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Taiji performing with X circa 1990
|Birth name||Taiji Sawada|
|Also known as||Ray|
|Born||July 12, 1966|
Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan
|Died||July 17, 2011 45) (aged|
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
Taiji Sawada (Japanese: 沢田 泰司, Hepburn: Sawada Taiji, July 12, 1966 – July 17, 2011), also known mononymously as Taiji, was a Japanese musician and songwriter. He is best known as the former bassist of the rock band X. X rose to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, credited as founders of the Japanese visual kei movement. After leaving X in January 1992, Taiji went on to work with many other bands, including Loudness and D.T.R.
Taiji Sawada was born in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan on July 12, 1966. He was the second son of three children. His younger sister Masayo is a singer known as Sister MAYO. When Taiji was two years of age, he shoved his hand into a machine in a factory where his parents worked, resulting in a first joint cut on the middle finger, but luckily, it was not too serious. In 1974, at age eight, Taiji learned how to play acoustic guitar while in elementary school. In 1979, Taiji's parents were divorced.
After dropping out of high school in 1982, Taiji formed his first band called Trash,where he was the leader and guitarist. In late 1984, he switched to bass and going by the name Ray joined the metal group Dementia, staying until 1985. He then played briefly with Prowler, as well as a few shows with X. Until 1986 when he joined the very short-lived Dead Wire, whose line-up also included future Saver Tiger and D'erlanger members, Kyo and Tetsu. Soon after he officially rejoined X at the end of 1986.
He contributed music to several X compositions, including "Phantom of Guilt", "Desperate Angel" and "Voiceless Screaming", where Toshi contributed lyrics. He played "Voiceless Screaming" on acoustic guitar during Jealousy tour from 1991 to 1992. In 2001, some of the unpublished songs were finally released in Rose & Blood -Indies of X-. Taiji left X in 1992, the official reason given by the band was due to musical differences. However, in his autobiography, Taiji claimed that he was asked to leave because he confronted Yoshiki due to the substantial income gap between Yoshiki and each of the other members.When asked about Taiji's departure in 2016, Yoshiki said that while he really respected Taiji's musical skills and still does, he "crossed the line of our band's rules" and "To this day I still don't know if the decision was right or wrong, but we didn't have a choice." Taiji's last concert with the band was the last day of three consecutive nights at the Tokyo Dome, it was released on DVD as On the Verge of Destruction 1992.1.7 Tokyo Dome Live .
In April 1992, he was invited to join Japanese metal band Loudness.He left them in November 1993, after recording only one studio album and one live album. In July 1994, he formed his own band and named it D.T.R, which stood for "Dirty Trashroad" and featured Mitsuo Takeuchi (ex:Joe-Erk) on vocals, Taiji Fujimoto (ex:The Dead Pop Stars, ex:Judy and Mary) on guitar and Toshihiko Okabe on drums.
In 1995, he also joined the short-lived supergroup Kings, with Shuichi Aoiki (Night Hawks) on vocals, Luke Takamura (Seikima-II) on guitar, and Satoshi "Joe" Miyawaki (44 Magnum, Spread Beaver) as support drummer.
Guitarist Tomoyuki Kuroda later joined D.T.R in 1995, but a year later, Yoshihiko left, and then the band was put on hold when Taiji was going through personal problems.During this time, Taiji was divorced from his wife, of whom he married in 1989, and became homeless.
In 1999, he created Cloud Nine, but left in 2001 and they decided to continue on without him. Otokaze (音風) with his sister Masayo on vocals, they released one self-titled album on November 9, 2004.He then formed
In 2005 Taiji was in a motorcycle accident, where he badly injured the ligaments in his foot.[ citation needed ] D.T.R resumed activity in 2006 with keyboardist Kenji Shimizu and their former support drummer Kazuhisa "Roger" Takahashi, now official members.
Also in April 2006, he formed another band, Taiji with Heaven's, with Taiji on bass and Dai on vocals; later guitarist Ryutaro joined.In 2009, they officially started activities; in May 2010, Takanari joined on drums and they released their first mini-album on January 13, 2010.
