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X JAPAN


1980-1988
The history of the band began in 80s when the total interest in hard rock reached Japan. Brand new and expressive music became favorite among young people in Japan rather fast. Lots of cover-bands that imitated overseas artistes appeared at that time. That popular tendency concerned not only way of singing and playing, but also the whole look and style of performing on the stage. The Japanese manner to imitation and compilation borrowed ideas finally resulted in new movement that later was titled as Jrock. But, in those times, no one thought about it in that way and two 13year-old boys from Chiba formed their cover-band and hardly dared dream about becoming popular one day.

Friends from childhood, Hayashi Yoshiki and Deyama Toshimitsu being inspired by music of KISS formed their cover-band called Dynamite. Yoshiki was the drummer and the leader of the teenage creative project. Toshi chose the guitar to play. Next three years line up of the band constantly changed and style of performing also alerted. In 1980 the first serious change took place and Dynamite turned to Noise. Also Toshi became a vocalist. This band made a rather good success but because all of them finished school, all members, except Yoshiki, Toshi and Terry (guitarist), left the band.

But Yoshiki didn’t give up. By 1982 he changed the name of the band again. Now it’s called X. With the song I'll Kill You the band X made their debut on Yamaha Sponsorship Contest. This performing became a break-through, so X was treated seriously. The band performed much and their popularity was growing. By 1984 line-up of the band includes 5 members: Yoshiki (piano and drums), Toshi (vocal), Terry and Tomo (guitars) and Atsushi (bass). Chiba’s venues were not big enough for the band, so they decided to move in Tokyo, where they went on assaulting of musical peak with double force.

Next year brought lots of changing. Tomo left the band and he was replaced by Eddy. Posters announcing X concerts appeared in Tokyo streets more and more often. In June single I’ll Kill You was released. But growing success didn’t bring the excepted stillness. The band was just torn apart by conflicts. On 4th of October Eddy, Atsushi and Terry left X. Hally (ex-Dementia) became new guitarist, Savada Taiji (ex-Prowler) replaced previous bassist but only for certain time. But again these two members weren’t X members long and they left the band in the end of October. But in November Taiji returned to his work with X. Later guitarist Jun (ex-Sqwier) joint the band.
In the end of the year line-up changed again. This members were in band till April. By spring 1986 the line up of the band was the following: Yoshiki, Toshi, Jun (guitar) and Hikaru (bass).

In July label EXPLOSION released album collection Heavy Metal Forсe III that included songs of most popular indies-bands. Among these songs X’s Break the Darkness and X songs were listed. Suddenly the band drew great attention and it was considered as a kind of discovery.
At that time Yoshiki decided to found his own record label Extasy Records and under this label in the end of April single Orugasumu was released..
Though the line-up was still changing. In November Taiji got back again, but at that time he became an official member.

In March 2007 X was involved in recording one more collection Skull Trash Zone Vol. 1 arranged by label Victor Record. That collection with X’s song Stab me in the Back in it just assisted the band with their success. It’s worth saying that for that recording another guitarist was needed, so by concourse of circumstances, Pata (Ishizuka Tomoaki, played in the band Judy at that time) became the sessional guitarist. Firstly, he refused to participate in that record, but later he agreed with the condition that it would be for only one occasion.

In November 1986 to March 1987 there were several guitarists in the band replacing one another. Among there were Kerry, Satoru, Isao. And only in the end of March in the band finally first constant guitarist and forth constant member appeared – hide (Matsumoto Hideto, ex-Saver Tiger). He was invited by Yoshiki personally.

On 10th of April the second guitarist got into motorcycle accident and just before the Meguro Live Station performing X left without guitarist. Yoshiki asked Pata to help. Pata agreed to replace injured member for that concert. After the performing Yoshiki offered Pata to become a fifth member of X because of Isao’s wish to leave the band. The reasons for it still remain unknown, but Pata agreed to join the band, so the performance of April 10th, 1987 may be considered as the first concert with line up that didn’t change up to 1992.
Later Yoshiki remembered that time: “It sounds impossible, but line up of the band changed for more than 30 times”.

Just for notice, it’s worth saying about the visual aspect of formed band. Image of the bandmembers in that time was shocking, first of all. Very provocative and, obviously, attracting attention, it became the part of their music that made it complete. The main idea of such look was based on attracting attention firstly, and only then keeping it by means of music. Of course, there was something to stare at. Look of Yoshiki was more than just creative: blond long hair on one side of the head was made as needles-like iroquois. It was completed by fantastic feminine like costume. In the beginning of the career leader had unusual make up: both sides of his face were made up in different ways. This expressed Yoshiki’s idea of two opposite sides of humane nature. Later, femininity began to prevail in his image. Taiji’s style imitated glam at first, then it was replaced by cowboy’s. In early style of Toshi military elements prevailed. Pata looked like punk with his red-haired iroquois and shaved out temples. Image of hide included everything that must have failed to be gathered together. If one could imagine the creature from other planet, so it would look like lead-guitarist of X.
But these images didn’t remain long. Time changed and look changed either. It’s difficult to define, but later all this experiments with images would call “visual kei” and the band X would be called the founder of new music style.

