They Were [Re]Born To Be [Ever] Free; A Tale of Music, Heartache and Lunacy

Yesterday was a very slow day at work, especially because my coworkers are being slugs … i mean it, we are suppose to end this project we had been working on for ages and instead of doing it, they are playing games on their smartphones… they played for eight hours…

So, because they were making too much noise, but i still can’t concentrate on listening to audiobooks i decided to listen to some of the music i have on my phone. Curiously until the very moment i had to decide what to listen to, i didn’t realize it’s been a very long time since i listened to music at all. I ended up chosing my Japanese playlist…

Okay, yeah, i’d been into Japanese culture for a very long time and i really enjoy their music, to be honest, the first band i’ve ever decided to start listening by myself in my teenage years was a Japanese band, it’s also the one i’m going to talk about today.

I was going through the playlist when the song ‘Unfinished’ by X-Japan began, now, you don’t know it, but that’s a song i can never skip, i love it so much.. and so i sat at my cubicle and listen to the lyrics (the song it’s completely in English, i may understand some spoken Japanese but not that much). While sitting there i sort of felt as if some ‘furniture’ was being moved inside me, .. i mean, i’ve been so numb for so long, and yet while listening to Toshi’s voice i felt like crying.

So i felt a little melancholic. After all, i’ve love them for so many year (half my life), so i teared up a little. Because i was at work i decided i’d better listen to something more cheerful, luckily they have some amazing songs, so i opened youtube and looked up for a song called “Rusty Nail”. Funny thing, i never checked them on youtube before, but it turns out they have an animated video clip for the song. It was so freaking awesome i got super energized by it and went looking for some more music, which i’ve been avoiding much to be honest..

Now let’s talk about this band a little, because i have some major issues with it.

Well, it’s really only one issue,… Once upon a time (wtf is this start?) there was a
musician named Hideto ‘hide’ Matsumoto, he was a member (lead guitarist) of X-Japan along YOSHIKI (drums and piano), Toshi(lead vocal), Pata(rhythm guitar) and Heath (bass) until they broke up back in 1997. Back then each one went his way and off they started solo careers or so.. May 2nd, 1998 hide died and with him the (in my reasoning) possibility of X-Japan ever getting together again, back then YOSHIKI said they had plans for it, but well, hide was gone and so my favorite guitarist ever.

Yeah, well, even though i started listening to X-Japan much after they broke up they became quickly my favorite band ever, and i suffered a lot because hide was gone (i still cry because of him, a lot).

                                                      <The band in their last live together, 1997; left to                                                       right: Heath, Pata, YOSHIKI, Toshi and Hide>

So, you may think, well, this band is gone for good, right? Well, somehow in 2007 they decided to reunite and brought a new lead guitarist, Sugizo.

This is going to sound fake but i really mean it; I like Sugizo, i like him quite a lot, since i started listening to Luna Sea back in the day, he is every possible kind of awesome and also seems to be a really neat person, a very good guy. I really think so, i’m not saying this because what’s coming next, i swear, you’ll see.

For years, since knowing Sugizo took hide’s place i tried to avoid any news about the band because i felt like no one could (or should) take hide’s places… just thinking about it now is making me tear up… hide loved X-Japan, and he was such a presence in the band, no one could possibly take that place, it felt wrong to me. Like, VERY VERY WRONG. So i kept to the past and didn’t even try to check any of it out.

But yesterday i felt curious, you know? Aside of the Rusty Nail video there were some recommendations of live videos of the band, some recent concerts and that… One of the recommended videos was one with a title i’ve never seen, so i was curious. The song IV was actually a “new” song, back in 2007, which means it includes Sugizo, but as i watched the clip it seemed to me hide made a sort of cameo… So i checked another one. In the second video “Born to be free” hide made also a cameo. Things were getting weird but here’s the thing;

As i said myself, hide was a huge part of X-Japan, yeah, X-Japan wouldn’t be X-Japan without him, as it wouldn’t be without Toshi or Pata or YOSHIKI or Heath… and so, apparently he still is part of the band… I find this sort of weird too, and i’m not sure how it really works, like, they use his records from the last show the band did together before he passed away (or something like that). This made me rethink Sugizo’s position in the band, he isn’t really replacing hide, actually he is adding with his awesomeness, as i said, the man is GOLD.

Current members of the band (from left to right); YOSHIKI, Toshi, Sugizo, Pata and Heath.

And so, i continued checking up some other live videos and it actually looks really great, i should have checked this out before… not that they released much stuff these past 8 years but you know..but i did miss the oportunity to try and travel somewhere they were doing a concert …nah, not really i wouldn’t be able to listen to them without crying until i faint, so that’s never gonna happen, if i cry while jsut listening to them now, imagine me on a concert… what a disaster.

I wonder if the solos Sugizo did on the live shows were changed on purpose or if he just can’t do the solos Hide did for some reason… i mean, he can do such jaw dropping things, … i don’t understand, maybe it’s sort of a statement ‘i’m nor replacing Hide, i’m bringing something new to the band’ or something like that… I really don’t know, but he is a complete babe (sorry, it had to be said). However, Sugizo is the sixth member of the band, because Hide was upgraded to eternal member, yep, not even death will stop the greatness of the man.

Sugizo at Hide’s memorial.

Anyway, if you haven’t listened to X-Japan, check them out, they are after all the most successful rock band in the history of Japan… just so you know they are tagged as metal but they have also some great ballads, YOSHIKI is the composer and he writes some incredible songs, like, it’s mind blowing.

Well that’s all for now, ’til next time 😉

p.d: did you get the lunacy punch?

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