Conrado: It’s great. It’s my first time in Japan. I’ve been to China before, but not to Japan. It’s been one of my most exciting experiences. I can just read the love off people1 for rock n’ roll and rock n’ roll music. The crew has been so dedicated and professional. It’s really inspiring and breathtaking. This has been the best tour ever for me. Michael’s band has been really nice. I have nothing to complain about. Everything has been top-notch.2
“This has been the best tour ever for me”
ZERO: What else have you enjoyed doing in Japan other than rocking on the stage?
Conrado: I’m a big fan of Japanese food. I love my sushi and sashimi and all that. I love the fact that the traffic lights play a little song when people are crossing. I thought that was interesting. It caught my attention. I feel that Japan is similar to Sao Paulo, where I’m from in Brazil, in terms of the geography and the architecture. Sao Paulo has a huge Japanese population. It’s the biggest Japanese colony outside of Japan, so it kind of feels like I’m at home.
ZERO: What languages can you speak?
Conrado:My first language is Portuguese. I can speak Italian and Spanish and other Latin languages. Spanish is very close to Portuguese. My Mom is Italian.
ZERO: Do you have any advice for learning English?
Conrado: Totally. I started speaking English when I was actually quite old, about 20 years old. I moved from Brazil to Dublin, Ireland. It was great. I listened to a lot of rock n’ roll and I had bands’ posters on my walls. I didn’t really know what they were singing in the songs, so I started learning English. My experience of listening to music changed as I became more fluent in English. At first, I thought the voice in English was like another instrument of the band. I didn’t really understand what the singer was saying. I thought it was just like a guitar solo or something. But, when I became fluent, it totally changed. I started listening to guys like Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley. Before I was fluent, I was more geared to3 bands with guitars and solos. Now, I’m more focused on the singer and the lyrics. Rock n’ roll was definitely my teacher. After that, it was easier to pick up a second and third language. Learning a language is like playing a musical instrument. There are some elements of learning a language that are the same. There are some common tools and process thoughts that you use to learn the first one, and then you can use for the second once, etc. Once that process is down,4 then you can move on to other languages much faster than the first one.
“Rock N’ Roll was definitely my teacher”
ZERO: What do you do to keep physically and mentally fit while on tour? Conrado: To keep mentally fit, I try to listen to a lot of music. I constantly change between Bjork, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Jeff Buckley, Steve Vai, Jimi Hendrix and Sepultura. It all depends on my mood. Playing a show every night is a good form of exercise. When I’m on tour, I’m more worried about keeping my fingers in shape. I always warm-up before I jump on the stage. I plug into my little Marshall and go somewhere where I’m not going to bug5 anyone with my scales. I just play scales for about 30-40 minutes. I don’t drink anymore, so being sober really helps. That’s a big one. Drinking water is a big part of keeping healthy. I try to keep hydrated. It helps with jet lag.
ZERO: Do you have any Japanese bands that you like?
Conrado: I like Kitaro a lot, especially the record with Marty Friedman on guitar. A bass player of mine back in LA used to play with Kitaro. X-Japan is really good too. I saw them live in LA about four years ago. The last band that I heard from Japan that I was really impressed with was Church of Misery. I thought they were really good. They are kind of like garage rock. They are very ballsy and have good songs with some dark tones. They play stoner rock, like Sabbath. There are a lot of good bands from Japan. I’m lucky because I have a really good friend that’s Japanese. He used to play bass with me back in LA. He introduced me to some really good Japanese rock n’ roll bands, like B`z.
“There are a lot of good bands from Japan”
1. “Read off people” means that you can see how much people feel about something.
2. “Top-notch” means that everything has been excellent.