James Williamson on "Raw Power", 30 years on
James Williamson in 2011 - Robert Matheu photo
James Williamson staked his claim to rock'n'roll immortality based on just eight songs, but what songs they were...the ones comprising Iggy & the Stooges' epochal 1973 "Raw Power" album, still cited as a prime influence by purveyors of Rock Action from Stockholm to Seattle to Sydney.
Later years have seen the release of a plethora of rehearsal, demo, and live recordings of that seminal band, which have only broadened and deepened the extent of Williamson's accomplishment. Following the Stooges' dissolution in 1974, he soldiered on with Iggy through the "Kill City" album before putting down his guitar to start a career as a recording engineer and take his degree in electrical engineering, resurfacing briefly to produce what many consider the Pop's last album of merit, 1979's "New Values."
For the last couple of decades, he's been an elusive figure...the only one of the principal surviving Stooges not interviewed by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain in their research for "Please Kill Me," he appeared briefly in the segment of VH-1's "Beyond the Music" devoted to Iggy, but other than that...silence.
These days, he makes his living in the electronics industry, and has logged a couple of decades far from the rock'n'roll circus, in the pristine corporate world of California's Silicon Valley.
James graciously consented to break his silence on April Fool's Day, 2001, joining us at the Bar from his California home to provide his insights and perspectives on the Stooge saga.
J: Where are you from in Texas?
K: Fort Worth, Where the West Begins.
J: I was born in Texas.
J: I was born outside of San Antonio, in a little town called Castroville.
K: And your dad was in the army?
J: No, my stepfather was. My dad was a doctor in Castroville.
K: When did you start playing music?
J: I was about 6th or 7th grade when I got my first guitar. It was an old Sears f-hole guitar. The strings were sticking up about two inches above the frets, and it was a real challenge to play it. I guess that's when I first started out, and at that time, I used to live in Oklahoma. So the guys that could show you how to play around there all played country and western music. Those guys were all awesome. Some of those guys could really play guitar. I was just in an environment that was a lot different than I ended up with, but pretty musical guys.
K: What were some of the influences you had when you started playing?
J: Down there, of course, that was it. I just tried to learn how to play back in those days. When I was in 8th grade, I moved to Michigan, and it turned out I moved next door to a family the oldest son of which was in a folk music band, a la the Kingston Trio or whatever in those days. This was in the mid-sixties. And his younger brother was a good guitar player too, and we used to hang out and play a lot. He showed me a lot of stuff, so I rapidly got influenced by all the Detroit guys. In those days, that was a pretty broad brush in terms of music. In terms of songs, I guess the Beach Boys, all the typical teenage song guys, the Ventures and all them. So I learned how to play all that stuff and about that time, the Beatles broke and so I was learning all that stuff, and it progressed from there into bands.
K: Were you in bands before the Chosen Few?
J: No, that was my first band. I put that together with Scott Richardson; I guess I was in 9th grade when we did that. I played with guys in garages and stuff, at parties and so on, but that was my first real band.
K: Ron [Asheton] played bass in that band, did he not?
J: He did towards the end. It was together kind of part of 9th grade for me, then I kind of got in a lot of trouble and went to juvenile home, and so then the band kept on going, and it went through a few incarnations, and then finally when I was in 10th grade, 10th going into 11th, kind of the end of it, if you will, was when Ron played bass in the band. A lot of stuff up in Ann Arbor. The band was really based out of the Detroit area.
K: What kind of music were you doing?
J: It was mostly Stones, basically, and then we'd do a few other ones. On the side, I was writing songs, and that's how I actually met Iggy for the first time. One time when I was home - from juvenile home, I went to New York, and lived there for awhile - I sat in when the band was playing up in Ann Arbor at a frat house. He came to the gig and on the side I was playing him some songs I was doing; we kind of hit it off. That was when he was playing in the Prime Movers.
K: Why'd you get sent to juvie?
J: I was incorrigible. (Laughs) Basically, I was kind of stupid, young, and I wouldn't do what anybody told me to do. It was an interesting season. I was trying to grow my hair long, and they didn't like that at my school. I thought that Bob Dylan would never cut his hair, and they said you have to, and we didn't agree, so I got sent to juvie and then they buzzed all of my hair off! I guess I found out a little bit about fighting city hall.
