Aersomith‘s Rock for the Rising Sun is the band’s first concert footage in nine years, a concert rockumentary directed brilliantly by rock ‘n’ roll director Casey Patrick Tebo. The movie covers Japanese shows in Tokyo, Nagoya, Hiroshima and several other cities, with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a meaningful tour of a veteran rock band.
The release of Rock for the Rising Sun does have a special meaning to Aerosmith. Aerosmith’s had a wonderful, longstanding relationship with Japan for more than 35 years. The Japanese fans have always shown the band great hospitality and warmth. But in 2011, when the disaster of the tsunami struck and a nuclear reactor leaked (primarily, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex), touring Japan and showing the Japanese people support was a way of giving back, connecting once again through music. As fear of radiation spread across the country, the outside world was warned to stay out of Japan, but Aerosmith was determined to bring some form of happiness to the people of Japan. As director Casey Tebo put it, “It was almost like Aerosmith was there helping people heal.”
Powerline recently chatted with Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton and he explained why the Japan concerts were so important to the band.
Tom Hamilton: It was a very moving tour for us, going over to Japan, fairly soon after they had those horrible disasters with the tsunami. We’ve been going to Japan since the mid-’70s and we love going there. We feel a certain connection with our fans there so the thought of all the suffering there really bothered us. Before we went over there there was some trepidation because a reactor was leaking radiation and every day there was a report on the radiation and how strong it was and the certain amount of miles out. But we wanted to go and we had a great time and we felt we got a lot of really good footage and we played really well. So we thought we have this, why not put it together and put it out and use it for something. I hope it’s the first of a bunch of things we put out between now and whatever the future is because we found so much material that we recorded over the years. So hopefully this is the beginning of something that will happen every year or every two years or whatever — however often the fans are interested.
Did you get a chance to talk to some of the Japanese fans who experienced loss from the tsunami?
Hamilton: Not really, because we were really nowhere near that area. But I’m sure there were people from that area who did travel to come see us. But surprisingly I don’t remember a lot of people coming up and talking to us about that. I think we were kind of distant from all that.
You have always been popular in Japan. How do you think the Japanese audiences are different from other audiences across the world?
Hamilton: Well, you know, in the States it’s a big party. In Japan it’s really a concert. They know our music in a little bit more detail than American fans. And there’s really not as much yelling and screaming and waving of arms (laughs) and wackiness going on. But still they’re very intense. They’re super enthusiastic.
When was the first time Aerosmith went to Japan? Do you remember?
Hamilton: I think it was 1977. I remember we got there and it was like Beatlemania. We got swamped by fans right out in the main hallway of the airport. It was incredible. We got carried away by the fans. I remember we got way to the end of this long concourse hallway and finally got out of this crowd and we looked back and there was our luggage strewn all over the floor. It was just wild. Everywhere we went there were just hundreds of cameras. It was just amazing. We had a blast. People were competing to see who would get to take us out to dinner, and wine and dine us. It was really amazing.
On Rock for the Rising Sun, do you have a favorite performance or venue?
Hamilton: No, I don’t think so. I really look at it all as one piece. I remember it all as together. I really like it that way. I think we got some great shows together that people are going to really enjoy together. I think a lot of Japanese fans will love it but also I think a lot of American and European fans and South American fans will also like it because we got a lot of high quality footage of us playing.
So you think that the director Casey Tebo captured it the right way?
Hamilton: Yeah, Casey Tebo is an amazingly talented guy. He’s done a lot of video and that kind of content for us — and also graphics. He did the artwork on our album cover. They guy is constantly working. I don’t know how he does it. The labor of taking all those shows, going through them and picking out the moments … that’s something where a band has to put a lot of trust in a person like that. So it’s really great when you get somebody who you realize sees things the way you see it. Because it saves the band having to sit there and listen to all those songs over and over and over again. Not that that isn’t fun but that editing process … that is just pure labor. Thankfully, Casey is really good at it and we’ve always been really happy with what he’s given us.
Didn’t Tebo give the band a private premiere, to have you the guys watch the finished product beforehand?
Hamilton: Yeah, and we had been improving it bit by bit for awhile so I’m looking forward to that day when there’s a delivery on my doorstep and I pick it up and it’s a bunch of copies. That’s when I’ll put it on and really feel how it is. Really, really see it and hear it, visualize it and understand it. Up until now it’s been cool looking at the stuff but we really entrusted a lot of it to Casey, as far as putting it together.
Tebo said he wanted to capture a glimpse of life on the road with the Aerosmith like never before. Do you feel like he honestly captured that — both the rigors and joys of touring?
Hamilton: I think so. I think he did, and the thing is, it’s so much fun to tour in Japan that you’re bound to get a lot of situations that you might get in the States. But I so hope our fans really love this DVD and go for it because then we can expand on it and show more and more of that type of footage where ever we go — in the States, South America and Europe … it’s really hard but you just want to portray every second for the fans, even if you have to keep it to a certain length.
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