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X-Japan profile

In jos

X-Japan profile

Mesaj Scris de ~error heroin~ la data de Dum Aug 17, 2008 2:54 pm

X Japan (エックス ジャパン, Ekkusu Japan?) is a popular Japanese band founded in 1982 by Toshimitsu "Toshi" Deyama and Yoshiki Hayashi.Originally named X (エックス), the group achieved its breakthrough success in 1989 with the release of their second album Blue Blood. They started out as a power/speed metal band and later gravitated towards a progressive sound, at all times retaining an emphasis on ballads. After three more albums, X Japan disbanded in 1997.

Besides being one of the first Japanese acts to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label, the group is widely credited for pioneering the visual kei movement,though most of the group's members toned down their on-stage attire in later years.As of 2007, the band has sold over twenty million records and over two million home videos.
On June 4, 2007 it was announced the band would reunite with a new song released via digital download in January 2008 and live performances scheduled for March and May.
X was founded in 1982 while vocalist Toshi and drummer Yoshiki were attending high school together. The band began to actively perform live in the Tokyo area in 1985, its lineup at that time being completed by a number of changing support musicians. A first single, titled "I'll Kill You" was released on Dada Records in June and in November of the same year, the group contributed the song "Break the Darkness" to the samplers Heavy Metal Force III.

To ensure a continuous outlet for the band's publications, Yoshiki founded the independent label Extasy Records in the following year on which a second single, "Orgasm", was released.The songs "Stab Me in the Back" and "No Connexion", recorded for the 1987 Victor Records sampler Skull Thrash Zone Volume I mark the group's first material featuring Tomoaki "Pata" Ishizuka as a support guitar player. He formally joined the group later that year. Likewise, guitarist Hideto "Hide" Matsumoto and bassist Taiji Sawada both briefly performed with X on separate occasions before completing the group's first steady lineup.

On December 26, 1987, the band participated in an audition held by CBS Sony which would lead to a recording contract with the label signed 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 also appeared in a cameo in the film Tokyo Pop, starring Carrie Hamilton and Diamond Yukai.

X's second album Blue Blood was released on April 21, 1989 and spawned several singles, such as "Kurenai" and "Endless Rain", as well as the group's first home video release, a VHS titled Blue Blood Tour Bakuhatsu Sunzen Gig, containing one of the concerts of the subsequent tour. Recordings for the follow-up album Jealousy took place in Los Angeles. It was released on July 1, 1991 and followed by the band's first performance in Japan's largest indoor concert venue, the Tokyo Dome.Footage from most of the band's numerous show in that stadium would later be released on CD and VHS/DVD.

By 1992 the band's success in Japan made an international breakthrough appear likely enough to warrant the renaming to "X Japan", in order to distinguish the group from the United States punk band X. Around the same time Taiji left the group and was replaced by Hiroshi "Heath" Morie. Taiji went on to work with Loudness and Cloud Nine.

For the release of its next album, X Japan left Sony and signed a deal with Atlantic Records. Art of Life was released on August 28, 1993, notable for containing only the 29 minutes long title track, which would only be performed three times for a live audience. Another studio album was not released until November 4, 1996, though Dahlia contained relatively little new material, given that singles included on the record had been coming out as early as a few months after Art of Life. Around that time, the group dropped most of its original visual kei aesthetics in favor of a more casual look. Dahlia would be the band's last major release, since vocalist Toshi had decided to leave the group, a subsequent dissolution being officially announced in September 1997. X Japan performed their farewell show at the Tokyo Dome on December 31, making it the last of five consecutive New Year's Eves the group performed in that stadium.

Much has been made of Toshi's departure, including allegations of him joining a cult and being influenced by it. Toshi has since refuted such claims, stating that his decision to leave X Japan dated back as far as April 1996, more than a year before he met the organization's leader, Masaya and that the glamorous, success-oriented life of a rock star failed to satisfy him emotionally, as opposed to a simpler life and career.