K: What did you do in between the Chosen Few and when you encountered the Stooges at the Chelsea Hotel in New York, when they were recording their first album in '69?
J: I was younger than most of those guys. One of the things I did was I tried to finish high school, so the way I ended up doing it was having to go to night school and so forth, so it took me a little while to do that. Anyway, I graduated high school and I went to New York that summer when they were finishing up on the first album, and I met up with those guys in New York and listened to some of the tunes. It was pretty cool.
K: How much did you know about the Stooges and their music when you ran into them in New York?
J: Oh, plenty. I had seen them at gigs and stuff. 'Cos I knew those guys. I didn't hang out with them that much, 'cos I was more in the Detroit area than Ann Arbor at that point, but I'd seen a few of their gigs, and they were down at the Grande and so forth, I'd see 'em down there, and they had a very unique show that was different, really WAY different than anybody else. I thought they were cool. I not only knew 'em, but I liked what they were doing.
K: How'd you wind up joining the band?
J: It just kinda happened. I ended up moving up into Ann Arbor, and eventually I ended up moving in with a coupla guys that were in the band, and we ended up hanging out more and more together and starting playing with each other, playing some jams and so forth, and then eventually, that incarnation of the Stooges started falling apart. Bill Cheatham and those guys were never really musicians, they were just kinda buddies of the band, and they just kinda played with the band for a little while, but they never could pull it together. I sort of fell in with them because I could play guitar, and they needed somebody. We started playing, and that was kinda the last couple of phases of that first wave of Stooges stuff.
K: When did you actually join?
J: Somewhere in the neighborhood of late '71, '72. So I was only with that wave of the band for maybe a year. After I started, we had Zeke [Zettner on bass] for awhile, then Zeke fell out, and we had Jimmy Recca for awhile, and then Jim was all screwed up. Not only that, but I got sick with hepatitis, and so the whole thing just kinda fell apart.
K: What was the band like when you and Ron were both playing guitars?
J: I dunno. We were trying to pull it together, but I think it was pretty disorganized at that point. I would not call it exactly a professional rock'n'roll band, let's put it that way.
K: Was Ron playing lead predominantly, or were you?
J: Kind of a mixture of things. It depended on the song, really, more than anything else.
K: The songs on the Starfighter bootleg kind of have the same quality as your songs on the "Raw Power" album. Were you actually writing for the band at that point?
J: Yeah, I was starting to write right away to sort of add the new songs to things. For a time there, we tried to get Elektra Records interested in what we were doing, and it was just way too soon for people. Our sound in those days, even with "Raw Power," was so far out for the average A&R guy. It just blew their minds when we brought them to Ann Arbor and had them listen to what we were doing. They were APPALLED. Truly, it really was bad...I'm not saying that the MUSIC was bad, but they really could not relate to it at all.
K: The REACTION was bad.
J: Yeah, the reaction was bad.
K: So how did you and Iggy wind up going to the U.K. in '72?
J: There was a period of time there where the band disintegrated. I was sick with hepatitis, and so I went back to Detroit and just sort of did nothing for six months, and meanwhile, Iggy was tooling around, trying to figure out what he was going to do with himself for the rest of his life. I hear all kinds of things. I wasn't even involved in that. I was sick, so I was out of commission. Maybe about six months into that, he started coming around every so often to visit me and he started trying this and trying that, and eventually he went to New York, he ran into [David] Bowie and hooked up with [Bowie manager Tony] DeFries. I remember one time I had to get out to Metro Airport and meet some guy who was working for DeFries to talk about what we were going to do, and the next thing you know, he's got us landing a deal with Columbia and we're off to England.
K: How was it decided to bring the Asheton brothers back into the fold?
J: We got over there and they put us up in a hotel called the Kensington Gardens, which was a very nice hotel. I've been over there fairly recently, where they've remodeled it, and it's absolutely gorgeous now, but it was really nice then, too, especially for guys like us. So we're sittin' around, trying to figure out what we're doing, and we're being introduced into all these English rock circles that David Bowie's in, and basically, we don't like any of these guys, because we're DETROIT guys, and it's just not our scene. The kind of music they play and the way they are is just not what we're into.
