Friday, December 15, 2017

John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Tony Palmer, Roland Joffé and Me - Another True Story

DATELINE: Dec. 15, 2017

It is 4:11 am. I am locked in a hotel room (by my own volition) in Sochi Russia. I am extremely hungover. Need. Much. Coffee. Drank too many vodka shots with the Russians last night as I was celebrating an extremely successful day for our film (and the drinks were free!)

Yesterday, Ghostroads - A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story screened at the 2017 Sochi International Film Festival. It went great. VERY well received by the audience. Some of them loved the movie, it seems. I gather a few hated it. 


With Roland Joffé watching Ghostroads at Sochi International Film Festival. 
Sochi, Russia, Dec. 14, 2017

There were two extremely famous and legendary film directors in the audience, Roland Joffé and Tony Palmer. Both have won many awards and also Oscars too! They said they loved the movie.

Roland Joffé is world renowned. He is known for the Oscar-winning movies The Killing Fields and The Mission. He also has at least 15 of the world's most prestigious awards including wins at Cannes, BAFTA and the Golden Globes.

He also reminds me of my dad. Nice guy. 

Tony Palmer - who is also world-renowned and has an extensive rock n roll background (understatement of the Year!) - said he loved the film and gave me a quote: "That was an excellent and really fun movie." 

I couldn't get a quote from Roland Joffee as he is the head of the Judging Committee for features and, as since Ghostroads is nominated, He isn't really supposed to even talk to me I guess (though we have spoken very briefly now 3 times)... He gave Ghostroads a "Thumbs up."

After the film screened, Tony Palmer actually asked me to go to lunch with him! But I couldn't go (story of my life) as I was supposed to go to a meeting. Dammit... But I saw him later again and we had a great chat.

With Tony Palmer at Radisson hotel in Sochi Russia. Dec 14, 2017. Tony Palmer has made over 100 films, ranging from early works with The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Maria Callas, Igor Stravinsky, Richard Wagner, and many more.

Tony Palmer, besides being a legendary director who has made some of the greatest films about rock music in history, he has also won many awards (40 international prizes for his work are 12 Gold Medals from the New York Film Festival as well as numerous BAFTAs and Emmy Awards. He has also won the Prix Italia - twice!

Tony Palmer made the historic Beatles film, "All My Loving" in 1968. He was also one of John Lennon's best friends. 

After the screening, Tony sat with me at the hotel lobby and began to reminisce about John Lennon and the Beatles back in the late sixties. 

I mentioned to Tony that I have met Yoko Ono once several years ago and found her to be a charming lady. To that, Tony's eyes grew wide.

L->R: Mike Rogers, Yoko Ono, Sasha and George Williams (the most famous DJ in Japan!)

Tony leaned over to me and started to tell me stories about John Lennon. He began to reminisce about how, when he was an editor at the world famous UK newspaper The Observer, he and John Lennon became best friends. 

Tony said, "Let me tell you about something that I don't tell very many people." I was all ears.

He began by telling me about the time when John Lennon admitted to him that he was having an affair with Yoko Ono and John wanted Tony to interview Yoko for the Observer newspaper in the UK in order to help repair Yoko Ono's reputation in England.

Tony said, "One day, John Lennon called me on the phone. John Lennon was an extremely intelligent man. But that day he didn't seem his usual self. John said to me, 'Tony, I need to talk to you about something important.'" 

So later they met and it was then that John Lennon admitted, for the very first time to anyone, that he and Yoko Ono were having an affair.

It seems that Yoko had shown up at a Beatles recording and was allowed to sit in the studio. This was unprecendented and didn't sit well with the other Beatles at all. In the past, even when George Harrison's own mother came to the studio, she wasn't allowed inside and had to sit outside the studio waiting. But Yoko was different. She sat in the control room during the entire recording session.

Paul, George, and Ringo didn't like that at all because they felt that Yoko was interference and would, one day, lead to the breaking up of the Beatles. 

When the world began to suspect that something was going on between John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Yoko began getting attacked from all sides; by the other three Beatles themselves and the press who considered Yoko's art to be trash.

Tony said to me, "The press hated Yoko because they believed her artwork was nonsense. They thought that putting a nail in the ceiling wasn't art but merely an exercise in absurdity. But, this was 1968 and all sorts of artists were doing art that seemed absurd. The UK press bashed Yoko Ono mercilessly."

