I am leaving with a great deal of advance, filling my rucksack with my camera, mobile phone,my questions, my ticket and pass which I have taken both as you never know you may need them. I have put on my leather trousers and my gothic style jacket and I feel as if I were flashing back to Paris, three years ago, with the same inner mood.
I have always thought that music holds the gift to estrange oneself from daily life, that it allows you to enter in those dimensions accessible to almost all of us, as long as you are able to listen.
I hasten my step feeling my heart leaping.
What if I would loose those only five minutes I have? What are five minutes at the end? What if my emotions would get the upper hand and I will not succeed in saying anything?
Today I am feeling as an adolescent with the same forwardness I had in those times, even if sometimes with a little shyness, but with my deeply fighting spirit,when I know what I want.
I enter into the Four Seasons Hall with its breathtaking beauty, situated in Palazzo della Gherardesca which is nowadays maybe the coolest hotel in Florence.
It is still early, I introduce myself to the staff of the Festival dei Popoli who are really kind, I am speaking to many persons, journalists, thus trying to smooth down my anxiety of waiting time.
And between one break and another I am thinking that he is there inside, right sitting in one of those parlours of the hotel and that I am going to meet him, even if only for five minutes; I am thinking that I will finally speak to him, a few questions for the magazine, but I will have the chance to look at him closely and to listen to all that I will perceive from his being.
And I am also thinking that for him it is a daily routine listening to people, that maybe he will not even remember me.
I’m talking about the rock star Yoshiki, but above all, about the enigmatic Leader of the most famous rock band in all of Japan’s history: the X JAPAN.
He is performing around Europe, and he is in Italy for the first time to present at the Cinema Teatro della Compagnia of Florence the Premiere of WE ARE X, the first documentary film about the extraordinary story of this legendary band, with the Producers of the Oscar-winning movie “Sugar man”.
The director is Stephen Kijak, a big expert of great musicians biography, like the Stones, Scott Walke.
He claims to have been fascinated by the deeply dramatic story behind the group and after long interviews with Yoshiki, he hopes to be able to create a movie that can also reach the hearts of the people who did not know the band.
The X JAPAN were formed in 1982 and have sold more than 30 million records,crossing a glam / punk / rock metamorphosis, pioneers of the Japanese culture rock movement “Visual-Kei”.
They also filled the Japanese Tokyo Dome stadium for 18 times so far with 55,000 places sold out, which is a record number.
They produced five studio albums, 6 live albums and 10best hits albums within the last 13 years.
Due to a problem with the singer, in 1997 the band melted. A few months later was shared the news of the accidental death of the first band guitarist Hide.
He was found dead in his apartment. The tragedy was such that a great number of fans came at his funeral, creating problems and the police had to take action. Yoshiki was deeply shaken by this tragic event because of the strong friendship and complicity that tied them, and by having lived at the age of 10 years the trauma of his father’s suicide, of which he found the body coming home. Only in 2007 Yoshiki and the singer Toshi resumed their contacts and reformed the band. From 2008 onwards they have been on tour with almost always sold-out concerts in various parts of the world, including the most importants, for two consecutive nights at the Japan Nissan Stadium, which has 140,000 seats and in 2014 in a colossal live concert at the famous Madison Square Garden in New York.
They also have admirers of a certain fame like Sir George Martin (former Beatles producer), arranger and co-producer of a classic album recorded by Yoshiki, then Kiss, Stan Lee, who created Blood Red Dragon, a Superhero who sees Yoshiki as the protagonist.
In 1999 the emperor of Japan honored Yoshiki with his request to compose a piano concert that he performed with a great orchestra to celebrate the twentieth year of his reign.
The X JAPAN are currently 5 members: Yoshiki, drum and piano, Toshi, voice, Pata,guitar, Heath, bass, and Sugizo, guitar and violin.
It is difficult to trace in an article the particularly tormented path that has lived this band over the years, a unique story of its kind, to seem almost fiction, but absolutely true. And even more complex is talk about his Leader, Yoshiki, this extraordinary artist who conceals many secrets. Incredible is his immense creative potential. An expanding mind, genius. He gives himself in everything he loves, as if he was doing it for the last time.
He is able to make dreaming with his classical melodies on the piano, alternating with real explosions of intense and passionate rock when he plays the drum. He is full of emotional feelings that reaches the public, succeeding in attracting to himself a huge mass of fans all over the world, repaying the consequences with his nervous exhaustions and faintings due to his hyperactivity, in addition to the constant problems related to the back, neck and arms; he has in fact had a delicate neck surgery few months ago.
