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The LA Times just published a lengthy profile about X Japan, a wildly successful J-rock metal band led by charismatic pianist-drummer Yoshiki (pictured above), that will attempt the leap from Japanese superstardom to American mainstream when they join the Lollapalooza tour this summer.
Why I know I already ♥ X Japan:
- The band flanks a HEAVY METAL PIANIST-DRUMMER.
- Hello Kitty produced a likeness of said heavy metal pianist-drummer, the only so far created for a human being. (Ed. note—Hi Sanrio! Jen and I are tooooootally open to having Kitty versions of ourselves!)
- Yoshiki is apparently Bono-esque, and X Japan aspires to be Metallica-esque, yet they’re probably–most accurately–KISS-esque.
- The early X Japan aesthetic appears to be a hybrid of early Mötley Crüe and Poison, but with almond eyes, so they look like the rockstars I wanted to be when I was a kid.
- Every time I hear the words, “Arena Rock,” my personal areas get warm.
- LAT refers to Yoshiki as a “fevered multitasker and established brand unto himself in Asia,” which means he is a) totally Asian and b) pretty AMAZIAN!
- We need somebody to freak out over other than Rain.
Filed under: Big in Japan, Crossover, Hello Kitty, I So Fucking Love Hair Metal, Lollapalooza, Makeup Men, Metal, Metallica, Pianist-Drummers Or Drummer-Pianists, Piano Players, Sanrio, Superstars, X Japan, Yoshiki
I have TWICE been the victim of metal-induced Asian road rage. Picture this: two months ago, I’m driving to my parents’ house in Orange County, windows down, sunroof open, Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” a-blasting, me happily a-nodding along and a-drumming on my steering wheel. I pull up to a stop light. The music is kind of mortifyingly loud, but no one is around to force the feeling, until a young 20-something couple in a suped-up (read: lowered, old, and grubby) Nissan roll up on my right. The girl (passenger), perhaps pre-road hummer, is leaning into the lap of the guy (driver)–but as they pull to the line, they both stop to look at me.
But what do I care? I’m not embarassed of “Puppets,” for chrissake, it rocks! Who would laugh at this near-perfect opus? Plus, I’m not in high school, these guys are total nerds, and my V6 could out-dick their four cylinders any day. If we were moving, that is.
The light stays red. The girl points at me. They join together in laughter directed at me. I look straight ahead and begin to fume, becoming adamant at this point–I’m not going to acknowledge their ridicule or turn my goddamn tunes down! They’re kids! Kids, I tell you! Nerds! Mediocre-looking nerds!
The song ends and the gentle opening riffs of “One” cue up. I fast-forward on my iPod until the noodling begins. I turn the volume dial clockwise.
Their laughter erupts. I hate these motherfuckers! What in god’s name do they have on their iPod, I wonder rudely (albeit silently)–Oasis? Late-adopter Death Cab? Fall Out Boy? Weezer? What the fuck?
The light turns green. I slam on the gas, flying off the start far more aggressively than I am accustomed to. The guy gets a kick out of this and slams his foot down, too. Soon, we’re flying through a residential neighborhood, with houses whizzing by, angry grandmas going into conniptions on the side walk. I’m blowing through stop signs and not reading speed limit signs–hells bells, I’m defending my honor, here! And the honor of James Hetfield! Grubby Nissan guy starts to tail me.
This goes on for awhile. Suddenly, I get a call on the BlackBerry from Dad. I’m about to pull over to answer it when I realize I’m thirty seconds away from their house. I slink over to turn into their gated community. The couple collapses into even more laughter, growl their little engine, spit out the window, and race off.
All I’m thinking is: Metallica? Really?
Two weeks later, I’m cruising in East LA, griping about the 90-degree winter heat to the tune of Slayer’s “South of Heaven.” A dude in a royal blue lowered Integra (I’ll have you all know that the low Integra is my car alma mater) comes up on my left, flips me off, and barrels down the street.
All I’m thinking is: Slayer? Really?
I don’t know what it is about me, loud music, imported cars, and angry millenials, but they don’t seem to fucking mix. So it is with deep pride and joy that I declare my love for Boris, a fucked-up Japanese metal band that has been around 4-eva and is still doing awesome shit.
I mean, even if you didn‘t like the way they sounded, you’d have to give them big ups for having one dude that looks like Bowie and a tiny chick that makes a lot of noise. But I like the way they sound–loud, in my car, with my windows down.
Take that, muthafuckaz!
Celebitchy reports that Yoko “Ono I Don’t Love Money, I Love John” Ono’s attorneys have contacted metal singer/songwriter Lennon Murphy (which is the name on her birth certificate, though she goes just by the first), mandating that she stop using the name “Lennon” or face a legal attack.
Yikes. Does this happen to people named Porsche and Mercedes and McDonald’s and Frappuccino, too?
Lennon writes on her MySpace blog:
“Ono filed what is for the most part a law suit with the Trademark and Trial Board of the US Patent & Trademark office this past week… Yoko waited 8 years until 2 days before the statue of limitations ran out to file this complaint. 5 lawyers including 2 trademark experts we have spoken with agree that Yoko has no grounds for these claims and is just trying to push Lennon around and make her spend money she doesn’t have. Yoko seeks to gain the rights to the Trademark ‘LENNON’ which Lennon Murphy has owned since 2003.”
O-no! This situation looks so bad that even Julian “Forgotten” Lennon has jumped on board to show his support.
“In a blog entry titled “Sad but True & interesting ……….. I feel for her & know the situation well,” Julian Lennon posts a message from Lennon, the female rock singer, and says that the girl has his ‘full support.’ In an earlier version of the blog entry, which Julian has since edited, he prefaced Lennon’s statement by saying that he’s had his own legal run-ins with Yoko over the years and that if ‘she could have stopped me from working using my own legal name, she would have.’”
Yoko sure means business. Lennon business, that is. It sure does make me wonder what would happen if Ono paid this much attention to her own name?