After the violation of hide’s grave, I’ve decided to dedicate this week to him; to honor his memory in times when others don’t. This is for all of you who loves hide.
This is an interview with Yoshiki, the drummer of X-Japan and one of hide’s best friends. After hide’s death, Yoshiki stopped making music and appearing in media. Obviously, hide’s death hindered him from everything that used to be his entire life. He was a deeply mourning man who couldn’t believe that his friend was gone. A person in his life that he respected the most. And Yoshiki blamed himself for everything bad that had happened to X-Japan, for Toshi’s decision to leave the band and for hide’s death.
This interview took place one year after hide’s death. First then, Yoshiki was able to talk about it. In this interview he describes his pain, his remorse, his fear and his despise against Toshi who forced X-Japan to break up.
It’s a long interview, so I’ve chosen to pick those parts that concerns hide.
X Japan’s Last Live on December 31, 1997. And then sudden death of hide on May 2nd last year. The leader of X Japan and the most centripetal artist in the Japanese rock scene, Yoshiki, has kept silence since the shocking accident.
His beautiful and acute music has brought an enthusiasm to people’s hearts ever since the debut of X. Those melodies have led him to a glorious success as a rock musician. His talent received a high praise not only in Japan but also in foreign countries and his debut in America has been prepared all right.
Everyone thought that it would not be long before he works actively all over the world. But Yoshiki remains silent now. His heart which crouches down firm and doesn’t move an inch, seems to be frozen and refuses other people. The separation with Toshi, who had been his best friend from childhood, and the world without hide, whom he respected most, drove his heart into a corner.
Though hurt and confused, Yoshiki never gave up his music. He is now certainly trying to step forward to the future, loving and hating the past that he has accumulated. If I could follow the time that Yoshiki watches, from the past to the future… This interview started with such an intention. Yoshiki’s soul that swings has retailed through enormous conversation.
With a calm and deep kindness he answered my questions honestly.
Interviewer: You announced in February that you wouldn’t do a ‘hide tribute concert’ on the first anniversary day of his death.
Yoshiki: I decided no. To tell you the truth, it’s not a problem of the schedule or the circumstances, but it’s because I’m still feeling the pain. The reason why I have never accepted any interviews since last year is that I have been confused after hide’s death. I couldn’t understand what was going on. At hide’s funeral I had to say something as a leader of X to the fans who were worried, grieving or crying in pain. I talked to them, ‘Please be calm.’ Although I was absent minded. But after I went back to LA and found that I was the most uncalm. I began to think what I was, then I was unable to do anything at all. I felt a strange responsibility. I thought, ‘ If hide had not met me, he would not be like this.’ or ‘What was the memory of X?’ or ‘What should I do from now on?’.
Interviewer: You are still thinking of hide?
Yoshiki: Yes. When hide was alive, I had a dream…. I thought I would make the 2nd X. I really do. I talked with hide, “Let’s do something toward the year of 2000.” And I was also very constructive with my solo work. In addition, under such circumstances that I wasn’t abel to htink of anything because of hides death, I hard about Toshi. I didn’t know why Toshi had changed like that because I had been in LA, but I came ot feel scared. All of the people who had something to do with me had changed. I’m afraid if I started something again and involved someone, I would lead them to another awfull end again… Now, I’m scared of starting something new of my own will, so I can’t do anything.
Interviewer: You announced in February that you wouldn’t do a ‘hide tribute concert’ on the first anniversary day of his death.
Yoshiki: Yes. When hide was alive, I had a dream…. I thought I would make the 2nd X. I really do. I talked with hide, “Let’s do something toward the year of 2000.” And I was also very constructive with my solo work. In addition, under such circumstances that I wasn’t able to think of anything because of hide’s death, I heard about Toshi. I didn’t know why Toshi had changed like that because I had been in LA, but I came off feel scared. All of the people who had something to do with me had changed. I’m afraid if I started something again and involved someone, I would lead them to another awful end again… Now, I’m scared of starting something new of my own will, so I can’t do anything.
Interviewer: You are producing many bands at a time, aren’t you?
Yoshiki: I’m producing 8 to 10 artists now. I booked 3 or 4 studios in a day, and worked so hard as I fainted. I expected to become calm in such days… but it was in vain. I’m too scared to even think of hide. I feel sad only to look at his pictures. I can’t even look at hide’s photos. I can’t watch X’s videos or his solo videos. I don’t want to see them. So I’m much more confused than before, because I came back to Japan with such a mind condition.
Interviewer: Yoshiki, you talked to the fans when hide died, even though you are the saddest. Many young people could control themselves by your words then. A lot of your fans could overcome the pain and they could act positively to succeed hide’s will after that. Your words made them step forward.
