In snowbound Tokamachi, Japan, teenaged Akio Sakurai took refuge in his room, escaping to another world with a pair of headphones and a pile of Led Zeppelin records. Moving to Tokyo, Akio worked as a kimono salesman by day, but by night became “Mr. Jimmy,” adopting the guitar chops and persona of Jimmy Page. For 30 years, Akio recreated vintage Zeppelin concerts note-for-note in small Tokyo clubs, until the real Jimmy Page stopped by one night and Akio’s life changed forever. Inspired by Mr. Page’s ovation, Akio quits his “salary man” job, leaving behind his family to move to Los Angeles and join “Led Zepagain.” Soon cultures clash, and Akio’s idyllic vision of America is met with reality. Until Jason Bonham (son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham) calls and invites Akio to audition, and later join his ‘Led Zeppelin Evening’ tour. Director Peter Michael Dowd joins us for a lively conversation on the incredible level of dedication Akio has put into his craft, meticulously fine tuning precision of everything from the amps, frets, cables to the stitching on the “dragon” cape to faithfully replicate the Jimmy Page experience as well as my misspent youth back in 1972, for missing the chance to see the “greatest rock and roll band” at the zenith of their artistic prowess.
About the filmmaker – “Mr. Jimmy” is Director, Producer and Editor Peter Michael Dowd follow-up to his short documentary “The King of Size”. It screened at festivals including the Austin Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival, and the Little Rock Film Festival, where it won the World Shorts competition. Previously, Dowd was the Curator of Film at the Museum of the Moving Image and Film Programmer at George Eastman House. He has organized film exhibitions and retrospectives for festivals including the Vienna International Film Festival and Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival. He has written about film for publications including the New York Sun, Spirit & Flesh, and Moving Image Quarterly, and is based in Los Angeles. His voice is still hoarse from singing/screaming throughout Mr. Page and Mr. Plant’s 1995 performance at Boston Garden.
“Through an exploration of the life of an ex-kimono salesman who has dedicated his life to emulating Jimmy Page, Mr. Jimmy is a unique look at what it means to pay tribute to the things you love.’ – Miyako Pleines, Spectrum Culture
“In our current universe, where followers give themselves over to their entertainment or culture-warrior heroes with undying devotion and zero questioning, his devotion to honoring this particular house of the old is sweet, almost noble.” – David Browne, Rolling Stone
“It is an incredible story and one marvels at the level of detail Sakurai goes to, learning about the ‘texture’ solder in an amp gives to the music or how the wear on a pickup guard might influence things.” – Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews