Around the time of
Hide's second solo album Psyence, he began his own production company
titled "LEMONed". The company was aimed at helping up and coming bands
and promoting Hide fandom all over the world. From the time leading up
to the break-up of X Japan to the early part of 1998, Hide had been going
in totally new directions with his band "hide with Spread Beaver". Spread
Beaver (...ahem) was Hide's back up band for the last few years and it
is only recently that they became involved enough to share the billing
with Hide. Spread Beaver is is an interesting band on its own composed
of 6 very funny and unusual members who are more than worthy of sharing
the spotlight with the pink-headed one himself. Their style is on the
skater punk side of visual and so is the music. The music of Hide with
Spread Beaver is what rock should be, a lot of fun. It's a form of punk
rock that has Hide's genius for mixing music genres. But before the band
could reach its full potential, Hide died. The band had only released
their first single "Rocket Dive" by that time and already they were without
their vocalist/guitarist/leader. Under LEMONed, hide also lead another
band called Zilch. Zilch was an American-based industrial heavy metal
band with Hide as the lead singer and guitarist and three other established
American rock musicians. Although Hide had lived in America a few times
and played some small gigs, Zilch would be Hide's first really big step
to break into the American music scene. But with Hide's death, that possibility
is no more.
On the morning
of May 2nd 1998, the world of Japanese music lost one of it's
brightest and most influential musicians. Former X Japan lead
guitarist Hideto Matsumoto known as "hide" was found dead in his
apartment by suicide. He was found with a towel around his neck
tied to the bathroom door having apparently hung himself. Hide
was reportedly drunk at the time, but it still does not give any
clue as to why he killed himself. He always seemed to be the most
grounded member of X Japan and with a flourishing career and so
much to live for, it baffles fans such as me as to why it would
come to such a thing.
hear American fans compare this to the suicide of Nirvana vocalist
Kurt Cobain since it also had an enormously profound effect on
the youth and the music industry of Japan. However I feel that
such a comparison is too narrow and doesn't give justice to hide.
While Kurt Cobain was a talented man who wrote good music, his
influence on American music mostly had to do with being at the
right place at the right time. However I feel that hide was a
true musical genius above and beyond the cream of the crop. But
it is quite true that Hide's death had a huge effect. 50,000 fans
reportedly showed up for the funeral, stretching a kilometer from
the temple. 12,000 actually attended the wake. 26 people were
hospitalized as many fans fainted and a few others attempted to
commit suicide. After the wake, two people died by suicide. It
was a very sad time, but the purpose of this page is not a memorial.
Rather than his death, I'd like to focus on the life of this great
man. He gave so much to Japanese music and it's that that I wish
to talk about. Yes he died, but he left one hell of a legacy.
out his career as a teenager with his heavy metal band Saber Tiger.
But the band was frought with problems and broke up. He was soon
recruited by Yoshiki to join X and began his rise to become a
living rock legend. Hide infused X with incredible energy and
showmanship. Yoshiki was supposed to be the main character of
X, but soon (and almost despite himself) hide became just as popular.
Through the years, apart from performing hide was also responsible
for creating many memorable X Japan songs such as Celebration,
Joker, Standing Sex, Scars and Drain. Around 1993 hide began to
branch out from his role in X and release his own solo music whenever
he wasn't occupied with duties as a member of X.
solo work Hide really proved that he was not restricted by the
typical X Japan sound. In fact he would become an entirely different
artist when on his own. Once Hide put himself in a situation where
he had complete creative control and freedom, you really could
see what an extremely talented artist he really was. Being the
guitarist of a heavy metal band would lead you to think that his
music would be pretty predictable, but not so. Hide has an exceptionally
eclectic ear for music. His music is a mixed bag of every style
of modern music you can think of. For some songs like Beauty &
Stupid he has a style reminscent of Los Angeles rock. Songs like
Eyes Love You or Misery has a feel of late 70's glam rock. Other
songs like Bacteria, Doubt and Squeeze it! have an industrial
style. He has many funky fun-filled punk-rock songs such as Lassie,
Ever Free and Hi Ho. Songs like Tell Me, Goodbye or Flame has
a soft crooning rock style that treads the line between rock and
pop. There's speed rock in songs like Dice and 50-50. And then
there's just good ol' fun rock in songs like Rocket Dive, Gekai
Haretsu and Pink Spider. Some song styles even defy categorization
as they are unique to Hide. Each song is filled with creative
use of sounds and instrumentation that give the music a very textured
No two songs
have the same style and I guess that's what I like best about
Hide. With nearly every recording artist I've ever heard, there's
a certain commonality in all of their songs. So you can only listen
to so much before becoming bored. But with Hide you never get
bored since every song has a fresh and innovative sound.
in composing, but in performance his singing and guitar playing
are infinitely wide ranging in style. Every song has noticeably
different guitar playing skills. Hide is one of the greatest guitarists
I've ever known and could make any band a success with his guitar
skill alone. But it's his voice that is the most noticeable thing
in all his music. Hide has a surprisingly versatile singing voice.
