In Search of Lost Love (Ushinawareta Ai wo Motomete): Chapter 4 – Rose Colored Days

30s – Golden Age of the Band, Into Solo


Right around this time I moved to a new place: A spacious 4 LDK (Note: An apartment with 4 bedrooms, a living room, dining room and kitchen. This is very big for a typical Japanese apartment). I was making 200,000 yen a month, having gotten a raise just after Smile released. The problem was, the rent alone for this place was also 200,000 yen a month! That didn’t leave me with anything left over, but I moved anyway since royalties were also starting to trickle in. Though I did tell my wife that around this time next year I’d definitely be bringing in 100,000,000 yen, so we’d be fine. I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t have some confidence that it would happen, but of course I felt pressure to make it happen now. It’s not so easy to have a bank account that looks like that! So I went and got myself a keyboard, and managed to come up with the intro to Jam playing around on it in the middle of the night. This was also a period where hiding the fact that I had children was getting really stressful for me, and I began taking out those frustrations on my music. I’d think “Why the hell is everyone always telling me ‘Write songs that sell! Write songs that sell!'”, and things like that. The melody was completely different at first, but I eventually came up with Jam from all of that.

Jam’s melody was ad-libbed, apart from the chorus. The part where I start singing the first verse has a completely different melody from what it eventually turned out to be. And I really did write the lyrics in the studio, just before recording the demo. I thought I couldn’t do it, but that was only half true: The lyrics weren’t sticking in my head during the demo recording, so I thought about changing the melody. And that’s when I came up with the “Alone in a dark room…” part. This song has a real special place in my heart.

We brought in the sound engineer in England who worked on Four Seasons, even though the song was recorded in Japan. And I suggested to the other band members that we tweak the arrangement. Normally I would have told Heesey to hold back a bit on his sing-songy bass line. But this was a period where I was saying things like “Let’s arrange it to sound more like the guitar part”, or “Let’s keep it simple” a lot more. As a band we were in rare form, and I was in high spirits. So I think that’s why this song turned out the way it did.

The whole “About a plane crash that happened overseas, the newscaster happily reported ‘None of the passengers were Japanese'” wind-down part in the second half had no real melody at that point. I ad-libbed the lyrics during a rehearsal, and knew all I had to do was figure out that melody. The song was recorded in one-take though, I just went in and did it. And I haven’t been able to replicate that feeling of elation ever since. I choked up at the final “I’m just waiting for tomorrow again” though, I was too overcome with emotion. That’s the only part that had to be re-recorded, which is why the energy is a bit different there. It was such a huge song for me…

To be honest, I was really happy when Jam sold so well. The best thing about it was that we finally had a song that represented us as a band. One we could play anytime and anywhere.

We’d had success with Smile and Four Seasons, but we didn’t feel that they really represented the core of what the band was. Jam may have been the song that broke through on both fronts, and I felt it was an alluring song that was packed full of all of the band’s different musical influences. It also felt a bit like a remake of “Silk Scarf ni Boushi no Madam”. This was also around when Aum Shinrikyo carried out the subway sarin attack, and the Great Hanshin earthquake happened. And the feelings of anxiety from living in such a world, as a person who had children, also had a big impact on the song. The “I miss you” part at the end was written for my daughter, since I hadn’t been able to be home very much.

Comrades in Arms

The higher ups at our record company were very opposed to this song: “Why would you release an over five minute long ballad all of a sudden!?”. So Nakahara, who was in charge of promotion for us, said “Let’s think a little bit more about a strategy”. His idea was to spin it as a song that was so good that something had to be done with it. Actually we’d gotten booked on Music Station, so we figured we’d play this song on there. But actually we had to shorten it down, since we only had 4 minutes to play. It’s not like we could tell them that we couldn’t do it in 4 minutes, so we had to make it work. But I felt like we had to cut the best parts, and really fought against it since cutting out the middle and just singing the end wouldn’t have the same meaning. So Nakahara ended up getting us 5 minutes, which made me realize how amazing he was at his job. I think he really put himself on the line for us, so I figured we had no choice but to give it our all.

I think this is when we were working on Jam…but right around New Year, Nakahara came by my place and brought a gift for my daughter. I was still hiding the fact that I had a family from the public at this point, so no one ever really came over. Him coming by made me really happy, and we were the same age. We got along really well, but for some reason he had this real feeling of rivalry toward me. At least it felt that way to me, every now and then. And because of that, I felt like I really had to do this right.

