EXCLUSIVE: Award-winning producer John Battsek (Searching For Sugarman, The Imposter) is ramping up for a new feature documentary on glam rock/hair metal band X Japan. Megastars in its native Asia who sell out arenas overseas, X Japan has yet to break stateside with as much success. Formed in 1982, X Japan’s evolution into glam-metal-pop superstars is laden with as much dramatic backstory as any international rock outfit. The lineup, anchored by co-founding drummer-pianist-songwriter Yoshiki, has navigated breakups and the deaths of two members while selling over 30 million albums and singles to date.
With director Stephen Kijak (Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, Stones In Exile) at the helm, principal photography on the Passion Pictures production will begin October 11 at New York’s Madison Square Garden when the band plays their first U.S. concert since 2010. New York also is where X Japan first landed stateside when it signed with Atlantic Records in 1992.
While lesser known in the States, X Japan enjoys icon status in Japan, where its glam fashion and musical aesthetics were influential on other bands and youngsters in the “visual-kei” rock movement. When original member Hide Matsumoto hanged himself at age 33, it spawned a wave of copycat suicide attempts. His face still is projected as a hologram onstage during X Japan shows, where he’s still introduced as a member of the band.
Yoshiki and X Japan are set to appear this month at New York Comic-Con with Marvel legend Stan Lee, who with Todd McFarlane created the Blood Red Dragon comic inspired by Yoshiki. Yoshiki is repped by WME.