X Japan's Yoshiki on Touring the U.S., the Loss of Hide, and the Future of the Band

Categories: Q&A
Kirsty Evans
Yoshiki behind the piano.
Shortly after X Japan's historic show at the Fox Theater last Tuesday, we got the chance to sit down with drummer, pianist, and band leader Yoshiki as he relaxed in his dressing room. A genuinely charming man, Yoshiki was friendly and remarkably frank about how he feels about finally bringing X Japan to America.

Read on for a brief overview of the history of the band, an update on how Yoshiki's health is holding up, how he feels about the idea of trying to break into the American market, and what it's like moving on from the loss of a much loved band member.

Judging by what you were saying during the show it seems like you guys have wanted to do this for a long time. When did you first start thinking about doing an American tour?

A long time ago. I'd say about 15 years ago or so. Around that time we were talking to Atlantic Records

When was that?

I don't know, when was that? It was a long time ago, too long! I'd say more like 12 years.

Before X broke up, though.

Yes. So then we were making our first worldwide album, but the problem was that we didn't speak English at all. So we had to learn English, especially Toshi and I. By the time I was comfortable speaking English we were having internal problems. The members didn't get along, and then we broke up. Then a few months later one of the guitarists, Hide, died, so I didn't even think about reuniting this band. Toshi and I went separate ways.

You two knew each other when you were children, right?

Kindergarten! (laughs) So then he called me up and we started talking again and fixed our friendship, and then did a reunion concert, but at that time we didn't know if it was going to be a one time thing or the beginning of something new. Then we started seeing it like, this may work out. Then last year I started talking to a few of my friends in Hollywood and they said "why don't you do Lollapalooza?" If that's great then this is not enough, right? So they said "you should tour America". Can we? So that's kind of how things happened.

So far you've done just the show in L.A.?

Yes, and tonight's show.

How did things go in L.A.? That's kind of your home base now.
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