tokyo new york


A full set of images have been released of the latest collaboration between pop culture icon Pharrell Williams and adidas Originals. The capsule collection, entitled the “Jacquard Pack”, features bold patterned colors of the Stan Smith silhouette and the timeless Superstar track jacket.

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Record labels I Have Known and Flown

In Japan I am known as “Ganko” Alan.  Ganko means stubborn in Japanese.

(形) 強情な; 意固地な; 断固とした; 粘り強い 

I am very reasonable with labels at first and listen to suggestions but ultimately I follow my instincts about musical direction.

Below is the back of my album “Alone In Tokyo” (on Atlantic 1970), all in Japanese. I was the first male signing to Atlantic records Japan in history. It has recently been re-issued:

My album “Merrill 1” (Denon/Columbia) - I wrote all the songs and did all the vocals and harmonies and played most of the instruments:

When I was “In Coventry” (grey listed) with the major labels in japan

I did sessions for other people, playing on their recordings. (below)

I have usually been right. Here is the story in three parts.

You Tube clips below-

Part One, the early years-

Part two- Rock ‘n roller coaster-

Part Three, the indie years-

Below recording the “Tokyo New York” album (EMI) with my band Vodka Collins. I left Japan during the recording in a dispute over money and it was released unfinished as I left it, and was still a chart hit! I was the lead singer, lead guitarist and songwriter.

Tokyo-New York by Vodka Collins has been re-issued by EMI as recently as November 2011. I still am unpaid for this album I created. They should have paid me back then, I would have made it an even better album had I stayed. But then there would have been no Arrows in England, a chart hit band I started there in 1974 as a result of my leaving Japan over the money dispute. They (Vodka Collins’ management) could have at least given me enough to pay my rent in Tokyo. I would have stayed. But then there would have been no classic “I Love Rock N Roll” by the Arrows (a song I wrote and recorded in 1975 in the UK with Mickie Most producing) and a swath of rock 'n roll history would have been altered a bit -

(photo below from Shinuhoso fans 1973, a Japanese music magazine)-

Alan Merrill interview on NBC New York in 2011 with host Joey Reynolds talking about “I Love Rock N Roll” and debunking myths. A Youtube clip (below)-

Alan Merrill 1975 at the Rainbow Theater London singing lead on the original “I Love Rock N Roll” live with The Arrows (Below)-


The Cities Tribute

As previously mentioned, each faction has a base in a major city, and while their headquarters don’t exist in real life, they might as well have. This is a post in tribute of the amazing art to the game, from New York, Seoul, London and one from Tokyo.


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TSW Character Meme: The Tokyo Incident and Motivation (…And Fallout)

Arica’s immediate response to the bomb – namely, doing her best to report about it, although her employers at QBL New York REALLY didn’t want her to – was covered in previous posts. For this one, our erstwhile news intern has made it to Tokyo and back, and she’s got…a lot to process.

From: Arica Colman
To: Temple Hall
Subject: QBL, then and now

What stopped me dead at Orochi Tower was a whiteboard.

It wasn’t how hard it was to break in, or the uneasy alliances that got me there. It wasn’t the ranks of monsters in my way, human or otherwise. It was just a whiteboard. It was in the QBL news offices, hanging beside a computer with the same lockscreen mine had had back in New York, and it said the last thing I expected:

Je suis Charlie.

Three words, and I might as well have been back home.

You know I had an internship at QBL before the Templars recruited me – a lifetime ago, really – but I guess I never told you much about it. The most honest summary I can give: working in the news branch of a company that huge was a strange experience. You could feel the corporate influence at every level, for better or (mostly) worse. I mean, sure, you had every resource you could ever possibly need. You had the sort of clout that a lot of sources wouldn’t trust you without. You also had to dance damn fast to keep the overlords happy. Either you were stuck with fluff pieces to serve the almighty gods of Marketing and Corporate Synergy, or you were, well, shoving real news under the rug. After all, the trouble I got into started with Legal wanting me to pull a story. We couldn’t editorialize about Tokyo the way we were doing, oh no. Couldn’t even put forward facts. Too much of that would make the company look bad, make the executives look bad, and that would be…problematic.

