History of X-Japan

X-Japan

Can’t wait to see X-Japan perform LIVE once again!
The last time I saw them perform LIVE in action, was at the previous SummerSonic event!
A mesmerizing feeling takes control over you everytime they take the stage!
Together with a rush of emotions that start exploding, the moment they perform!
Here’re pictures from the previous concert!
X Japan is a Japanese heavy metal band from Chiba, formed in 1982 by Toshi and Yoshiki.
Originally named X (エックス Ekkusu), the group achieved their breakthrough success in 1989 with the release of their second album Blue Blood.
They started out mainly as a power/speed metal band, but later gravitated towards a progressive sound with an emphasis on ballads.
Besides being one of the first Japanese acts to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label, the group is widely credited as one of the pioneers of Visual Kei, a movement among Japanese musicians comparable to Western Glam Rock.

Musical style

X Japan’s music developed in the wake of American and British glam and heavy metal music and is characterized by driving power metal compositions with symphonic elements (e.g. “Kurenai”, “Silent Jealousy”) and emotional ballads (e.g. “Endless Rain”, “Forever Love”). 
Many of the group’s songs make use of orchestrated passages, particularly on longer tracks such as the ten and a half minute “Tears”, “Crucify My Love”, and the twenty-nine minute “Art of Life”.
The majority of the band’s lyrics are in Japanese, however many instances show the lyrics alternating from Japanese to English and back. Examples of this include the spoken-word background vocals during the bridge of “Rusty Nail”, multiple lines (including the entire prechorus) of the song “Week End”, and the entirely-English “Alive” and “Drain”.
Majority of the band’s music was written by Yoshiki with relatively little composition from the other members. hIDE contributed several songs, including the single “Scars”, while Pata’s only claim is “White Wind from Mr. Martin ~Pata’s Nap~”.
Toshi’s contributions are limited to lyrics for a few songs. 
Taiji contributed music to a couple of songs, notably “Voiceless Screaming” on the album Jealousy where he plays the acoustic guitar. 
Heath’s only writing credit is the instrumental song “Wriggle” on the 1996 album Dahlia, which he wrote with Pata.
Only one song is credited as a full band collaboration, “Easy Fight Rambling” on the 1989 album Blue Blood.
In 2010 it was reported that Sugizo has written some songs.
Yoshiki’s composing style tends to make use of chords in sequences of eights or more with riff-based motifs or call-and-response style phrasing. He has maintained this style for the majority of his career as a composer.
Having played classical piano since he was 3 years old, Yoshiki claims to be as influenced by classical music as he is by rock, a claim which is evident when considering the breadth of music released by the band. While also serving as the main songwriter, Yoshiki has production credit on much of X Japan’s later material.
During live performances the band relies on its members (with drummer and pianist Yoshiki and guitarist and violinist Sugizo switching between their instruments) and prerecorded tracks for orchestrated strings, spoken word passages, and more recently, some of hide’s guitar parts.

