Beatlemania Revisited

My friend Laura is an ex-pat Brit. On Sunday night she  invited me to a “Live” session at a cozy cafe in Inokuchi dai. The group performing call themselves “Mash Beats.” These four men are a little older than the original Beatles when they visited Japan in 1966, but they made up for it in energy and talent.

Beatle Mash

Mash Beats

By day, an elementary school teacher, a college “Robotics” instructor or a Panasonic employee, each man spends his free time practicing and performing with the band! They sang so many  of the Bealtles’ earlier songs: I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Help, Please Please Me. Then they changed clothes to a more “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Style and sang “Hey, Jude”, Yesterday and other  favorites. The lead guitarist , Joji, is amazingly talented on both electric guitar and piano. Band leader Hide ( HE-DAY) did a solo on Hey, Jude on piano and vocal.

Drummer "Bingo Starr" is from the Bingo Fukuyama area

Drummer “Bingo Starr” is from the Bingo Fukuyama area

The admission price of only 1000 yen included one drink. I met Laura’s friend, Kyoko and enjoyed chatting during the intermission. My friends Tomoe and Natsuko also enjoyed meeting and speaking with Laura in English!!

Most of these girls are younger than I so they don’t remember the Beatles first Japan tour when they gave five consecutive concerts at the Budokan in Tokyo in June/July 1966. The Beatles arrival was delayed by a hurricane on June 28, so  when their concerts all sold out and they shot to immediate popularity, the media referred to the phenomena as the “Beatles hurricane.”

Laura with Tomoe

Laura with Tomoe

It was a small cafe located inside a shopping center, but it had a dark and close atmosphere something like the Cavern Club in Liverpool where Brian Epstein first discovered the foursome! We enjoyed clapping, shouting and stompin’ to the beat!

Drummer Bingo Starr asked me later if his pronunciation was OK. He did one solo on I Wanna Be Your Man. He just looked so divinely happy back there on the drums, a very sweet smile on his face! He teaches at an alternative school by day.

Natsuko and Tomoe with lead singer Hide

Natsuko and Tomoe with lead singer Hide

Seeing these men pursue their dream in spite of their jobs and other commitments made me realize that we all ought to do so. Life is too brief to sell yourself short by telling yourself you can’t do whatever it is that you secretly want to do! These men didn’t have perfect English and they were no longer young, but they made up for it in enthusiasm and they brought pleasure to a packed house of all ages. Thanks, guys. We really enjoyed the show!! I feel young again!

Check out Hide’s blog ( in Japanese only!)

Amazing Guitarist Joji and Fantastic Vocalist, John

Amazing Guitarist Joji and Fantastic Vocalist, John


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