Wednesday, September 19, 2012

★ X Japan ★

So I couldn't find anything to write about Pop goes punk 4. I just couldn't get into it so that's about all I can say. I guess some songs are just meant to stay the genre that they are created in. So now I'll introduce X Japan. I've known about this band for a long time and I've met Yoshiki at ACEN in 2011, but I have yet to see them live. X Japan is claimed to have started the music genre in Japan known as Visual Kei. In simpler terms, think of Visual Kei as Glam Rock taken to the next level.

X Japan was formed in 1982 in Chiba, Japan by Toshi and Yoshiki. Toshi and Yoshiki have had previous bands but I want to make this strictly about X Japan alone. The band was originally named "X" but due to another American punk band that was claiming it was there name, so they changed their name to X Japan. The band is also widely credited for pioneering the genre Visual Kei.( We all know the truth, they are "God" of Visual Kei) The band began to actively perform in 1985 which is also the year Taiji joined the band but soon left afterwards, only to rejoin again in November of 1986. In  Feburary of  1987, hide was recruited by Yoshiki  to join X Japan. To ensure the band's freedom of expression with their music, Yoshiki founded Extasy Records on April 14, 1988.

In 1989, the band had reached many achievements such as their first breakthrough with their 2nd album "Blue Blood" which was released on April 21, 1989 and debuted at number 6 on the Oricon charts. Blue Blood also earned them the Grand Prix New Artist award in 1990 at the 4th annual Japan Gold Disc Awards.

Jealousy was recorded in Los Angelos, California and debuted June 1st, 1991. It debuted at #1 and sold over 600,000 copies! X Japan's success and international acknowledgement was leading them most likely to be signed onto Atlantic Records and also lead to the renaming. However, Taiji left the band on January 7th. There are two theories to why Toshi had left but I rather not get into that depth about "why".  After Taiji had left, Heath was recruited to the band on August 24 as their new bassist.

Art of Life  was released on August 25, 1993, by Atlantic records which was exactly 29 minutes total. This album also debuted at #1 but the bands seldom did concerts due to their solo projects. The band kept the tradition of performing New Year's Eve at Tokyo Dome but other shows were seldom.

In September 1997, the band had announced their disbandment. Toshi had decided to leave the band because he felt that the life style as a rock star wasn't fulfilling him emotionally, which is understandable. He stated that he made this decision back in 1996 so I believe he gave it a long time to think through. December 31, 1997 will mark the last live of X Japan.

Tragedy soon struck the band on May 2nd 1998. Granted they were disbanded, the band was none the less a whole. hide (pronounced hee-day), their lead guitarist and background vocalist, was found dead in his apartment building. This personally, I believe, struck the band hard especially Yoshiki who was a good friend of hide.  Even though hide was deceased the band still considered him a member.

The band began to pick up again. Sugizo was recruited on May 1st 2009 as X Japan's new lead guitarist and on  January 27, 2011 it was announced that they had signed a 3 year contract with EMI in November of 2010.  In April of 2012, the band had won the Revolver Golden Gods Award for "Best International Artist" However, another dark day will fall upon the bands shoulders

I do not wish to put out band news about any member of X Japan. On July 14th, 2011 Taiji was rushed to the intensive care unit at Saipan's common wealth hospital after he attempted suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet. This left him brain dead and on life support. Taiji's fiancee and mother made a hard decision to take him off life support and Taiji left this world on July 17th at 11am.  hide and Taiji will always be remembered as members of X Japan.

(Current Line Up:2012)   

Review:

X Japan has always been known to me though I hadn't really gotten into Visual Kei again until I was a freshman in high school. The band's music is truly something unique in my opinion. While Yoshiki mixes classical with rock is pure ingenius but I wouldn't exactly call them "soft rock." The band has seem some struggles through the years but yet continues to achieve high honors.

Is this band really the founders of Visual Kei? Yes, I believe they are. The band's fashion and fantastic hair styles stuck out like a sore thumb but yet had it's own beauty. Though if you were to explain Visual Kei to someone who is not yet known to the genre, start out by saying "It's like glam rock, only more flamboyant" The band  has been a huge influence to other bands that followed in their foot steps and each member has held their ground through out the years.

Dahlia is my all time favorite album from them but I do love the song "Stab me in the back" and yes my guilty pleasure of the song "Orgasm".  However, their new songs are really good. I like I.V. (4) for the movie saw 4 but it seemed that it had been a bit rushed. The lyrics are beautifully dark but I just didn't feel it as well as I felt "Jade". "Born To Be Free" is an amazing song that will be debuting on an Anime (I believe this is what Yoshiki said at ACEN 2011). I've been waiting a while to see this band live. I had missed their debut at Lollapalooza and when they toured Chicago again I had to miss them.  My friend know how deeply I feel about X Japan and will step up to help them in any cause.  I highly suggest to check out X Japan if you want to be emotionally torn from your body and also to join an amazing family, not just a fanbase. To this day the fan base of X Japan continues to grow. We are X!!!!

My Top 6 X Japan Songs:
1. Rusty Nail
2. Longing
3. Tears
4. Scars
5. Voiceless Screaming
6. Crucify my love

Line up as of 2012:

Toshi – lead vocals (1982–present)
Yoshiki – drums, piano, leader (1982-present)
Pata – rhythm guitar (1987–present)
Heath – bass, backing vocals (–present)
Sugizo – lead guitar, violin, backing vocals (2009–present)

Former Members.
I would liked to acknowledge that there are many former members of X Japan who have help support the band and I thank you guys tremendously for your contribution to X Japan.


Yuji "Terry" Izumisawa (泉沢裕二 Izumisawa Yuji) – guitar (1982–1985)

Tomoyuki "Tomo" Ogata – guitar (1984–1985)

Atsushi Tokuo – bass (1984–1985)

Kenichi "Eddie Van" Koide (小出健一 Koide Kenichi) – guitar (1985)

Yoshifumi "Hally" Yoshida (吉田良文 Yoshida Yoshifumi) – guitar (1985)

Mita "Zenon" Kazumitsu (三田一光 Kazumitsu Mita) – guitar (1985–1986)

Hisashi "Jun/Shu" Takai (高井寿 Takai Hisashi) – guitar (1985, 1986)

Hikaru Utaka (宇高光 Utaka Hikaru?) – bass (1985–1986)

Masanori "Kerry" Takahashi (高橋雅則 Takahashi Masanori) – guitar (1986)

Satoru Inoue (井上悟 Inoue Satoru?) – guitar (1986)

Isao – guitar (1987)

Deceased members: May you watch from heaven and continue to guide X Japan.

Hideto "hide" Matsumoto-lead guitar, backing vocals (1987–1997) (December 13, 1964-May 2nd, 1998)

Taiji Sawada.-bass, backing vocals (1985, 1986–1992) ( July 12, 1966 – July 17, 2011)



(Left: hide, Right: Taiji) 

Studio Albums:

Vanishing Vision - Released April 14, 1988

Blue Blood - Released April 21, 1989

Jealousy - Released June 1, 1991

Art of Life -Released August 25, 1993

Dahlia- November 4, 1996

Check out more information about X Japan listed below.

Official Website

Yoshiki's Twitter

Official Facebook

Official Twitter

SUGIZO's Twitter





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