In 2007, Taiji returned to Cloud Nine.In 2009, he announced that he would once again be playing bass in a supergroup, The Killing Red Addiction with guitarist Tatsu (Gastunk), drummer Kenzi (Anti Feminism, The Dead Pop Stars, ex:Kamaitachi) and vocalist Dynamite Tommy (ex: Color). They had their debut performance on June 22 at the Whiskey A Go Go, in Los Angeles, United States. Their second performance was in Osaka, Japan at the Shinjuku Loft on December 29, and they released a cover of Gastunk's "Devil" on iTunes on January 13, 2010.
In December 2008, Taiji's staff announced on his blog that since September, his epilepsy and chronic strokes had worsened,that he was suffering from necrosis after a hip joint replacement of the femoral component on his left hip, and that on December 2, he was hospitalized again after falling and hurting his chest and throat.
In 2010, he formed TSP (Taiji & Shu Project), with Taiji on bass, guitarist Shu (Cloud Nine, Crazy Quarter Mile), vocalist Dai (Taiji with Heaven's) and drummer Hina (Crazy Quarter Mile).Taiji with Heaven's also performed a show in Korea that year and later announced plans for further activities in the country the following year. However, these were cancelled due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
On August 12, 2010, Taiji rejoined X (now known as X Japan), with founders Yoshiki and Toshi at a press conference, to announce that he would be performing as a guest with X Japan at their August 14 and 15 shows at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.
On October 9, it was announced that Dai was leaving TSP, and would be replaced by Hiroshi "Tazz" Maruki, which resulted in their debut album being delayed.
On January 23, 2011, it was announced that Ryutaro was withdrawing from Taiji with Heaven's due to bad health and personal reasons. On February 17, Tokiya joined as guitarist, and it was announced that Taiji with Heavens would now be written without the apostrophe.
On July 11, 2011, Taiji argued with his female manager, named KT, on Delta Airlines Flight 298 during the final approach from Japan to Saipan. After the argument became physical, he was restrained by other passengers and a flight attendant, and he was moved to another seat, but his aggression persisted as he continued to punch windows and kick other seats. He was arrested upon landing in Saipan.He faced federal charges in the United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands. On July 14, Taiji was found unconscious in his detention cell, appearing to have attempted suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet. He was rushed to an intensive care unit at Saipan's Commonwealth Health Center, where he was observed to be brain dead. His comatose body was placed on life support. Taiji died on July 17 after his mother and fiancée made the decision to turn off his life support system. His fiancée, Tomomi Akatsuka, claimed that there were no marks of strangulation on his neck. In her 2015 book, Taiji, she wrote that she asked that his body be returned to Japan, but it was instead cremated without an autopsy. She started a petition called: "Taiji voiceless truth" pleading for the investigation into his death be reopened.
X Japan is a Japanese rock band from Chiba, formed in 1982 by drummer Yoshiki and lead vocalist Toshi. Starting as a predominantly power/speed metal band with heavy symphonic elements, they later gravitated towards a progressive sound with an emphasis on ballads. Besides being one of the first Japanese acts to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label, the group is widely credited as one of the pioneers of visual kei, a movement among Japanese musicians comparable to Western glam.
Loudness is a Japanese heavy metal band formed in 1981 by guitarist Akira Takasaki and drummer Munetaka Higuchi. They were the first Japanese metal act signed to a major label in the United States, releasing twenty-six studio albums and nine live albums by 2014 and reaching the Billboard Top 100 in their moment of maximum international popularity, as well as charting on Oricon dozens of times. Despite numerous changes in their roster, with Takasaki the sole constant member, the band continued their activities throughout the 1990s, finally reuniting the original line-up in 2001. This incarnation released a further seven albums until November 30, 2008, when original drummer Munetaka Higuchi died from liver cancer at a hospital in Osaka at age 49. He was replaced with Masayuki Suzuki.
Hideto Matsumoto, better known by his stage name hide, was a Japanese musician, singer-songwriter and record producer. He was the lead guitarist of the rock band X Japan from 1987 onward, and a solo artist from 1993 onward. He also formed a rock supergroup Zilch with musicians from the United States in 1996.
Hiroshi Morie, known exclusively by his stage name Heath, is a Japanese musician and singer-songwriter. He is the bass guitarist of the rock band X Japan. He joined the group in 1992 when ex-bassist Taiji Sawada left the band. Heath stayed with X Japan until the band's dissolution in 1997 and reunited with the band from 2007 onward.
