The Vapors Newcastle University 14th June 1980

The Vapors Newcastle University 14th June 1980
vaporstixThe Vapors were a one hit wonder band best remembered for their single “Turning Japanese”, which mixed pop hooks, with oriental riffs, and silly lyrics. The band were managed by Paul Weller’s dad, who also managed the Jam. I saw them twice, once at this headlining gig at Newcastle University Students Union, and on one other occasion when they supported the Jam at Newcastle City Hall as part of one of the Jam’s national tours. I remember the Vapors as a fun pop / new wave act, but can’t pretend to remember anything other than “Turning Japanese”. There was a lot of talk at the time about the meaning of the song. The band explained it thus; songwriter and front man David Fenton: “Turning Japanese is all the clichés about angst and youth and turning into something you didn’t expect to”; and guitarist Rob Kemp: “It’s a love song about somebody who had lost their girlfriend and was going slowly crazy, turning Japanese is just all the cliches of our angst… turning into something you never expected to.” The Vapors existed between 1979 and 1982 and released two albums, and eight singles. “Turning Japanese” reached No 3 in the UK singles charts.

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