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On guitar, hide!
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Hideto Matsumoto (December 13, 1964 - May 2, 1998), known as hide, was the lead guitarist and one of the major creative members of X Japan from 1987 until 1997. He is co-credited, often, with Yoshiki for beginning Visual Kei as an artistic movement, and while working with Yoshiki, encouraged him to sign the band Luna Sea to Extasy Records, which eventually led to their own success as a popular band. He was also primary A&R for Extasy alongside Yoshiki during its days as the biggest Visual label, and arguably The Man Behind the Man for much of Yoshiki's own work both with visuals and writing for X Japan and with developing the growing label and Visual scene. Writing songs such as "Joker," "Love Replica," "Miscast," "Celebration," and "Drain," he soon branched out into an enormously successful solo career that encompassed 1993 to 1998.

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Having been a hard rock guitarist with Yokosuka Saber Tiger, before joining X, he tended to prefer Hard Rock and Heavy Metal to ballads, notably being on record as saying Endless Rain was the only X ballad he truly liked to perform. In his solo career, he would do everything from jazz to Electronic Music to pop to Heavy Metal to gothic industrial, often combining said styles wildly in songs or albums. He was one of the first true cyberpunk musicians, his promotional videos and live solo act, hide with Spread Beaver, would often incorporate cyberpunk or technological themes, and he defined his solo style as "digital kei." He would, near the end of his life, try to break into the American music industry with the band Zilch, which released one album featuring his works posthumously.

Being a former hairdresser and stylist, hide was one of the most truly visual members of X Japan, continuing to appear with his trademark red-spectrum color hair, unique clothes and guitars, and badass stage presence well into when the rest of the band had traded shocking attire for more traditional expensive rocker styles. With his solo career, he became one of the founding artists of the Eroguro Kei subgenre of Visual along with Kuroyume, and is even argued to have had somewhat of a hand in Oshare Kei's development with In Motion and his love for bright colors (though this is very much played up by Hiroshi Matsumoto in an attempt to cash in on Oshare).

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On May 2, 1998, hide was found dying. He was taken to a hospital, where efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was declared dead. The best comparison of what unfolded to something the Western music scene could be familiar with would be if Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley had died at the exact same time, of reasons no one could really ascertain. Yoshiki went into a deep depression and many years of mourning for his closest best friend, and some fans committed suicide at the thought of being faced with a world without him. Many theories were and still are debated.

Was the first late musician to be made into a Projected Man / Virtual Ghost in live stage performance as opposed to video alone (where Nat King Cole was the first) in X Japan's shows in 2008 and 2009, predating the more commonly known Tupac Shakur Coachella performance.

hide's music is now the centerpiece of a Rock Opera produced by his brother and other musicians. It is called "Pink Spider," and if anyone reading has seen it, please launch a separate page for it and link it here.

Has sadly been made into a Cash Cow Franchise. Also spawned a thriving industry of clones.


Band Members

  • hide solo works: Pata, Kiyoshi, D.I.E., Chirolyn, Ran, I.N.A., Joe, KAZ Iwaike
  • Zilch: Ray McVeigh, Paul Raven, Joe Castillo, I.N.A.

Studio Albums

  • Hide Your Face (February 23, 1994)
  • Psyence (September 2, 1996)
  • Ja, Zoo (November 21, 1998) with Spread Beaver (posthumous release)
  • 3.2.1. (July 23, 1998) with Zilch (posthumous release)

Singles

  • "Eyes Love You" (August 5, 1993)
  • "50% & 50%" (August 5, 1993)
  • "Dice" (January 21, 1994)
  • "Tell Me" (March 24, 1994)
  • "Misery" (June 24, 1996)
  • "Beauty & Stupid" (August 12, 1996)
  • "Hi-Ho"/"Good Bye" (December 18, 1996)
  • "Rocket Dive" (January 28, 1998)
  • "Pink Spider" (May 13, 1998) (posthumous release)
  • "Ever Free" (May 27, 1998) (posthumous release)
  • "Hurry Go Round" (October 21, 1998) (posthumous release)
  • "Tell Me" (re-recording, January 19, 2000) (posthumous release)
  • "In Motion" (July 10, 2002) (posthumous release)