John wanted Tony, as editor of the Observer, to interview Yoko as an artist and explain to the world who she really was and what she was all about. Tony agreed but told John, "I will interview her and write the article but I cannot guarantee the Observer will print it."

John Lennon asked Tony to do what he could.

Tony said that when he met Yoko, he found her to be a very intelligent and articulate artist. He said he was greatly impressed by her. He wrote the article and it did run in the Observer newspaper. John Lennon was ecstatic.

This was, but just one of the great stories Tony told me about John and Yoko.

Later, Tony said that when John died, Yoko asked him to pen the obituary for John and he would later receive a handwritten letter from Yoko Ono thanking him for writing such a wonderful obituary. 

Tony said it was obvious that the letter from Yoko was stained with tears.

Right then, Tony's handlers came and he had to run off. My brief ten minutes with someone who knew and loved John Lennon and Yoko Ono ended there.

I would see Tony once more, later that night, and he thanked me. Once again complimented me for Ghostroads, and handed me his business card and asked me to write to him.

Then, we shook hands and parted.

I was awestruck to be so close to a living legend like Tony Palmer... A man who was the best friend of John Lennon, a man who changed the world....

Thank you, Tony, for bringing us his story as well as the story of many others who touched the lives of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. You are an amazing man with an amazing life and a truly incredible wealth of stories to tell. 

Thanks, Tony Palmer and Roland Joffé for honoring us with your presence at the Ghostroads premiere in Russia.


Ghostroads - A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story trailer:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Last Christmas With Sexy Hot Russian Babes!? Vladimir Putin and WWIII With Russia?

ENTRY: Dec. 13, 2017 5 am. 

I'm in the territory formerly known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, affectionately known as Soviet Russia; today? The Russian Federation. 

I wake up early again just like every day. It is very cold. Is this all a dream? I am in the Russian Republic, captivated at a 5-Star hotel in Sochi Russia named "Отель Арфа-Парк." (That's Arfa Park Hotel for all you illiterates.) And there are beautiful women everywhere, and the food is free.

Oh, and did I say that the Arfa Park Hotel is a really nice luxury hotel?

On the way to some film screenings, yesterday, one of the Russian film directors asked how I liked Sochi. I said, "The people are friendly. Russia is really nice."

"Sochi isn't Russia. You need to go to Moscow." He said as he demonically laughed with his friends. I felt a tinge of danger in Moscow.... It must be different... Why? Because if I were sitting in my hotel here in Sochi, and you didn't tell me where I was, I couldn't really tell it apart from a top hotel in Hawaii, or Thailand, London or Tokyo.

With Tim

Yesterday, I sat and had dinner with four young Russians who live outside of Russia. I talked and ate with Tim (I think his real name is Timovenitch) and Yuri (Yuri is his real name) and Dennis (I won't even attempt to tell you what his real name is) and an awesome Russian babe named Larisa... (I'll try to get a picture of Larisa today... That is, if my smartphone doesn't melt while attempting to take her photo.)

These four people are all about 25 ~ 30-years-old. They are all extremely intelligent and fluent bi-linguals - two of them tri-linguals. As is often the case when meeting foreigners, for a moment, we talked the boring subject of politics.

After just a few minutes, I realized that these people were far and away much more knowledgeable (and realistic) than many of my Super-Hero comic-book reading, TV watching countrymen. 

I was relieved and pleasantly surprised.

Later, I'd talk to my world-traveler, Jet-Setter American movie director friend Stephen David Brooks, who succinctly summed it up, "Yes. It would seem that the more one travels, the more the realization that people all over the world are basically the same. It's the governments that mess things up."

He's right. And that was the crux of the message from the young Russians who have traveled and now live in foreign countries.

What do I want to say here? In a nutshell. I want to say that there is no way we should ever have a war with the Russians. 

EVIDENCE #1: Look at this photo: This is a photo of a red carpet cinema event for the Sochi Film Festival just like we have in Hollywood. But! With a huge difference. Just look at those two walking up there! We can't go to war with these people! In America, we have Disneyland and everything, but in Russia, they have the real fricking Snow White and Cinderella* living there! I wouldn't be surprised to find out that A.A. Milne's "Hundred Acre Wood" is actually named "Hundred Hectare People's Community Forest" and is really located somewhere near Kursk and that Winnie the Pooh actually holds a Russian passport and his real last name is Poohkovik! 