So much so that in every song he sings, he sounds like a totally
different person. He can sing in a high or low voice equally well.
Hide can have a scratchy, metallic voice, a melodic voice, a fluctuating
funky voice, or whatever else the song might require. Often his
singing is just plain weird, yet still quite cool. Hide could
have easily been the vocalist of X Japan. In fact I feel his singing
is infinitely better than X Japan's lead singer Toshi, but Hide
made it apparent that he prefered a less frontal position in the
band. Besides, Toshi's voice is more suited to X Japan's brand
of music. Hide had been the vocalist, X Japan would have been
a very different band.
always exciting use of visual elements made him one of the biggest
influences on the visual kei movement. I have no doubt that visual
kei would not be as popular today as it has become if it weren't
for Hide. Also if it weren't for Hide, hard rock may have not
been as well recieved in Japan. In the early days of X Japan,
Japanese music was overrun by squeaky clean bubblegum pop music.
But the influence of X Japan with hide playing a big part helped
create a real market for good solid rock music. Through his solo
work, Hide was able to expand upon the appreciation for hard rock
that he helped create, and open up people's minds to new forms
of rock music that did not have to follow a trend.
However, shortly after Hide's death, they started to release the remaining
singles and videos of hide with Spread Beaver. Songs like Pink Spider
and Everfree dominated the charts, selling like gangbusters for a very
long time. Then a few months later with the release of the albums for
hide with Spread Beaver "Ja Zoo" and the Zilch album "3.2.1." they sold
even better with both albums making increadible sales. Hide was already
increadibly popular and if anything, his death made him even more popular.
Now for the last
year, Japanese rock fans have been in a perpetual state of Hide-mania.
Everyone may have different tastes, all music fans seems to share one
thing. Everybody loves Hide. To be honest, although I have been a fan
of Hide for a while from his work in X Japan, I had no real knowledge
of his other contributions to music. But it was only this year after
he died that with all of the hype that has been surrounding him did
I discover what a great artist he truly was on his own. It's just sad
that he had to die for many of us to find that out. At 34 Hide had become
a legend in the Japanese music world and yet it seemed that his greatest
contibutions to music were yet to come. However with his senseless death,
we will never know what could have been. It is partly because of this
that his awesome fashion sense, his exciting guitar playing and his
enigmatic personality will be missed even more. I know I miss him daily.
When I listen to his songs, even a year after his death, I feel a simultaneous
sense of awe and sadness. His songs are so full of life that you listen
and disblieve that he's no longer with us. Maybe his spirit is still
living with us in his music. I like to think so.
- Hide died before
he and Spread Beaver had enough songs to complete their first album.
So for a few of the songs such as the last single "Hurry Go Round" or
the songs "Fish Scratch Fever" and "Pink Cloud Assembly" were re-mixed
from raw unfinished demos. I hear that with Hurry Go Round specifically
member I.N.A. combined incomplete tracks from a few songs and put them
together digitally to make a single song. Then hide's voice from demo
recordings was added to complete the song.
This album really opened my eyes to what Hide was capable of. Listening
to this CD is like being a kid in a candy store. Such a wonderful
variety of cool stuff all in one place. Amusing punk songs like
Genkai Haretsu, Lassie and Hi Ho. Cool L.A.
rock songs like Beauty & Stupid. Poignant rock ballads
like Flame and Good Bye. Fun tracks like the title track Psyence
which is an instrumental piece that perfectly emulates those theme
songs of 60's spy shows and LEMONed I Scream, a weird little
ditty which can't quite be explained in words. There's hard drivin'
fusion metal songs like Pose and Bacteria. Typical
Hide songs like Erase and Damage. And who could forget
Misery which is a modern rock song with a touch of that old
hair metal sound that Hide has always had a predisposition for.
All of this with a really cutting-edge sound that, like his previous
album, mixed a bit of old and new rock styles with many extra touches
of sound sampling. With 16 tracks this album gives you a lot for
your bucks. Just like everything he did, hide really liked to gave
his fans value.
top 25 favorite hide songs