The Axl Rose of Japan Comes to OC to Play Classical Music
Usually when you catch up with a rock star at 4 a.m., it's hardly ever a good thing. But in the case of Japanese rocker Yoshiki, it's just an average evening. No, he wasn't partying hard. Instead, he was in the midst of preparing for his upcoming tour of very special shows across the globe. He'll be starting his tour at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa this Friday night.
While some in the States may not be familiar with the singer, in his native Japan, he's debatably the biggest rock star in the land fronting metal band X Japan. In fact, he's been nicknamed the "Bono of Japan," but a better comparison, at least in terms of sleeping habits, could be Axl Rose. But he's awake because he's working on something that very few accomplished rockers would even dare to do: a classical tour.
The origins of Yoshiki Classical came when he was asked to compose the theme song for the Golden Globes. It was released in last August and has done quite well. The album debuted at no. 1 on the iTunes Classical Music Charts in 10 countries. Yoshiki Classical's success should have been the impetus to tour, but the 48-year-old wasn't planning on hitting the road.
But slowly his mindset started to change. After playing a small showcase at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, when his agent encouraged him to do a classical world tour showcasing this different side of his musical prowess. Though he resisted, after being asked four times, Yoshiki deciding to bring the record on tour.
"I wanted to show my craft to the rock and pop audience as well," the singer says from his home in Tokyo. "I'm trying to be good and hopefully they enjoy what they hear."
Though he was initially interested in the music of Beethoven and Schubert, Yoshiki gradually moved away from those sounds when he formed X Japan, a group that is more likely to be associated with KISS than traditional composers.