Discography

Here’s a little back story about the history of my all-time favorite band!
The Timeline of X, from the day they were born.
In 1977, Toshi and Yoshiki formed a band called Dynamite in their hometown of Tateyama, Chiba, when they were just 11 years old. Dynamite changed its name to Noise in 1978, while they were still in high school. In 1982, Noise disbanded and Yoshiki and Toshi formed a new band, they named it X while they tried to think of another name, but the name stuck.
X began to actively perform in the Tokyo area in 1985 with a frequently changing lineup. Their first single, “I’ll Kill You” was released on Dada Records in June and the band contributed “Break the Darkness” to the sampler Heavy Metal Force III in November, which also featured a song by Saver Tiger.
At the end of 1985 bassist Taiji (ex: Dementia) joined X, though he left the group shortly thereafter. To ensure a continuous outlet for the band’s music, Yoshiki founded the independent label Extasy Records in April 1986, and released their second single “Orgasm”.Taiji would officially rejoin the band in 
November of that same year.
The songs “Stab Me in the Back” and “No ConneXion”, for the February 1987 Victor Records sampler Skull Thrash Zone Volume I, were recorded with Pata (ex: Judy) as a support guitar player. Soon after these recordings hIDE (ex: Saver Tiger) joined as guitarist.
After Pata once again provided support, this time at a live show, he officially joined completing the group’s first well-known lineup. 
Toshi, Taiji, Yoshiki, Pata, hIDE
On December 26, 1987, the band participated in an audition held by CBS/Sony which led to a recording contract in August of the following year. In the meantime, the band released its first album, Vanishing Vision through Extasy Records on April 14, 1988 and toured extensively in support of the record.
The band made a brief cameo appearance in the American film Tokyo Pop, starring Carrie Hamilton and Diamond Yukai.
X’s second album Blue Blood was released on April 21, 1989 and debuted at number six on the Oricon chart. Its success earned the band the “Grand Prix New Artist of the Year” award at the 4th annual Japan Gold Disc Awards in 1990.
Recording for the follow-up album, Jealousy, took place in Los Angeles. It was released on July 1, 1991 and debuted at number one, selling over 600,000 copies. It was later certified million by the RIAJ.
In August the band performed their first concert at Japan’s largest indoor concert venue, the Tokyo Dome.
By 1992 the band’s success in Japan made an international breakthrough appear likely, leading to an American record contract with Atlantic Records and the renaming of the band from X to X Japan, in order to distinguish from the American punk group X. 
Around the same time bassist Taiji left the group, with his last concert with them on January 7 at the Tokyo Dome. The official reason given for his departure was due to musical differences. However in his autobiography, Taiji claims he was asked to leave because he confronted Yoshiki due to the substantial income gap between Yoshiki and each of the other members.
On August 24, Heath (ex: Media Youth) was announced as their new bassist.

Then came Art of Life

Art of Life was released on August 28, 1993 by Atlantic Records, and is comprised solely of the 29-minute, heavily orchestrated title track. It debuted at number one, however the band only performed two concerts that year, as each member began solo careers.
Aptly titled X Japan Returns, the concerts were held on New Year’s Eve at the Tokyo Dome, marking the beginning of a tradition that would last until the group’s disbandment.
The solo careers continued into the following year, with X Japan only performing a handful of shows. 
Around this time, the group dropped most of its original Visual Kei aesthetics in favor of a more casual look.
While it wasn’t released until November 4, 1996, singles from the album had been released as early as a few months after Art of Life. Though this caused Dahlia to contain relatively little new material, the album reached number one on the charts.

The Dahlia Tour lasted through to the end of 1996, with several shows cancelled due to Yoshiki injuring his neck. In September 1997, it was announced that X Japan would disband.

Vocalist Toshi decided to leave the band as the glamorous, success-oriented life of a rock star failed to satisfy him emotionally, as opposed to a simpler life and career.
 He later stated that he had made the decision back in April 1996, though it wasn’t publicly disclosed.
X Japan performed their farewell show, aptly titled The Last Live, at the Tokyo Dome on December 31, 1997, making it the last of five consecutive New Year’s Eves the group performed at the stadium.
While reissues, compilations and live footage continued to be released, the members of X Japan pursued various other projects.
hIDE, who released his first solo album in 1994, Hide Your Face, continued his solo career with Spread Beaver, now formally including his previous live band and with a sound distinctively different from X Japan’s music, leaning more towards alternative rock. But the new group did not last long, due to hide’s death on May 2, 1998.

hIDE’s death

hIDE died on May 2, 1998. After a night out drinking, he was found hanged with a towel tied to a doorknob in his Tokyo apartment. Authorities officially deemed hide’s death a suicide, and this verdict was reported in the media. 
 
Within one week, three fans had died in copycat suicides, and of the 50,000 people who attended his funeral at Tsukiji Hongan-ji, nearly 60 were hospitalized and about 200 received medical treatment in first aid tents. Later that month, the single “Pink Spider” was released, entering the Oricon charts at number one. 
 
