It has been my experience that really great musicians are also really great story tellers. While playing a guitar and singing does not sound a particularly strenuous activity, in actual fact it is a bit of a workout. The musician needs time to catch his breath between songs. He or she can however hardly sit down for a couple of minutes and just leave the audience hanging, the solution to the problem is to tell stories.

Fact is stranger than fiction, goes the saying, and it is true. Most musicians that tour have no end of interesting tales about their songs and (mis)adventures on the road of life. I think it is fair to say that Tokyo Rosenthal is the Jedi Master of the art!

Tokyo has just released his 5th album and pulling out all of the creativity stops titled it Tokyo’s 5th. It would be easy to infer that the title is a play on the name of some very fine classical music, but I have a different view. I suspect that he realized that I would want to interview him about the CD, and this would indeed be the fifth time he had appeared on the program.  (OK, that was a stretch, but that’s my story and I am sticking to it!).

Tokyo’s 5th is a very finely crafted album. You can find my review here. A great introduction to the quality of the music is the track What Did I Used To Be.

Normally when interviewing a musician I book my virtual radio studio for 30 minutes. That is enough time to chat and play two songs. However a sixth sense told me that there was no way to cram a Tokyo Rosenthal interview into this short a timeframe. Even though I was not going to cover old but fertile ground such as how he became Tokyo, his professional boxing career, nor the subject of his High School librarian, Rose Agree, I knew that he would have new and interesting things to say. So I booked the studio for 45 minutes. A couple of hours before we went on air I was fiddling with my list of questions, and trying to mentally calculate the likely air time. 45 minutes was not enough. I increased it to one hour!

You can probably guess what happened. We still ran out of time…

Tokyo Rosenthal is a born entertainer. If you missed the live broadcast, fear not, it was recorded for posterity. You can catch the entire event here.

We played three tracks, What Did I Used To Be, Helter Skelter (yup that song), and Killaloe. All three have great stories behind them.

Tokyo also has a website, and all of his albums are available everywhere that better music is sold.

Simon Barrett

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