What kind of savage animals could bomb Snow White or Cinderella? Not me. Could we ever even conceive of droning Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy at Disneyland? No way! (*In America, that Snow White & Cinderella at Disneyland isn't the real Snow White or Cinderella, they are SAG-AFTRA models/dancers. In Russia, they have the real thing.)

There are Coca-Cola signs everywhere here in Russia. This is at some little Mom and Pop owned diner down the street from the hotel. All the stores sell this stuff... Judging from that, the war was over a long time ago.

Holy Balaclava! Hot Russian babe and bottle of vodka? Could there possibly be any two better reasons against war than that? "Hot Russian babe + bottle of vodka." Case rests, your honor.

Basic reasons to never have a war with the Russians:

1) Basically, they are just like us.

2) There are lots of hot babes. 

3) They seem to be pretty tolerant of religion and I gather mostly Christians as I am seeing Christmas shit everywhere.

Christmas tree in hotel lobby. Cute girl waves from behind the counter.

4) They have, McDonald's, Burger King, Coca Cola as well as giant-assed Snickers bars, Kit Kat, M&Ms and all sorts of the same stuff we have.

Yes. That's what you think it is.

5) They have gone Japan crazy too. They even have Karaoke. Yes. You read that correctly: THE RUSSIANS HAVE KARAOKE TOO! 

6) Oh, and speaking of Christmas... Just another BIG reason we can never go to war with the Russian people and that they are just like us; Not only have they have imported all the things we love in the west: Junk food, junk culture and they have Christmas commercialism and giving presents too (or were they first?) But not only THAT, ladies and gentlemen, probably the worst thing that they ever imported from the west, and you'll be able to relate to the untold suffering this has brought upon those poor Russian brothers and sisters of ours, is that at Christmas, they have to suffer listening to that God-damned Wham song "Last Christmas" over and over just like we do!!!! Hell on earth. 

What hath we wrought???????

My friends, we must make forever lasting peace with these good Russian people.... Not only do they eat Whoppers, Big Macs with fries, eat shit like Snickers bars and drink Coca-cola, they must endure listening to Wham every Christmas like we do in the west!!!!

We simply cannot make war on these wonderful people. They listen to Wham's "Last Christmas"!!!!??? Haven't we made these people suffer enough?

Russian beauty singing in front of a bar that offers Karaoke. She was so sweet and nice. Maybe I'll go there tonight and sing Russian Karaoke songs?

NOTE: Some of you alert readers might be saying, "Wait a minute! Mike mentioned Valdimir Putin in the title of this article!" Some might remember my post from last week: The Russian Embassy, Vladimir Putin, Natasha and Me - Another True Story (

I wrote: 

"In September, I went to Raindance Film Festival in London and met my hero Johnny Rotten, former lead vocalist of the Sex Pistols... 

Now, in December, I am going to Russia. Can I meet my other hero, Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation? I think so. Yes! 

My wife said, "That's crazy. You can't compare a punk like Johnny Rotten to Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia!" 

She's right, I suppose. Johnny Rotten has been famous for 40 years!"

So, I have been trying to arrange to meet Putin every day since I've been here. I have even learned the phrase in Russian, "I want to meet Vladimir Putin." "Я хочу встретиться с Владимиром Путиным." (YA khochu vstretit'sya s Vladimirom Putinym.)

You probably won't believe me, but my friends who know me well will not be too surprised that I am walking around and saying to people I meet "I want to meet Vladimir Putin" (besides "Good morning" = "Doubra utroa.")

Some Russians laugh. Others just look at me funny.

BUT! Yesterday, one guy told me his best friend is a friend of Putin's... See? Now I am only two or three people away from meeting Vlad and drinking vodka shots with the dude for world peace!

I have 4 more days in Russia to meet Valdimir Putin....Destiny will not be denied!

POST NOTE: Just now, at breakfast, I asked some people if it were possible for me to drink vodka with the Russian Mafia. The security guys all seem like they could be mafia, but if they are, they are strangely missing tattoos. He told me, "No. They are not mafia. But they are all ex-KGB agents. The boss is a formerly high ranking Russian General who won one of Russia's highest military honors."

