Say It's Your Birthday: Japan's Mick Karn

Today is the birthday of Mick Karn, the bass player in Japan, and

later a

co-conspirator with Midge Urge in a series of projects. He was born on

this day in

1958, as Anthony Michaelides. Japan was part of the short-lived New

Romantic movement in British pop movement. Anticipating new age music,

Japan combined Eastern influences with synth-pop, which put them right

on

the cutting edge. Criticized for being fey and overdressed, this band

revamped their look, their sound, and their pose, becoming one of the

most

sophisticated art-rock outfits to come out of Britain in decades. They

always had a prescient multi-media bent, branching out into such

fields

as sculpture and photography, in addition to putting out a handful of

EPs

and five well respected albums. The band was comprised of brothers

David

Sylvan and Steve Jansen, (who originally shared the family name

Batt--but

any poseur worth his salt knows that Batt didn't have the correct

ring),

Mick Karn, Richard Barbieri, and Rob Dean. In addition to his work

with

Japan, Karn recorded two never released albums for Virgin, and formed

the

short-lived Dalis Car with Peter Murphy of Bauhaus.