(a.k.a. "hide"~~pronounced hee-DAY~~)
December 12, 1964 - May 2, 1998
Hideto "hide" Matsumoto was born on December 13, 1964 in Kanagawa, Yokohama, Japan. During high school, young Hideto was overweight (80 KG, which is approximately 176 lbs~~twice the weight of other classmates). He was constantly mocked because of his heaviness. His first guitar was a (used) Gibson, which he received when he was fifteen. He carried it with him almost everywhere, so he received the nickname "Gibson" by fellow classmates. In high school, a friend let him borrow a couple tapes and hide became infatuated with the American rock band, "KISS." hide's first band, Saver Tiger, was greatly influenced by them. No albums were released during the short time Saver Tiger was together; they disbanded after several arguments. However, recently 2 albums have been released of hide's high school music.
In 1988, after the leader of "X" (that's the former name of "X-Japan"), Yoshiki, called and asked hide to become X's second guitar player. He quickly took the offer and started playing not long after. Before joining X, however, hide had dreamed of becoming a hair dresser. X became popular quickly after starting in the mid 80's. The band was started by two high school best friends, Toshi (vocals) and Yoshiki (piano, keyboards, drums). At first, there was only one guitarist (named Pata) but Yoshiki wanted a different sound and so he hired hide. They tried releasing their album "Jealousy" in America, but found that not many people were fond of Visual Kei bands. Even without any American released, X Japan found success everywhere. Despite his success with X Japan, hide started solo projects such as "hide with Spread Beaver (whom he had huge success with)," "Zilch," and a solo career.
His first solo album was called "hide your face," in which hide did the vocals and played almost every instrument. His second solo album, "Psyence," was much the same. As a result, hide became incredibly popular with the Japanese public. There was also a rumor among many X Japan and hide fans that he was married, had a son at 22, and finally divorced. However, no one knows for sure since it was a subject hide did not like to discuss.
hide's main focus was "Zilch," a band which consisted of all American members, and most of the song lyrics were in English. hide sang for the band and planned of bringing them to America before his death. One of their songs, "Inside the Pervert Mound," made it onto an American various artist album called "Heavy Metal 2000." The only album that Zilch managed to released was called "3.2.1" and one later called "Bastard Eyes," which had several remixes by artists such as Marilyn Manson (hide was good friends with him), Ministry, Lord of Acid, and Nine Inch Nails.
Many X-Japan fans loved hide's new look as both a guitar player and vocalist. X-Japan disbanded in spring of 1997 after Toshi (vocals) quit because of "artistic and religious reasons." While X-Japan had been together, Toshi had married and joined a cult with his wife. "Dahlia," which was released in 1996, would be the last album X-Japan would ever produce while being together, however, Yoshiki had planned to bring X-Japan back together in 2000.
Meanwhile, hide continued with his solo career. He was involved with many young musicians to get them on their feet with the public. One of hide's best characteristics was his involvement with sick people. He donated blood and bone marrow (blood type AB) and was involved with Leukemia patients and AIDS charity projects. He once visited a girl with a terminal illness who wrote to the "Make a Wish" Foundation. Her wish was to meet hide. After she met him, she began to recover rapidly, and hide kept in contact with her through many letters. Once he died, her condition began to deteriorate.
On May 2, 1998, X-Japan and hide fans alike were horror stricken. hide died on the way to the hospital after what police and media said was a suicide. Friends and family were in disbelief that hide would ever want to kill himself. Hiroshi, hide's brother, had driven him home after drinking. hide was drinking in celebration after a prank he had pulled, which was very common for him to do. His girlfriend found him in the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his neck and tied to the door knob. 25,000 fans flocked to hide's funeral. There, Yoshiki gave a speech, explaining how the death of his dear friend was complete shock to him :
"Now, I'm very shocked because I heard his sudden death. I still can't believe it. He is sleeping with a very beautiful face. I tried to wake him up again and again, though he is still sleeping. hide was the calmest person in our band. It was also hide who always gave calm and accurate advice to me, who were short-tempered and acted impulsively, even though I was a leader. Of course, he sometimes lost his way when he was in various pressures. However, he always called me in such a case. We talked everything; such as about our band, music, friends, life, fans. Sometimes, he was like my elder brother, and sometimes like a younger brother. Sometimes, we drank and fought, but he always said, like, "Yoshiki, what did I do yesterday? Sorry, I don't remember anything" the next day. However, he went to sleep without saying anything. All his fans, and all his friends, I think everyone is confused now. I cannot express myself how sad I am, but we have to accept the fact firmly because we cannot change anything. Please see him off to the heaven warmly."
After his speech, Yoshiki withdrew from the public. It was only recently that he has re-emerged with his new band, "Violet UK." hide was laid to rest in Yokosuka Miura, Japan. His ashes were thrown in the ocean of hide's beloved city of Los Angeles by his brother, Hiroshi. There were several suicide attempts by some of his fans after his death, and 2 (or was it 3?) succeeded. After his death, a museum went up in Yokosuka, where many of his guitars, clothes, car and albums he listened to are on display. The museum was made in the shape of a guitar. "Pink Spider," the last song he released before his untimely death (also suspected to be a musical suicide letter) in 1998, won an MTV Japanese International Viewer Choice Music Award.