Yoshiki: Is that so? Thinking back, I didn’t understand anything at all. I was talking to them, “Please be calm,” but it was I who didn’t understand the reality that hide was dead. But it saved me a lot that you said that my words spread to the fans and made them control themselves.
Interviewer: It’s true. Honestly, I’m very much shocked to know that Yoshiki, who sent the message, is still feeling such a pain. It is also very shocking to most of your fans to know that you are thinking of your retirement from the front job.
Yoshiki: I don’t know. I thought about the tribute concert a lot, too. If I were hide, if I were him, I would like to be left alone… I don’t know well. I don’t know what it is to be positive. I don’t know what it will be. My mind is clear, but my heart doesn’t correspond with my mind.
Interviewer: You spent enormous time with Toshi.
Yoshiki: Yes. So… Toshi must be tired. We had directly opposite personalities.
Interviewer: Is that so?
Yoshiki: In plain when were High School students I was a bad boy, but he was a sportsman.
Interviewer: But you liked the differences?
Yoshiki: I often talked with hide about him. He was an ordinary man. He wasn’t a rock musician. I and hide changed the ordinary Toshi into a rock musician. We told him “Speak like this on stage.” or “Make your hair more showily like this.” And there were the times when Toshi in such a fearful disguise began to talk like an ordinary person and we loved the gap. “Our vocalist is an ordinary man.”
Interviewer: Have you ever imagined that hide would end like this?
Yoshiki: No. I always thought that it must be me who would be led to such an end. I have always been thinking “I wish I would break into pieces.” I’m actually going to break into pieces now, and I find it really hurts.
Interviewer: You’re hurt so badly.
Yoshiki: My doctor gave me some tranquilizers. I go to a therapy in L.A.
Yoshiki: Yes. Talking to a therapist, you must be healed.
Yoshiki: The therapist listened to my story, nodding. He said, “I understand you well.” When I talked about my feeling he said, “I know.” Then I gradually became angry and I asked him “Do you really understand?” He said, “Yes, I do.” But I got crazy and shouted at him, “It can’t be so! It’s impossible for you to understand this feeling in me!” The therapist defended himself, saying “What I mean is…” But I left him. The therapy didn’t work well.
Interviewer: So you could not hide your unrest?
Yoshiki: After the press conference a very shocking thing happened. We gave the press conference by the four without Toshi because Toshi had left the band in April. But Toshi said “I wasn’t informed about the press conference.” Of course we gave the information about it to his office previously through the manager of X. I myself didn’t think I should tell Toshi who had already left the band. I thought there was no sense in what he said. Though I got angry and wanted to argue against him in some magazines, I kept silent, because it would only hurt us each other. But I got so angry at Toshi that I could not forgive him. I wrote a song called “The Last Song” after that, but I didn’t meet him. I said, “I don’t want to see his face anymore.” I was in LA and Toshi was in Japan. I didn’t talk with him directly. I only talked with the staff of the vocal recording on the telephone. I was really angry about him.
Interviewer: And you came back for the last concert.
Yoshiki: I finally talked to him on the day before the concert, December 30th, thinking “We should give a good concert tomorrow.”
Interviewer: What did you say to him?
Yoshiki: I didn’t want to see him even in rehearsal, so I was playing alone. I don’t know whether the old members were playing with Toshi then. During the rehearsal I talked to him only one instant. I said, I really got mad, but let’s show them a good show tomorrow and make it to an end.”
Interviewer: But you could not control your anger.
Yoshiki: Toshi made his choice of his life and wanted to leave the band, so we accepted it. I thought that Toshi should tell only the truth to the fans. Instead he said “I was not invited to the press conference.” It sounded like that he was the victim. When I heard the words, I imagined that he wanted to pretend to have been fired by me. If so, he’s unfair. I thought he was not honest to our fans. We made our fans feel sad by disbanding X. I believed that we owned what we were to our fans. I thought that he should talk honestly to them, even if he was to be blame or not. He had to tell them, “I left the band by my own will.” I despised him because he didn’t do that at the end.
Interviewer: I didn’t know that.
Yoshiki: When I was talking with hide, I said to him, “I don’t want to play with Toshi in the last concert. Let’s play the songs only on the instruments without a vocal.” I even thought that we could ask the fans to sing. But hide said, “We should play with Toshi, if we play the songs of X.” He said “Yoshiki, you wrote all the songs for Toshi’s voice, didn’t you?” He said “…for Toshi’s voice…”
Interviewer: …you wrote them for…
Yoshiki: “…you wrote them for…, didn’t you?” he said. So… Toshi joined the band again because hide said so.