Parting Ways With the Core Fans

I’m terrified of losing people who once loved me, in fact I’m more afraid it than almost anything. Even though I’m not actually there when it happens. It should have all been okay, given that Four Seasons was a huge success for us. But an important point here is not continuing to excuse the negative things that some core fans were saying. It didn’t make me feel jealous, but rather lonely. I had very strong feelings of wanting to make it in the industry alongside these fans, and I remembered some of their faces from the early days. This person and this person were with us from the very beginning, etc.

The people who have been supporting us from the very beginning sticking with us has been a very important thing for me. After all, they’d been the only support that we had. I was hiding the fact that I had kids and such in order to keep them around, because I just couldn’t let them go. I suspect Heesey might have had the same strong feelings as well, of wanting to make them understand. Emma and Annie probably weren’t the types to worry too much about that stuff though. However, I abandoned that idea from Jam onward, realizing that they weren’t actually judging us based on our music. They’re talking about the songs, but not in a way that’s actually evaluating them. It was a matter of differences in taste. Having there be differences in taste is an important thing, but the songs we were recording were not in line with theirs at all. So we completed shifted into taking on an attitude that basically said “Sorry, but we’re going to do things the way we want to do them”.

Why did it finally sink in during Jam? I believe it’s because we finally built up some confidence. Of course I felt uneasy about losing fans during Smile and Four Seasons. But when it came to being so negative about Jam, I just said to myself “Fine, I’m done with this. I’m confident in this, so I’ll just continue on with others who are as well”. After writing Jam, we did a 43 date tour called For Season ~Yasei no Shoumei~ (“Proof of Wildness”). That tour was a lot of fun, and I was doing the radio program All Night Nippon at the same time too. And since we were appearing more regularly on TV now, average people were recognizing me more regularly: When I said “You can’t really buy sun visors anymore, can you?” on the radio, hundreds of sun visors showed up for me within the next week. When I talked about Snoopy, a bunch of Snoopy stuff showed up. I was having fans giving me bonbons during tours, and I didn’t know what to do! I guess this is what happens when you get to number 1 on the Oricon charts! I was bothered by it at first. But then I started wondering what the problem with it was, and figured I’d just shift my thinking more over to the rock side of things.

All Night Nippon

Every time I did radio recording, the director would always get mad at me because I was so bad at it! It put quite a bit of pressure on me. Since All Night Nippon was like a friend of mine when I was a kid, I was really nervous to be on the program. The first time I was on, I could barely even talk. And I’d been a pretty popular DJ on NACK5 before that, which is why I was asked to be on this show. We had normal dirty jokes and such on NACK5, so by the end of the show I’d often be laughing so hard I was crying. But I couldn’t do that on All Night Nippon. The director would say “Let’s let the new guy introduce a song”, and if I got an artist name or title wrong I’d get a very angry voice in my headphones: “Quit screwing up!”. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I quit before the next broadcast season. But they did broadcast some of our 43 date tour on the radio, after all.

Of course there were great directors there too, I got to go to cool places like Awajishima, did live events, and everyone made me really happy. So I’m really glad for having gotten to do all of that. I think doing that was a necessary step for me, but after Four Seasons I really started thinking that I needed to start bringing out the rock side of me a little more, bit-by-bit.

Changing Record Labels

After Jam, I promised our director Munekiyo and Nakahara that we’d release an up-tempo song next. And so I wrote Spark, which I definitely remember thinking was going to be a hit single. And well…it wasn’t as big of a hit as Jam, but it sold plenty well. And I guess it’s a pretty popular karaoke song, even now. But right around the time I was writing it, the issue of changing record labels suddenly sprung up.

I think at the time, we were feeling that we wanted to move up to the next level. There’d been so many things we just didn’t see eye-to-eye with our current record company on, so we tried to convince Nakahara to join Bowinman Music. But he worked for Columbia, the parent company, and he didn’t want to betray his boss. So he didn’t come along. We’d decided on changing labels when we were doing the 43 date For Season ~Yasei no Shoumei~ tour, and we’d flipped that switch of wanting to really be able to make music more freely. I did try to express desire for that freedom before we switched though, so I wrote Tengoku Ryokou. Though that tour was full of pop songs that would make your average listener happy, we introduced the more dense song that was Tengoku Ryokou partway through it. That felt like quite an achievement.