In the rich biography of this artist, besides the aforementioned, many other experiences are of some importance: During the opening ceremony of Expo 2005, he composed the track, directing the Super World Orchestra.
In 2012 it was proposed to him to compose the official theme for the Golden Globes. In 2014, he brought in ten different countries, the first part of his Yoshiki Classical World Tour, with an exclusive women’s orckestra.
But besides the music he deals with many other things, including a product that has been given a person’s name: Yoshikitty, he created and manages a collection of kimono inspired by the rock world, he designs jewels, he has a Japanese video platform, the Yoshiki Channel, he also launched a no-profit organization, the Yoshiki Foundation America, where he supports many realities including the victims of the Japanese earthquake.
In 2016, he also received a request from the Japanese government to become a consultant and manage a center for cultural promotion.
In short, a great volcano in eruption and a true source of inspiration for many people. Almost two hours have passed since I entered the hotel lobby. He had a delay, so I had some time available and maybe I was able to calm myself a bit.
I read again the questions and I had a false sense of calm. The girl who brings the journalists in his room called me and another couple of people, telling us that we could follow her on the first floor. I’m breathing a sigh of relief. The couple entered first, while I had to wait. It’s very late and I guess he’s tired. I feel like I’ve had entered in a different dimension where everything seems possible. I suppose it is because of the adrenaline I have in the blood. The couple is about to leave, I can see the scene from a vetrage in the room.
People are exchange their final greetings and then I see him, he is standing very close to me, there is only the window and few steps that divides us and suddenly I feel my heartbeat sharply, I think I have to calm down or I will not to able to talk.
Then the couple comes out and the girl nod me to enter and presents myself. I go up the small ramp of stairs and I enter i the room. He is standing in front of me, smiling. I approach and greet him, and ask: how are you?
He looks pleasantly surprised by my question and reassures me that he is fine, then sits on a couch and I am in front of him. The sitting room is not large, it has a soft light, coming from two abatjours, which make the intimate, relaxing environment. There is a small table between me and him, where I support the recorder. Now, despite the emotion, I have the chance to look him better. He wears dark glasses, despite the soft light. He is very thin, wearing black leather pants and a dark jacket with a t-shirt and wears one of his jewels, a necklace with a cross.
He has a calm, gentle air.
He emanates an incredible charisma, he really looks like a creature came out of BramStoker’s book or a Tim Burton movie. I introduce myself and tell him I’ll ask some questions about the article I’ll have to write for the magazine. But I’m also so curious to know if he still owns the gift that I handed to him during his Paris classic tour, three years ago. It was a pair of hand-painted drumstick, with the red dragon symbol (Blood Red Dragon), it was really a singular present, so I immediately show him the sheet of paper where in a half I reprinted the image of the drumstick and on the other one a short poem I had written for him. I ask him if by chance he remember that gift. I am astonished to see that he nods me with his head, and he tells me that he remembers, that he still has them, and my satisfaction is at its best. I leave my sheet, advising him to read the poetry.Then I start with the questions, a few, unfortunately.
Which is the real Yoshiki? I ask to him. The one that write’s intimate and beautiful songs like Miracle or Without you, where a deep connection is clearly perceived with his soul, or the other always interested in his look and actrated to the exteriority? Two aspects in absolute contradiction. He answered me with great calm and humility, the voice it’s low, almost sensual. “In both cases I am the true Yoshiki” he says. “I’ve always had two very different sides, that are well perceived when I am at the piano or drum. I can be very sweet or aggressive; I live these two aspects of myself at the extreme”. So he made me understand that the same contradiction can also be attributed to its duality on the spiritual and material plan.
The second question I asked was: How is the rock star life? Do you ever feel the need to live like any other person, doing simple things? He only answer in part. “I work hard, especially in times like this, when I have to promote the film, but I also like drink some good wine”, he says smiling.
I reminded him that he is in Tuscany now, Chianti’s land. “I’m ready,” he promptly said, amused.
Unfortunately, the time left is little, so I chose to use it for a selfie with him. He agrees, so I get up and I go to sit next to him. What a nice feeling to have him so close to me, I feel like a teenager, so I take my iphone and try to frame us in a cute pose, but I realize that the image is disturbed by some shadows. His personal photographer comes to help us with a light, undoubtedly illuminates myself, maybe too much, but it does not matter.
