兄弟: 追憶のhide

Brothers: Recollections of hide

Author: Matsumoto Hiroshi
Translation: w_b

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My Older Brother's Chivalry
p. 68-75

Of course, hide wasn't always drunk.

When I came to accompany hide on X-Japan's [DAHLIA TOUR 1995-1996], I often witnessed moments that made me admire him all the more, and that despite him being my older brother.

On one particular night I went to his room after being summoned, and found him standing in front of the mirror playing guitar. The same guitar he used on stage.

He was busy adjusting the strap length: every time he'd readjust the guitar's height a little bit he'd stare in the mirror.

"Maybe that's a bit high? Or low?"

"What is the matter?"

"Well, you see I definitely had it a bit higher when X first started."


"In X the guitar tempo's fast so if I have it low I won't be able to play some parts, but maybe I should lower it after all? What d'you think?"

Even though he had asked for my opinion and I was happy that it was me he had asked, I wondered whether it was my place to give it. I found the guitar definitely looked better when it was lower but I didn't dare voice it.

"Actually... You should do as you think is best."

"Huh, I'm not sure what to do...."

If anything, it was surprising for me to see hide so deeply torn. I thought he had looked perfectly fine the way he was.

From my point of view, hide's playing seemed perfect. However he was tireless, he had established his own style and now had no intention whatsoever of resting on his laurels.

Ever since childhood, he spared no effort behind the scenes. It was one part talent to nine parts practice. As a guitarist, he was all about practice and passion.

He was my older brother and I could not help but be proud of him all over again.

There were his ceaseless efforts to become a professional guitarist. And there was his attitude toward undertaking guitar, unchanged since his boyhood.

Before his grandmother bought his an electric guitar, he was constantly practicing his chords on an acoustic; his fingers would all blister and he would get frustrated.

"I can't do it, it hurts."

"That's it, I quit guitar."

Yet, once a few days had passed and his blisters had healed he would immediately pick it up again.

"Oh, so you're at it again?"

Whenever I teased him about it he'd answer casually, "Yep, the more frustrated I get the better I'll become."

I heard that from the moment he joined X, during their debut, he would spend days practicing rhythm exercises with a metronome, from morning until night. And again when first faced with the challenge of singing at the time of his solo debut, he would record himself then listen to the recordings in an attempt to master his own voice. He was like a martial artist on a spiritual quest.

"My throat is an instrument too so I have to train it, just like I practice the guitar. I'm the one who has to master my own voice. "

Apparently those are the kinds of things he used to say.

He would go from one thing right into the next; sometimes there wouldn't be enough hours in a day. That was the real hide. Outside of sleeping, eating and drinking he devoted nearly every waking hour to music.

He was also more diligent about tour rehearsals than anyone else. He would practice and prepare himself thoroughly so as to wipe out any prior anxieties. And on the other hand, he wanted to have fun on stage more than anyone else. He was fully committed to the show and to everyone's enjoyment of it.

At the same time, between the band members it was hide who had the least talent for adlibbing. It happened once during an unplanned event around the time of his second solo tour; he must have gotten all mixed up because he completely forgot the lyrics and kept singing the same song over and over again. The words he uttered on stage then went against his own rules.

"Sorry! I'll start over again!!!"

The fans brought great joy to this unforeseen incident, but it certainly did not showcase hide's skill. And then there was the fact that hide could not lie.

Of the staff who set the stage up with hide, every single one of them rejoiced from the bottom of their hearts at being able to work alongside him. Many of them were happy just to hear him say thank you as payment for their work.

That's how deep the sense of community ran in the stage team hide had assembled. He would never look down on a person simply because they worked the backstage.

He always used to say, "I would've never gotten this far without all of them."

It wasn't humility. He plainly thought that it was obvious. That is why he invariably expressed his gratitude to the staff from atop the concert stage as well.

The staff put their utmost faith in hide and sometimes would prepare a small surprise on stage in order to delight him. In their hearts they would all pump their fists in victory whenever during a concert they saw him make a surprised face at their unexpected staging. On hide's stage there always reigned such an extraordinary atmosphere.

Along that train of thought, I remember one day when hide gathered his staff during a free moment and asked them a favour concerning me.

A cigarette in his mouth, he looked self-conscious.

"This here is my little brother. You might think he's there for you to spy on but I absolutely do not wish for him to be treated that way. He knows nothing so please, be professional."

The fact that I was hide's little brother had been withheld from the X staff. The news however spread over time and, whatever their reasons for it, part of the staff had started to go easy on me.

Worried about that with his own staff, hide continued.

"For his own sake don't treat him as a guest. I ask of you. Be tough on him."

I was so happy I got goosebumps. The moment I understood that hide was hard on me in front of other people out of concern for me felt like finally seeing the light.

He was so worried that complicity between two siblings wouldn't benefit their relationship that he took it upon himself to be strict with me.

All the resentment I had accumulated up until that point was dispelled as if by magic. I fully realized my close mindedness, and felt embarrassed for bearing a grudge.

Now in hindsight I realize that hide's sternness was directed at himself. A boss who shows leniency to a relative of his would set a bad example for the other staff members.

The moment I grew assured that my older brother was in fact a generous person, I instantly felt motivated. My mind made up, I moved behind him and asked.

"Would you like me to massage your shoulders?"

"Oh! Sounds good."

Even though I had been told to massage his shoulders before, I usually did it half-heartedly; that day and that day alone I did it with feeling. On top of having an astigmatism, hide always suffered from stiffness in his shoulder, caused by his thin guitar strap.

As I placed my hands on his shoulders they felt so small that I could have easily gripped them. The bones so slender they felt fragile. With these slender shoulders he not only played guitar, composed music, stood atop the stage, looked after younger musicians: being the company leader he also dealt with all kinds of matters.

It so happened that around the time X-Japan's concert tour began my massaging skills vastly improved. I wonder if I could have one day shouldered at least half of his heavy duties.

"Hey, you're pretty good at this."

"It's not so much your shoulders that are stiff but your neck. "

"Could you please stretch it a bit?"

"Of course. I can hear your neck cracking."

Out of the two, the left shoulder was terribly stiff from holding up the guitar head. And every time I massaged or guided him to bend his neck I could hear his neck cracking.

Hide needed a break in order to relax. Perhaps that was why I had been called to him after all.