lundi 10 juin 2013

Takashi O'Hashi : talkin' about Slumlords

Known as one of the member of Seikima-II, a cult band in his native Japan, Takashi "Jam" O' Hashi mostly became famous around the globe because of his sleaze band Cat in Boots in late 80s/early 90s. But what a lot of people didn't notice was that he released an excellent album with former Kill City Dragons, Lords of the New Church, Psychedelic Furs and Shooting Gallery members in 1993. Still a busy musician he kindly accepted to reply to a bunch of questions. He might be a man of a few words, he gave us facts about one of the unsung great band of the 90s.

Cats in boots had split around 1990. Did you stay in the US until Slumlords was formed ?
Yes, I was in NYC.

Shooting Gallery released its one and only album in 1992 and was disbanded the same year. Basically Slumlords are you and SG album line-up minus Mc Coy. How did you meet the guys ?
I worked with Paul Garisto since I moved to NYC, writing and recording, and we talked about putting a band together all the time. And when he found an opportunity, he gave me a call.

Have you seen them in concert ?
I don't remember, I might.

What were your goals and expectations with the band ?
Be the coolest band.

You've been signed on EMI japan. How come ?
The relationship with (EMI) A&R guy lasted since Cats In Boots

Did you record demos prior the album ?
No, we didn't record demos.

Har-Dee-Harhar only contains 6 songs. Why is that ?
6 songs were ready for recording at that period of time.

It was co-produced by the band and Tom Fletcher who worked with Toto, Ozzy, Scorpions. Why him ?
He did SG album too, right?

No, Rick Browde did actually. What are your recollection of the recording ?
It was almost live recording in studio.

All band members are credited as songwriters. What was the writing process ?
Team effort.

The album has been recorded in the USA but since it's only been released in Japan did the band move to Japan to promote it there or stayed in L.A. ?
No, I was in NY, Dave was in London, Billy and Paul were in LA.

How many gigs have you played and where ?
LA 1 , TOKYO 23 , OSAKA 1, KYOTO 1, LONDON 1, estimate.

On the album the band is pretty tight and the musicianship is great. Could you managed to be as good onstage as in the studio since some members were drug-fiends ?

There's little informations on the web about Slumlords. What kind of record label promotion did you get back then?
Everything was happening too soon to be ready for everyone.

Is there any unreleased stuff from Slumlords ? Video recordings ?
Several unreleased songs and videos made for us to keep as reference.

The band's career was pretty short but how long exactly ?
I don't know, half a year?

Did it ended in acrimony between you -maybe induced by the drugs- or mostly due to the lack of promotion around the band and overall fatigue ?
No. We didn't live in the same town, this could be the main reason.

Have you recently listened to the album and what do you think about it in retrospect ?
Reminds me how the world was in early '90s.

Do you still talk to the other guys or lost touch with them ?
Last time I met Paul was in 1998 in NY, e-mailed him right after 9.11, made sure he's all right, Billy facebooked me not so long time ago. How are ya, Dave?

What the hell Har-Dee-Harhar means ?
I'm pretty sure, it's from NY's TV serise called 'Honey Mooners', It's laughter meaning 'not funny'. Billy or Paul came up with this idea, I guess.

Thanks for your time Takashi.
Edit Sept 2013 : Itw of Takashi conducted by Babel Radio

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