Yoshiki Constructs A "Miracle" At Radio City Music Hall, Hints At New X Japan Album
Yoshiki is a worldwide rockstar who always knows how to make an electrifying entrance. When the infamous X Japan drummer took the stage at Radio City Music Hall to join the phenomenal Sarah Brightman on February 6, the crowd erupted in celebration for the arrival of the Japanese legend who has seen it all when it comes to the music business.
The 53-year-old musician dazzled away on the piano while Brightman—the original Christine Daaé of Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera—belted “Miracle” to a packed house eagerly hanging on to every note played. Yoshiki looked angelic as his incredibly dedicated fans swarmed the pit area to see their hero up close and personal for his special guest appearance. It was an appropriate way to end the evening’s first portion of the program, as it was nearly impossible to top the iconic duo’s performance; the crowd needed an intermission to let “Miracle” sink in. For the X Japan drummer himself, Yoshiki’s relentless journey to one of New York City’s most iconic venues is a true marvel, and an underdog story at heart.
Radio City’s captivated audience familiar with Yoshiki gave him a hero’s welcome. The small portion of the crowd who weren’t aware of his previous accomplishments wanted to learn more, as they curiously whispered among each other. “Who is this Yoshiki? He was outstanding on the piano,” we overheard one woman lean over and ask her husband. For those who, like the couple at Radio City, are unaware of who Yoshiki is, we can’t emphasize enough how important he is to the rock genre, especially in Asia. X Japan sold 30 million singles and albums combined. They also sold out the Tokyo Dome 18 times during their run on top. Impressive stats, to say the least. Without fail, Yoshiki remains a true master of getting people to talk about him. An outsider can’t help but be drawn to Yoshiki, his magnetic personality, and his dedication to his artistry.
The man behind the piano is a true industry survivor who can outperform the latest flavor of the week. Passion can never be denied, and critics would have a hard time arguing that. As the key subject for the 2016 documentary We Are X, a spotlight shined on Yoshiki’s rise to fame in the late 1980s. The film covered X Japan’s explosive popularity during Japan’s music revolution and how Yoshiki overcame not only the suicide of his father when he was ten years old, but the deaths of former band members Taiji and Hide. Yoshiki’s turbulent history, fortitude, and resilience work in conjunction to create the mystifying aura that is Yoshiki. The kids coming up in the music world today could learn a thing or two from the musical master’s persistence in the face of adversity.
In a conversation before his powerful performance, Yoshiki chatted with Music & Mojitos in an exclusive interview about his latest New York experience. He also dropped some new information about X Japan’s upcoming album, which is over 22 years in the making. Hey, good things take time, and possible involvement with Hollywood star Vin Diesel, too. More on that in just a little bit.
You can call Yoshiki a composer, a classically-trained pianist, and of course, a drummer. The man behind mega hits like “Endless Rain,” “Say Anything,” and “Forever Love” embodies all of those titles and more. At the end of the day, however, the charismatic Yoshiki wants to be known as an artist with a grand vision for his band’s future in North America. He confesses that he constantly seeks inspiration from the city that never sleeps.
“I’m feeling very good,” Yoshiki tells Music & Mojitos. “There’s always something big happening in New York. My first show was at the Roseland Ballroom. That was the last stop of our first North American tour. Then I played Madison Square Garden. That became a film. Then Carnegie Hall.”
We Are X showcased Yoshiki’s historic performance with X Japan at Madison Square Garden on October 11, 2014. The glam rockers had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands. Getting a taste of North American mainstream success never felt so good. Yoshiki would make a buzz-worthy return to New York at Carnegie Hall in 2017. His impressive performance on the piano that year is set to air as a special for PBS in the New York area on March 8.
“It’s going to be a one hour special,” Yoshiki smiles.
Before creating magic with Brightman later in the evening, the pianist revisited some of his favorite memories with her, revealing to Music & Mojitos that when he first met the opera sensation on a filmset, he knew they could do something special together at some point.
“I think [Sarah and I] played ‘Miracle’ for the first time in Germany, a few months ago. Then, she came to my show in Japan. I’ve known her for a long time. I was the music director for Repo! The Genetic Opera. I met her over 10 years ago or so,” recalls Yoshiki. “She was one of the actors. There were about ten people singing. She stood out so much. She’s just an amazing singer. She’s very easy to work with.”
Brightman isn’t the only friend that Yoshiki likes to keep up with. The X Japan star has close allies in all kinds of circles, one of them being shock-rock icon Marilyn Manson.
“He’s a friend of mine. I see him pretty often,” says Yoshiki. “We’ve been working on some projects, recording together.”
The veteran rockers who live in Los Angeles already created a few songs together, and apparently they are scary-great. The two made headlines last year when they shared the stage at Coachella in Indio, California.
Longtime fans of Yoshiki are begging to know when the next highly anticipated X Japan album is coming out. Music & Mojitos has the latest update from the visionary himself.
“The album recording is done. We are just thinking about the timing. We do have existing fans. A lot of them are loyal. I think we have the best fans in the world,” Yoshiki confesses. “I’ve been talking to labels, and new media people. To me, it took almost 10 years to create the album. It’s my baby. I want to create the best environment to give that baby a journey.”
Every father wants to do right by their child, and the upcoming album is no exception to the golden rule. Yoshiki is a proud papa, and he wants to make sure the entire world knows his child by name. Timing is everything.
“There are things happening here and there. I think we have to think of something big. Something like, of course, a world tour, as well as some tie-in to film and television,” Yoshiki grins. “I’ve been talking to my agent, and we want to create a big stage for the music.”
Yoshiki was in Tokyo on January 27, holding a press conference about his involvement with Vin Diesel’s XXX 4. The multi-talented Yoshiki—who is also working on an original symphony for fun—hints that the album could potentially drop to coincide with the release of the Hollywood blockbuster.
“I’m scoring the new XXX 4 movie,” Yoshiki tells Music & Mojitos. “It’s going to be out in 2020. I’m going to be doing the theme song, as well. I have a bunch of meetings in Los Angeles. That can be one of the things where X Japan can be involved.”
No matter when the next X Japan album comes out, the Japanese megastar has New York City on his mind.
“If anything big happens, I think I want to make it start here. I’m getting a lot of offers,” Yoshiki concludes.
You can learn more about Yoshiki by visiting his website.