The girl makes me understand my time slot is over, but before I get up I instinctively feel the need to kiss him, so I ask him and before he can answer I gently put my lips on his cheek, in the amazement of those present. He accepts my kiss and smiles, then I notice that I left an evident lipstick imprint, so I also smile and with some slight caress I clear its trace. He has a beautiful skin, he looks much younger than his age. I see him pleasantly surprised, I do not think he had expected my gesture. Before leaving, they ask me to pose for the last photo together, in the in famous greeting of X JAPAN, standing with our forearms crossed. I accept. Then while I greet and thank him, I inform him that later I will be present at the premiere of the movie. He nods.
As I step down the stairs I think I am very happy about how it went in the end, despite my tension. I leave the hotel and as soon as I’m in the street the fresh airregenerates me, so I take a long breath that relaxes my neck muscles.
I eat a fast sandwich and I head to the Teatro della Compagnia, where in less than an hour will be the screening of the documentary film WE ARE X. At the end I know that Yoshiki will be present for questions & answers with the audience.
I enter and can notice that there are already several people waiting, among them I see some young X Japan fans, some with glam dresses and heavy makeup and many floral gifts, but all in all a fairly disciplined audience. As soon as the doors open we prepare to enter and take the seats.
I sit on a chair in the first gallery, I know it’s the best place to watch the movie. As I step down the stairs I think I am very happy about how it went in the end, despite my tension. I leave the hotel and as soon as I’m in the street the fresh air regenerates me, so I take a long breath that relaxes my neck muscles. I eat a fast sandwich and I head to the Teatro della Compagnia, where in less than an hour will be the screening of the documentary film WE ARE X. At the end I know that Yoshiki will be present for questions & answers with the audience.
I enter and can notice that there are already several people waiting. Among them I see some young X Japan fans, some with glam dresses and heavy makeup and many floreal gifts, but all in all a fairly disciplined audience. As soon as the doors open we prepare to enter and take the seats. I sit on a chair in the first gallery, I know it’s the best place to watch the movie.
I feel calm, I have already spent the most exciting part of this experience. I have a chat with a girl close to me; she’s a fan of the group too. The Theater is sold out, and after the lights went down, everything starts.
In the dark we can see very evocative and theatral images, the most important sequences of the X JAPAN concerts around the world, from the beginnings, with an extreme glamour look, colored hair, an heavy make-up, to those of their latest concerts, always idolized and surrounded by thousands of fans.
Its leader is passionate on the stage, he never spare himself, always giving the best of him, weather he’s playing the piano or the drums, showing the audience his contortions on the floor for the lack of oxygen. We can relive the intensity of the pain of Yoshiki that appears in different intimate moments of his life, from the story of his father suicide, or his own suicide attemp, to the loss of the bass player Tahiji and that of the guitarist and friend Hide.
It is touching his emotion in telling himself to the reporter. The low and weak voice goes straight to the heart, filled with a suffering that has never been ridde.
A lot of artists speak about X JAPAN in the documentary, including Stan Lee, Marilyn Manson. Gene Simmons of Kiss said: “If they were born in America they would have been the most famous band in the world”.
The soundtrack, which almost seems in the background, was made by the director to emphasize the images, and it is made up by the most famous songs of the band.
A documentary born from pain. For many years Yoshiki was asked to bring on the big screen the extraordinary and dramatic story of his legendary band, but he had always refused, because of the suffering that would have arose in all the members of the group at the sight of the scenes, but then he changed his mind, giving us this unique pearl that was warmly received by the audience.
At the end of the film, after a brief introduction, one of the producers calls Yoshiki on the stage, and only at that point the audience gave his warmest applause.
Two moderators and translators of the event invite him to sit down.
Fans are very welcoming and disciplined. I leave the place by the stairs and go to sit near the stage to take some photos.
I’m happy to be close to him again. I look at him well and apart from his flawless look I find him a little bit tired. He had many interviews, for a couple of times he loses his speech ability, and does not remember a question, but I think he is doing miracles, considering his bad physical conditions.
After a brief presentation, they were asking him some questions before going to the public. He talks about his collaboration with director Kijak in the movie’s realization, and how this experience has been painful, but therapeutic at the same time.
Someone asks Yoshiki how important it is for him to express himself through music and they briefly refer to the long solo passage in the central part of the song Art of Life.
Yoshike depicts the moment of his composition as “ very precise and careful, but then there is also space left for extempore and improvised composition” he highlights. His two opposite and so extreme sides of his character as we have mentioned before, can also be found in the alternation of those violent and then sweet notes of his compositions, almost as if they would like to depict a bridge between suffering and hope.