But not only look of the band was freaky. Also bandmembers’ behavior on the stage was shocking. X was the first band that broke all the rules of artists’ behavior during the performance: no one used to watch musicians to jump around wildly and break the instruments in the way they did this. Some critics who were against the band defined it as non-trustworthy and their performances as insanity. Such an attitude of the public, of course, influenced on reputation of the band and a bit later problems began: lots of venues and record labels refused to work with the band. But typhoon called X couldn’t be stopped because music of new indies-band already got its fans.

They tried to find the way out of this difficult situation and Yoshiki went on risks several times. Later all these attempts seemed to be very successful.
Later he said about it: “We did the things that no one did before and even didn’t think that they could be done.” In August 1987 the band recorded and released video Xclamation '87 that included three songs. These records were sold out in Osaka Bourbon House during one day and profit of that one day counted 200 000 yens. Together with this the band began to appear on TV. Firstly, unknown band visited non-prestigious and humoristic TV shows with the discussions of strange things happened with teenagers, street culture and of madness during rock performances.

But little by little the band was getting its fans and admirers. Unusual images and strong, new music became more and more popular. But record labels still refused to collaborate with X. After another failed attempt with another record label Yoshiki decided to release indies album under his own record label Extasy Records and on April 14th 1988 Vanishing Vision was released.
In the middle of year full-line-up X played an episodic role in the movie Tokyo POP and they presented themselves. The movie was out in Europe on July 6th, 1989.
In June the band went on Vanishing Tour including 24 dates in different cities of Japan. Later that tour turned into Burn Out Tour. Dramatic lyrics and wonderful music served well – X began their triumphant parade over the country.
After these events, on 1st 1988, the band signed a good contract with CBS/SONY and got the “major” status.

1989-1991
In January 1989 X began to record their debut album Blue Blood and on March 13th Blue Blood Tour started.
Release of the album was on April 21st and it took the 6th place in sales charts. It was the first time in Japan when young rock-band managed to achieve such results. It was a kind of historical break-through.
Perfect Yoshiki’s music and guitarist’s skills to play masterly their parts in unison made Blue Blood album a revolution and till now it’s considered to be a masterpiece of Japanese classical rock.

After tour finished members started recording new songs but separately from each other. On June 22th Yoshiki went to Paris to shoot the video Rose of Pain and Pata, Toshi, Hide and Taiji visited New York where a small video-report was recorded. Later, all these materials were included in video Shigeki! ~ Visual Shock Vol. 2.
After returning to Japan they took part in recording of endless TV programs, talk-shows, radio programs and in endless photo-shooting. It’s worth saying that participation of rock-bands in musical talk-shows were unusual for those times. But after X experience many TV companies began to invite different popular rock-bands on TV. The popularity of the band became more and more overwhelming.



Released on 28th of August single Kurenai took first place in Oricon Charts immediately. On September 29th the band went on Rose & Blood Tour.
On the 1st of December second single Endless Rain released and achieved the top of Oricon Charts as well
Also that year was marked by awarding. X got awards as Best New Artist of Japan (Nihon Yuusen Daishou Yuushuu Shinjin Shou), Best Artist of Japan (Zen Nihon Yuusen Daishou Yuushuu Shinjin Shou) and also they were nominated as Single Sales Leader of Oricon’89 (89 Oricon Nendo Recording Sell Single Shinjin Bumon Dai Ichii). It was great success for the band started 11 month before.

Yoshiki’s unusual manner of drums playing made the band without any possible rivals. And Yoshiki always plays using all his strength and powers during playing. Once members joked: “If you want to kill Yoshiki, write more fast songs”. Later Yoshiki himself said in interview: “I play on strength limit, I can die anytime, my physical powers are exhausted, but I can’t stop.” It was said when tour began… But these words were fatal. On November 23th, in the middle of Rose & Blood Tour, there must be a performance in Shibuya Kohkaido, but before it Yoshiki was injured seriously and the performance was canceled. This happening caused the panic among the fans but, fortunately, Yoshiki recovered fast and on February 4th 1990 the band continued the tour and even got the prize Dai Yonkai Nihon Gold Disc Taishou Best Artist Shou later.