Tengoku Ryokou has just as special of a place in my heart as Jam does. It’s freaky, and kind of…really dramatic. That’s why I refer to it as the “Other side of Jam”. I can’t get enough of playing it live, it puts me in such a state of ecstasy every single time we do. It’s my time to go to a weird place, and sometimes I seriously can barely even control my own bowels. It’s like I turn invincible. That awesome piano part and Emma’s arpeggios alone make the song just perfect. It just feels so good! And when the song ends, the audience is just frozen in place in some kind of scene, and I just feel so happy! I think “This is the best!” every single time. I know they’re probably not actually transfixed, but I feel like they’re looking on slack-jawed. And I always think “Alright! I’ve got them transfixed!”. I’ve been excited about it ever since I finished Tengoku Ryokou.


I had a bit of a relapse when I was writing Rakuen, and I drug rock fans into it with me this time. Right around here, I directed two songs: Spark and Rakuen. After Spark I mentioned that there was another song I’d been working on, and when I played Rakuen, it got rejected by our former record company. Because Spark was so much more catchy. It’s just that I thought of it as being a completed song that had a very worldly sound to it.

We did end up releasing Rakuen on our new label (Funhouse), and it was a reasonably big hit. And when that happened, it really felt like an accomplishment! The way I looked completely changed too. It may seem funny if you compare photos of me, but it wasn’t necessary because of the feelings of wanting to be a good father that I had during the Four Seasons era. Before I knew it, I’d kind of given up on all that because…well the “Yasei no Shoumei” tour had ended. I’d never done anything like that before, after all, so I was bound to get a bit drunk off of it all. And during the early stages of that tour, I was going out fishing a lot. But the second half…not so much. This is actually a good way of putting it: “I wasn’t able to go fishing during the second half”. “Then what were you fishing for exactly?” ha-ha-ha. I went from womanizing to fishing.

During Four Seasons I created a healthy environment for myself, so I learned how to capture people’s hearts in a healthy way too. But the next album, Sicks, would be where I had to add to the part of my true feelings that were so full of pain, that I’ve had from the time I was young. That’s why the title of this section is “Relapse”.

Kazuya Yoshii’s Nirvana – Third Time at Budokan: Mekara Uroko 7

After we released Rakuen, we did our third concert at Budokan called “Mekara Uroko 7”. And well…I could have just died happy after that. It felt like that much of an achievement to me. 12/28 was the day that The Yellow Monkey formed with its original lineup, and I really wanted this not be just a normal concert given that it’s been 7 years for the band. Keep in mind this is right after we hit it big with Jam, and a regular tour in which women fans were regularly gifting me bonbons. And we didn’t play even one hit single during this show: The setlist was made up solely of the songs we wanted to do. We had girls up on stage with us, and we just went all out. The concept was to bring the fairly wild imagery and performance from our second album show at Nippon Seinenkan to the Budokan, and scale it up to an audience of 10,000 people. Back then we only had two girls on stage with us for the opening, but we upped that number to 20 at Budokan. We were thinking they should be topless, like they were at the Nippon Seinenkan show too. But we were told that Budokan was a sacred place, so we absolutely couldn’t do that. So they had to be properly clothed.

We played Pearl Light of Revolution (from our debut album) with a live orchestra, and I did some dumb MCs which were expensive because of how long they took. We did all of the things we’d wanted to do before, but couldn’t. We did all of the things that we should have done. It was an incredibly dense concert that summed up who The Yellow Monkey had been up until that point, and what my career had been up until that point. And I felt such a sense of achievement from all of it. The way that I looked and stood on stage were completely different than they had been, and I was just in a trance the entire time.

It was so incredibly different from our first Budokan show. I was much more relaxed, and it seemed to me that the audience was too. I was up there looking at them and thinking “Oh look, that person over there is actually crying!” and “They’re so overcome with emotion!”. This show was really the first time I felt this way…maybe even the only time. Well, I guess there was one other time: The Seibu Dome (09/1997). And Spring Tour too. And the Yokohama Arena show that we filmed (05/2000). Anyway, Mekara Uroko 7 still beats them all. At the party after the concert, Shuji Yamaguchi was there, an audio engineer who’s worked with us ever since our debut album. I probably said “This was awesome! Today was so awesome!” to him about 100 times. I felt like I’d lived my life so far just for that day. I still watch that concert sometimes, even now. It just made me that happy, there’s no concert that can surpass this in terms of that. I’d really like for a complete version of this concert to be released, since they had to cut several songs. A version that has everything, including my MCs. Maybe one day…

