We’ve decided to keep this post on the site in order to clarify a few things with regard to our decision to post it in the first place.
First off, there has been some suggestion that we didn’t do our research before posting this exchange. This is simply not true. Upon receiving the initial email from James, our writer checked the official Made In Japan website (madeinjapan.net.au) to ensure that there was in fact no reason listed as to Mike’s departure from the band. As it stood, there wasn’t. Two articles mentioned that Mike was leaving, but neither one stated why.
We had heard from a source close to the band also that they were having internal problems at the time of Mike’s departure. Given that information, it made sense that the reason given was legitimate.
We’ve had a long and healthy relationship with the band, posting feature articles, press releases and even featuring them on MFTV several times. At no point did we believe any member would pull something like this.
Alcoholism is no joking matter, and at no point in the following press release did Mike state that his response was a practical joke. When presented with such serious subject matter, we were inclined to treat it as just that – a serious problem.
Mike has stated on the Made In Japan website that “what’s a bit scary is that anybody could have pretended to be me and sent them that email and they would have posted it.” Again, this is not true. Having had a long relationship with the band, we were able to verify that he was in fact the source of this information.
Furthermore, and as if to confirm our initial posts, Made In Japan tweeted shortly after this article went live on their official channel: “Mikey apologises to the fans – God bless Mikey for coming clean on his problem. We wish him all the best.” Again, there is no indication in this posting that it was all a joke.
Now we come to the issue of correcting this error. This article was initially posted on March 17th (this can be verified on our official Twitter channel). We didn’t receive a correction from the band until yesterday, March 24th. The response posted by Mike on the official Made In Japan website was also posted yesterday.
We hope that this clarifies our position with regard to the following article. When a band comes to us, with absolutely no indication that what they are saying is a practical joke, and states that a member is battling with a serious addiction, we will take the matter very seriously. For those who do have legitimate problems with alcohol consumption, there are many support services available, one of which is Lifeline.
The offshoot of all this is that we will be scrutinising serious claims of this nature from independent musicians far more thoroughly in the future. Below is the article as it was initially published:
Well, first of all let me just say that when I posted this article earlier today, I had no idea that some of the material contained within was not common knowledge.
While preparing the previous article, we approached James, the lead singer for Made In Japan, to give us a quick run down of what’s been happening with the indie rockers in the last six months. His response included an allusion to the reason why ex-bass player Mike Williams was dropped from the line-up.
Shortly after publication, we received a press release from Mike that explains his position on the situation. Here is his response:
“An open letter from Mike:
There has been a lot of speculation as to what’s happened to Made in Japan and a lot of rumours have surfaced about my departure.
Firstly can I say this: it is true that I was kicked out of the band for my drinking. I don’t want this to be a ‘Tiger Woods’ style apology but Made in Japan was a pretty popular band in the underground indie scene and I guess it got to my head. Before an average show I would drink up to 10 beers – during a show I’d have my traditional Jim Beams, by this stage I’d start to lose it. My playing was affected and my actions were taking its toll on the band and my playing.
It was common knowledge I had to borrow gear because I sold my original bass my parents bought me for my 13th birthday to pay off money I’d borrowed for drinking.
The guys in Made in Japan have moved on and I’m thankful for that and realise they may be able to joke about it now but I thought I should set the record straight: To the fans, my family, my supportive girlfriend Jo and most of all to James, Johno and Tom, I’m sorry. I want you to know I’ve been seeing some people and have started to sort this shit out. I hope we can catch up for a drink soon.
In particular to the staff at World Bar Kings Cross, I apologise.
I hope this gives a chance for Music Feeds to set the record straight with those in the independent Sydney Music scene and I hope one day I’ll be able to do something I love more than anything – play music live. I only wish the best things for Made in Japan and know they’ll go on to be stronger and better with their new bass player Pav.”
Kudos to Mike for having the strength to admit to his problems. I dare say this kind of thing might well happen in the independent music scene more often than people are willing to admit.
We wish Mike all the best, and are looking forward to seeing him rocking the stage again soon.
Made In Japan return with their new bass player on April 9th at Spectrum.
Here is the response to this article that Mike posted on the Made In Japan website:
“Hi MIJ people,
Mike Williams here again (Ex-lead bass) for the final time ever. Just to clear something up ONCE AND FOR ALL. Despite what James and Music feeds may tell you I told them, I do not, and have never had a problem with drinking.
I saw the original article music feeds posted where James was quote saying I was “kicked out of the band for having a drinking problem” and thought this was a bit odd on James’ part and also on Music feeds part for so willingly posting it considering I’ve never had such a problem and left the band to focus on uni and radio.
Not knowing how to respond to the belief people may now have I was an alcoholic I responded in a seriously sarcastic, take the piss, sort of way – I sent an email to Music feeds apologising for my drinking problem. (Crazy logic, I now realise). I spose I hoped they and other people would see it for what it was (a massive lark) and realise that the notion of me being an alcoholic was laughable and was originally said by James as a joke.
However, Music feeds not knowing my sense of humour and way of handling these sorts of things didn’t realise it was a joke and took me for real as did many other people who read that article. Before I knew it or had the chance to clear things up with Music feeds the article was on the front page. Damn.
Pretty crazy the power of media and what anybody will read and believe, however I was pretty crazy in the first place too for trying to sort it out with a joke. Furthermore what’s a bit scary is that anybody could have pretended to be me and sent them that email and they would have posted it.
I didn’t mean to fool anyone, I just wanted to clear it up that I wasn’t an alcoholic but went about it in the, possibly, worst way and thus now more people think I have this problem.
I know some of the music feeds guys and they’re good people and I didn’t intend to make them angry, which I assume they would be now. I also realise alcoholism, as is any drug abuse, is a deadly serious issue in Sydney and should not be joked around with. Those who know me and have previously seen the band will know I did love playing live and would try my best to rock out, kick things and kiss crowd members but ironically, most of these times I was straight sober because I’d have to drive back home to the north-west.
Just thought I’d clear the record and we can move on. Cheers, Mike.”