ROCKSTAR TEST YOSHIKI X JAPAN
HE’S BASICALLY THE JAPANESE AXL ROSE. WITH LESS DRAMA AND MORE CHUCKING MONEY AROUND
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”