The song would also receive that year’s MTV Video Music Award in the category “Japan Viewers Choice”. Sales were also strong for the follow-up single “Ever Free”, while those of a single released previous to his death “Rocket Dive” would also see a substantial increase. 
 
Popular interpretation of the lyrics to hide’s “Pink Spider”, which he had performed on the day prior to his death, fueled speculation of a premeditated suicide, because of clear autobiographical elements, and the song’s theme of escape from the vicissitudes of life.
 
Meanwhile, several of hide’s friends and colleagues stated that they believed the auto-strangulation to have been an accident, among them X Japan co-founder Yoshiki and former X bassist Taiji. This notion is supported by the fact that no suicide note was left and as Taiji theorizes in his autobiography, that at the night of his death, hide may have been practicing a technique to relieve upper back and neck pains which guitarists can suffer from continuous use of a shoulder strap.
 
The technique involved was practiced by the X Japan members during their touring days and required the use of a towel and a door knob or handle. According to Taiji, hide may have fallen asleep in his intoxicated state, becoming caught and strangling himself. 
Toshi’s solo career, which began in 1992, has been extensive, with him having released over 30 albums and performed numerous acoustic shows for smaller audiences. After both having released solo albums in the early 90s, Pata and Heath teamed up with Spread Beaver percussionist/programmer I.N.A., to provide a track for the 1998 hIDE tribute album Tribute Spirits.
The three would reunite again in 2000 to form Dope HEADz, which released two albums. Heath then continued his solo career and Pata formed the instrumental rock group Ra:IN, which later added Spread Beaver keyboardist DIE. 
Before the breakup, Yoshiki had already independently collaborated with Queen drummer Roger Taylor on the single “Foreign Sand” and provided the Japanese contribution to the international Kiss tribute album Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved, an orchestral arrangement of the song “Black Diamond”.
A compilation with orchestral treatments of X Japan songs, titled Eternal Melody was also released. It was performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and among others featured The Beatles producer George Martin as an arranger.
Since 1998 Yoshiki has engaged in numerous activities, such as briefly being a member of the pop band Globe, producing singles for the Korean rock band TRAX and numerous others, as well as working on his solo project Violet UK. 
He has also contributed music to the movie Catacombs and produced the soundtrack of Repo! The Genetic Opera.
On May 25, 2007, the formation of the supergroup S.K.I.N. was announced, which besides Yoshiki consists of pop/rock artists Gackt and Miyavi, as well as Luna Sea guitarist Sugizo. The band gave its first performance at the Anime Expo convention in Long Beach, California on June 29, 2007.
According to a report by the newspaper Sponichi, Toshi visited Yoshiki in Los Angeles in November 2006 to work on the song “Without You” as a tribute to hIDE. However they instead decided to officially reunite X Japan.
In March 2007, Toshi announced on his website that he and Yoshiki had recently resumed working together, stating that a “new project” would commence soon.
The reunion was officially confirmed on June 4, 2007, with Yoshiki announcing a tour, “Without You” being released as a single and that he was in talks with Heath and Pata regarding their participation.
The band made its first public appearance on October 22, 2007, on the rooftop of the shopping center Aqua City in Odaiba, Tokyo, to film a music video for the newly recorded song “I.V.”. 
The song was used as the theme of the American horror movie Saw IV. It was written by Yoshiki and recorded with all X Japan members of the pre-breakup lineup, as it utilizes previously unreleased guitar tracks by hide.
“I.V.” was released through iTunes on January 23, 2008, topping the store’s charts on that day.
On January 20, 2008 two Tokyo Dome concert dates were announced for March 28 and March 30.
Due to popular demand, they added another concert for the 29th. These three shows were entitled Resume Attack 2008 I.V. – Towards Destruction, with each individual concert titled Night of Destruction, Night of Madness and Night of Creation, respectively, and featured three guest guitarists filling in for the late hide – Wes Borland, Richard Fortus and Sugizo.
The March 28 concert was aired live on the pay-per-view channel WOWOW. During the song “Art of Life” a hologram of hide (taken from footage of the “Art of Life” performance at the Tokyo Dome in 1993) played alongside the band. 
Because of technical difficulties, possibly due to the hologram, the concert was delayed for over two hours and later came to an abrupt end when drummer Yoshiki collapsed eight songs into the performance. 
The subsequent shows were without such difficulties and during a press conference, plans for a concert in Paris, France on July 5, 2008 were announced, with an intended audience of 20,000 people. In addition to the Paris date, plans for concerts at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on September 13, and at the Taipei World Trade Center in Taipei on August 2 were also announced.
The hIDE memorial summit took place on May 3 and 4, 2008, with X Japan performing the second day. It also included numerous other acts such as Dir en grey and Oblivion Dust, Phantasmagoria and Luna Sea even reunited for one day to perform.
On June 8, it was reported that all previously scheduled shows would be postponed until further notice, due to a recurrence of Yoshiki’s disc herniation.
On September 15, 2008, Yoshiki held a press conference in Tokyo, where he announced a new, unnamed X Japan song was in the works.
After the conference Yoshiki went on a promotional tour across Asia. 
On December 31, X Japan performed their New Year’s Eve countdown performance at the Akasaka Blitz. 