Notable Live Albums

  • "Psyence a Go Go"
  • "Hide Our Psychommunity"

Compilations

  • Tune Up (June 21, 1997)
  • Tribute Spirits - covers of his work by contemporary artists (May 1, 1999)
  • Best: Psychommunity (March 2, 2000)
  • Alivest (Video live clips)
  • Ugly Pink Machine I and II (More video live clips)
  • PsyClone (May 22, 2002)
  • Singles - Junk Story (July 24, 2002)
  • King of Psyborg Rock Star (April 28, 2004)
  • We Love hide ~The Best in The World~ (April 29, 2009)
  • Tribute Spirits II, III (2012)
  • Tribute Spirits IV, V (2013)
  • Tribute Spirits V, VI, VII (2013)

Useful Notes relevant to hide: Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse | Punk | Heavy Metal | Japan | Los Angeles | Suicide | Visual Kei


hide's work provides examples of:

  • Abduction Is Love: Genkai Haretsu's PV seems to be playing the trope straight, but is actually subverting it - the love is the selfish need of the predator.
  • Angrish: "Doubt." Much of the song is arguably screamed in Angrish.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Oblaat is in part a furious and snarky (and prophetic, see below) denunciation of apathetic citizens, as is Bacteria. Doubt is aimed at apathetic, corrupt, and lazy leaders and politicians.
  • Audience Participation Song: Audience participation LIVE. hide's lives often involved a great deal of audience participation and interaction, and the audience at memorial events will often sing along to his songs.
  • Alternative Metal/Avant-Garde Metal: One of the early pioneers, when both genres were pretty much Unbuilt Tropes. Zilch is a rather bizarre mix of the former with Nu Metal and Industrial Metal.
  • Ax-Crazy: A common theme in hide's photoshoots (there's even one of him as Chucky, and one of him as the main character of A Clockwork Orange) and occasionally in his lyrics.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Zilch tried to go on after hide's death, to rather limited success. Spread Beaver occasionally reunites for memorial shows and such. Arguably, X Japan's reunion is this, since hide was one of the three Faces Of The Band (the other two being Yoshiki and Toshi)
  • Bishōnen: Often crossing into true androgyne better than even David Bowie, his inspiration for androgyny.
  • Beggar with a Signboard: Done in the Misery PV, with the song title and with lyrics of the song in English.
  • Be Yourself: The overarching Arc Words and message of hide's work and life - be yourself, even at the cost it may take. The songs Pose and Pink Spider are explicitly about this, and Ever Free is a semi-deconstruction that reconstructs itself.
  • Break-Up Song: Hey Man So Long, is a breakup song directed toward another man with whom the singer was in a relationship. It's even sprouted three Epileptic Trees: that the song was about X Japan in general and the band's breakup, that the song was about Toshi's having left for Home of Heart and his bitter take on that, or that the song was about him and Yoshiki having broken up. No one knows if any of the above are true and what the song was about, though.
  • Camera Abuse: One of hide's favorite stage tricks. Probably the crowning example would be in the video footage of the Chi to Bara/Rose and Blood tour with X Japan where he took a signature Burny Fernandes guitar to an expensive stage camera combining this trope, Rockers Smash Guitars, and Trash the Set all in less than five minutes. The monetary cost was probably over US $10,000.
  • Careful with That Axe: "DOUBT/Tell Me." Epic metal screaming in that performance of "Doubt." Also, on backing vocals for "Sadistic Desire" with X.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Spread Beaver, hide's solo band, back in The '90s. Of course there was hide, but Pata, Chirolyn, Die, Ran, Kiyoshi, and Joe all also fit the description.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Zigzagged. hide's work was some of the darkest of X Japan including Sadistic Desire and Joker and Love Replica. At the beginning of his solo career, his stuff seemed like it was taking a lighter turn somewhat with Tell Me and kept the slightly lighter musical tone but exploited Lyrical Dissonance as the lyrics got even more dark and serious for the most part (aside from the Oshare In Motion, which is so much an outlier that some fans question if he even wrote it), and then played straight with Zilch, as his work with Zilch/his later solo works all increased both in musical and lyrical hardness and darkness.
