hide (musician)

Background information
Birth name Hideto Matsumoto
Also known as hide, HIDE
Born December 13, 1964(1964-12-13)
Origin Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
Died May 2, 1998(1998-05-02) (aged 33)
Genres Alternative rock, industrial rock, heavy metal
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass
Years active 1981–1998
Labels MCA Victor, Sony, LEMONed
Associated acts X Japan, Zilch, M*A*S*S, Saver Tiger
Website hide-city.com
Notable instruments
Fernandes MG series, B.C. Rich Mockingbird, Gibson Les Paul Deluxe

Hideto Matsumoto (松本 秀人 Matsumoto Hideto?, December 13, 1964 – May 2, 1998), better known by his stage name hide (written in all capital letters when he was with X Japan and in all lowercase letters when solo), was a popular Japanese musician. He was primarily known for his work as lead guitarist of the heavy metal band X Japan from 1987 to 1997. He was also a successful solo artist and co-founder of the United States based band Zilch.



1964–1987: Early years and Saver Tiger

Hide was born in St. Joseph's Hospital in Midorigaoka, Japan, on December 13, 1964 and went on to attend Yokosuka Tokiwa Junior High School. He was first exposed to rock music at the age of fifteen, through the album Alive II by Kiss. In the same year his grandmother bought him his first electric guitar, a Gibson Les Paul Deluxe.[1]

On March 11, 1980, hide graduated from Tokiwa Junior High School. He then entered Zushi Kaisei Senior High School in Zushi, Kanagawa, where he entered the school's brass band as a club activity. He quit the band after a short time because he was assigned the clarinet while he wanted to play the trumpet. After this, he concentrated on guitar and in 1981 formed the band Saber Tiger. A year after their founding, they started playing shows at live houses in Yokosuka, such as Rock City.[1]

In April 1983 he started attending cosmetology and fashion school at the Hollywood Beauty Salon in present-day Roppongi Hills, from which he graduated in 1984. Later that year he took a nationwide examination and successfully obtained a beautician license. In July 1985 Saber Tiger released their self-titled EP, which included two songs, "Double Cross" and "Gold Digger". In November, the band contributed the song "Vampire" to the Heavy Metal Force III sampler, which also included songs by X and Jewel.[1] Years later, Jewel's guitarist Kiyoshi would join hide's solo band.

In 1986 the group changed its name to Saver Tiger to avoid confusion with a similarly named band from Sapporo (see Saber Tiger). Their first appearance with the new name was on the sampler Devil Must Be Driven out with Devil, with their songs "Dead Angle" and "Emergency Express". They continued to perform in live houses and night clubs such as Meguro Rokumeikan, Omiya Freaks and Meguro Live Station.[1] Until January 28, 1987, when hide became tired of changing members and decided to end the band (vocalist Kyo and drummer Tetsu would both go on to D'erlanger). Around the same time hide was invited to join X.

1987–1997: X Japan

Hide joined X Japan (then called X) in early 1987.[2] He became the band's lead guitarist and occasional songwriter, composing songs like "Celebration", "Joker" and the single "Scars". Shortly after the release of the album Art of Life, the members of X Japan took a break, to start solo projects. Around that time, the group also dropped most of its original visual kei aesthetics, the exception being hide, who would still perform in wildly colorful outfits and with his trademark pink hair.[3]

1993–1998: Solo career

In early 1993, hide was featured on the sampler Dance 2 Noise 004, with the song "Frozen Bug", which he recorded with Inoran and J of Luna Sea, under the band name M*A*S*S. He also starred in an art film titled Seth et Holth, along with Tusk of Zi:Kill.[4] In 1994, hide recorded and released his first solo album, Hide Your Face. In addition to all vocals and songwriting, he played most of the guitars and bass on some of the tracks. The cover art was based on a mask designed by Swiss artist H. R. Giger.[5] The album's musical style differed significantly from the speed metal anthems and power ballads of X Japan, leaning more towards alternative rock. Hide then went on the "Hide Our Psychommunity Tour", for which a live band was hired that would later become part of his primary project, hide with Spread Beaver.[6]

In 1996, hide oversaw the production of the first release on his own label LEMONed (founded in 1989), an album from the band Zeppet Store. His second solo album, Psyence, was released on September 2, also followed by a tour, "Psyence a Go Go". After X Japan disbanded in 1997, hide formally titled his solo project hide with Spread Beaver. He also formed a new band named Zilch in 1996, which apart from him and Spread Beaver programmer and percussionist I.N.A., was composed of American and British artists, such as Joey Castillo (Queens of the Stone Age), Paul Raven (Killing Joke) and Ray McVeigh (ex:The Professionals).

May 2, 1998: Death

The grave of hide.