While reissues, compilations and live footage continued to be released,[20] the members of X Japan pursued various other projects: Hide, who had been releasing solo albums since 1994's Hide Your Face, continued his solo career as Hide 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 in May 1998.

Toshi has released several solo albums, along with numerous acoustic performances for smaller audiences. According to his website, his Utatabi Traveling Concert tour has included over 3.000 concerts, between 1999 and 2003.

Pata and Heath, along with Spread Beaver percussionist/programmer I.N.A., founded Dope Headz in 2001 which released two albums but then ceased activity. The trio also provided a track for the Hide tribute album Tribute Spirits. Heath is currently pursuing a solo career and Pata is a member of RAIN (Rock and Inspiration).

Before the X Japan 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, 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 being briefly a member of the pop band Globe,producing singles for the Korean rock band TRAX and working on his solo project Violet UK, which as of 2007 has not yet published a major release. He has also contributed music to the movie Catacombs and will be producing the soundtrack of Repo! The Genetic Opera.On May 25, 2007, the formation of the supergroup Skin was announced, which besides Yoshiki consists of pop/rock artists Gackt and Miyavi, as well as former Luna Sea guitarist Sugizo. The band gave its debut at the Anime Expo convention in Long Beach, California on June 29, 2007.

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. An X Japan reunion was officially confirmed on June 4, 2007, with Yoshiki announcing a tour, as well as a new single (a re-recording of the song "Without You", originally from Yoshiki's 2005 solo album Eternal Melody II) to be underway 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, during which a music video for the newly recorded song "I.V." was filmed. "I.V." also appears on the soundtrack of the movie Saw 4. It is written by Yoshiki and recorded with all living X Japan members of the pre-breakup lineup. Previously unreleased guitar tracks by Hide were used for the lead guitar part."I.V." was released through the iTunes on January 23, 2008, topping the store's daily charts on that day.It is also set to be included in an upcoming greatest hits compilation, along with the previously announced "Without You". When asked whether there would be further new material Yoshiki gave it a "fifty-fifty" chance.Regarding the vacant lead guitar part it was initially stated in June 2007 that about ten guitarists were to fill in for the late Hide during concerts, yet no names were mentioned.Yoshiki was later quoted that a guitarist not from Japan and/or a "new face" may be performing with the band.

On January 20, 2008 two Tokyo Dome concert dates were announced, March 28 and March 30 respectively.A third show, scheduled for March 29, was later added to accommodate demand. The March 28 concert aired live on the pay television channel WOWOW, with a DVD release set to follow,guitarists performing with X Japan during these three concerts were Wes Borland of Black Light Burns, Richard Fortus of Guns N' Roses and Sugizo,in addition to the use of old live footage of Hide.Fortus and fellow Guns N' Roses member Robin Finck had previously covered "Endless Rain" as a guitar duet during the Japanese shows of their band's 2007 tour. Borland later commented on his blog that he felt "honored to have been part of the experience".

Due to technical difficulties the first 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. X Japan also performed at the Hide Memorial Summit, a two-day tribute concert that was held on May 3 and May 4 at the Tokyo Stadium and feature about twenty artists, including Dir en grey, Luna Sea and T.M. Revolution. In addition to the Paris date, plans for concerts at the Madison Square Garden, New York City on September 13, and at the Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei on August 2 have also been confirmed.

X Japan's music developed in the wake of the success of American and British glam and heavy metal bands and is characterized by hard-driving speed and thrash compositions (e.g. "Kurenai", "Silent Jealousy"), as well as emotional ballads (e.g. "Endless Rain", "Forever Love").Many of the group's songs make heavy use of piano-driven, orchestrated passages, particularly longer tracks such as the ten and a half minute "Tears" and the twenty-nine minute "Art of Life".

During live performances the band relies, for the most part, solely on its members (with drummer and pianist Yoshiki switching between instruments) and prerecorded tracks, e.g. for orchestral strings, spoken word passages, and more recently, most of Hide's guitar parts.
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