  • Cool Car: The '50s finned Cadillac with a few mods for The '90s. It was a large enough car to do inside shots for the Ever Free PV with several members of Spread Beaver in the backseat, had his vanity license plate, and comparisons to the Batmobile have been drawn. It was even built strongly enough to be driven in reverse uphill into a tree and not be destroyed in the resulting accident with no severe injuries to anyone inside.
  • Cool Shades: His yellow wraparounds. Rather unique to say the least.
  • Cover Version: hide has done work on many covers, but the two most notable are "Ace of Spades" done at one of the Extasy Summits, and "New Rose" at one of his solo lives. "New Rose" is notably Covered Up since hide's version is likely the second most known to the version done by Guns N' Roses. "Light My Fire" by The Doors is also somewhat notable.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Combined with Rockers Smash Guitars and Camera Abuse, see above. A common trope in his videos and in his life - he was almost if not more famous for breaking stuff than Yoshiki.
  • Drunken Song: Drink Or Die was often this, in contrast to hide's usual rule of waiting until getting offstage to drink.
  • Doomed Supermarket Display: There's one in the Misery PV. Which gets a shopping cart crashed into it and hide sitting in the middle of the debris eating some of it.
  • Double Entendre: From hide's solo career, the song Rocket Dive. The Performance Video is about spaceflight and in a "spaceship." The lyrics can be about finding hope in life or, to the overanalyst, bipolar mania. They're actually about neither... a look at the cover will tell you what the song is actually about.
    • hide's work in general heavily relies on wordplay, double-entendre, and the like. As a result, many translations of his lyrics can be slightly confused.
  • Driven to Suicide: Misery, Goodbye, Oblaat, and arguably Pink Spider, though the "suicide" in it is symbolic for jumping into a new life.
  • Drunken Song: DRINK OR DIE!!!!
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Genkai Haretsu PV's ending involves this and/or I Love the Dead. Despite the light musical sound, the PV makes it one of hide's creepiest songs.
  • Epic Rocking: hide's guitar parts in "Art of Life" and "Rose of Pain" with X Japan, and for almost all of his solo music, though "Oblaat," "Junk Story," and "Dice" are all some of the best examples. "Dice's" vocals are especially epic for the rapid-fire delivery and breakdown. His vocal parts on the Stab Me In The Back live version also qualify.
  • Finger Gun: Used in the "Death Hollywood" remix/live of Eyes Love You.: hide mimes a gun with his fingers, wildly aiming around the stage to the sound of FX gunshots, until finally pointing it at himself and falling to the sound of the last gunshot.
  • Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind: Zigzagged. Sometimes hide could be far crazier and scarier than anything done onstage or that hide dressed like (when drunk and fighting for no reason but to fight, as in the hotel anecdote) and yet was the Team Mom for X Japan almost as soon as joining the band, one of the more calming influences in Yoshiki's life, often tried to help other bandmen as much as he hurt them in fights (and once actually avoided a fight that Yoshiki had picked and became close friends with Tomoyasu Hotei of Boowy as a result) and did some incredible charity work, specifically reaching out to sick and injured children.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Was in part the subject of one well after his death. In 2010, hide's brother Hiroshi sued Yoshiki over the use of hide's image in X Japan. The case was met with the judicial-language version of Flat "What" and promptly thrown out of court.
  • Gaia's Lament: Bacteria and Damage in part, as both called out the destruction of the earth and natural environments carelessly produced by human violence and human greed among the other reasons Humans Are Bastards.
  • Greatest Hits Album: More than one.
  • Grief Song: "Hurry Go Round" can be seen as a grief song, of hide grieving his mood changes.