So we look at each other one day and I think I was the one who brought it up, I just said, "Hey, we know a coupla guys that know how to PLAY," and Ron, in my opinion - I know I've taken a lot of heat on this, and there's a lot of different opinions about this - but in my opinion, Ron was always one of the greatest BASS players there was, and so I said, "Hey, we'll get Ron over here and put him on bass, and get Scott over here, he knows how to play drums, and just DO IT." So Jim agreed with that, and that's what we did.
K: How did Ron react to being "demoted" to the bass slot in the band?
J: Eventually, he didn't react very well. To this day, I think he has negative things to say about that, but I think at the time, he was happy to get the job, and so he didn't even hesitate at the time.
K: It seems like you guys recorded a lot of material prior to the "Raw Power" sessions. Talk a bit about that time.
J: "I Got A Right" was actually written back in those last phases of the Ann Arbor days. That was something we took over to England with us...material that had never gotten recorded. It would have been something that was recorded on Elektra, if we'd recorded an album back then. So when we got over there, we started practicing our asses off, and it appears to be a little known fact that everybody was really straight over there. Everybody was off the drugs and might have a beer or two, but basically, it was a pretty straight deal over there. We were practicing almost every day...not every day, every NIGHT, almost all night long, and then we'd sleep all day and practice again all night long, so we were practicing, maybe five, six, seven days a week, and we were pretty tight as a band. We went in and did some demos early on with some of the tunes we already knew, and trying out some different things, so that's where all those tapes come from.
K: Why did that stuff never make it out on record?
J: Just because we wrote newer things as we went along, and once it came time to actually record in the studio, we had a whole new set of material.
K: So you were just wanting to cut the new stuff?
K: That "Raw Power" album remains highly revered and influential. How did you feel while you were recording it?
J: We felt great. You're asking me, and I didn't have any context, because it was my first album. How am I supposed to feel? I felt I was doing the best I could! (Laughs) We just went in there and played our hearts out, all of us. I think it shows. Definitely a unique situation.
K: How do you feel about it now?
J: I'm proud of it. I think it holds up pretty well, considering what transpired in the meantime with the various bands; you can see the influence and so on. (Laughs) There are a lot of tracks I'd like to take back and redo, maybe, but I don't have that option, so overall I'm pretty happy with it.
K: It was a big shift in terms of guitar styles from Ron's real fluid, kinda Hendrix-influenced thing, with certain technical limitations which he had at the time, to your style, which seems a lot more jagged, particularly the leads. Nobody was really playing that way then. Did you have any sense that what you were doing was ground-breaking?
J: No, but on the other hand, I've always been a guy that sort of just did his own thing and made it up as he went along, so it sort of worked out that way. I was influenced by a lot of guitar players, no question, but I never did PLAY like 'em. I just sorta did my own thing.
K: Can you name some of those players?
J: From a lead guitar perspective, certainly guys like Jeff Beck were very instrumental. Keith Richards, of course. All the good guys...there's so many of them! But from my own playing, I never did try to imitate them. Rather, I just sorta enjoyed their playing, and I always tried to play the way that I play.
K: Were you pretty much a straight-through-the amp guy?
J: Just straight through the amp.
K: That sunburst Les Paul through a Marshall?
J: No, on the album, primarily for most of the stuff, I used a Vox AC-30. I know that's a little-known fact. A lot of guys think I used a Marshall, 'cos I always used a Marshall onstage. On some of the lead stuff, I would use a Marshall, but most all the rhythm stuff is AC-30. SOME of the lead stuff was AC-30. I LOVE those amps! Those still are, as far as I'm concerned, some of the greatest amps there ever were!
K: At what point did the drugs start creeping back in?
J: Not really at all in the U.K. Some guys would smoke some hash or whatever, but it's not really a drug scene over there. After we got back to the States is when all that stuff came back. Before we ever left for the U.K., that was a real problem for Jim. Before we left Detroit was the problem. That's what basically broke the band up was drugs. And of course, Zeke died, right? So it definitely was a problem. Then [Iggy] cleaned himself up. I had been sick for six months, so I was completely clean, and when we went to England, we were all pretty straight and narrow, just the usual beer and so forth.
And then coming back, we didn't go to Detroit. We came through Detroit on the way to Los Angeles. Jim went to Los Angeles first.
By that time, we had finished the "Raw Power" album, but I don't know whether it was Columbia or just DeFries that didn't like the mix of the album, and so then we arranged that Bowie would mix the album, and Jim and Bowie were in Los Angeles, starting to mix the album, when the rest of us, a couple of weeks later, came through Detroit. I went on to Los Angeles to sit in on the mixes.