We are X!

On May 1, it was announced that Sugizo (ex: Luna Sea) officially joined X Japan as lead guitarist.
Their first show with him as a full member was held the next day at the Tokyo Dome, where they played “Jade” for the first time.
On January 9, 2010 the band made its first public U.S. appearance by shooting four new music videos in Hollywood. The four videos were for “Rusty Nail”, “Endless Rain”, “I.V.”, and their new song “Jade”.
In February, Yoshiki confirmed that X Japan will be performing at Lollapalooza in August. It was also announced that a sixth album was in the works and was expected to be released in the fall.
 
March 2010, Yoshiki filed a lawsuit against Nexstar Corporation, for 375 million yen in damages. The claim states that after X Japan reunited, they entered a contract with Nexstar Corporation in January 2008, which included the use of some recordings. That initial deal was for 600 million yen in advance royalties and contract money, which has been entirely unpaid. 
Between 2008 and 2009, the company also sponsored ten of the band’s concerts in Japan and other parts of Asia. In all, the total unpaid amount is more than 900 million yen. 
On July 1, the band appeared at Club Nokia in Los Angeles where they performed an acoustic setlist, and recorded a music video for the new song, “Born to Be Free”. 
 
On July 4, the two founding members Toshi and Yoshiki, appeared in Paris at the Japan Expo 2010 where they performed some songs.
X Japan performed at Lollapalooza 2010 in Grant Park, Chicago on August 8.
 
On August 14 and 15, 2010, the band performed a two-day show at Nissan Stadium, the largest stadium in Japan. It was reported that over 100,000 fans attended the two shows with some estimates as high as 140,000 in attendance. 
 
Ex-bassist Taiji joined them on stage both nights as a guest for the song “X”. Not long after, he took his life in a prison cell.
Soon after, former deceased guitarist hide’s management company, Headwax Organization, filed a lawsuit against Yoshiki and X Japan’s management, Japan Music Agency, for using images of the former member without a formal agreement in place.
 
The claim states that in 2000 the two companies signed an agreement allowing Yoshiki and X Japan to use visual images of hide during concerts. However, images were used at these Nissan Stadium shows, when apparently the contract was expired.
From September 25 to October 10, X Japan performed their first ever North American tour with dates in Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto and New York City. 
 
On December 17, Yoshiki announced that a new X Japan song, “Scarlet Love Song”, was composed for the animated movie adaptation of the Buddha manga.
It was announced on January 27, 2011, that X Japan signed a 3-year agreement with EMI in November 2010. The label will handle the American distribution of their single “Jade”, and their untitled album, which was set for release in late summer. 
 
