefreezing temperatures and extreme drowsiness before the exciting and teasingly slow appearance of the sun.its something i will not forget soon and im thinking I might do it again next year.
care to join me?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Great gig...then off to Mikurajima!

Hi,all you faithfull Tengoophiles! Many of you have been checking the blog for months, only to be disappointed to find that there were no new postings. All I can cough up as an excuse is that so much had been happening with the music,travelling and studies that to tell you honestly, I didnt write because I just didnt know where to begin! After a summer packed with musical encounters and UNUSUAL adventures I realized that I simply have to restart the blog. So.... here we go!
Today I will begin with the most recent events. We had a marathon 5 hour rehearsal,as part of our preparation for our Australian road trip.Before that,on August 26th was our LIVE at Corkheads, where we have built up our most loyal following and have had some of our greatest nights. Though we made some mistkes here and there, the show went over really well.People know our songs and sing along with a few of them, especially Face to Face, Johnny I and Running. We played on till about 1 am and them brought all the gear back to my place and I packed up for my adventure on Mikurajima(御蔵島 if you have Japanese fonts).
Few Japanese people have even heard of this small Pacific island only 200 km from Tokyo,so it is a true hidden treasure.Mikurajima offers 3 major attractions:ancient gnarled trees amid lush and expansive forest,a huge flock
of shearwaters(ohmizunagidori), a pelagic bird which can't take off without climbing up trees to get a jumping start,
and most importantly, probably the best dolphin swimming in the world.
I caught an hour or two of sleep before starting off by plane and helicopter. There is no airport, so access is either by ferry or heli. I got some interesting vies of the Izu islands and landed for a few minutes on volcano devastated Miyake Island. I was dropped off(alone) at the heliport on Mikura and left alone on the landing pad as the chopper headed back home.
To land on Mikura you need to have a reservation at one of the ten or so small guest houses. When coming by ferry, the sole policeman on the island makes sure you have one. He didnt come to greet me at the heliport, so I mozied down the path in what I hoped was the right direction,until I was met by Mio, who had arrived a day earlier by ferry with 9 other friends.
The dolphin swimming was spectacular. The island is unique in that there are ALWAYS groups of dolphins swimming close to the shore.In 4 days we could experience a full range of dolphin behavior.The views of the coast were reminiscent of Polynesia and alone would have made the trip worthwhile.
We also enjoyed a pleasant hike to admire some of the ancient trees, and as usual I drew energy and inspiration from being among and touching such ancient living things.
If you have any qustions about Mikura,please contact me for more details. Its definitely a place you should go to if you enjoy NATURE and getting away from it all!
I will be back with more about my trip to Hokkaido and Aomori and also my climb to the top of MT Fuji.