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“I asked him if it was okay for me to keep playing Jimmy Page and copying him. He answered, ‘Of course!’” Akio “Mr Jimmy” Sakurai recalls his first show before the man himself

“He asked me, ‘How did you find out how to make my sound?’ I replied, ‘I just listened to what you did and just studied it.’”

Jimmy Page performing with Led Zeppelin

Image: Larry Hulst / Getty Images

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Akio Sakurai, the former kimono salesman who’s dedicated his life to honouring his guitar hero Jimmy Page, has recalled his first performance in front of the Led Zeppelin legend himself.

In an interview with Guitar World, Sakurai, who has adopted the persona (and guitar chops) of Jimmy Page for over three decades, spoke of the surreal experience, calling it the “best day of my life”.

“I had only ever dreamed of meeting him one day, yet I never thought I’d actually perform in front of him,” says the superfan. “He had travelled all the way from England that same day so he must have been tired. He was with his friends too, but he never talked to them, as he was completely focused on my performance.”

“I was very nervous at the beginning, but I soon noticed he started bopping his head and moving a little,” he adds. “Because of that, I was able to forget my nervousness and enjoy performing. He sat there for the whole two hours and then waited until after the show before he came to talk to me.”

“He asked me, ‘How did you find out how to make my sound?’ I replied, ‘I just listened to what you did and just studied it.’”

He continues: “Over time people had asked me, ‘If you ever meet Jimmy Page, what would you ask him?’ That night, that moment had arrived. I asked him if it was okay for me to keep playing Jimmy Page and copying him. He answered, ‘Of course!’ That was the best day of my life.”

Sakurai’s story has also been immortalised in a documentary titled Mr. Jimmy, which is now showing in select theatres.

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