Good Trip, Bad Trip: Tokyo Police Club

The Canadian band's David Monks on his travel memories...
Tokyo Police Club

Who better to launch our new travel-tales slot, Good Trip, Bad Trip, than an indie outfit from Ontario with an international-sounding name who dream of far-off places, particularly Far Eastern law enforcement facilities. Tokyo Police Club’s third album ‘Forcefield’ is out on March 24th, and here frontman David Monks reminisces about destinations past…

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Tokyo Police Club, ‘Hot Tonight’ (from ‘Forcefield’)

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Best Trip…

“We went to Sao Paulo twice in the fall of 2012 and had an incredible time: the shows were amazing and the people can out-party anyone. The promoter ended up inviting us to her parents’ house and took us to visit her neighbour who – as the daughter of an ex-Brazilian president – had a personal zoo.” 

Worst Trip…

“There’ve been many I’ve erased from memory but one has become legendary. It involves Denmark, a Scandinavian blizzard, an English driver who had never seen snow before, peeing in bottles, and a tall Mercedes Sprinter van that had just had its sunroof removed by a low parking garage.” 

Our favourite foreign venue…

“The Rotonde in Brussels is really like nowhere else. It’s inside the botanical gardens in the city centre and the whole venue is a small circle. So the stage takes up half the circle and the crowd sits in the other half. Which is a pretty high stage-to-floor ratio. It feels like playing a very intimate arena show and the few times we’ve been there people always seem to be in a good mood. And as Canadians you know we’re honorary citizens in any French-speaking country.” 

We’re surprisingly popular in…

“Jakarta! We played there in 2012 and the turnout was pretty amazing. The opening act was called Slank, who I’m told were the most popular Indonesian rock band. We actually saw their faces on a billboard ad for a washing machine during the trip. So when their guitar player came onstage unannounced during our set to shred a solo it was incredibly surreal.” 

Best or worst exotic foodstuff…

“I’d like to enter Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili into both the ‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ food categories. It tasted great but it did lead to some unpleasantness.” 

The most interesting item I’ve brought home…

“I brought my girlfriend back from New York City.” 

The most intriguing human I’ve met on the road…

“This summer I landed in Covington (CVG airport, Cincinnati) a few hours before my band, called a cab from my hotel and that's how I met Taxi Zach. He had a crazy hillbilly look and his goatee had been accessorised with rubber bands. It was like he hadn’t spoken to anyone in a long time: he started telling me about his bout of pneumonia, his troubled marriage, his daughter, parts of town where he used to get f*cked up.

“He dropped me off at his favourite taco shop, said to get a drink at The Drinkery, where I did karaoke on my own to practice for the next day’s show. On the way back to the hotel he nearly hit two pedestrians and yelled out the window, threatening to egg their houses if they weren’t more careful.

“The next day on stage I jokingly asked the crowd, ‘Has anyone ever heard of this guy Taxi Zach?’ There was a huge cheer! I was shocked and after the show I got a text from him saying thanks for the shout out and that he was taking us all for Skyline Chili, Ohio’s traditional drunk food. Over Chili he regaled us with racist stories of the simple life and hit on our waitress with a merciless charm. He was so helpful and welcoming, yet he seemed from another world. It’s good to know that a character like him is getting the notoriety he deserves in his town.”

My essential travel item…

Headphones.

My essential travel tip…

Do travel.

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Words: Si Hawkins

‘Forcefield’ is released via Memphis Industries on March 24th. Find its makers online here

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