First Sony, Toyota, Canon, Nintendo/Wii, and Sushi; now X JAPAN is Coming to America
A Lollapalooza Main Stage Appearance and U.S. Record Debut Set for 2010
LOS ANGELES, CA - (Thursday, June 17, 2010) -- X Japan, the biggest rock band in Japanese history, has been confirmed to play the Main Stage at this summer's hottest ticket, the Lollapalooza Festival. On Sunday, August 8, X Japan will make its U.S. concert debut as it shares the stage with other international superstars such as Lady Gaga, Green Day, Soundgarden, MGMT, and The Strokes.
Calling X Japan the most successful rock band in Japan is not a statement made lightly. X Japan has sold more than 30-million albums, singles and videos, headlined and sold out Japan's 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome 18 times - so far - and has started playing to tens of thousands of fans outside of Japan. Going back to the 1980s, the band's look and sound sparked a global interest in Japanese entertainment, especially with the Japanese cultural rock phenomenon, "Visual-Kei," a movement X Japan pioneered that went on to become a catalyst for today's worldwide Anime craze.
Yoshiki, the band's leader/songwriter/drummer and classically-trained pianist, has been referred to by his first name only throughout his professional career, and is arguably Asia's most influential musical artist and biggest rock icon. According to one industry insider, "Yoshiki is to Japan what Bono is to the UK."
"We are very honored to be asked to play Lollapalooza," said Yoshiki. "This is a wonderful opportunity for X Japan to bring our music to new fans, to play some of our brand new songs, and to play for our U.S. fans." At least one of the new songs, "Born to be Free," will make its worldwide debut during X Japan's Lollapalooza set.
The members of X Japan - Yoshiki, Toshi (vocals), Pata (guitarist), Heath (bass), and Sugizo (guitar) - have been spending time in Yoshiki's Los Angeles recording studio working on what will be the band's U.S. debut, and its first album sung in English. "We decided to record English lyrics for four or five of our most popular, previously released songs," Yoshiki explained, "and then write an additional four or five brand new songs, also sung in English. We have worked very hard on this album, and are very excited to present our music to the American rock fans."
Immediately following their August Lollapalooza set, X Japan will fly back to Tokyo where they will play their biggest concert ever - headlining two nights at the Nissan Stadium, performing to nearly 150,000 fans.
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X Japan was formed in 1982 (calling themselves X) by Yoshiki and Toshi while still high school students. Over the next 13 years, the band released five studio albums - Vanishing Vision (1988), Blue Blood (1989) Jealousy (1991), Art of Life (1993) and Dahlia (1996), as well as six live albums, 10 compilation albums, and 15 video albums. X Japan was one of the first Japanese bands to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label - Yoshiki's own Extasy Records. The band was so popular, SEGA produced an X Japan video game. In the fall of 1997, the band's lead singer, Toshi, decided to leave X Japan, which lead to the dissolution of the band. Four months later, Hide, X Japan's original lead guitarist, was found dead in his Tokyo apartment. At his funeral, more than 50,000 fans came to mourn his passing, and in May, 2010, even more fans stood in line at a memorial service to pay their respects and mark the 12th anniversary of his tragic death. In early 2007, Yoshiki and Toshi started working together again, and later that year, X Japan officially reformed. During 2008-9, the band launched its reunion tour, being bigger than ever, and sold out everywhere it played. In January, 2010, X Japan filmed a music video on the rooftop of Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, with a throng of some 8,000 U.S. fans taking part in the shoot on Hollywood Blvd.
The heart of X Japan is Yoshiki - songwriter, drummer, and classically-trained pianist who also plays guitar, bass and trumpet. His double-record classical album, Eternal Melody (1993) was co-produced and arranged by the legendary George Martin, recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and remains one of Japan's most successful classical releases. For Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved, the 1994 KISS tribute album, Yoshiki arranged and produced "Black Diamond" as a piano concerto, prompting Rolling Stone magazine to comment in its CD review, "the ingenuity award must go to Yoshiki..." Yoshiki has produced some of Japan's most influential bands, including Dir En Grey and Glay. At the request of the Japanese government in 1999, Yoshiki composed a piano concerto and performed it with a 77-piece orchestra to commemorate the Emperor of Japan's 10th anniversary on the throne. In 2005, he was named the Music Director for the 2005 World Expo, composed the event's theme song, and conducted the orchestra at the opening ceremonies. Yoshiki also wrote the X Japan song "I.V." for the 2007 international blockbuster horror film, "Saw IV," which played over the film's closing credits.
Beyond music, Yoshiki is an entrepreneur and a true renaissance man. He started his own racing team - Team Yoshiki - with Honda in 2009, the Bank of Japan issued a Yoshiki Visa card, and Yoshiki has overseen the development of a premiere line of Yoshiki jewelry. He collaborated with the California Mondavi family to develop his own wine, "Y." For the first time in its history, a Hello Kitty product line was designed after a person, creating a new name - "Yoshikitty," which became available in late May 2010. Yoshiki has graced the covers of more than 200 music, business and trade media outlets in Asia.
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