He pointed me to the guy.... Aha! So that's why he is wearing a suit with a giant red star medal on it! 

I think I can go drinking vodka with these guys tonight. Now I know someone who has met or may even know know Putin personally... The trail grows warmer!

Stay tuned. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Rock and Pop Musicians! Please Make Two and a Half Minute Songs!

"Brevity is the soul of wit." - Lord Polonius from Shakespeare's Hamlet 1602

Everyone knows that the attention spans of people are getting shorter yet rock musicians (people who are appealing to those with the shortest attention spans of all), keep making songs that are getting longer.

I don't get it.

According to the website: Attention Span Statistics data

"The average attention span in 2000, 12 seconds. The average attention span in 2012, 8 seconds. "

Yet, people keep making pop and rock songs longer and longer! Ever since "Let it Be" by the Beatles and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, which BOTH were six minutes long, pop and rock musicians keep making songs over four, even five minutes! Is this counter-intuitive? Or just plain, well, "Not smart"?

No. This is NOT what I want!

I think it's not very smart. Let me tell you why...

I used to program and select all the music for a very popular morning drive-time program in Tokyo. Our service area covers 42 million homes, so it's huge. I know that many people like me (I've asked) have agreed that the "perfect pop/rock song" is 2.5 minutes long (or thereabouts). Three minutes? Well, okay... Three and a half minutes? You're pushing it. Over 3:30? Hmmm, it had better be as good as the Rolling Stones, "Jumping Jack Flash" (which, I didn't look, but I believe is 3:48!) Still, with that, I will probably cut the last 30 seconds. Over 4 minutes? That's starting to get really difficult to use. Over 4:30 or 5? No thanks... Send me a radio-friendly version, will ya?

(By the way, if I must be going to a commercial in, say, 1:40 from now, and I have to cover the time, will I play the 2:30 song and cut 50 seconds, or am I going to play the 5 minute song that has a 48 second intro? Easy call, isn't it?)

Yet musicians keep sending us their new singles and the songs are all over four or five minutes. I hate it!


OK. It's simple. Did you know that there are ten times more listeners at 7 am than there are at 7 pm (due to people driving in the morning)? Let me repeat that: Did you know that there are ten times more listeners at 7 am than there are at 7 pm (due to people driving in the morning)? And the number of listeners rapidly declines after the morning driving time ends (in Japan, after 8:30 am). So that's why you want your song on before 8:30 am; there's many more potential listeners for your tunes if they are on early. 

Did you also know (at least in Japan's case) that the average listener listens to FM radio for only twenty minutes at a time? That's right.

Now, morning shows (the ones with, by far, the highest ratings) need a quick tempo and a fast pace. We don't have time to screw around. We have to get lots of information, news, weather, sports, traffic, commercials and music shoved into the shortest time span possible. That means we play lots of short songs in the mornings (when, as I mentioned, the ratings are highest)... That means we (well, I won't) play any songs at all that push the 3:30+ mark (or I just lop off a few minutes - do you want that?) 

I greatly prefer short songs. 

If you send me a 2:30 song, then I will greatly consider that for airplay during the peak times... But, if you send me a 5 minute song? Yeah, later on in the show... Or never. Long songs are difficult to use.

Of course, I'm talking about the fun shows that are on in the mornings (did I say the ratings = more listeners - were higher at that time? I did? Thanks.)

That means, in my case, I will play short, up-tempo songs like early Beatles, Stones, Ramones at peak times to get the listeners pumped-up and ready to go in the mornings. We don't do easy listening...

It used to be that, long ago, songs were always under 3 minutes. What happened? I don't know. But this "long song" business is foolish. 

It's simple; if you want your songs played when there are the most listeners, then make them short. If you can't say it in 2.5 minutes, then you need to work on it.

Of course, there is a time and place for longer songs.... But generally not on the highly rated morning shows... I'm trying to wake people up in the morning and cram in as much as I can in the shortest space I can... But, then again, maybe people don't care about radio anymore... OK. I can understand that too.

But, knowing this, and if you DO want radio airplay, why would you want to make long songs?

Your call.

