Japanese singer/songwriter and X Japan co-founder Yoshiki recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's The Drop series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Yoshiki discussed forming X Japan and developing the band's signature sound, among other topics. Yoshiki also performed a brief set featuring three tracks: X Japan's "The Last Song," "Golden Globe Theme" and "Forever Love (Classical Version)," the latter two of which are featured on his 2013 solo album, Yoshiki Classical.
"When I first came to America, more than 10 years ago, people said, '… When you play something hard, you should only play something hard," said Yoshiki. "[But] I didn't grow up that way. I was listening to classical music [and] heavy metal. … [X Japan] didn't know the rules so we just put everything into one pot and started playing."
Born Yoshiki Hayashi in Chiba, Japan, Yoshiki gained fame in the '80s and '90s as the co-founder/principal songwriter/drummer of X Japan, a glam-rock band considered one of the most influential rock bands in Japanese history. The band's major label debut album, 1989's Blue Blood, peaked at No. 6 on Japan's Oricon chart. X Japan followed with two No. 1 albums, 1991's Jealousy and 1996's Dahlia. X Japan disbanded in 1997 but have reunited several times to record and tour, most recently in 2011.
In 1993 Yoshiki embarked on a solo career, releasing Eternal Melody, which was followed by 2005's Eternal Melody II. Released in August, Yoshiki Classical was co-produced by GRAMMY-winning producer George Martin (the Beatles, Jeff Beck) and features 11 tracks, including original compositions, orchestrated X Japan songs and collaborations with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Quartet San Francisco. The album also includes "Golden Globe Theme," which was originally composed for the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards in 2012.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Johnny Cash: The Life — A Book Discussion With Author Robert Hilburn (Nov. 5), The Drop: Divided & United — Music Of The Civil War (Nov. 7), An Evening With Swamp Dogg (Nov. 14), A Conversation With Bernie Taupin (Nov. 22), and Spotlight: Butch Walker (Dec. 4).