Lollapalooza co-creator Perry Farrell sat down with Yoshiki Hayashi, the leader of X JAPAN, the most successful rock band in Japanese history, and chatted him on camera about X JAPAN's U.S. concert debut performance that will take place this Sunday, August 8 (4 p.m.) on the main stage at Lollapalooza. The interview took place at Yoshiki's Los Angeles-area recording studio and in it, they talk about X JAPAN's history, success, the Lollapalooza appearance and the band's future plans in America. Watch the chat below.
"Yes, we're a huge band in Japan, but that doesn't mean anything here," Yoshiki told the Chicago Sun-Times for a feature that was published yesterday (August 1). "We feel like a new band again, trying to make it. It's a very pure feeling. It feels like it did when we started, which is good."
After Lollapalooza, X JAPAN will launch its first U.S. tour, hitting 10-15 cities. The band is also putting the finishing touches on its first new studio album in 14 years, due this fall.
"We'd like to play clubs or small venues. We cannot do that in Japan anymore," Yoshiki tells the Chicago Sun-Times. "When we were an indie band, right after we graduated high school, we were performing for 50 people, maybe 200. That was a great moment. By the time we were signed to Sony [in 1988], we were already performing for 10,000 people or bigger. ... We weren't supposed to make it big, you know? We were — how do I say? — the black sheep of the family. The Japanese scene was very poppy. We were playing speed metal. Nobody thought we could be mainstream. Then it got very, very big."
For the U.S. jaunt, Yoshiki says X JAPAN will go "back to basics."
"The bigger we got, the bigger our personalities," Yoshiki tells the Chicago Sun-Times. "We just want to go back and focus on the rock. Either way, you know, you don't see good rock shows anymore. Rock doesn't sound mainstream these days. We'd like to contribute something to help bring rock back. Rock doesn't have enough drama now. Rap, R&B, dance music has taken that. Our band wants to be a part of bringing that back to rock." He laughs. "But our band has enough drama."
The July 25 Los Angeles Times' "Arts" section cover profile on Yoshiki can be found at this location.