Toshimitsu Deyama, known exclusively by his stage name Toshi, is a Japanese singer and songwriter. He is the lead vocalist and a co-founder of the rock band X Japan, who rose to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s and is credited as founders of the visual kei movement. Toshi began an extensive solo career in 1992 before leaving X Japan at the end of 1997. By his own admission, Toshi was "brainwashed" by a group called Home of Heart, whose leader would control his musical output for the next 12 years. In 2007, X Japan reunited and began a world tour. Toshi severed ties with Home of Heart in January 2010 and renewed his solo career. His distinctive, impassioned tenor vocals have been compared to those of Steve Perry. In January 2018, he began to use the stage name Toshi Ryugen.
Art of Life is the fourth studio album by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, released on August 25, 1993 by Atlantic Records. The album consists solely of the 29-minute-long orchestrated title track, which was written and composed by Yoshiki entirely in English and recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It topped the Oricon chart and has sold over 600,000 copies. The album is the band's first after changing their name from simply "X" and the first to feature bassist Heath.
Blue Blood is the second studio album by Japanese rock band X Japan, then known as simply X. It was released on April 21, 1989, by CBS/Sony as the band's major label debut. Blue Blood sold more than 700,000 copies, reached number 6 on the Oricon chart and stayed on the chart for more than 100 weeks. The album's singles would also reach the top five on the chart. In 2007, Rolling Stone Japan ranked Blue Blood number 15 on their list of the "100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time".
Vanishing Vision is the debut studio album by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, then known as simply X. It was released on April 14, 1988 by Extasy Records, topped the Oricon indies chart and reached number 19 on the main chart.
Jealousy is the third studio album by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, then known as simply X. The album was released on July 1, 1991 by Sony, as the band's second major label release. Jealousy is the band's best-selling album, having sold more than one million copies, it topped the Oricon chart and stayed on the chart for 50 weeks. The album's singles would also reach the top three on the chart. It is their last album under the name "X", before changing to "X Japan", and the last to feature Taiji on bass, who would be replaced by Heath.
"Silent Jealousy" is a single released by X Japan on September 11, 1991.
"Forever Love" is the fourteenth single by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, released on July 8, 1996.
"Kurenai" is a song by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, written by Yoshiki. One of the band's oldest songs, they have been performing "Kurenai" since 1985, and several versions have been released, most significantly as their major-label debut single on September 1, 1989.
The discography of the Japanese heavy metal band X Japan consists of 5 studio albums, 6 live albums, 1 remix album, 11 compilations, 1 soundtrack album, 23 singles, and around 22 live video recordings.
"Endless Rain" is the fourth single released by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan on December 1, 1989. It is their second single on a major record label and reached number 3 on the Oricon chart.
"Say Anything" is a single released by X Japan on December 1, 1991.
Ballad Collection is a compilation album released by X Japan on December 19, 1997. It compiles all the ballads Yoshiki Hayashi wrote for the group. Songs by other members such as "Voiceless Screaming" by Taiji Sawada and Toshimitsu "Toshi" Deyama are not included. The album reached number 3 on the Oricon chart, and charted for 26 weeks. In 1998, with 566,160 copies sold was the 47th best-selling album of the year. It was certified platinum by RIAJ.
"Dahlia" is the thirteenth single by Japanese heavy metal band X Japan, released on February 26, 1996.
On the Verge of Destruction 1992.1.7 Tokyo Dome Live is a live album released by X Japan on January 1, 1995. It contains the band's performance at the Tokyo Dome on January 7, 1992, which was the last with Taiji Sawada on bass. The album reached number 3 on the Oricon chart. There is also a VHS version with the same name.
Loudness is the tenth studio album by Japanese band Loudness. It was released in 1992 only in Japan, after the band had terminated the recording contracts with US labels. Original bass player Masayoshi Yamashita was replaced with Taiji Sawada and the American vocalist Mike Vescera with former Ezo singer Masaki Yamada.
Once and for All is the third live album by the Japanese band Loudness. It was released in 1994 and is the only live album with the formation that recorded the album Loudness in 1992. "House of 1.000 pleasures" is a song of the band Ezo, which singer Yamada was a member of, before joining Loudness.