In promotion of the new album, it was also stated they would be touring extensively around the world throughout 2011. X Japan performed on March 6 at Asia Girls Explosion, a fashion event and music concert that Yoshiki created with Jay FR. It was announced they would perform in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru later in the year.
Due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan on March 11, the band decided to postpone the release of “Jade” until June 28. Yoshiki also decided to auction off one of his used signature Kawai crystal grand pianos, of which all proceeds were sent to help provide aid to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
“Scarlet Love Song” was released in Japan on June 8, and on June 28 their first worldwide single, “Jade”, was released, both on iTunes. That same day they performed in London, the first concert of the European leg of their ongoing world tour, which was followed by Paris on July 1, Utrecht on July 2 and Berlin on July 4.
 –

Death of Taiji

On July 11, 2011, Taiji was arrested for interference with a flight attendant due to an incident on a Delta Airlines flight en route from Japan to Saipan. During the flight, Taiji was subdued by other passengers and a flight attendant after a violent outburst, and was arrested upon landing in Saipan. He faced federal charges in the United States for this. 
 
On July 14, Taiji was rushed to an intensive care unit at Saipan’s Commonwealth Health Center after allegedly attempting suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet in his detention cell, which left him brain dead and on life support. Taiji died on July 17 at 11 a.m., after his mother and fiancée made the decision to turn off his life support system.
 
X-Japan’s tour’s South American concerts were; Santiago on September 9, São Paulo on September 11, Buenos Aires on September 14, Lima on September 16 and Mexico City on September 18. The Asian leg of the tour brought stops in Seoul on October 28, Shanghai on October 30, Hong Kong on November 4, Taipei on November 6 and Bangkok on November 8. 
The Beijing show, originally scheduled for November 2, was cancelled by the promoters on October 25 due to “technical and production issues”. 
In April 2012, X Japan won the Revolver Golden Gods Award for “Best International Artist”.
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About Joshua Hideki

Hi! I'm Hideki. You can call me Josh! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ Welcome!!~ This is a Travel Blog covering Japan, and many other bits & pieces of my personal life. Photography, Blogging, Fashion & Traveling in Style. A travel guide for everyone with these passions. Absorb the mesmerizing atmosphere, take in amazing sights & let the enchanting ambiance take you away as you embrace different cultures & see the world through my eyes - my Eternal Memories. Visit my Blog at: JoshuaHideki.com ! Come discover Japan from the inside with me and also we'll provide you with the best destinations to visit; and that includes the rest of the World too! Please enjoy! Discover Japan & Travel the World with me!! Life is precious, you only have one so live it to the fullest!

6 thoughts on “History of X-Japan

  1. […] – is pronounced as Lemonade and is the official branding for our dearly departed hIDE of X-Japan. May he R.I.P You will never be forgotten… More shoes than what you’ll be able to […]

  2. […] ♥ Heavy Metal music!   3. I ♥ going to concerts! Concerts I’ve been to are: Iron Maiden, X-Japan, SuG, Children of bodom, Sabaton, Nightwish, L.M.C, Cradle of Filth, Judas Priest, Lamb of God, […]

  3. […] housing the Craft Art Gallery and the Asiatic Art Gallery. The Annex features a number of works by Japanese artists, and includes both oil paintings and sculptures. The Craft Art Gallery displays ceramics, woodblock […]

  4. […] Dome at least once, to catch our favorite bands perform live on stage. Japanese veteran metal band; X-Japan performed their “Last Live” in here, too! Many international bands have since taken advantage of […]

  5. […] Japan and eventually the rest of the world by storm, and dates all the way back and even beyond the “Granddaddies” of J-Rock’s X-Japan. In Japan, Visual Kei can be the equivalent of Metal/Rock; Usually sub-genred under Glam-Rock, with […]

  6. […] Aiji in action reminds me so much of everyone’s beloved Hide-sama; of X-Japan.* (No pun intended […]

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