X Japan is finally coming back to New York. The internationally renowned Japanese metal band will play Madison Square Garden on October 11 at an event sponsored by New York Comic Con. One of the most influential rock bands in Japanese history, X Japan has sold more than 30 million albums and singles combined, as well as sold out the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome a record 18 times. Weaving speed metal’s pounding drums and shredding guitars with elements of pop and classical music, X Japan created a unique sound they then coupled with frenetic live performances; the combination earned the band a large, loyal fan base world wide.
Formed in 1982, while founding members and childhood friends Yoshiki and Toshi were still in high school, X Japan has had a tumultuous journey – one that has sadly included the tragic deaths of two of its five founding members and a 10-year split. After reuniting in 2007, X Japan toured 16 countries before commencing their first US tour with a performance at Lollapalooza 2010, followed by sold out shows from Los Angeles to New York. With the current line-up of Yoshiki (drums, piano, keyboard), Toshi (lead vocals, guitar), Pata (guitar, backing vocals), Heath (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Sugizo (guitar, violin, backing vocals), X Japan is working on a new album, scheduled to be released early next year on Warner Music.
However, X Japan’s influence is not limited solely to their groundbreaking sound. In fact, the band initially attracted attention as much for their appearance as for their music. Their flamboyant outfits, elaborate hairstyles and androgynous make-up helped propel the cultural and musical movement known in Japan as “Visual-Kei” into a wildly popular social phenomenon. With their aesthetic embracing both futuristic as well as Japanese historical imagery, X Japan’s style had immense influence on today’s anime and cosplay cultures.
In line with their broad sphere of influence, the members of X Japan will also appear at New York Comic Con where Yoshiki will participate on a panel with Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee and discuss the pair’s collaborations, including Blood Red Dragon the Marvel comic based on Yoshiki.