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Midge Ure's fundraiser

Artists to support former Japan bassist who has cancer

  • 11/06/2010
  • Adrian Larkin
Japan 286

Live Aid mastermind Midge Ure has told 6 Music he is planning another fund raising concert. It follows the recent news that Mick Karn, former bass player with the band Japan, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Despite releasing a series of solo albums, Karn, who has worked with Kate Bush, Joan Armatrading and Gary Numan is financially insecure - his website states that his major concern now is "security and well-being of his wife and young son."

Midge Ure, who founded the charity supergroup Band Aid and went on to organise the charity super-concerts Live Aid and Live 8 says he's hoping artists come together to lend their support.

"When it comes to a situation like Mick's who is in dire straits, he needs help, financial help and emotional help," he said.

Japan to reunite?

The concert is likely to take place sometime this year, but Ure says it's just at the start of the planning stage and no acts have been confirmed as yet. 

"I have had a lot of contact from people I haven't spoken to in a long time, we are looking at availabilities for various venues, it’s a long slow process, so we need to nail the venue and date," he said.

The 02 has been ruled out as "too ambitious" but Ure says " the interest level in this is huge" and is confident in reuniting the rest of Japan for the special gig.

"You are going to have most of Japan there doing stuff, certainly Steve and Richard will be there and people that Mick has worked with over the years, he has huge respect, he is one of the good guys, that's what's shocking to everybody. I think the interest in this will be huge."

"I think Mick's influenced everybody, until I heard Japan, I had never heard a bass guitar played like that, it was almost like playing a lead instrument, incredibly percussive and melodic, something that inspired me," he added.

Life after Japan

After Japan broke up Karn recorded a solo album forming Dalis Car with Peter Murphy of gothic post-punk group Bauhaus.

In the 1990s he worked with guitarist David Torn to produce Bestial Cluster (1993) and The Tooth Mother in 1995.

Between these came an experimental project, Polytown, again with Torn and drummer Terry Bozzio. 

David Torn is now a very close friend of Karn and is supporting him as he tries to recover, key to that is raising money for his family - Torn told 6 Music the outlook wasn't great.

"The situation is not very good, he is in treatment for these cancers and we will have more idea in 2 weeks, but appears the cancer has spread, he is going through chemo right now - but surrounded by family and friends, he has a positive attitude."

Have your say


    • 1. At 7:56pm on 11 Jun 2010, dj_explain wrote:

      Well done Midge, lets hope we can raise some dollar for Mick. It's great to hear he has such good friends.

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    • 2. At 10:20pm on 11 Jun 2010, AB wrote:

      Midge. I think you are greatly underestimating the popularity of Japan. You would fill the O2 arena ten times over. They have probably the most devoted fan base of any group in the world. After being a loyal fan for over 30 years, I would be gutted if I could not get a ticket or was battling against ticket touts to make sure I was able to pay respect to Mick. Please make sure that the tickets go to the fans for the sole benefit of Mick and not for the pockets of the ticket touts.

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    • 3. At 9:51pm on 12 Jun 2010, Robin wrote:

      A tremendously worthwhile cause, a night of great music by many of our idols, I believe the O2 will sell out many, many times over. Lets be honest here, a night with so many potential hit-makers alone would be enough without the cause behind it. I have a feeling that the support from the music community may be huge for this one, and many many people will feel that they will simply need to be there for one of the true innovators in his field, a man who could ply his talent and make a huge impact, especially considering he was a bass player in a time when the synth was God. Listen to any Japan track and try and imagine it without him...

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    • 4. At 00:57am on 13 Jun 2010, Dougiek wrote:

      Thank you Midge Ure, it's just an incredibly lovely thing for you to do. I think you would sell out the 02 without any problem, Japan still have a huge, fanatical following almost world-wide. But wherever it happens, and with whoever, you will have an army of people wanting to honour Mick Karn for the musical pleasure he has given.

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    • 5. At 4:27pm on 15 Jun 2010, get_inverted wrote:

      I would love to attend a benefit concert. Perhaps a suitable venue would be Hammersmith Odeon Apollo, Capacity, 5039. This was where Japan's final release the live album "Oil on Canvas" was recorded.