That didn’t stop some of us from trying.

I worked with someone who’d have appreciated the Charlie Hebdo whiteboard. Don Courtland had worked in news forever, long enough that he was proud of his status as a newsroom relic, and he got away with all sorts of crap because (as our producer Kelly claimed, usually in a long-suffering sort of way) even Orochi knew that we had to have someone playing the hard-hitting, hard-drinking, cynical-as-all-hell reporter in order to be believable. So we had our drone of a lead editor bringing down guidelines from on high, and then there was Don throwing all that out the window and demanding that we tell people what was actually important. Someone had to point out when bullshit was bullshit. Someone had to make the irreverent jokes to get the real point across. Someone had to speak up. I admit, I wasn’t quite the free speech absolutist that Don was – I got into a couple heated arguments with him about responsibility and consequence – but he was right: that office needed him to kick it in the ass. And he watched out for me, because he said he wouldn’t entrust impressionable interns to anyone else. “Stick to your guns, no matter what,” he told me, more than once. “Stick to the story. Stick to what’s true.”

He supported me when I said I wanted to dig deeper into the Tokyo story. He applauded me for staying skeptical, and staying curious. And then he abruptly went “on leave” the same day I got called in for my little chat with HR. I’m still worried about him.

I’m worried about all of them.

There was Kaz, the lead online editor, who decorated his cube with protest signs against a new Orochi building downtown, retooled so that they were protesting our website’s crappy CMS instead. (You can tell where Anansi’s keeping its best and brightest, and it’s not the business software division.) Cassie, our research guru, was the one who tipped me off that something really wasn’t right back at the head office. Michael got me bagels at 3 a.m. during an emergency breaking-news shift about the bomb, because of course I’d gotten so wound up that I’d forgotten to eat. My favorite might have been Rashid, one of the commentators on Q&A, who would poke such fun at our employers on the air – and sometimes rope me into it, like with his rant about Orochi’s stupidly convoluted new timesheet system. I swear that clip got forwarded to everyone in the company. (He gave me and one of my fellow interns a pop quiz on camera about how to use it. He came to the conclusion that I might come out all right – which just figures – but Dave would never get paid again.) Rashid was probably responsible for sneaking those infamous gag messages onto the Times Square ticker a couple months before, too, although no one could ever prove it. I just wish I’d gotten pictures.

I could keep going. There were so many people. But Times Square…God.

I’ve seen what happened to QBL in Times Square. Walls ripped away, rooms smashed, whole floors just…gone. Papers everywhere. Indescribable stains everywhere. It had rained at some point before I got there, and for some reason I kept staring at the whiteboards – same old brand of whiteboards, same Orochi-branded blue pens – which were smeared to total incoherency. I saw what was left of Kaz’s cube, and all those mangled signs. All that mangled…everything. After a while I stopped looking. I don’t know who was there the day it happened. I still haven’t been able to find out who survived.

That’s what was haunting me all the way up the tower in Tokyo, at least before I got to the upper levels and discovered even worse. All those offices around me, in various states of disrepair, might as well have been mine, once. All those people, living, dead, or…otherwise…I could have known them. And whoever had that “Je suis Charlie” whiteboard – whoever felt inspired, even in the belly of that beast, to stand in solidarity with people determined to speak their minds – that could have been me.

Maybe in a way it still is.

No, I’m not changing my face, and I’m not hiding. I know what you meant by the suggestion and I thank you for trying to help. But hiding behind something fake feels like the worst thing I could do just now. QBL may have lied to the world and told everyone I’m a traitor, but I know that some people out there – even some people within Orochi, no matter what the party line is – are looking for the real story. So someone’s got to stand up for the truth of it. I know we’re fighting the good fight. The best I can do is keep going.

I just wish I could stop hearing John mocking the message on that whiteboard and whispering “I…am…Chuck…” in my ear…

- A