NOTE: Oh, and PS: If you are a new musician, then make sure you "Like" the FB pages of the radio programs you are (or want to) promote to. Our FB page is here:

NOTE TWO: THE PERFECT SONG? I don't know but it's a great example of what I'm talking about. Within the first 30 seconds, you hear the intro, verse, chorus and hook... If this isn't perfect, then it's damned close: The Beatles - Paperback Writer (if link doesn't work, click here:

Here's another one (You can argue with me but you can't argue with the success of the Beatles!)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Letter from DJ Al Tarded

Sometimes people write things to me that are so full of twisted and faulty reasoning that I am astounded. I have a son who just entered high school and I would expect a much higher level of writing skill, as well as thinking than the mail I received today.

The guy was responding to an article I wrote where I was giving hints to artists on how to treat DJs and get them to play your music. Refer: Your Music on The Radio? It's a Two-Way Street!

DJ Al took offense and proceeded to send me this tortured correspondence. First I will print his mail then I will post it again with my rebuttals to his confused points one by one.

First his original mail:

In a commercial radio environment your comments are reckless and disrespectful. Many of the indie artists are working full time jobs and don't have people to check all the social media that goes on daily. What your statement comes down to is, if you don't say hi, I will take my ball and go home. When you play these artists how many plays a week are they getting? How many a day? Is it just during your show or throughout the entire day? It is fantastic that you are trending on Twitter, but that doesn't equate to the number of listeners. You say you have the data to show you have a lot of listeners, yet you don't point to any reference to prove this point. You were quick to point out the Twitter data though. I am not saying you don't have them, my real point is you come across as an arrogant spoiled on air personality. My suggestion to Indie artists, is you don't have to pay a dime to radio to get air time, and you don't need to kiss the butt of guys like these. If your mom doesnt follow you on FB do you ignore here too. (sic)


Now, my rebuttal. My comments are in blue.

In a commercial radio environment your comments are reckless and disrespectful. 

My comments are reckless and disrespectful? (is this your attempt at trying to sound erudite?) What does that even mean, Al? Reckless in what way? Do you even know what the definition of reckless is? Reckless means, "Careless of consequences," Al... Consequences of my writing tips to indies artists? Maybe we need call in the UN Security Council?

Reckless and disrespectful? This is a subjective judgment with no basis in science or fact; and since all morality is subjective, it doesn't mean anything. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has an asshole too. Reckless and disrespectful to who, Al? Go on, tell us more....

Many of the indie artists are working full time jobs and don't have people to check all the social media that goes on daily. 

Working at a full-time job!? Oh my god. Unheard of. Working at a job? My lord...  

Look, Al, I'll explain it so that even you can understand; there are lots of factors that come into play whether someone "makes it" or not. I don't know a single indies musician that doesn't have to work. We all have to work. The ones who do "make it" are the ones who get lucky (it is said one makes their own luck) and the ones who make it overcome nearly insurmountable odds and obstacles... They have a job and play the guitar too!? How do they ever do that?  Good lord! When do they sleep, Al?

What your statement comes down to is, if you don't say hi, I will take my ball and go home. (sic)

No, Al, that's not what it says. What it says is that this is a two-way street and there are only so many minutes in a radio show, so I can't afford to waste time on artists who aren't overcoming the difficulties and obstacles we all must face. If you can't, someone else will. It's the real world.

When you play these artists how many plays a week are they getting? How many a day? Is it just during your show or throughout the entire day? 

OK. I'll bite at this twisted reasoning and leap off into left-field.... Just my show, Al? Let's count it, OK? 

But since you live in the sticks in a city with a population of 383,822 and Tokyo is over 38,000,000 according to a 2016 UN estimate. That means one play on my show on one day is worth about 1 play on your show for over 3 months. (100 plays on your station). How about it, Al? Do the math. I hope your mathematical skills are not a lacking as your reasoning skills... Actually, Al, it's even worse than 100 to 1. You guys have hundreds of radio stations in your area. Tokyo only has 5 commercial FM stations. 

It is fantastic that you are trending on Twitter, but that doesn't equate to the number of listeners. You say you have the data to show you have a lot of listeners, yet you don't point to any reference to prove this point. You were quick to point out the Twitter data though. 

