Highlights: JRR Interview with Heath & Pata
JRR had the opportunity to sit down an interview Heath[bass] and Pata[guitar]. Both interview come just days before the three day concert in Japan’s famous Tokyo Dome. Heath joined the band 10 years later for the “Art of Life” album.
Below is quotations of some of the more in depth, informational or insightful questions and answers from the interview. Let’s begin with bassist Heath.
JRR: How was HIDE at that time?
HEATH: He really was like a big brother then; he told me “Since you made it here, let me introduce you to everybody. Make sure they remember you.” and then he dragged me all over the place and introduced me to dozens of people as “HEATH from Osaka, yoroshiku.”
This goes to show you not all rumors are true.
JRR: Rumor has it that when HIDE later invited you to play for X, you thought that was a joke.
HEATH: That really started with him asking, “You know what our current situation is, don’t you?” When I said, “Yes, I do,” he then asked, “[We] want to record a bit, so could you help us out since we don’t have a bass at the moment?” I replied with, “Sure, I can play for you.” Then he gave me a tape and told me to copy it. It had about five songs, if I remember correctly. So I copied that, then I went to the studio and played with [the band]. Almost immediately, after I got home, HIDE called me to say, “Seems that everybody likes you, so think about [joining X].” Something like that.
JRR: You went to New York after that. Was that related to X? Or was that something you did personally?
HEATH: That was for X—the press conference at the Rockefeller Center. It was my first press conference with X, as well.
JRR: If that’s the reason why you went to New York, several rumors have the whole story very wrong.
HEATH: What rumors?
JRR: That you were approached about becoming X‘s bassist while you were in New York.
HEATH: No, that’s wrong.
Another good one, this one pertaining to lives.
JRR: Japanese rock, particularly visual kei, is getting more and more popular overseas. Given that that’s something X JAPAN started, how does it make you feel to see that now?
HEATH: It’s as if Japan[ese artists] have finally pushed open the door from their side to let their light shine outside, as well. Everyone has always said that “There are no borders to music,” but few [Japanese artists] have moved beyond the borders—and, of those who did, most didn’t leave any impression. It seems that only now the time has come that Japanese rock moves beyond Japan’s borders. Since we are in those times at this moment, I think that there are things we need to do, things that I really want to do from now on.
JRR: For example?
HEATH: First of all, a[n overseas] live. I want to do a live concert there.
JRR: A solo live or…?
HEATH: Anything, all, whatever. (Laughs.)
Contacts with the band. Somehow I see it as odd they didn’t contact each other [except for Pata]. You might never be able to get a hold of Yoshiki though, busy man!
JRR: During those ten years, you’ve still been in contact with PATA.
HEATH: Yes, we meet occasionally.
JRR: How was it to meet YOSHIKI and TOSHI again after ten years?
HEATH: It didn’t feel like ten years. Well, first YOSHIKI, PATA, and I met, but [with YOSHIKI] that really didn’t feel like meeting again after ten years; it was more like “long time, no see.” Then I met TOSHI in the recording studio, and that was like, “You doing okay?” Almost like there hadn’t been that ten year gap at all—the old connections were right there again, without any awkwardness.
JRR: Talking about old times, are there any of the old songs that you really want to play during the lives?
HEATH: If I had to choose only one… “WEEK END.”
JRR: Why that one?
HEATH: There are some memories connected to that. That is… While playing bass, I never really sang chorus. For “WEEK END,” they said, “Come on, do it.” Then TOSHI gave me some special coaching for that, and then—without instruments—TOSHI, HIDE, and I practiced the chorus together. I really loved how it came together into harmony during our practices.
This one made me laugh a little bit considering Yoshiki and Toshi have a myspace. Maybe one of them could help him out with it.
JRR: That would be fun to see again. Incidentally, something different that was fun to see was your Myspace profile until that suddenly disappeared. What happened to that?
HEATH: That actually wasn’t me.
JRR: That wasn’t you? It did say “HEATH PROJECT”…
HEATH: No, someone else did that without asking me. I even told people it wasn’t me when they said, “Oh, you made a Myspace profile, didn’t you?” But they kept telling me that it was there, so I checked. And yes, it was there. But someone actually did that without asking.