Hide died on May 2, 1998. After a night out drinking, he was found hanged with a towel tied to a doorknob in his Tokyo apartment. Authorities officially deemed hide's death a suicide,[7] and this verdict was reported in the media. Within one week, three fans had died in copycat suicides, and of the 50,000 people who attended his funeral at Tsukiji Hongan-ji, nearly 60 were hospitalized and about 200 received medical treatment in first aid tents.[7][8] Later that month, the single "Pink Spider" was released, entering the Oricon charts at number one. The song would also receive that year's MTV Video Music Award in the category "Japan Viewers Choice".[9] Sales were also strong for the follow-up single "Ever Free", while those of a single released previous to his death "Rocket Dive" would also see a substantial increase. American Journalist Neil Strauss commented on the trend saying that: "In just a few weeks, pop culture in Japan had gone from mourning hide's death to consuming it."[7] Popular interpretation of the lyrics to hide's "Pink Spider", which he had performed on the day prior to his death, fueled speculation of a premeditated suicide, because of clear autobiographical elements, and the song's theme of escape from the vicissitudes of life.

Meanwhile, several of hide's friends and colleagues stated that they believed the auto-strangulation to have been an accident, among them X Japan co-founder Yoshiki and former X Japan bassist Taiji Sawada. This notion is supported by the fact that no suicide note was left[8] and Sawada theorizes in his autobiography, that at the night of his death, hide may have been practising a technique to relieve upper back and neck pains which guitarists can suffer from continuous use of a shoulder strap.[10] The technique involved was practiced by the X Japan members during their touring days and required the use of a towel and a door knob or handle. According to Sawada, hide may have fallen asleep in his intoxicated state, becoming caught and strangling himself.[11][12]

Zilch bassist Paul Raven commented that hide was "under a lot of stress", due to recording schedule for the Ja, Zoo album. He went on to question the ultimate degree of hide's involvement in the finished record, stating that only three songs had been completed before he died.[7] Ja, Zoo was released in November of that year with the artist listed as hide with Spread Beaver. Zilch's debut album 3.2.1. was also released and the group continued to perform and record for several years. While they never achieved mainstream success in the United States one of their songs was included on the soundtrack for Heavy Metal 2000.[13]


The hide museum.

On May 1, 1999, a tribute album was released, titled Tribute Spirits. It features covers of hide's songs by several bands (such as Buck-Tick, Luna Sea and Oblivion Dust) and solo artists. The album was released to coincide with the anniversary of hide's last live appearance on May 1, 1998.[14]

A hide museum was opened in his hometown of Yokosuka on July 20, 2000.[15] It remained open, past its original three year plan, for five years, before closing its doors on September 25, 2005.[16]

The remaining members of X Japan reunited in 2007 and recorded a new song, "I.V.". It contains a previously unused guitar track by hide.[17] X Japan performed at the Tokyo Dome on March 28, 2008, during the performance of "Art of Life" hide's image (taken from footage of the "Art of Life" performance at the Tokyo Dome in 1993) played alongside the band. This was made possible by the use of Musion Eyeliner hologram technology.

As far back as July 8, 2007, Yoshiki announced to be in talks with several musicians regarding a hide tribute concert set for 2008, in order to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his former band mate's passing. The "hide memorial summit" was held on May 3 and 4, 2008 at Ajinomoto Stadium, where X Japan, Dir en grey, D'espairsRay, Versailles and many others performed, bands such as Luna Sea and Phantasmagoria even reunited for one day to perform. Hide with Spread Beaver also performed, using studio and live recordings for hide's vocals. There are still tribute shows held every year, where bands perform on hide's birthday and on the anniversary of his passing.

As with many other deceased musicians, re-issues, remixes, compilations and previously unreleased portions of hide's work continue to be published. The most recent being "The Devolution Project", a release of his original eleven singles on picture disc vinyl, throughout 2010.[18]

In August 2010, hide's management company, Headwax Organization, which includes his brother Hiroshi, filed a lawsuit against Yoshiki's management, Japan Music Agency, for using images of the former X Japan guitarist without a formal agreement in place.[19] The claim states that in 2000 the two companies signed an agreement allowing Yoshiki and X Japan to use visual images of hide during concerts. However, images were used at X Japan's August 14 and 15 shows at Nissan Stadium, when apparently the contract had expired.[19][20]

On March 8, 2011, a musical based on and featuring hide's music debuted, named Pink Spider after his song of the same name.[21] The show stars both Nao Minamisawa and Hitomi Takahashi as Meru, a girl who likes rock music, struggling between the real world and a fictional one. Other cast members included Taka (defspiral) and J (Luna Sea), with the backing band being the rest of defspiral. The production ran from March 8 to the 27 at the Tokyo Globe Theater and was then brought to Fukuoka, Kobe, Nagoya, Niigata, Sendai, and Sapporo in April.[22] A compilation album of the songs used in the musical (the original versions by hide) was released on March 2 and is titled "Musical Number" -Rock Musical Pink Spider-.[23]

Personal life

Hide had a younger brother named Hiroshi, who can be seen in the DVD His Invincible Deluge Evidence. Hiroshi was his chauffeur and manager until his last days, he took hide's ashes with him to throw in the Santa Monica Bay, along with a bottle of wine. Hiroshi had a son whom, during the "Hide Our Psychommunity Tour", hide would bring onstage and sing to. Hiroshi is part of hide's management company Headwax Organization, he also appears on Ja, Zoo reading an excerpt on "Pink Cloud Assembly".