Actually, even at that point, it was not a problem, but eventually the whole band was out in Los Angeles, and we were living up on Mulholland Drive in a rented house, and that's where the whole scene came back.
K: Have you heard the mix of "Raw Power" that Iggy did?
K: How do you compare that with the Bowie mix?
J: I personally think it sucked. I gotta tell ya that I like the IDEA of what he tried to do, and I talked to him about it, and there's a lot of factors involved, but at the time, none of us liked Bowie's mix, but given everything, Iggy, when he went in to mix it, he found out that the guy who had recorded it originally had not gotten a lot of level on certain things, like the bass and drums, especially the bass, so he didn't have a lot to work with. Then Iggy, on his mix, he left a bunch of guitar stuff on there that probably shouldn't have been left in, and just odds and ends. Bowie's not my favorite guy, but I have to say that overall, I think he did a pretty good job.
K: The way it seems to me, the Bowie mix emphasizes vocals and lead guitar, while the Iggy mix emphasizes RHYTHM guitar.
J: Yeah, maybe. Just trying to leave some stuff in there that he thought should've been in, but I would've liked it to have been a better-recorded session in general. Then there [would have been] a lot more he could do with it. But it is what it is.
K: The excesses of the '73 Stooges are pretty legendary. What are your recollections of that time?
J: They were so legendary I can't remember! (Laughs) I have a lot of fond memories. For most of the time that I lived in L.A., I lived with a girlfriend and so did Jim, for that matter, and we had some pretty good times. There were some wild nights and so on, but more than not, it was mostly the touring that was tough on the band, I think.
K: You guys used Bob Scheff from the Prime Movers on keyboards for some of the demo stuff, and then Scotty Thurston joined the band. How'd that come about?
J: When we first flew back to the U.S., we wanted to tour off the "Raw Power" album. So we did a date at Cobo Hall in Detroit, and it was a big deal. Typical Tony DeFries production, so it was limos and a lot of hype and so on, and it was a big gig. We did well there, I think everybody enjoyed the gig and in order to get ready for that, in all the preparation for that, we played in Ann Arbor and we rehearsed, and as a result, I started telling Iggy I thought we needed keyboards and I remembered Bob from the Prime Movers and we got in touch with him because Iggy knew him. We started using him on our subsequent tour. We didn't do anything for a long time after that first one gig in the U.S. I think, for whatever reasons, I can't speculate on what Tony DeFries' reasons were, but at that point, the relationship soured, and we didn't play any more gigs with him. In fact, I wasn't even in the band in three months, for a short period of time. In fact, in FOUR months, there WASN'T any band for awhile.
We played at Cobo Hall one night when we came back from England, and then that was it. We came back to Los Angeles and about six weeks later, we were informed that something had to give, and where it ended up was I had to leave the band, so I left the band, because I was supposedly a bad influence. In reality, that was not truly the case, but anyway, I had to leave the band, so I left the band and was on my own for awhile, and they tried a couple of different guitar players. I think they did one job somewhere, and then eventually they just said, "Screw it, this isn't going to work," and they all left DeFries. So everybody left and we changed management. They called me back up and said, "Look, sorry, let's put the band back together," so we did, and we went with Helen Reddy's husband, Jeff Wald, who was a management company, and started doing gigs again, and that's where Bob Scheff came in.
K: What about Scott Thurston?
J: Bob played a couple of gigs, but this was just too weird for him. In the meantime, while I had been gone from the band, I was playing with a couple of other local bands, not really playing, but sorta thinking about playing with them, and one day, I was over at Capitol Records and as I was going out, I was watching this guy recording, and it was Scott Thurston with this other band. He was cool, I could hear that he was a great piano player, so I got his contact info and I said, "You wanna play with us?" When we put the band back together, I asked him if he wanted to play with us, and he said, "Sure," and the rest is history.
K: You guys didn't do a tremendous amount of live work over in England, either, did you?
J: One job. That was it.
K: There's a lot of live recordings around from '73 and '74 that seem to document a very violent and confrontational performance style. How do you remember those days?
