I have been exchanging mails with Damo since about 2008 and he finally performed with my band, Øresund Space Collective on Valentine’s Day 2014 and stayed at my apartment in Copenhagen. We have exchanged many mails and postcards over the years but this book has really let me into his life in a totally different way.
It has a been a long and difficult project to make this happen and to organize it is in a way that is easy to read. No simple feat. Damo has been a world adventurer since he left Japan in 1968 on his 18th birthday and never looked back. Always forward to the next adventure, the next musical creation event. Making things happen in this reality and time and space. Improvisation is his way of life, not just in music. He is here on this planet to experience life to it’s fullest. To see, hear, watch, listen and take it all in, learn from it, become the energy of the moment (for the good and the bad) and use this knowledge to make himself more experienced for the next adventure. He likes people very much.
This book pretty much charts all the major events in his life from the early days of leaving Japan for Sweden and then some travels in Europe and ending up living in Ireland for nearly a year before settling down in Germany. He is never really settled though. He has to be on the move always… It is not his way of doing things. His travels in Africa were very interesting to read about and the way he just arrives at one place and books a departure from another country and just goes. No plans about what to see or where to stay, just on the move to live like Africans, eat like them, sleep like them, take in the full experience of what it is like to be one of them. Sitting often, just observing the world. Wow..
Damo also has a normal life for many years after CAN, being a father to three boys and working several normal jobs, one for a Japanese company for 26 years! His wife also has made a very interesting contribution to the book. After nearly dying in the early 80s from cancer, he decided it was time to get back into music again and besides some travel breaks, after 1997, he has never stopped. Fascinating life.
One very important section is written by Luca from Julie’s Haircut. It is only about 3 pages long but it explains a lot about what it is like to perform with Damo, probably spells it out better than any other part of the book. Great job Luca. There are a lot of small sections like this interspersed in the chapters that relate to the subject being spoken about from different people who have played with Damo including some of the guys from Cul de Sac, Domink von Senger, Alexander Shönert, Jaki Liebezeit and others (wife, girlfriend, movie maker). The chapters dealing with his cancer return and near death are quite touching and we are lucky Damo is still with us. The end of the book as a pretty extensive discography of virtually all the officially released recordings from Damo.
I loved this book and what an amazing story. I was lucky to see Damo perform three shows last year, one of these, the Minami Deutsch and Damo Suzuki Live at Roadburn Festival has just been released. Damo was sounding great last year. I wish Damo many more years of performing as he will continue to do this until it is not possible. Damo is the ultimate improvised world traveler. It is in his blood and genes, that he must continue to experience human, musical energy and different places for the rest of his life.. Peace, love and energy.