There's a special treat in store for fans of X Japan planning to watch Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards. This year, the annual award show will feature a theme song composed by none other than the seminal Japanese rock band's founder and drummer, Yoshiki.
Yoshiki got a call about the gig while he was touring in Asia last fall, and the offer became official when he returned to L.A. at the end of November. He spent about ten days thinking about what he was going to do for the piece, “a few days” to compose it and two weeks to record.
The theme song, which was recorded in Japan and Los Angeles, features a 35-piece string section and several percussionists. Yoshiki played drums, piano, bass and guitar on the track.
“During the holiday season, it was so hard to get together musicians,” he says over the phone.
Yoshiki is no stranger to composition. A classically trained musician, he regularly incorporates orchestral influences into X Japan's work. He also composed a piano concerto for the Emperor of Japan as well as the theme song for the 2005 World Expo. Back in 2001, he worked with Sir George Martin and the London Philharmonic Orchestra on the album Yoshiki Presents Eternal Melody.
The Golden Globes theme, however, is different from Yoshiki's previous work and it presented its own challenges.
“When I wrote for the Japanese Emperor, it was a piano concerto, so it was just strings and piano,” he explains, adding that a theme for the award show needed “a party vibe to it.”
“Combining classical music and the rock vibe was kind of a challenge,” he continues.
There were the time constraints as well. Yoshiki's original piece clocked in at about eight minutes. Then he spoke with the production team, who were thinking of a piece of music that was closer to two minutes in length. Ultimately, Yoshiki recorded just under four minutes of music.
And, for those wondering which of this year's Golden Globes nominees has Yoshiki excited, he's a fan of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Rooney Mara is nominated in the Best Actress category.
Yoshiki's kept busy since I first met him on the set for the “Jade” music video two years ago. X Japan toured the U.S. for the first time in 2010 and then spent a chunk of last year on a world tour. In 2011, he launched a comic book series with none other than Stan Lee and worked on raising funds for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan. He also made it into L.A. Weekly's Best of L.A. People issue.
As for what's next, Yoshiki says, “I would like to rest for at least a few days.”
He adds, “Then I want to finish X Japan's next album and go from there. Maybe start touring again.”
There's no official release date in sight for X Japan's next album right now.
“My publicist, manager and agent told me I have to finish it first before deciding to release it,” he says with a laugh.