Interviewer: Did your anger vanish on the day of the last live?
Yoshiki: I had been raging since the day after the press conference until the day before the last concert. I had not spoken to Toshi during that period. I intended to beat him at the end of the concert.
Interviewer: On the stage?
Yoshiki: Yes. On the stage. I didn’t want a beautiful break up. It was my true feeling I was going to beat him at the end of the concert and leave the stage. Do you remember the moment that I and Toshi walked toward each other? I had been thinking of beating him until that moment.
Yoshiki: I was going to beat him there, but…
Yoshiki: But when he appeared in front of me, there was “my friend Toshi” whom I had known since I was five years old.
Interviewer: So you held him tight at the end of the concert. You couldn’t hurt him anyway.
Yoshiki: I rather be killed than I kill someone. You suffer more from the sense of guilt if you hurt someone. It will give me more pain to think that I hurt someone. I can bear the pain from an attack but I can’t bear the pain of heart that I had hurt someone. It will suffer me more.
Interviewer: You went back to LA still confused?
Yoshiki: I thought that I would be able to talk about me and hide after a while. I thought I would be ready by the New Years Day. But I’m not ready.
Interviewer: You don’t have to blame yourself for hide’s death. Most of your fans know that, they understand more than anyone else.
Yoshiki: But still, if he had not met me, he would not be like this… We chased dreams together sharing them with each other, but it turned out to be a nightmare at the end.
Interviewer: There are a lot for your fans who rely on your songs and hide’s. They will never change.
Yoshiki: Well, I wish I could think positively.
Interviewer: When will you begin to think of your future?
Yoshiki: I’m escaping from thinking of myself now, but if I do, I would think that I will try not to do the same thing. I think I won’t play the drums again. I have played them for long enough.
Interviewer: Yoshiki won’t play the drums…
Yoshiki: That’s right. I want to be a totally different Yoshiki, if I should appear on stage again someday.
The entire interview can be read HERE.
Changed name: from X to X JAPAN 1992 to distinguish from an American punk group with the same name.
|Guitar: hide (Hideto Matsumoto) (松本秀人)
Dec 13th 1964
May 2nd 1998
|Bass: TAIJI (Sawada Taiji) (沢田 泰司)
July 12th 1966
July 17th 2011
- Vo. Toshi → DYNAMITE → NOISE → X → X JAPAN, TOSHI(solo) → TOSHI(solo), X JAPAN, TOSHI with T-HEART → ToshI, X JAPAN
- Gt. Pata → Black Rose → JUDY → X → X JAPAN, PATA(solo) → P.A.F. → Dope HEADz → Ra:IN → Ra:IN, X JAPAN
- Gt. Sugizo → PINOCCHIO → KASHIMIR → LUNA SEA → SUGIZO(solo) → LUNA SEA → SUGIZO[solo], SUGIZO & THE SPANK YOUR JUICE, SHAG → The FLARE, SUGIZO[solo], SHAG → SUGIZO[solo], SHAG, S.T.K. → SUGIZO[solo], SHAG, S.T.K., S.K.I.N., Juno Reactor, X JAPAN → SUGIZO[solo], SHAG, S.T.K., S.K.I.N., Juno Reactor, X JAPAN, LUNA SEA
- Ba. Heath → PARANOIA → Chaos Mode → Beet Sweet → Sweet Death → Majestic Isabelle → Media Youth → PARANOIA → X JAPAN → X JAPAN, HEATH(solo) → HEATH(solo) → HEATH(solo), Dope HEADz → HEATH(solo), RATS → HEATH(solo), Lynx → X JAPAN, HEATH(solo) → X JAPAN, TOSHI with T-EARTH→ X JAPAN, HEATH(solo)
- Dr&Pi. YOSHIKI → DYNAMITE → NOISE → X → X, V2 → X JAPAN, YOSHIKI(solo) → YOSHIKI(solo) → VIOLET UK, globe, YOSHIKI(solo) → VIOLET UK, YOSHIKI(solo), S.K.I.N. → VIOLET UK, X JAPAN, S.K.I.N.
- Gt. hide → (SABER TIGER→SAVER TIGER) → X → X JAPAN, hide(solo) → hide with Spread Beaver, zilch → [deceased May 2nd 1998]
- Ba. TAIJI → TRASH → DEMENTIA → PLOWER → X → FATIMA, DEAD WIRE → X → LOUDNESS → D.T.R., Kings → D.T.R. → Cloud Nine → Otokaze → Taiji with Heaven’s, The Killing Red Addiction, D.T.R., Cloud Nine, TSP → [deceased July 17th 2011]