On April 21st 1990 third single Week End was released. And again it took first place in Oricon. Japan was at X’s feet. Rose & Blood Tour ended by two-days lives (May 7th and 9th) in Nihon Budokan and then by extra performance in Osakajo Hall, May 17th.
On the first of September video Celebration ~ Visual Shock Vol. 2.5 was released. In the end of the year the band went to Los Angeles, where members recorded new album Jealousy for seven months. On July 1st 1991 album was out. Coming back to Japan was convoyed by a huge crowd of fans that just paralyzed the work of international airport Narita. Such an incident was the first, so, because of this, government couldn’t arrange everything in right way, so situation was out of a control and several people were seriously injured in the crowd.
New tour called Violence in Jealousy~ Yume no naka ni dake ikite began on August 6th, and on 23th of August the band held their first performance in Tokyo Dome.

Released on September 11th single Silent Jealousy, of course, achieved first Oricon’s position. On 30th of September the band released video Visual Shock Vol. 3 Shigeki 2 ~Yume no naka ni dake ikite~. Then they released singled Standing Sex on 25th of October and Say Anything on the 1st of December.
On October 29th Extasy Summit '91 festival was held. Yoshiki began to arrange this festival under his own recording label since 1988. All the bands that recorded under this label at that moment took part in festival. But this Summit was different from previous ones: it was greater and it was held in Nihon Budokan.
In December X got the prize as Best Artist of Japan (Nihon Yuusen Daishou Yuusen Ongaku Yuushuushou) and also they took part in popular program NHK Kouhaku Utagasen. This show was traditionally held in the end of the year and was a kind of summing of musical events of the year. This program plays an important role for Japanese and it is honor for every artist to be invited there. So X became the first rock-band that took part in it and then the band took part in this program for several years as a special guest.

The end of 1991 was marked not only by increasing activity of the band but also by solo career of bandmembers. On December 8th the band held a concert X with Orchestra in NHK Hall where symphonic orchestra accompanied the band. Video Say Anything ~ Visual Shock Vol. 3.5 and collection X Ballad Collection were released on December 21st.

1992-1998
In the beginning of the next year X held a tree-days concert called On The Verge of Destruction in Tokyo Dome on January 5, 6, 7th. That concert was the last for the Taiji as the member of X. On January 31st at press-conference it was officially announced that bassist left the band.

The band looked for new bassist for seven month because new member must have met high requirements of the band so new member was chosen only by the end of May.
On August 25th X held a press conference in New York where it was announced about new bassist heath (Morie Hiroshi, ex-Media Youth, he was actually a friend of hide). Beside that, X announced about changing their name from X to X JAPAN.


The reason for it was the existence of the same-named band in USA and because Yoshiki was planning to get the international status for his band (and America must have played the most important role in this process), he had to change the name of the band for avoiding different law problems. Together with that Yoshiki decided to change a record label from CBS/SONY to MMG (East West Japan). The reason for it still remains unknown but it was likely he had his personal preferences. heath was introduced to the fans on October 29th at Extasy Summit’92 in Osakajo Hall and later, on October 30th, in Nihon Budokan.

On November 1st, video Hametsu Ni Mukatte ~ Visual Shock Vol. 4 was released and X JAPAN again took part in NHK Kouhaku Utagasen on December 31st. The band performed Kurenai and Tears. While performing the last song Yoshiki was playing organ and all invited artists were singing.
Till July 1993 members of the band concentrated on their solo works. But also they did not forget that they’re band: on July 1st Film GIGs 1993 ~ Visual Shock Kougeki Saikai video was released and on 25th they released mini-album Art of Life that included only one 29 minute-song. On October 21st the band released album-collection X Singles, on 25th new single Tears was released. On December 30 and 31st the band again gave a concert in Tokyo Dome. Concert X JAPAN Returns was the first in the line of New Year concerts that were held next five years till the disbanding of X JAPAN. On December 31st X JAPAN whose participation in the NHK Kouhaku Utagasen became a tradition, performed Tears.

At that time visual aspects changed. The general style became calmer and more unified. Wild bright and colorful make-up and iroquois disappeared and their images became more similar one another. Yoshiki’s long red-haired curls and his elegant laced-clothes was the real example of femininity and beauty. Pata and Toshi’s images became similar with prevailing calm and confident aspects but it doesn’t mean that their costumes became less creative. heath’s image imitated glam so he fit the other band’s new look. hide was the kind of exception: he still preferred bright colors in his costumes, and his hair-cuts were complicated and fantastic. His look provided a needed exotic aspect in this almost perfect gallery of images.


In 1994 there were a really active solo works of bandmembers: new singles, albums, videos. Activity of the band was marked by international tendency: in May (20th, 21st, 22nd) the band took part in big international concert The Great Music Experience~ AONIYOSHI together with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, INXS, Bon Jovi and Roger Taylor. That show was supported by UNESKO and transmitted in 55 countries.
On July 10th single Rusty Nail was released. As it became a tradition the band together with its fans celebrated New Year in Tokyo Dome. Concerts on 30th and 31st got the name AOI YORU/KUROI YORU (Blue Night/White Night). December 30th concert was live-transmitted, so performing of Rusty Nail was also transmitted during Music Station SuperLive TV Show. Later it became usual: Tokyo Dome New Year transmitting became a special features of Super Live Show.

