Gene Simmons hails X Japan Yoshiki's onstage bravery

Yoshiki and Gene Simmons at the We Are X Hollywood premiere
Yoshiki and Gene Simmons at the We Are X Hollywood premiere (Image credit: Getty)

Kiss bassist Gene Simmons says X Japan leader Yoshiki is “braver” than he is onstage.

A longtime music hero of Yoshiki’s, Simmons features in the iconic Japanese band’s documentary We Are X – which charts their rocky rise to fame through death, lineup changes and breaking cultural barriers at home and abroad.

Simmons tells Rolling Stone: “He’s braver than I am. He has no problem showing his passion and crying and pain. I admire that. He doesn’t care that people are looking and judging him.

“My background is full of pain. My mother was in a Nazi concentration camp and our whole family was killed off. Then early on, your father leaves, and all you’ve got is your mother, and I was an only child. Then you come to a new country and I can’t speak English.”

He adds: “For me Kiss was the armour, and your family was the band. And even that original band broke up. You can’t rely on anything. At the end of the day, all you have is yourself.

“I’m not brave like him. He goes up onstage and it’s like gestalt therapy, like primal scream with Dr Janov. Shrinks still want you to do that. They want you to talk about the pain to get it out.

“When you see Yoshiki onstage, purging himself, crying and rolling around on the floor, that ain’t showbiz. That’s real.”

Yoshiki says he becomes “naked mentally” during every X Japan performance – treating every show like it’s their last.

He says: “I give everything to our fans. We almost play each show like it’s the last show. Rock saved me.

“You can break drums and scream out loud – if you do that in the street you get arrested. Everything is legit onstage. You can go crazy.

“I contemplated suicide when I lost my father. Looking at a bridge, should I jump? Then I saw the rock thing. If I die, I’m going to die onstage.

“Sometimes I think I shouldn’t do it, but then I jump into the drum set. If I landed in the wrong place, I might lose my eyesight or something. But if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it to the end.”

Simmons and Yoshiki will appear at Japan’s Visual Japan Summit music festival and the Kiss Expo convention in Tokyo later this month.

X Japan tour dates 2016⁄2017

Oct 14-15: Mihama Ku Visual Japan Summit, Japan
Oct 16: Chiba Visual Japan Summit, Japan
Oct 13-31: Harajuku Kiss Expo, Japan
Mar 04: London Wembley SSE Arena, UK

X Japan - A different Kind Of Metal

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.