Al, you can't be so lost as to not understand that there is a direct correlation between Twitter Trending and numbers of listeners... Do you claim to be ignorant of how it works? 

Let me explain to you how it works, OK? During my live show, on air, I tell listeners to Tweet something and add my hashtag, they do it... That's how it works, Al.... It's REAL-TIME, that's why it is called "TRENDING." 

Data from Neilsen research shows that, on average, out of 100 people, 1 might send an email to a radio station.... The numbers are slightly higher for Twitter (it's simpler to use). TV shows, radio shows, product manufacturers, etc. etc. all use Twitter in this way. Try it sometime, Al, you might even get into the Top in your neighborhood. Oh, did I forget that the population of tiny Japan is more than 3 times that of all of Canada? That should be pretty simple to figure out what that means, Al...

I am not saying you don't have them, my real point is you come across as an arrogant spoiled on air personality. 

Why? Why do you call me arrogant? Because I write an article to help artists to game the system and get an advantage? Did you write any articles giving anyone any tips? No? 

I am arrogant because I tell musicians what to do to get on air and stay there? Arrogant, because I try to help them get on air? Or am I arrogant because #Localmoose trends higher than your show on Canada's Twitter charts? Or are you just jealous because you are on a small local station? 

Because I do make the effort to help these artists and give them tips (no, life isn't always easy) you call me arrogant and spoiled? My ass. I work my butt off and have been breaking new artists on the radio for over 32 years... I have been involved the music business since 1977... 

My suggestion to Indie artists, is you don't have to pay a dime to radio to get air time, and you don't need to kiss the butt of guys like these. 

Your suggestion is more illogical nonsense. Try to stay on subject here, Al. Where did I ever say that any of us asked for money? Payola is illegal in most places and against the company rules (maybe you take it, good on you, Al.) 

No one asked for money. No one asked for butt kissing. It's 2017, try to get into the nineties, Al... If artists and losers have to whine about the difficulties of "making it" in the internet age then, no problem. We don't play your crappy music (because you are too busy at your McJob to make it anyway) and you don't support our programs. Wallah! Problem solved! Everyone's happy.

If your mom doesnt follow you on FB do you ignore here too. (sic)

Al, you've written some really stupid things here, but this is by far the stupidest thing you've written so far. My mom is not an indie artist, and if she were, and I did play her, I'm sure she'd have already liked my page... She's a mom. That's what moms do.

Your Music on The Radio? It's a Two-Way Street!

This is a message for independent artists on how to get radio airplay (FM, satellite, AM, internet) and how to keep that airplay.

There aren't very many of us DJs on FM or satellite radio left who are given the carte blanche to play what we wish... Corporate radio has taken over.  

Being aired on a powerful metropolitan FM radio station has massive reach. My station in Japan, InterFM897 reaches over 42 million homes in the greater Tokyo and Nagoya areas... It is also streamed On-Demand nationwide.

So, whether it is an FM station or satellite radio or internet radio, when we DJs pick an independent artist for airplay it is a labor of love and a struggle against all odds. 

That being said, if you are that independent artist and we air you, us DJs expect some mutual support. This is a team effort. 

Good morning everybody!

I am writing this post today because I personally know several DJs; FM, satellite and internet radio DJs, who feel exactly the same way I do: (sorry to put it so bluntly, but) If you won't support us, we can't/won't play you... Please read on.

The details? Recently, I did play this indies artist on the FM radio in Japan. I played them two weeks in a row. But, I stopped. Why did I stop? Because I gave up on them. After I stopped playing that artist (it's been a few weeks back that I stopped), they wrote to me and asked me today if I had played them. They wrote: "Did you air any other songs of mine? Reason I ask is, I've received a large spike in Spotify and Apple Music streams all from Japan. Appreciate what you do."

Here's how I responded:

Dear Johnny (not his real name), 


Let's be frank, positive and discuss business and how we can help each other.... 

Yes, I did play you, twice. I sent you a friend request on Facebook but you didn’t accept so I couldn’t tag you on my posts. Since I couldn't tag you or get any reaction from you, I stopped playing you after the two weeks. 

I stopped playing you, not because I was mad about it or anything, but because I figured it must not be a priority for you, so I gave the airtime to someone else who has great tunes and might be more hungry. 