  • Hologram: How INA accomplished bringing him back to "life" for several X Japan concerts in 2008 and 2009 - he created a hologram consisting of footage of hide playing guitar to various songs, speaking, and otherwise acting onstage to create a very natural looking reconstruction of him.
  • Humans Are Bastards: A VERY frequent theme in hide's work. Genkai Haretsu, Eyes Love You, and Blue Sky Complex center around protagonists or the concept that humans are rapists/will happily take advantage of other humans. Junk Story was inspired by a molested child's diary entries. Oblaat was aimed at Apathetic Citizens who still found time to judge each other over petty issues living under constant surveillance, Damage, Bacteria and Doubt are all denunciations of politicians and leaders and similar, combined with Gaia's Lament and War Is Hell, and in Bacteria, humans are the bacteria killing the world.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Much of "Doubt," "Bacteria," and "Fish Scratch Fever." "Dice" is a little better, but the rapid-fire delivery pretty much necessitates having the lyrics there too. "Lemoned I Scream" is entirely in English, but good luck understanding it through the megaphone and fuzz filter.
  • Intercourse with You: Many of hide's songs, whether it's the main theme of the song or the "B plot" of it, though hide's takes on the theme were often nightmarish and twisted.
    • Sadistic Desire (about Murderers Are Rapists, from the murderer/rapist's perspective) and Joker (about mitsu) were the most famous from his X Japan days.
    • Eyes Love You and Genkai Haretsu reference Date Rape and drugged sex/sex as manipulation/loveless sex, perhaps as metaphors for the music industry/Hollywood.
    • Beauty And Stupid seems to be about one-sided love during sex/sexual manipulation.
    • Hi-Ho is about sex with prostitutes and sex as a prostitute, both of the ordinary and mitsu/host varieties.
    • Natural Born Onanist is a celebration of masturbation.
    • Doubt and Bacteria reference political sex scandals and sex as a loveless act of mindless reproduction respectively.
    • Rocket Dive is a long series of Double Entendre about mutually satisfying sex (and possibly gay sex depending on who you ask/who's translating).
    • Electric Cucumber and Leatherface/Inside The Pervert Mound and Fuctrack #6 are all about BDSM and various aspects of it.
    • Psyche references the sexual element of the titular mythos somewhat graphically.
  • Large Ham: hide could definitely have his ham moments.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • Hurry Go Round and Goodbye seem like quiet, slow songs. Both are ruminations on mental illness and death and reincarnation (Hurry Go Round about bipolar mood swings, Goodbye about death and suicide).
    • Hi-Ho sounds like a cute proto-Oshare romp but the title itself is a pun referring to what the song is actually about: prostitution, both of the usual and mitsu varieties.
    • Eyes Love You sounds like it's about love but it's actually about predation and being burned out with a possible subtext of Date Rape, and Genkai Haretsu which sounds like an upbeat summer rock song, is about Date Rape and necrophilia.
    • Misery was written for (and about) a terminal cancer patient who was a fan. It is one of the happiest sounding songs you will ever hear.
  • Meaningful Name: hide = the concealment of his true self and his vulnerabilities and problems at an absolute surface level, with their only being able to be discerned with more scrutiny and/or personal knowledge.
  • Metal Scream: Backing vocals for Vanishing Vision and live "Sadistic Desire." The Doubt/TELL ME performance in his solo career, and any performance of Doubt.
  • Motor Mouth: Enough that it might make one wonder how he can be so speedy.
  • The Musical combined with Rock Opera: his songs have now become a part of one, called "Pink Spider."
  • Musical Pastiche: "Rocket Dive" was written as a tribute to his idol Ace Frehley, and borrows Frehley's guitar intro to "Rocket Ride".
  • My Nayme Is: It's spelled hide and pronounced hee-day in reference to his solo career. Do not capitalize it there, even if That Other Wiki does. In regard to his X Japan career, on the other hand, it is pronounced the same way but written in ALL CAPS as HIDE.
  • Ode to Intoxication: Drink Or Die!!! is definitely this, as well as Drowning My Sorrows and a Drunken Song. Lemoned I Scream is this for either alcohol or hallucinogens or both. Sold Some Attitude is so much of a deconstruction of the idea (bitterly referencing either mania or amphetamine psychosis) that it is arguably an Ode to Sobriety.