I wonder why it made me so happy? Probably because the version of myself I showed everyone during that show was 100% the image that I had of myself in my own mind. I was slim, basking in red spotlights and wearing a red coat. I didn’t have to hold back anything: I played the songs I wanted to play, with the perspective I wanted to have. I did everything I wanted, and 10,000 people accepted it all. I wondered if this was going to be the last moment of that version of myself’s life. He probably did pass away with that, and went to heaven. I think about it this way now, though I obviously couldn’t back then: That old version of myself died and went to heaven there. It feels like this is where things finally began, and that I’d finally reached my peak. I was thinking that things had finally begun, even though I’d died and gone heaven.

Grasping Ahold of a New Kind of Rock With Sicks

Recording on Sicks was coming to an end as we were doing Mekara Uroko 7. I was confident that we’d made something really great, so I was really feeling myself. I was really excited and just wanted it to hurry up and release already! It definitely had my dislike for being told by everyone around me to write more pop-y rock put into it. That’s why I decided that from this point on, I was going to produce everything we did, and have the last word on everything. I didn’t previously have the confidence to demand that, or the skill to do it. But now I felt that I did, and could. I had the confidence to have control over everything, go and record in London, and make something amazing.

I wonder why I was so confident…Maybe it’s because I grew my hair out. But I actually think it’s because I just kept enduring, and enduring. It’s like I was just enduring and being nothing but patient…and I’d already paid everyone back. This was me saying within myself that I was going to do Sicks the way that I wanted to, and I knew that the music was just spurting right out of me. It was coming out of me even when I was walking down the street. I was confident that every phrase I wrote was an interesting one. The other members were really losing it during mixing. They’d just be like “What the hell was that sound?!”. But even though they were clearly saying it sounded weird, I knew I had to be put it in because that’s the way I heard the song in my head.

We also changed labels to Funhouse for Sicks, and so we had a new director. Even so, I took all the initiative myself. I asked the other band members to let me self-produce us as well. Emma wrote some really great songs for us on this album too. Anyway, I started writing songs in a completely different style than I had been up until then. You might say I’d become able to write in a rock structure. Not in a fake 80s or disco structure, a rock structure. I learned how to take the song construction of some of rock’s legendary figures, and blend them with my own distinctly Japanese melodies. Tengoku Ryokou was a huge song for me, in terms of that. It was a song that I was extremely confident in. Stopping the drums for the chorus and such…I was writing arrangements I never would have written before. It felt like I’d been completely reborn.

The same went for lyrics. To a certain extent, I was aware that the lyrics I write tend to be strange. That said, my vocabulary kind of…”Rock in a Hard Place” or something. Sort of a girls manga chic. I was just able to come up with phrases like “From someone’s perspective, this love is a pair of 1000 yen socks for five feet” all at once. I guess it’s a metaphor that just about anyone can understand, and I think I really leveled up with being able to express myself so freely like that. I’d broken free from the compositional structures that I’d been using up until then. I’m still not really sure just what it was that put me into that mode…maybe it had something to do with all of the western music I was listening to at the time. I really loved an album called “Hawaii” by The High Llamas, and another band called Kula Shaker was really popular around the time we were working on Sicks. They had kind of an Indian sound to them. I guess I was was really kind of into stoner rock.

We recorded everything in England, even the rhythm tracks. And we began recording in Peter Gabriel’s studio Real World Studios. There was a table with a sofa behind it, and the other band members would be sitting there reading and smoking. And in the actual studio, there’s a window where you can see outside. Sunbeams stream in there through the leaves, and since it’s in the English countryside it makes for really great scenery. I remember really well one time when just Annie and I were in there, we were just like: “This is so much fun”. “Yeah this is so much fun”. “I’d be okay with doing this forever”. And I heartily agreed with that. I wonder if he remembers that too.

And we all…well basically like I said, we got paid 100,000,000. So I was very at ease, I felt at a loss for words. It really felt like we’d succeeded. And the sound we got out of our recording in England then was amazing. To the point where I said I wanted to re-record all of our old albums in this way. I think the sound we got on Sicks was completely unlike that of any other band, unlike anything else found in Japanese music. It may have been a cheap imitation of western music, but it was such a great time for us. I really love the album cover too.