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    • 6. At 5:45pm on 15 Jun 2010, Pixie wrote:

      The concert is such a great idea - you are a star Midge. This is gonna get phenominal support and is a real one-off for the fans and to raise money for Mick as the same time.... perfect. I think once you realise who is prepared to help you with this (don't forget their Japanese colleages (Ryuichi, Masami, etc) the o2 might not be a bad idea!

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    • 7. At 5:55pm on 17 Jun 2010, pawn_sacrifice wrote:

      Just found out about Mick, it's truly awful.

      Well done Midge, we'll all get supporting anything that can raise some cash for one of my biggest musical heroes.

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    • 8. At 9:04pm on 17 Jun 2010, simon wrote:

      The news of Mick Karns illness has really shocked and upset me. I cannot imagine what he and his family must be going through.Sending best wishes and hope.
      Well done to Midge Ure for doing something positive and constructive as well..
      Been a fan of Japan and Micks since 1979 and will support any concert/musical tribute organised.

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    • 9. At 9:40pm on 19 Jun 2010, Grant wrote:

      I am so saddened by the news of Mick's illness., it is such a shock.I am sure that a concert would be 'a must' for any Japan fan, and the O2 would be ideal.
      Wishing Mick and his family every ounce of hope and good wishes at this difficult time.

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    • 10. At 1:06pm on 21 Jun 2010, number_6 wrote:

      Sad news but big thanks to Midge Ure for concert effort. I will be trying to follow this from stateside. I would like to think there will be support from all over the globe. Karn, Victor Wooten and Tony Levin are the bass players who changed they way I listen to the instrument. Countless hours of enjoyment from listening to Mick. Thanks to everyone who is involved (now and in the future) with this concert.

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    • 11. At 11:05pm on 21 Jun 2010, Melonheadcraft wrote:

      I am very saddened to hear this shocking news about Mick but am very pleased to see so many people pledging their support for him and his family, especially Midge. I was always a big Sylvian fan (and still am) but always had a soft spot for Mick as he was so undeniably very talented as a musician but always seemed to be so modest and down to earth as a person. I think O2 would be a sell-out for a Japan reunion concert as their fan base has grown since their split and not deminished. I hope to hear of some dates very soon ... come on David (Sylvian) your old friend deserves this!! If Pink Floyd could put aside their differences and reunite so can Japan!

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    • 12. At 08:38am on 25 Jun 2010, suzypink wrote:

      I was very sad to hear the news regarding Mick. I am a hugh fan and am only too pleased to support Mick's fund raising cause. I will of course be attending the concert (I think the O2 would be a great venue)!
      I send my best wishes to Mick's family and friends at this sad time. I know Midge will arrange something wonderful!

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    • 13. At 8:00pm on 26 Jun 2010, sljohnston wrote:

      Why wait for a fundraising concert? You can easily donate directly to Mick right now via his site http://www.mickkarn.net. Everything goes directly to him, not to the administration of a benefit concert (as admirable as that is).

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    • 14. At 1:38pm on 04 Jul 2010, SimonRatty wrote:

      Just logged onto catch up on news of my idols of 30 years and gutted to here of Mick Karn's illness! When I first listened to the way he played I was sold and have been uplifted ever since. Midge whatever you manage to organise I'am certain will be a success supported by so many like minded fans! I am sure all our thoughts are with Mick and his family !

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    • 15. At 12:11pm on 14 Aug 2010, Jalisse wrote:

      Hello from Italy. We are Jalisse duo musicians (www.myspace.com/jalisseduo) and we are ready to sing in concert for our fiend MICK. Great Midge!

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    • 16. At 7:09pm on 21 Nov 2010, readyfreddy wrote:

      Hi everyone great to hear people are still interested
      about dear Mick,like everyone else my thoughts are with Mick & his family.It would be great if Midge's plans come off,I would be there on the night.
      Thank you Mick for the lovely time Lynne & I spent with you many years ago at your flat,one damp afternoon
      great to read all your support for Mick,R.F.

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