J: The Stooges were ALWAYS confrontational from day one. Iggy was always an in-your-face kind of guy, and that's his style; it's part of his act. But I would never call it violent, necessarily. When I think of violent, I think of something that has CONSEQUENCES, and up until that one day at the Rock Farm, where he got punched out by a biker, I would NEVER call it violent. Even the blood and all that stuff is mostly...it's not hollow theatrics or anything, but it's not violent. It was AGGRESSIVE, is how I characterize it.
K: A lot of the material you guys cut in '73 and '74 sounds as if you were pushing the band in a more mainstream, almost Stones-like direction. What were your musical goals at the time?
J: I just was trying to become a better musician, and trying to get the band to be better musicians, what I considered to be better songwriting. It's just an evolution of things, and after all, we're trying to make a LIVING at this, so trying to get the band to do stuff that would appeal to people. You've gotta remember that in the environment we were in, in 1973 or 1974, our music was like, forget it! NOBODY could relate to our music! It was really different.
K: How did the final dissolution of the Stooges come about?
J: It was a funny thing. I just think that frankly, it was a combination of things: the sort of relentless touring that we were doing...there are some aspects of just sort of being together through too much, and also an aspect of the thing I mentioned to you, the Rock and Roll Farm, which I think was a big defining moment for the Stooges. When somebody actually stepped up and coldcocked Iggy, that sorta said, "Hey, you're not playing for teenagers anymore. There's these other guys out there, too, and they're NOT NICE like that." The Michigan Palace thing was kinda ugly, but it wasn't really all that. I think the band was pretty much ready to give it up at that point, and that was just the last straw.
K: If I could get your impressions of the guys in the Stooges...
J: Those guys are my buddies. I like those guys. I don't hang out with them anymore, and we're very different people now, but I think highly of them. I still talk to them. You wouldn't be talking to me now if Ron hadn't suggested that I call you, so obviously I respect his wishes. His brother I think very highly of as a drummer, at least at one time. Like I say, I like all those guys. I like Iggy...he is what he is; there's no ill will there.
K: So you're still in touch with Iggy?
J: Occasionally. If I wanna be. (Laughs)
K: So what did you do right after the Stooges split?
J: I worked in a recording studio for awhile, did various things, and eventually I got very interested in the technology itself, and I think that's what really changed my whole life, in that I got interested in electronics as a result of that, and got into going to school and becoming a real electronics engineer, and was fortunate enough to be in the right place and time to sort of take advantage of the whole PC thing that started coming along, so just completely changed focus. But I think the things that I've done since then are very similar, in a lot of ways.
K: How do you mean?
J: Just the whole excitement and the novelty and the newness of a complete wave of things that are happening.
K: How did that "Kill City" album come about?
J: There's another kind of misunderstood thing, from my perspective. At the very end of the Stooges, that second wave, Iggy was really screwed up. He was...mentally not good. He ultimately went into the hospital for awhile. But right about that time, before then, he and I had been working up some demos for John Cale, to see if he actually would produce a new album for us. A lot of those songs were worked up for that demo, and that never panned out, but Ben Edmonds said he knew a couple of guys, he knew Jimmy Webb and so forth who had a studio up at his house, and he could get us a demo. So we started doing that, and right in the middle of that, Iggy went into the hospital, so it was pretty tough. I'd go over there every day and pick him up and drive him over and do his vocals and take him back over there, so that's how it came about.
It was kind of a hardship thing, and the tapes really don't sound that good, honestly. I think there's some good material in there, but we never did work it up right. The riffs are good, that's for sure, but had there ever been a real record, I think we could have done a lot better.
K: Tell us about your "contract" with Iggy. The story I heard was that towards the end of the Stooges, you presented Iggy with a contract which stipulated that only you and he could write songs together.
J: It was never really like it's been portrayed. It was actually after the "end" of the Stooges, while Iggy and I were recording "Kill City." As I mentioned, I was taking him back and forth to the hospital while putting together the musicians and material and backup singers, etc., i.e., producing the record.
I don't remember if there was a clause in the contract saying that only he and I could write songs, but that's beside the point. The contract was simply a way to insure that I wasn't wasting my time on this project. At that point, Iggy was progressively unstable, so I needed something to hang onto. I wasn't sure what was going to happen next. So, just as in any business relationship, I simply wanted something in writing saying that all this was going to be worth my while. After all, I'd been screwed in various activities involving Iggy in the past.