  • Parental Incest: Blue Sky Complex is a deconstruction of this and paedophilia, from the perspective of the abuser.
  • Pastiche: "Lemoned I Scream" sounds an awful lot like The Smashing Pumpkins, both musically and lyrically.
  • Performance Video: While the technology of the time dates some of hide's performance videos, almost all are very unique and very artistic. The art of the video actually creates its own scene, its own comparison piece to the song for almost all of the songs that have a Performance Video. Especially interesting are "Misery," "Eyes Love You," "Genkai Haretsu," and "Bacteria."
  • Precision F-Strike: The lyrics to "Celebration" and "Doubt" are specifically awesome examples of a Precision F-Strike.
  • Projected Man: One of the most successful (even to Yoshiki, to whom this was so much so that he personally ended the practice) examples ever in regard to the hologram. He was the first musician to have a believable holographic form onstage, this having been accomplished in 2008, long before Tupac Shakur at Coachella.
  • Protest Song:
    • Bacteria is Humans Are Bastards / humanity is a bacteria on the planet + War Is Hell.
    • Doubt is a protest of political corruption likening politicians and leaders to groupies and prostitutes.
    • Oblaat is a protest of The '90s Japanese society and its desire to "look the other way" and to ignore problems and sweep issues under the rug
  • Religion Rant Song: "Easy Jesus" with Zilch
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "Drain" for X Japan, and solo: "Doubt," "Hurry Go Round," "Genkai Haretsu," "Breeding", "Lemoned I Scream," "Drink or Die," and "Sold Some Attitude"
  • Shout-Out: The target of quite a few, including a NSFW manga featuring the Yokosuka Pink Spiders, possible partial inspiration for Shuichi Shindou of Gravitation, and a partial one (along with Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe or, in the Japanese version, Slash of Guns N' Roses ) in Chrono Cross https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9hcWoltq-c.
    • Of course, the reason for this being the amount of influence hide had on Visual Kei and in rock music in Japan in general. Anything related to Visual Kei or similar genres, or written/made/produced by someone who is Japanese and was/is into 90s Visual Kei, has a high likelihood of a hide Shout-Out somewhere - much like the James Dean and Elvis Presley ShoutOuts that appear in some US media.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: He's near the middle of the scale but leans cynical. His songs include dark lyrics about date rape such as "Genkai Haretsu", and angry protest songs such as "Doubt", "Oblaat" and "Bacteria" (Which compares humanity to a virus), along with themes of suicide. Despite this, he's not wholly cynical, as demonstrated by songs in the middle of the scale such as "Dice" and "Pink Spider", with his overarching messages being about pushing forward through pain and depression and Be Yourself.
  • Stylistic Suck: Some of hide's PVs are either this, No Budget, or both - a good example being the contrast between Genkai Haretsu and Eyes Love You, which may seem dated but are competitive with anything else filmed in the early to mid 1990s, and Misery and Oblaat, which have far less of a "polished" look.
  • War Is Hell: The Bacteria PV.
  • Virtual Ghost: Overlapping with Projected Man and Hologram above, he was likely the first of these to be created in Real Life, although he still had to be animated by another human being using composites of his moves and synching footage used for the hologram to the songs everyone else was playing.
  • Vulgar Humor:
    • The "Dice" live with the squirming nude men and women in cages and "Natural Born Onanist" from his solo lives, the lyrics to "Doubt," the live (and the album cover and possible meaning) of "Rocket Dive," "Fuctrack #6" with Zilch...
    • Which has led to some (hopefully) unintentional creepiness, when fans go overboard, especially on exposing their kids to his stuff way too early. For example, the Youtube video of the 3 year old singing "Rocket Dive." Do not look it up - there is not enough Brain Bleach in the world.
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