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X Japan to Play Lollapalooza Main Stage

X Japan have sold more than 30 million records. They’ve sold out Japan’s 55,000-capacity Tokyo Dome 18 times. Songwriter/drummer/classically-trained pianist Yoshiki composed and performed a piano concerto to help celebrate the Emperor of Japan’s 10th year on the throne. Yet you’ve probably never heard of them. That’s all about to change. They will play Lollapalooza’s Main Stage and release their first CD domestically this summer.

So how did X Japan get so freaking big? “I have to think by doing it,” Yoshiki, who said he loves Kiss, Metallica, Chopin and David Bowie equally, told Noisecreep. “Because we are insane – I don’t know. We just don’t perform. We put our lives into it.”

The band’s image — part anime, part glam rock — certainly plays into their appeal. Yoshiki said, “When I was 10 years old, I went to see Kiss with my mother. Some part of Kiss might be in our blood. We like Japanese kabuki stuff too! I don’t use kabuki, by the way. We have elements from other places. I am a classical pianist, besides being a rock drummer. I still play. I composed a piano concerto with an 80 piece orchestra. I like both, but being in a rock band is more exciting.”

Yoshiki said the band may do a headline tour this fall as part of their master plan to conquer the U.S. market. They will pop their US performance cherry at Lollapalooza this August, something that doesn’t make them nervous. “The past 10 shows, or even 20 shows were not performed in an under 10,000 capacity venue. At our Tai Pei show, we played to 20,000 people. In Hong Kong, we played to 10,000 people. I don’t expect that many people in the U.S. … yet.”

Additionally, Yoshiki has launched the Yoshiki Foundation America, a non-profit, public benefit corporation. The drummer lost his father when he was a teenager and in 2009, he paid an emotional visit to an orphanage in Sichuan, still reeling in its recovery, with so many children still displaced and orphaned. Additionally and as a tribute to Yoshiki’s late X Japan band-mate, Hide, who embraced the support of children with bone marrow disease, the Yoshiki Foundation America provides funds to offer assistance through music to children with this debilitating illness.

He donated several pianos and other musical instruments to the schools affected by the Kobe and Sichuan earthquakes, as well as having the children in the local orphanages as his personal guests at local X Japan concerts. The Yoshiki Foundation provides funds in a variety of ways, from the purchase of musical instruments, to providing music lessons, to arranging for a child and his family to attend an opera or rock concert or other music-related event.

He said, “Because I lost my father when I was young, as a teenager, so I am supporting some children who are unfortunate situation and I decided to establish foundation in Japan and America, so children can pursue arts and music. Every time I do an event, I invite children or donated something.”

X Japan are coming … get ready.

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