JRR: Have you thought about making one? Even PATA has one now, TOSHI made one last year, and YOSHIKI has had his for forever. So only you are missing.
HEATH: (Laughs.) Let me think about it? Everybody keeps telling me that I should, but…
JRR: Your foreign fans want you to for sure. And it’s a very fast way to communicate.
HEATH: At the moment, I don’t have any idea yet what Myspace is all about. Even though it’s been explained to me, I haven’t really yet figured out how it works. When and if I do, and if I come to think that it might be fun, I might do it. But for the moment, I still have too many unanswered questions.
JRR: Such as?
HEATH: They’re not technical questions. They’re more basic—like, what is Myspace? What’s it good for, what can you do with it? I haven’t figured that out yet.
Interested in the complete interview? Go read Heath’s Interview.
Next up is the interview for guitarist Pata! Pata whom has been with X Japan since its creation in 1982.
JRR: When and how did you first encounter X?
PATA: The first time was actually in high school, too. I saw them in some contest.
JRR: In Tokyo? In Chiba [prefecture]?
PATA: In Chiba. I saw them there—then some time later [in Tokyo], my own band was without a drummer at one point, so a friend who knew YOSHIKI introduced us, saying that he should have time [since X wasn’t performing at that time] because they had no members [aside from YOSHIKI and TOSHI]. I asked YOSHIKI to play support for us, and I think that he did that maybe three times. Then sometime after that, I ended up joining X somehow.
JRR: Is it true that, before that, you asked YOSHIKI to join JUDY?
PATA: Oh, yes; yes, I did. I asked him, and instead I ended up joining X a few years later.
JRR: Why did you join X?
PATA: By then, my own band had disbanded… One day, [YOSHIKI] called me. There wasn’t any particular reason why I shouldn’t join, so I did.
Imagine how he’s going to feel for the Tokyo Dome lives.
JRR: So shooting the “I.V.” music video in Odaiba didn’t leave any particular impact then?
PATA: We did that, but—even then—I just thought that nothing much had changed. Well, except that someone was missing. Really, I think I won’t know how I feel until we do the lives.
Meevie.. a good kid? Wow xD
JRR: You’ve also played with MIYAVI, who’s in YOSHIKI‘s S.K.I.N.
PATA: MIYAVI, too, yes.
JRR: What’s your impression of him?
PATA: MIYAVI? My impression of him? Like a mischievous boy. (Laughs.) But he’s a good kid, really.
A nice little snippet for those of you following the band Ra:IN and their escapades, come to think of it, its a nice idea for a band name when you think of Pata.
JRR: What is your inspiration for your band names?
PATA: It wasn’t me who named Dope HEADz. Ra:IN also was named by someone else, not me. Though, with Ra:IN, that really came from the English word “line.” Then it became, “Let’s do something different with it.” and that turned out to be “Ra:IN.”
JRR: Where does the “inspiration” part of “Rock and Inspiration” come from?
PATA: A friend of mine came up with that—and also the way of writing it like that, with Ra:IN.
See? Anime isn’t that bad, its just some people that are hardxcore animutards.
JRR: It seems to have started with anime.
PATA: It looks that way, yes.
JRR: In the beginning, people came across Jrock as anime theme songs, and then began to look at the bands; by now, even though groups go to anime conventions, a lot of people are interested in the music for its own merit, not because of anime anymore.
PATA: I’m glad they [are giving it a chance] and listen to it overseas.
Pata’s a movie star, well… sort of *_*
JRR: You are in a movie, as well. (Ed. note: “Attitude,” http://www.attitude-movie.com) Can you tell us what that is about?
PATA: Actually, I’ve no idea myself. (Laughs.)
PATA: I really have no idea. I think I’m in it having a drink somewhere. I’m not familiar with the details of the movie.
Finally, some good news for Ra:IN.
JRR: Aside X JAPAN, you will continue Ra:IN activity, as well?
PATA: Oh, yes. I’ll continue that.
JRR: What are your plans with Ra:IN for this year?
PATA: We’re releasing a new album [in April], and we’ll go on a tour. Sometime, if we can find a good time for it, I’d like to play overseas once more.
Interested in the complete interview? Go read Pata’s Interview.