Some artists I play will do great SMS promotion and really blow my mind. Renato Telles Sbeghen with his song "Late For The Last Waltz" did an amazing job for us. Renato got on social media and got us so many Likes that I actually feel obligated to play him them on air for at least a month.  Doing this cross promotion helps him and it helps us. (And when I say, "us" I mean it. I have staff who have families and mouths to feed too.)

Johnny, it’s a two way- street, my friend. We take risks when we play new artists. We need to show that station management or sponsors or possible sponsors that we have promotional power. We do that through Social Media.

If I can’t coordinate with you on Social Media - that also means you don’t support our radio in return by Liking and Sharing with your friends and asking them to Like us too. 

Now, I am leaving Japan tomorrow and will not be back until end Dec. so the next few shows are recorded and your song is not on the playlist due to the reasons above. 

May I politely suggest that you check your Social Media (no point in having it if you don't check it at least once a day, maybe?) And when DJs air you, you are on the ball and show us real appreciation by promoting our show?

Like I said, I know many DJs personally who feel exactly the same way. In fact, one of the most famous DJs in the world feels exactly the same way.

I don't think I'm being unreasonable to ask (for all of us DJs) that, if we play your indies artist music, you'll reciprocate and make the effort to promote us back.... Like I said, this is a team effort and a two-way street. 

Anyway, I hope you will consider this carefully and that we can move forward in a positive fashion in the next year. 




Let me digress and allow me to brag. My show is extremely popular in Japan, and I have data to prove it. So if I play you, you have access to millions of people. 

There are 45 million monthly Twitter users in Japan, a nation of 130 million people; that means a lot of Japanese people use Twitter. 

My program has Trended Top 3 for all of Japan on Twitter four out of the last five weeks. We climbed to number one last Sunday for the first time. (See last week's Twitter chart for Japan here. My show is "Mike Rogers Show on InterFM 897 so my Twitter handle is: #mrs897.) It is unheard of for a radio show to trend like this. I am proud of my team and myself for achieving this. I thank the listeners the most. My listeners are the best in the entire world! 

I reckon being played on my show (or any show for that matter) is powerful promotion for any indies band. (If you are a major label famous act, like Guns & Roses or Coldplay, if we play you, we don't expect you'll Like our FB page or follow us on Twitter.) But if you are not, well, then...

My favorite DJ programs - Go check them out. Send them tunes. (But read this before you do send them tunes: Musicians! Do Not Send DJ's Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud Links!  (If link doesn't work, try this:

Be smart, "Like" their FB pages, follow them on Twitter and listen in:

Alex Kish at Wassup Rocker Radio:

Candice Marshall @ Limehead Radio:

Gabbie and Chris at Biscuit Boys Radio:

Kayla Marie Williams @ Radio Alchemy:

Marc Platt @ Radio Candy:

The Mike Rogers Show InterFM 897:

World Famous Rodney Bingenheimer:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Russian Embassy, Vladimir Putin, Natasha and Me - Another True Story

This is a true story.... (well, sort of...)

So, it’s December 5, 2017. I get invited to a big film festival in Russia and the film festival is paying for ALL of my expenses! They are taking care of airfare from Japan, 5-Star Hotel, food, everything! Wow!.... 

In September, I went to Raindance Film Festival in London and met my hero Johnny Rotten, former lead vocalist of the Sex Pistols... Now, in December, I am going to Russia. Can I meet my other hero, Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation? I think so. Yes!

My wife said, "That's crazy. You can't compare a punk like Johnny Rotten to Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia!" She's right, I suppose. 

Johnny Rotten has been famous for 40 years!

All expenses paid trip to Russia!? It’s my 2017 Christmas dream come true! 

"Everything is paid for!?... Wait a minute... What!?" 

First thought in my mind: "This must be some kind of trap!"

"Ve are paying for simpleton American to come to Rossia! Bwa! Ha! Ha!  
Ve vill kidnap him and hold him for ransom!" 
Bwa! Ha! Ha! Welcome to Rossia!" - Vladimir Putin

Really. Going to Russia is amazing. Going for free is like a dream come true.

But first, the hassles: I have to go jump through some hoops and get a visa at the Russian embassy... Of course, nothing is easy anymore.

I get everything ready as they instructed me to bring: invitation letter to film festival and Russian government approved visa code; copies of my airplane e-tickets, application code, passport, everything. 