In any event, it was already an unwritten, but often-mentioned "code" of that incarnation of the Stooges and later that only we wrote the tunes for the Stooges. In fact, one time while in New York at Max's Kansas City (during the infamous martini glass cutting gig), Lou Reed sat with us one evening and asked if we'd like to record one of his songs. Both Iggy and I told him that we only did our own original material. So, I'm not really sure where all this stuff comes from, but it's nonsense.
K: So what did you do after that?
J: Well, after that, that's when Iggy went over to Europe, and that's when I started doing those other things.
K: I really consider "New Values," which you produced, the last good Iggy album. Talk a bit about those sessions.
J: That was much later. I was studying engineering by then, and I'd pretty much given up...for awhile, I was doing recording studio stuff, so I had all the connections, but I had sorta given up that aspect and moved on to more technical stuff. Anyway, one day I get a call from Iggy, saying that he wants me to produce his album for him. I think what had happened was he went over to Europe and recorded a couple of albums, by then, and I think he was quite popular at that time, what was it, 1978? So several years had gone by, and I think he was very popular in Europe as a result of "Raw Power," and also "Kill City" was quite popular, despite his objections, 'cos he didn't want that album to be released at all, he fought it tooth and nail. So I think he was surprised by the reaction, 'cos he was off doing all these Bowie things and I think his real strength was in the earlier stuff, and in my guitar playing and so on and so forth. So he was trying to sort of exploit the connection, I guess. Honestly speaking, and that's fine with me. So he called me up, and I said I'd do it, 'cos I thought it would be kinda fun. So we went in the studio and did it.
K: Did you play all the guitar on that?
J: No. Actually, I only played guitar on a couple of things. Scott Thurston played almost all the guitar. He's a very talented guy. He plays with Tom Petty's band now, and he plays guitar for those guys too. He's a very good guitar player, and a very good keyboard guy. He's just a very good musician.
K: So all the leads on the "New Values" album...that's Scott Thurston?
J: Yeah. He was in our band. He knows how I used to play. He just kinda took that style and just did it. I played on "Don't Look Down" and a couple of other rhythm things, but those are all HIS things.
K: Can you shed any light on the sessions for "Soldier"? You and Bowie were both on board to produce; rumors have it that you both walked out of the sessions. What really went down?
J: Interesting that you should ask. Actually, I was the original producer on that album. Bowie just showed up to check it out and visit. He ended up doing background on one song, so he was never really involved other than to stir up Iggy. Jim and I had a falling out over the approach I was taking (very high tech, with 48 track recorders, etc.) and the control I was commanding in the sessions, and I left after the basic tracks were done. That was the last time I really talked with Jim prior to around five years ago.
K: What have you been doing since then?
J: I've moved on. From an engineering degree, I sorta moved into the electronics industry. I've been in the Silicon Valley now for twenty years. A lot of different things. I travel extensively and do a lot of things with electronics.
K: How do you account for the continuing influence of the Stooges?
J: Maybe it's just 'cos NOBODY LIKES IT. Teenage music is all about people not likin' it, right? Maybe that's it. I don't know.
K: It's getting harder to play "Shock the Grownups."
J: That's right. I honestly don't know. It's an interesting thing for me, too, to see that something I did twenty years ago...or MORE than twenty years ago...is still actually more viable than it was at that time. That's a very strange phenomenon, and I don't have any answers about that. It does seem to be very relevant to the music that's going on now.
K: Do you ever think of yourself as a pioneer?
J: I always thought of myself as a pioneer, but I guess no one else did at the time. Now I guess I would have to say it sounds like I was.
K: How does it feel to have fans/writers (uh, including this one) alternately vilifying and glorifying you for what you brought to the Stooges?
J: If you're referring to the "Legs Diamond" (Legs McNeil - co-author of "Please Kill Me") or whatever he's called interviews....I'd say that there's alot of misinformation in that reporting and alot of "revisionist history" along with some "wishful thinking". Otherwise, the info that these writers get is very third, forth or fifth hand in most cases.
Frankly, ether way, I don't really care. I did what I did...I do what I do. That's the only way I know or knew. I never was interested in the media side of the music or any other business, but I guess that shows. Anyway, think what you will, write what you will, I'll go on being who I am.
K: Since we're in a Bar, what do you like to drink?
J: I like to drink all kinds of things, but sake mainly. I love sake!
K: You've been out in California too long, James!
J: Actually in Tokyo too long!