in 1978 I made my first trip to japan as the guitarist for david bowie. I have been back 19 times now and I’m just as excited and mesmerized by japan as I was the first time.
our concerts in tokyo were shown live on tv to approximately one quarter of the nation (about 25 million people) which means one out of every four japanese watched me prance around the stage with david bowie while playing guitar showcases like “stay” and “station to station”. instant stardom.
one of those people was a dear sweet funny and brilliant man named Mr. Kakehashi. he and I liked each other very much right from the start. so I was invited to tour the Roland Corporation with its president and inventor Mr. Kakehashi.
Roland is the world’s large manufacturer of musical instruments. in my opinion more than any other company they have changed the face of modern music. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t used their products. I certainly have.
at Roland Mr. Kakehashi and his assistants walked me through one of their large research and development factories. everywhere you looked there were products being taken apart and analyzed by their engineers. but mostly they were inventing things no one else had even thought of.
We came to a stop in front of a small orange cube on a table. Mr. Kakehashi explained to me this was their next generation of guitar amps, the Roland Cube. “but it’s so small,” I said.
his assistants suddenly produced a guitar and plugged me into the Cube.
“play, please?” “sure”.
I started playing and was amazed at the amount of sound coming from this little amp. “it sounds like a Marshall stack!”, I said. Mr. Kakehashi was laughing and obviously happy at my approval. “it is not ready for market yet, but soon,” he said.
I said, “how much will it cost?”
they didn’t know its price yet.
he said, “you like?”
I said, “I like it very much!”
Mr. Kakehashi laughed, threw his arms in the air, and said, “PRICE GOES UP!!”
if you ever bought a Roland Cube amp I probably cost you a little extra money. sorry.