For the first, second, and third albums, if someone told me “But you did what you wanted with those” or “You weren’t just putting up with it all”…well, that’s true, but…also not really. I was told things like “Hey, you shouldn’t have the word ‘vagina’ in there!” or “Having this in there’s no good…”. Or “Why (insert thing here)!?”. So I was actually putting up with it all. They say that the devil’s in the details, but he’s clearly not. I guess there’s a very remote possibility that I wasn’t just putting up with it at all, and I just didn’t have enough confidence to fight back.

People who heard the song Rakuen said that it had a very unearthly quality to it. Even so, that gave me a lot of confidence in my singing. If I was going to extremes, I’d say my way of singing changed from Sicks onward. Maybe it also got weirder, but it’s completely different from what it was on Four Seasons, which makes for songs that I’m not afraid to sing. When I say not afraid, I mean like…bwah, I lost all control. I’m okay with that happening. I can just be a life-sized version of myself. Or I guess I should say I finally got used to letting that version of myself out.

I just didn’t have any real confidence in our songs up until Sicks. I liked the demo version of Taiyou ga Moeteiru so much better, that I even asked if we could switch the version we released to that. But they told me that we couldn’t, since we went through all the trouble of going to England to record the final version. I really didn’t sing well on Four Seasons! Listening to it now, I just think “What the hell is this!?”. I wanted to sing well, but I just couldn’t. It was crazy, I did so many takes. And I thought so many times to myself that I have to sing better.

I was really happy with the way Jam turned out too. It made me realize that if I don’t feel the emotions welling up within myself as I’m writing the song, I just can’t sing it as well. And of course I still have those songs where I wonder about them…and I don’t have confidence in. But I didn’t actually think at all about singing well during Sicks. At any rate, we were in England, I couldn’t just punch-in/punch-out, so I had to just do it. I was so full of energy. Sicks was just so carefree, we all just improved during Yakkyoku e Ikou. It felt like it was all done in a very classic rock style. You had all that humming and barking, and then it goes into Tengoku Ryokou. For me, it was just as good as it could get.

Death of My Grandmother

Despite the fact that she was alive when I wrote the song Jinsei no Owari (For Grandmother) on Sicks, I sung about her. I wanted to sing about her. The mode of rock I was in at the time was very much connected to my grandmother. That sensation was very pleasant, so this is the kind of song I wrote about it. I wonder if my mother played it for her? That would make me very happy. I bet she would have joked “You wrote this song even though I’m still alive!” though.

It’s like…grandmothers don’t really come up in Japanese rock very much, do they? Sicks was a period where a lot of taboo things came up in my lyrics. Like “tsukushinbou” (a man who uses up women) or “a pair of 1000 yen socks for five feet”. Using those taboo things as keywords, I put a lof of them into lyrics. And what I wanted to say then was “my very blood is weeping”. And I guess…for me, who was raised on my grandmother’s love, “my blood is weeping” was a very rock thing to say. That is to say, singing it really set my heart ablaze. I happened to be in the studio alone when we were recording the vocals, I think maybe it was 1 AM? Anyway, none of the other band members were there, and I knew this was my chance. So I sung this song with no one else there. It was a song I didn’t want to sing with everyone watching me, because it would have been embarrassing. So I did it cold, and in one take.

Actually I took my wife on a vacation to Spain the following January, before we started the tour for the next album: Punch Drunkard. I’d been so busy up until then and we’d never gone on a trip like that together, and it cost quite a bit. We went to Madrid and Barcelona, and I think we had planned it to be for a week. There’s an ancient city next to Madrid called Toledo, and we’d heard there were museums and castles there. There was also a famous painting in one of them too, so we went. It was in this really ancient church, and the painting was of everyone carrying all the women who had died there. This is when the idea for Kyuukon popped into my head. And then I just randomly thought “Ahh, my grandmother is probably going to die sometime soon…” So after being in Madrid for three days, we arrived at our hotel in Barcelona and there was an international call from my mother. She said that my grandmother had died, so we went back right away.

I don’t think I’ve ever been that shocked before…though she was pretty old, and the situation with my mother had probably been hard on her. So we went straight back to Shizuoka, to find my grandmother’s body in a casket, and there was a wake. A CD also came out around then called “Kazuya Yoshii Anthology”: Not The Yellow Monkey, Kazuya Yoshii. It was all instrumental arrangements, and was a part of a series of similar CDs from Bandai. I really liked the way it came out: There were no lyrics at all, it was just the melodies being played by an orchestra. It made me realize all over again that yeah, I actually was a good composer. There just happened to be a copy of it back home, and we played it in the room her coffin was in.

