New Musical Express, January 13, 1979

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Elvis arrested in Japanese publicity stunt


Notch up another first for wily Jake Riviera and his squinting protegee Elvis Costello ... Thrills presents the proof that when it comes to publicity stunts, these boys can lick the lot.

Our pix show what went on last November when Elvis went shopping for trinkets down Tokyo's main drag, Ginza Street. Rather than merely picking up souvenirs like any normal western rock star, Costello decided to do something for the Japs in return — so he and his Attractions turned up on a lorry, tuned up and ready to go, and hammered out a free and furious set of venomous rock 'n' roll. Featured classics naturally included Costello's best known songs, such as "Ripstick Vogue" and "Ladio Ladio."

This is what we journalists call Ye Olde Flatbed Truck Stunte.

Not content with using this tried and tested old favourite, Elvis then went on to perform Ye Olde Publicke Arreste Stunte. After exhibiting himself to the astounded populace throughout Ginza Street, Costello managed to attract the attention of a passing policeman, who arrested him and fined him 4,000 yen (about £10) on the spot for making a noise in the street.

Incidentally, the highly enviable fab gear sported by Costello and cohorts, fashion fans, is actually regulation Japanese high school uniform. Beats caps 'n' blazers anyday, huh?

Incidentally (revisited), the sign on Elvis' truck reads: "Elvis Costello is now touring Japan". Which he was. He and the Attractions did five dates in Tokyo and Osaka, becoming the first new wave artists (remember them?) to visit Japan and also the first visiting western musicians to play small clubs instead of large halls.

Elvis went down a storm with punters and police alike, despite adamantly refusing to do interviews or have his picture took.

"If Bob Dylan did it," he said, "then I can do it too."

Just as long as they don't do it together.

Photo by M. Kuwamoto.

1979-01-13 New Musical Express photo 01 mk.jpg
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New Musical Express, January 13, 1979

Thrills reports on EC & The Attractions in Japan, November 1978.

A half-page ad for Armed Forces runs on page 13, and the lp is listed as "Bubbling Under" on the album chart (page 2).

The letters page includes reports on the third night at the Dominion and January 4 in Ipswich.


1979-01-13 New Musical Express page 11 clipping 01.jpg

Reader's letters

Edited by Neil Spencer

1979-01-13 New Musical Express page 42.jpg

I must apologize to Elvis Costello for the apalling behaviour of the audience at the Wednesday night concert at the Dominion. We were so ungrateful we took the free records and badges, we bought the tee shirts and programmes, but we didn't go mad when you hit the stage.

It must have been upsetting for you to break off from the intro of "Watching The Detectives" to tell us what a miserable audience we were and how to have fun at a concert. Unfortunately we were so ill-trained — you had to lecture us again before the end, although at least this time we got up to dance.

Listen myopic one, The Ramones, The Undertones and The Rezillos didn't need to tell me to dance, why should you?

— Bernard "I'm from Catford aren't I mate" Saltmarsh.

I thought backlashes were last year's thing — N.S.

If Elvis Costello reads your illustrious mag, could you please print this so that he knows how much his visit to Ipswich last night (4th Jan) was appreciated, especially the way he dealt with the "Goon Squad" — that is, the bouncers. A great night was had by all and despite what the critics might say Armed Forces is a great album.

— Bob Carter, Norwich.

See what I mean? — N.S.

1979-01-13 New Musical Express page 13 advertisement.jpg

Cover and chart clipping.
1979-01-13 New Musical Express cover.jpg 1979-01-13 New Musical Express page 02 clipping 01.jpg


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