And he admits that another bridge has almost been thrown down, from a musical point of view: that means that one of the cultural barrier between East and West, which has been the dream of his friends Hide and Tahiji, who are not among us anymore and to whom Yoshike feels the duty of fulfillment.
A disabled girl in the first row talks to him with deeply moving words and thanks him; Yoshiki is touched in answering her.
Another person asks Yoshiki if he believes in God and he replies he does.
Someone in thanking him advises to dedicate a little more time to himself, taking care of his health, trying to relax and to rest.
He often laughs and affirms that if he could, he would be happy to stay longer in Italy because he is very attracted by its food; “tirami su” cake, cheese cake, but above all pasta, which he had eaten too much of the evening before.
Many clapping from the audience, some sentences of exultation, much warmth, because wherever Yoshiki goes he is always very loved, not only for his artistic talent, but also for his kindness and elegance he addresses himself to other persons.
Besides, he has also declared,with great acclamation from his fans, that at the end of the promotion of his film, he will only be busy with the elaboration of his new album of the X JAPAN, which after many years will finally see its fulfillment in spring.
It is useless saying that all of us hope seeing Yoshiki back in Florence next year, maybe in a concert, an idea he seems having truly appreciated.
The questions are still so many, but the time they have at their disposal seems to have come to an end, therefore it is time of final greetings.
All standing up, including the audience, the shout and greeting of the X JAPAN, I was smiling, taking the last pictures and doing some handshaking with their fans of the first row and then Yoshiki walks towards the dressing room, outside of which many persons stay waiting for him, some of them with flowers, others for some autographs and a few selfies.
I am not staying, by this time it is late and I think that it has been a great honour to me having had the chance to meet Yoshiki in the hotel, therefore I let the others have the opportunity of this satisfaction.
Coming back home I do not feel any tiredness, any kind of anxiety has flown away, only the recollection of a unique experience remains, of a meeting which in some way has made me understand that for the hundredth time “ just by chance” does not exist and that those who come across in our lives, even if just for a few moments, do have a meaning and role, as if maybe we do for them; an unconscious hidden message, which takes sometimes a while to be decoded, but once we have succeeded in doing so, we realize that it has been useful to a better understanding of a deep inner side of ourselves.
Naturally, it remains a secret.
Scrivono in PASSPARnous:
Bruno Benvenuto, Ubaldo Fadini, Tiziana Villani, Claudia Landolfi, Alfonso Amendola, Mario Tirino, Vincenzo Del Gaudio, Alessandra Di Matteo, Paulo Fernando Lévano, Enrico Pastore, Francesco Demitry, Sara Maddalena, Alessandro Rizzo, Gianluigi Mangiapane, Nicola Lonzi, Marco Bachini, Daniel Montigiani, Viviana Vacca, Fabio Treppiedi, Daniele Vergni, Mariella Soldo, Martina Lo Conte, Fabiana Lupo, Roberto Zanata, Bruno Maderna, Silvia Migliaccio, Alessio Mida, Natalia Anzalone, Miso Rasic, Mohamed Khayat, Pietro Camarda, Tommaso Dati, Enrico Ratti, Ilaria Palomba, Davide Faraon, Martina Tempestini, Fabio Milazzo, Rosella Corda, Stefania Trotta, Manuel Fantoni, Marco Fioramanti, Matteo Aurelio, Giuseppe Bonaccorso, Rossana De Masi, Massimo Maria Auciello, Maria Chirico, Ambra Benvenuto, Valentina Volpi, Massimo Acciai, Gianluca de Fazio, Marco Maurizi, Daniele Guasco, Carmen Guarino, Claudio Kulesko, Fabrizio Cirillo, Francesca Izzi, Antonio Mastrogiacomo, Giulia Vencato, Alessandro Baito, Margherita Landi, Mirjana Nardelli, Patrizia Beatini, Nicola Candreva, Stefano Oricchio, Manlio Palmieri, Francesco Panizzo.
a Valeria Cimò
di Roberto Zanata
di Roberto Zanata
Il progetto Noos
a cura del Moa ensemble
e Maura Capuzzo
di Roberto Zanata
Una performance audio-visiva
di Roberto Zanata
di Roberto Zanata
Dopo Cage siamo
di Bruno Maderna
Vuoi diventare pubblicista presso la nostra rivista?
sottoscrivi il bando. Accedi al link dall’immagine sottostante.
sottoscrivi il bando. Accedi al link dall’immagine sottostante.
Psychodream Theater - © 2012 Tutti i diritti riservati