She was a huge influence on me. All these old phrases that I’d sometimes find myself saying like “God will punish you”…I’d been told “When you use up all the rice in the jar and the storage container is empty, make sure you put water in it!” ever since I was a little kid. And when I asked why, she said “Because otherwise it’ll make for a difficult child birth for your wife, when you’re married”. That’s clearly a superstition, but I believe it! Whenever that happens now, I still think “Oh crap! Oh crap!” and put water in the container. Even though it’s really just everyday life wisdom for keeping it from getting sticky and hard to wash. It’s like the expression “Never whistle at night”, which I’ve also said.

When I’d come back home as a kid, my mom would always be leaving for work but my grandmother would be there. We’d eat dinner together, watch TV, then go to bed. I’d even take baths with her all the time. I was definitely a grandma’s boy, I even put her futon out for her all the time. Older Japanese kitchens had wooden floors, right? And the flooring in regular rooms were tatami, in the Shouwa era. But my grandmother was the type of person who wanted to sleep on the wooden floor. She’d be like “Sleeping on a thin futon on a wooden floor is good for your body”, so she always slept in the kitchen. But whenever people came over, it always seemed like they made fun of her about it. Of course I always loved watching period dramas with her too, like the Hissatsu series. We watched the Akai series too, and she’d always cry watching that one.

She didn’t object to me leaving for Tokyo at all: She said “It’s his life, let him go”. But when I’d come back home to visit 2 or 3 times a year, I was gradually getting thinner. So she’d say “You’re too thin! Are you feeling too worn out?” And of course I told her I was losing weight on purpose, so she didn’t need to worry. She never once got angry at me, she’d always just smile whenever I said anything to her. It made me think about what a truly kind person she was.

What would I say that she was to me…? I guess…she was the person who would acknowledge the warm parts of me and draw them out: As though she was saying “There’s a part of you that’s warm, so it’s fine”. If you’re bad with that sort of thing, you generally lose them when you’re young. There are people who set themselves on a course to commit some crazy crimes as a result of that. That wasn’t the case for me though, because while she never actually said “You’re a person who has a part of you that’s warm”, she made me feel it. To me, she was different from other grandmothers: She had a very spacey quality about her. It may have been because of her that I didn’t stray from the path too much. I probably wouldn’t have amounted to much if it hadn’t been for her. I would have absolutely ended up being a host in a host club or something!

When she actually died, I weirdly didn’t feel a sense of loss…because basically I suppressed it. I told myself that I had to. And I had kids, so whenever they’d say something like “Grandma!”, my wife would feel really awkward. But we came back home early from Spain to this terrible situation, so I suppressed my feelings a bit. My mother was tired from taking care of her, she was probably a bit relieved…but of course still sad. She cried quite a bit, all of her siblings did. My grandmother had raised them all by herself, after all. My mother really changed after she died though. I think she was always the type of woman to hold on to her youth, but..maybe it’s because her mother died that…she kind of grew up, I guess. Even though she was already 52 at the time.

She actually even opened her own hostess club once, since the place she was working at closed. And the name of her place was “Four Seasons”! She just went ahead and named it “Four Seasons”! She probably had ulterior motives to use that name to make more money. Anyway, she told me to come by her place and said there were cute hostesses there. Of course this wasn’t good, because I was married! And of course my wife got angry. I guess I probably should have gone at least once, but I didn’t get to before it closed. I always thought she should quit that business and just settle in to being a regular older lady. She had grandkids and everything. I ended up investing a lot in that place of hers! I say invest but what I really mean is that she ended up taking money from me: She made a deal with my wife before I even realized it. She asked to borrow money, and I just thought “What a pain! I’m touring! I’m recording! Whatever!”

My grandmother would often tell me to forgive my mother, ever since I was little. And I was never really sure what she meant, but she’d always say it. She’d say things like “She’s the youngest, so she’s spoiled”. She was probably just worried that she wasn’t doing a good enough job parenting, not that I thought of it that way. But she would always ask me to forgive her, which was a really heavy thing to say. Of course I didn’t tell my mother that, because she probably would have slapped me silly! “What the hell are you talking about?!”

This is a big chapter, and there’s more to come. Stay tuned!