X Japan

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hayashi yoshiki Yoshiki on drums and piano

The leader of X Japan.
Together with Toshi, he founded X when they were just kids. Later, they recruited hide, Pata and Taiji and played at livehouses. The major record labels did not want to sign X because of their visual look, and Yoshiki borrowed money from his mother to create his own indie label, Extasy Records.
He took control of most of the aspects of X Japan, esp after Taiji's leaving. Yoshiki wrote most of the music and lyrics, played drums and piano in same songs, arranged and produced the music, posed for album covers, etc. I saw on a website that he was rumored to have said something along the lines of how he was the main composer of the music and the rest (other members) were just "doing their thing" ^^;;.
He is said to be an egomaniac ^_^, a workaholic and possessed of a chronic "God" syndrome.
He drummed blindfolded sometimes during concerts.
He has apparently given up drumming after the disbandment.
He was the main character of X Japan, and a favorite among female fans. They literally wept when he cut his hair (but I prefer his short-haired look). He's a beautiful man and he knows it ^^. He's often topless in concerts, and has posed for photo shoots in various states of undress.
My opinion about his music: He's very talented, that's without doubt. He's a skilled and accomplished pianist and to watch him at the drums is a spectacle in itself. And I agree that his ballads are lovely. But I don't think that they made any great strides in their particular genre, or broke any barriers. His lyrics are melodramatic, melancholic, romantic, and favorite among female fans (the romantic in me likes them, but the rest of me can't help but wish for something a bit more novel).
Currently he's involved in the music scene only as a producer - he produced Dir en grey and now some young rock and pop acts. He has a studio in Los Angeles and various houses in various places. He's also rumored to have rekindled an old relationship with pop singer Kudo Shizuka. From net sources, apparently some quarters have labeled him a sell-out for giving up his passion for music and turning into a money-minded businessman. I have no idea what that's about ^^;;. It seems that he might be releasing an album next year or something.

deyama toshimitsu Toshi on vocals

He sang for all X Japan songs (I think).
In mid-1997, he announced that he would leave the band. Reasons I've seen attributed to this include a) argument with Yoshiki over who was the leader of the group, b) he wanted to pursue a solo career, and c) he joined a cult.
Yoshiki declared that since all the X Japan songs were written with Toshi's voice in mind, it wouldn't be the same without him. X Japan disbanded in late 1997.
It is said that Toshi and Yoshiki have not spoken to each other since the disbandment (which I think is weird since they seemed pretty friendly during the last live).
Speaking of the last live, generally the band members all looked quite cheerful, except hide who seemed pretty sad, and Yoshiki who got emotional on occasions.
Toshi is married and currently a solo artiste. He is very active in the cult he and his wife had joined, led by somebody named Masaya and which Toshi claimed to have changed him for the better and given him many benefits. He denied rumors that joining the cult had influenced his decision to leave X Japan.

matsumoto hideto hide on lead guitar

He was previously involved in a band called Saber Tiger before Yoshiki called him up and asked him to join the fledgling X.
Despite Yoshiki being the frontal figure for X Japan, hide became just as popular with the fans, with his manic guitar playing and colorful personality.
He wrote a few songs for the group, including Scars, Standing Sex, and Celebration. He also occasionally did back-up vocals.
Possibly he had the most successful solo career of all the members, both while X Japan was stll together and after the dissolution. His singles consistently appeared in the top ten of the Oricon chart, and after X Japan, he was involved in two bands: Spread Beaver and zilch. He had released several albums - Hide Your Face, Psyence, etc, and held concert tours with his band. With his distinctive sound and unique image, he was an influential rock icon on the youth culture of Japan.
Apparently he had a wild lifestyle, constantly getting drunk and being thrown out of bars, and injuring himself while inebriated.
He was involved in AIDS campaigns and other charity works, and before his death had donated bone marrow to a fan.
Hide died on May 2, 1998 in an apparent suicide. Some have described his death as a drunken accident. Grieving fans shut down traffic in central Tokyo on the day of his funeral. Two fans committed suicide, one of whom hanged herself in identical fashion. There were also several failed attempts - one jumped from a bridge but was saved, another slit her wrists with a paper knife. A Japanese newspaper attributed his death as the major incident of 1998 in the nation.

His music: Some of the most surprising, avant-garde rock music I've ever heard. It totally breaks away from the usual electric guitar-driven sounds of much of Japanese rock. Which was even more strange coming from someone who was the lead guitarist for X Japan, a metal band heavily into screeching vocals. But away from X Japan, hide created music that was vastly different from anything the band produced, and which sometimes defied categorization. He had an eccentric, strange and versatile voice which I find weirdly charming, an individuality all his own that he transferred to his music, and he wrote lyrics that have become some of my all-time favorites. You know, if I were introducing someone to Japanese rock music, I'd first have them listen to Luna Sea and all the other well-received bands to know how great J-rock is, and then have them listen to hide to know how wonderfully different J-rock music can be.

ishizuka tomoaki
Pata on rhythm guitar

Did back-up vocals as well.
The one who kept the lowest profile in the group.
I think he toured with hide and Spread Beaver during the latter's solo concert tour.
Who was it who said that in fandom hide is slashed with just about every member of X Japan except Pata? =)
He has very high tolerance for alcohol (actually, that is true for just about everybody in X Japan).
He's married. With kids, I think.


morie hiroshi Heath on bass

The youngest member of the band, he replaced original bassist Taiji after Taiji left (apparently after irreconcilable musical differences with Yoshiki, whom he thought was too controlling). It was thought that Heath's bass was tamer than his predecessor's, but that could be only because of the way the music was written.
It's said that he was an acquaintance of hide's before he became the new bassist.
He is still involved in the music industry as a solo artiste.



Kurenai (midi)
One of the band's earliest songs, very well-received. Starts off slow but moves soon enough into a fast and furious conflagaration of sound. IMO, there seems to be a subtle discrepancy in tempo between the vocals and the "accompaniment", which makes the song even more interesting. The drums and guitars were just amazing, bordering on virtuosity.

Scars (midi)
From the admittedly modest number of X songs I've heard, this is one of very few in which I could clearly discern the bass. Kurenai is more technically brilliant, but overall, Scars works better for me as a song.

Endless Rain (mp3)
One of their earliest ballads, I think. At six and a half minutes it's actually quite short compared to others like Forever Love. I think Endless Rain was quite popular when it came out - but I prefer Crucify My Love or Say Anything, in both of which Toshi is actually singing instead of wailing. *cough cough* I'd like to say here that I do like Toshi's voice... in the fast songs. But not the ballads, sorry.

Forever Love (mp3)
This is the song that appeared as the ending theme to Clamp's X anime, and probably the song that introduced many non-Japanese to visual rock. If I recall correctly, I may be one of them, though I watched the actual anime itself long after getting L'Arc and LS albums et al. I think this song and the anime fit each other like tailor-made gloves. They're both epic, tragic and speak of large, ponderous emotions. I prefer the Last Mix, which is really beautiful.

Yoshiki and Toshi

Yoshiki and hide

hide introducing Yoshiki to somebody (wild guess - Heath? Probably not.)

From left: Yoshiki, Toshi, hide, Pata, Heath

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