I go to the Russian embassy. On my way, I figure this could be a major pain in the ass, so I had better be nice to people. Since I'm going to a film festival because I made a film (of course I can act!) I figure I had better be in character and act like a nice guy and not a boisterous, loud, drunk and stupid troublemaking American tourist...

I lower my head, walk a little slower and remember that I am humbled to be alive and thankful to all...

Finally, I get to the Russian Embassy. The building reminds me of that movie "War of the Worlds." (You know the building the Morlocks had where they ate the humans? (The Eloy.) 

Trying to look surly like a real Rossian.

There are Japanese cops standing around the embassy everywhere. It’s 12:45 pm. The embassy is locked. The sign says they are closed for the day (at only 12:45!?) WTF?????

Operating hours are from 9:30 am ~ 12:30??? Dream job! 
Where do I apply for a job like that?

I go back the next day (today) at 10:45 am. I'm in luck! They are open!

There's a hot young girl at the window. I call her 'Natasha' (not her real name).  I very politely say "Hello. Beautiful. Day isn't it? How are you?" 
I hand her my papers. 

She says nothing. 

Imagine a blonde Natasha... OK? We're on the same page.

Natasha asks “How soon would you like your visa?”

“Today?” I reply.

She smirks derisively and shakes her head, “No. That's impossible.” (Wait! Was that a quick wink at me and at my humor? Maybe she likes me?)

“Tomorrow?” I say.


"Day after that?" (Which is Friday).


“Friday?”  (Which is the 'day after that.')

Not amused, she huffs as if to say, “You’re going to keep this up, aren’t you?” She gives me the stink eye, pauses... and says, “OK. Friday. That’ll be $218 dollars!”

I protest. “$218 dollars!? But it said $108 on the webpage!”

“No. That is for Japanese nationals. Americans are $218,” she curtly responds.

(What???? They charge Americans twice as much??? Come to think of it, If I were them, I would too...)

“Do you take credit cards?” I ask.


“I... I don’t have $218 dollars.” I meekly respond.

(not her real name) smiles and sweetly says, “You can go to the ATM across the street.” 

I look down and shuffle my feet like a 10-year-old.... “I... I don’t have a bank card.”

She looks surprised, “You don’t have a bank card????”

Slowly, in embarrassment, I sigh, “No. At my house, my wife is the boss and she handles all the money. I don’t even have a bank card.... She gives me a monthly allowance.” (That’s true. And about 80% of all households in Japan are that way and a reason divorce is low in this country. If guys don't have any money, they can't do so many stupid things.)

I take a deep breath and, in defeat, slowly gather up the papers. I lean towards Natasha and say, through the window....”It’s ok. I know it’s not your fault... I guess I can’t go to Russia this time... I don’t have enough money and I don't have enough time... My flight is Saturday... But, well...”

 looks shocked. She stops filing documents at 500 miles, er, kilometers an hour, pauses and looks straight at me and says, “.....OK... I understand... For you, $108!”

"What the f...? Just like that? She can decide to cut the price in half?" I'm now the one who is shocked.... But I figure I'd better stay in character. 

Like old Bob Cratchit who just received a lump of coal from Ebeneezer Scrooge to give to Little Tim, I hold back the tears...I softly say, “Thank you!” to Natasha (not her real name).

She smiles ever so slightly and I pay the $108 dollar and whimper, "Thank you" several times over....

I pay and then scurry out of the room like a mouse.

Of course, ve hold your passport and give it back to you after ve 
insert tracking chip. Bwa! Ha! Ha!

I have to go back to the Russian Embassy to pick up my passport with visa stamp in a few days. But now I am ready to go to Russia and accept my film festival trophy for "Best Actor" in the real-life drama, "Dumb Ass Broke American Guy at Russian Embassy."

Thanks Natasha (not her real name!) See you in Sochi, Russia, Vladimir!

(Mike has artistic license to exaggerate.)

The trailer (Eng. subtitles) for "Ghostroads - a Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story": 

John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Tony Palmer, Roland Joffé and Me - Another True Story

DATELINE: Dec. 15, 2017 It is 4:11 am.  I am locked in a hotel room (by my own volition) in Sochi Russia. I am extremely hungover. Need. M...