On January 1st Hametsu ni Mukatte 1992.01.07 Tokyo Dome live album and PV collection X Clips was out. On January 27th the band was a co-arranger for racing F-3000 and design of one car had logotype of the band. Ralf Schumaher took part in that racing.
On August 1st new single Longing ~ Togireta Melody was released and on October 21st video game Visual Shock 001 based on Sega Saturn Play Station was out. The subject of this game based on New Year concerts in 1994. On October 29th Dahlia Tour 1995-1996 began. At those concerts single Longing ~ Setsubou no Yoru was sold besides usual goodies as booklets, T-shirts and others. This single was out only on December 11th.
It’s worth saying that in 1995 heath began his solo career as well.

On December 30th and 31st the band played a concert X JAPAN in Tokyo Dome for 2 days. But the shocking news was not in that. In Autumn Yoshiki changed his image rapidly: he cut his hair short and on November 26th at one TV show he appeared with other, more masculine image.The following to cut his hair was lead-guitarist. But, anyway, hide still preferred bright colors and creative look. Then Toshi changed his hair-cut.
On February 26th single Dahlia was out and it included two versions of the song.

March 1996 was really difficult for the band: on 13th Dahlia Tour was stopped because of Yoshiki’s illness. He was hospitalized during the concert in Nagoya. The fans were announced that Yoshiki stretched his back muscles out and the band hardly finished the concert. Next day recording for Music Station on 15th of March was canceled. On 15th they announced that the band wouldn’t participate in POP JAM on 18th and Nagoya concert was postponed to 30th, but later it was canceled as well. On March 19th at press-conference the band announced that tour would be stopped for uncertain period of time and that all the money paid for five concerts (they were totally sold out) would be returned. Later there was a statement about Yoshiki’s health: strangulation of intervertebral disk hernia, the result of old traumas.
Fans got in panic. To calm down the fans the band released album-collection B.O.X (Best of X) CD + VHS on March 12th. It had proper needed effect and already in July, 8th, single Forever Love was out as it was agreed. On August 26th single Crucify my Love was released that reached only second position in Oricon Charts – it’s the first time of band’s history.

Long-expected album Dahlia was out on November 4th that became a smash immediately. Later information about renewing Dahlia Tour was reported: on 30th and 31st of December final concerts were held. They were the first lives where Yoshiki were wearing neck corsage, later he constantly put it on while drumming.
On January 1st, first part of video Dahlia the Video ~ Visual Shock Vol. 5 was out, on 5th Of March – second part. It seemed that things were getting better but on April 20th Toshi suddenly announced that he decided to leave the band. Both members and fans were just lost and the future of X JAPAN was in question. Toshi was co-founder of the band and remained to be its member for almost twenty years including seventeen years of being vocalist, so replacement him was impossible.

This uncertainty lasted till autumn. On September 22nd at official press-conference Yoshiki announced about X JAPAN disbanding. Toshi was absent at that event. Later he reported that he hadn’t been informed about conference. That just ruined all the hopes of making members up.
On December 31st 1997 the band gathered together one more time to hold final concert for their fans. No one hided their tears: neither band nor hundreds of people at The Last Live in Tokyo Dome. During the concert the last new song was presented - The Last Song.

But in spring 1998 ex-members and fans of X JAPAN got in real sorrow: on second of May ex-lead-guitarist hide died. According to the official version he committed a suicide but whether it was maliciously or accidentally nobody knows. hide didn’t live any messages what made his leaving away a mystery. Japan was shocked, the sorrow and despair remains really deep till now.

Author’s comment:
It seems to be the end of a story about Jrock legend called X JAPAN. One may tell about further career of ex-members, about meaning and place of this music in culture and people’s hearts, but it’ll be another story, won’t it? I want to say other thing. Great History, Great Achievements, Great Music, Great Love - that is X JAPAN. Many people all over the world become fans of this band after it disbanded. Once you hear this music you just can’t be indifferent. It affects people’s hearts, bearing love and hope that one day X JAPAN members will gather again to play for their fans, to play in memory of hide. For a long decade this hope became stronger and stronger and finally turned into Great Hope. And true great things make miracles. Do you want to believe in miracle? Do you want to see how final dot in this story is becoming an ellipsis? So open a new chapter in X JAPAN history.

2007-…
In February 2007 Yoshiki and Toshi made up finally. Toshi visited Yoshiki in Los Angeles where they met for the first time during this decade. They will work together on their project – the song in memory of hide. And may be not only song but…

Reunion of X JAPAN…




Категория: General information | Translated by Sonette | 2008.03.16 | Author: drum&bass
Reads: 3381

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