X Japan's Sugizo Wants to Save the Whales
Yes, for this tour we just have one show in America and one show in Europe, in Germany. Also, a few areas in Asia. This is the first time for us playing in America. At first we needed to choose just one important place. But honestly, I don't like LA. I really like San Francisco.
Why? Some people love L.A. and some hate it.
L.A. is very good as an entertainment center, but for me it's too much, too -- many people there are too selfish. So many people's egos are too much for me. My feeling is that in L.A. people don't want to unite. But in San Francisco people are more open, more -- how do you say it? More kind and more open. The feeling is very good.
How does it feel doing shows with X compared to doing shows with Luna Sea?
For me it's very natural. I'll just say this -- I think my musical capacity is very wide. For me to switch between Juno Reactor's style, Luna Sea's style, X Japan's style, it's not a big deal. I just love music.
Would you be bored if you were just doing one band?
I cannot imagine that. (laughs) Of course when I was younger, when I was 27, 28 years old, my focus was just Luna Sea. But now I cannot imagine that feeling. Luna Sea, Juno Reactor, X Japan, my own solo stuff, it's all part of me.
How are you guys doing on a personal level in Luna Sea? Last time we spoke you said that by the time you broke up you were getting very irritated with each other. How is everybody getting along?
I think Luna Sea is our home ground, like a family. Sometimes a family's relationship gets bad, the relationships with father, mother, brother, sister. Luna Sea is like a family. A few years ago the relationship was very bad, very difficult, so we had to stop.
Was there anything in particular that drove you to that or were you just around each other too much?
Yes, too much, and we had too much ego. But three years ago we reunited. Of course at first I didn't want to do it.
Because Luna Sea was my big trauma. Was.
Were you still holding on to bad feelings about the whole thing?
Yes, I was holding bad feeling for the last ten years. But so many people around me, other members, wanted to. At first I didn't want to do it but I said OK, I'll try it.
Was it just supposed to be one or two shows?
Just one show. And when we played again in the rehearsal studio the feeling was amazing. I couldn't have imagined that feeling. I felt like it was my fate to return to Luna Sea, like here is my home. For the last seven years I didn't want to go back to my home. I just wanted new experiences and I wanted to go to new places. But at last I came back to my home. Until a few years ago I didn't have that feeling, but now I know the truth. Luna Sea is our home, we cannot change that.
Have you let go of whatever anger or bad feelings you had?
Yes, exactly. We're family. We are five brothers.
No matter how angry they might make you, your family is still your family.
Yes, and we were family back then too, but now we realize that more deeply because we are more mature.
Now, go back and give us the history of Luna Sea. When did you guys start?
Inoran and J and I met in junior high. And Shinya and I were high school classmates. We were best friends, and J and Inoran were best friends. When we were high school students of course we had a rock band.
But you were a classical music kid.
Yes, and Shinya also. He mastered traditional taiko drums, which is one of the oldest Japanese musical instruments. And of course I played the violin. Even though Shinya and I mastered different music instruments, our musical skill was already good and comparable. When we were high school students Shinya and I had a band, and Inoran and J had their band, and our bands had a very good relationship to each other.
But you were still two separate units at that point.
Yes, also Ryuichi was in another band.
I'm trying to think where you would have fit into the scene at the time, because in a way Luna Sea was kind of like X. Your style was very different, not standard.
At first our style was very hardcore punk. Hardcore punk meets gothic, kind of? I really love gothic.
Ryuichi looked very gothic back then, almost like the singer from Dead or Alive.
Exactly. Our personal style was after that though. At first our style was very hardcore and gothic, not pop. But already Ryuichi loved the Beatles, and Shinya loved Japanese pop bands. Inoran, J and I loved hardcore stuff.
How did that happen, that you went from being a hardcore punk band to this light, airy sort of sound?
I don't know why we changed but I remember that it was an important thing. Usually we searched for our own way, our own style, not to copy.
All bands when they start out tend to sound like they're copying, and then they find their own sound.
Yes, exactly. But we didn't want to copy X Japan, we didn't want to follow any big Japanese band. We searched for our own original style, our own way to play music and our own guitar style, our own fashion and make-up. In all things we really made our own style. It was very important.
Another thing that occurred to me that's kind of funny is here you are doing this tour with X, and they're all very excited because this is the first time they've toured the US, but for you it's really not the same. Where do you like playing? You said you wish you'd been able to see more of San Francisco. What other places did you really feel like, "I like this place, I want to come back here?"