ROCK­STAR TEST YOSHIKI X JA­PAN

HE’S BA­SI­CALLY THE JA­PANESE AXL ROSE. WITH LESS DRAMA AND MORE CHUCKING MONEY AROUND

Kerrang! (UK) - - Gigs -

ON ROCK’N’ROLL… WHAT’STHE CRA­ZI­EST CROWD YOU’VE EVER PLAYEDTO?

“In the early stages of X Ja­pan I was also in an­other punk band with a vo­cal­ist who didn’t have a hand, so he’d wear this hook.the crowds were re­ally tough.there were some tours in the ’80s where, night after night, the crowd never stopped fight­ing each other. So one night, my band­mates de­cided to jump in and join the fight, leav­ing me by my­self play­ing drums on the stage won­der­ing what the fuck I was do­ing.”

HAVEYOU EVER SHED BLOOD INTHE NAME OF ROCK’N’ROLL?

“Oh, ev­ery day! We had a big re­union con­cert at Tokyo Dome in front of 50,000 peo­ple for three nights. It was a pretty big deal! After the first few songs, I’d al­ready dived into the drumkit half-naked. Since then, no in­surance com­pa­nies will cover our shows!”

WHAT’S THE WEIRD­EST GIFT YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN BY A FAN?

“I have had some re­ally creepy fan let­ters. Stuff like,‘can I kill you?’ or, ‘I want to hang your body to my wall.’ That’s pretty un­set­tling. Let’s just say those are the ones I don’t re­ally feel like I should write back to.” You don’t re­ply? Rude…

FAILS AND F’UPS… HAVEYOU EVER HADTO CAN­CEL A SHOW?

“I had some solo shows planned for after X Ja­pan’s last show be­fore our break-up in 1997.Then our gui­tar player [Hide] passed away, and our vo­cal­ist [Toshi] got brain­washed by a cult. So I had to stop and say,‘i can’t do this any more – I just need to shut it all down!’”

WHAT X JA­PAN SONG WOULD YOU ERASE?

“That’s a re­ally hard ques­tion! Phys­i­cally, there are a few songs that are in­cred­i­bly hard to play live. Blue Blood starts with 190 beats per minute dou­ble-kick drums from the get-go, with no warm up! It’s al­most sui­ci­dal for me – I some­times won­der why the fuck I com­posed it!” Dunno, but it was your de­ci­sion, bro…

LIFE­STYLES OF THE RICH AND FA­MOUS… WHO ISTHE MOST FA­MOUS PER­SON IN YOUR PHONEBOOK?

“ME­TAL­LICA’S STU­DIO WAS FULLY BOOKED… SO I BOUGHT IT!” YOSHIKI

“I’ve been good friends with Gene Sim­mons of KISS for a long time. I’m also mates with Mar­i­lyn Manson and Lars Ul­rich from Me­tal­lica – what a great drum­mer and a top guy. I re­ally like their new al­bum, Hard­wired… Also, do ac­tresses or mod­els count? Ac­tu­ally, let’s not talk about that, and stick with Lars!”

WHAT’STHE BIG­GEST PAYCHECKYOU’VE EVER RE­CEIVED?

“I hon­estly don’t know. Maybe a few mil­lion dol­lars for some kind of en­dorse­ment. But it all goes back into buy­ing record­ing stu­dios and equip­ment. As a band, you need a place to work, right? Once, we were look­ing for a place to track drums, and, of course, I wanted the best in the world, so there was the stu­dio Me­tal­lica used for the Black al­bum.we tried to get it after they were done, but some­one else had booked it out for a year.the only way I could get into it was by buy­ing the stu­dio… So I did!” Christ, what do you do when you want to skip the queue for the toi­let?

ON THE HY­PO­THET­I­CAL… AXL ROSE DE­CIDES IT’STIMETO RE­TIRE AND ASKS YOU TO FRONT AND TAKE CON­TROL OF GUNS N’ ROSES. DO YOU DO IT?

“Well, they’re an amaz­ing band. I know their guitarist Richard For­tus, he got up on­stage with us at our re­union show.ac­tu­ally, one time when Guns N’ Roses were tour­ing Ja­pan, we had the same man­ager, Doc Mcghee, who asked if I wanted to play piano on a few songs.we were al­ready com­mit­ted to shoot­ing a video, though, so I couldn’t do it! X Ja­pan is my life, I couldn’t give it up for any band.”

WOULD YOU RATHER BE ABLE TO COM­MU­NI­CATE WITH AN­I­MALS, OR SPEAK EV­ERY HU­MAN LAN­GUAGE FLUENTLY?

“Wow… an­i­mals, def­i­nitely. I have a dog at home, he’s a beau­ti­ful Mal­tese, and back when I was grow­ing up, I also had a dachs­hund called Jimmy. I’m close to my dogs, so of course I would love to be able to hear what they have to say!” Some­thing like,“can you buy us a Pedi­gree Chum fac­tory, if you’re buy­ing a stu­dio?”

SPIR­I­TUAL HEADMELTER… DO YOU BE­LIEVE IN GHOSTS?

“I guess I be­lieve in some kind of spir­its, though I’m def­i­nitely scared of ghosts. there could def­i­nitely be a life after death. I’m Ja­panese, and a lot of us be­lieve in Bud­dhism – which is a very peace­ful re­li­gion that has a lot of ideas about rein­car­na­tion. that con­cept is pretty cool, when you think about it.” Thou­sands of years of deep, spir­i­tual study and con­tem­pla­tion: “cool”

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