During a TV interview on May 1, 1998 (one day before his death), hide said he had a girlfriend [1]. Reports say that he was with a girl at the time of his death, who may or may not have been this girlfriend.


At the outset of his solo career, hide experimented with instrumentations very different from what he usually had access to in X Japan. The song "Psychommunity", for example, has four guitar tracks and employs a full string section. As another example, his song "Blue Sky Complex" features guitars in drop C tuning, a trumpet section, and an organ.[24]

The title track of his second album Psyence is a big band/jazz composition with full brass, other songs on the record explore genres such as reggae, industrial rock and glam rock, with varying uses of guitar effects.[25]

Instruments and songwriting are less experimental on the Ja, Zoo album, most songs featuring a fairly conventional instrumentation of two guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards. Traditional piano and violins do, however, make an appearance.


Hide was a fan of Bow Wow guitarists Kyoji Yamamoto and Mitsuhiro Saito, and selected to use the Mockingbird style guitar, which Saito used.[26] Hide was rarely seen performing without a Fernandes guitar. He owned a repertoire of signature models as well as standard models. His signature models are still available for purchase today.[27][28]

Hide often utilized the sustainer feature that came equipped with his guitars, and is heard on many X Japan songs. He was often seen in the early 1990s using Peavey amplifiers on stage.

Spread Beaver

hide's backing band:

Former member

X Japan guitarist Pata made numerous live appearances with the band.[6] Jennifer Finch and Demetra "Dee" Plakas, of American all-girl grunge band L7, supported hide on a couple of TV performances in 1993 before Spread Beaver was formed,[29] they also appear in the original promotional video for "Doubt".[30]




Live albums


  • Tune Up (June 21, 1997, remix album)
  • Tribute Spirits (May 1, 1999, tribute album)
  • Best ~Psychommunity~ (March 2, 2000)
  • Psy-Clone (May 22, 2002, electronic remix album)
  • Singles ~ Junk Story (July 24, 2002)
  • King of Psyborg Rock Star (April 28, 2004)
  • Perfect Single Box (September 21, 2005, all 13 singles and a DVD)
  • Singles + Psyborg Rock iTunes Special!! (February 6, 2008, digital download)
  • We Love hide ~The Best in The World~ (April 29, 2009)
  • "Musical Number" -Rock Musical Pink Spider- (March 2, 2011)


  • Seth et Holth as Seth (September 29, 1993)
  • A Souvenir (VHS: March 24, 1994, DVD: April 4, 2001 as A Souvenir + Tell Me)
  • Film The Psychommunity Reel.1 (VHS: October 21, 1994, DVD: April 4, 2001)
  • Film The Psychommunity Reel.2 (VHS: November 23, 1994, DVD: April 4, 2001)
  • X'mas Present (December 24, 1994)
  • Lemoned Collected By hide (May 22, 1996, also features Zeppet Store, Vinyl and Trees of Life)
  • Ugly Pink Machine File 1 Official Data File [Psyence A Go Go In Tokyo] (VHS: February 26, 1997, DVD: October 18, 2000)
  • Ugly Pink Machine File 1 Unofficial Data File [Psyence A Go Go 1996] (VHS: March 26, 1997, DVD: October 18, 2000)
  • Seven Clips (VHS: June 21, 1997, DVD: October 18, 2000 as Seven Clips + Hurry Go Round)
  • hide presents Mix Lemoned Jelly (VHS: August 21, 1997, DVD: July 20, 2003 features many other artists)
  • Top Secret X'mas Present '97 (December 24, 1997)
  • His Invincible Deluge Evidence (VHS: July 17, 1998, DVD: July 20, 2000)
  • A Story 1998 hide Last Works (December 8, 1999)
  • Alivest Perfect Stage <1,000,000 Cuts hide!hide!hide!> (December 13, 2000)
  • Seventeen Clips ~Perfect Clips~ (May 3, 2001)
  • hide with Spread Beaver Appear!! "1998 Tribal Ja,Zoo" (September 21, 2005)
  • Alive! (December 3, 2008)
  • We Love hide ~The Clips~ (December 2, 2009)

With Saber Tiger/Saver Tiger/Yokosuka Saver Tiger

  • Saber Tiger (July 1985)
  • Heavy Metal Force III (November 7, 1985, "Vampire")
  • Devil Must Be Driven out with Devil (1986, "Dead Angle" and "Emergency Express")
  • Origin of hide Vol. 1 (February 21, 2001, compilation album)
  • Origin of hide Vol. 2 (February 21, 2001, compilation album)
  • Origin of hide Vol. 3 (February 21, 2001, VHS)

With X Japan

With M*A*S*S

  • Dance 2 Noise 004 (January 21, 1993, "Frozen Bug")

With Zilch

  • 3.2.1. (July 23, 1998)
  • Bastard Eyes (July 7, 1999)

Other work

  • Flowers (Issay, 1994, guitar on "Itoshi no Max")
  • 96/69 (Cornelius, June 9, 1996, remixed "Heavy Metal Thunder")
  • Ultra Mix (Shonen Knife, October 22, 1997, remixed "Tower of the Sun")


  1. ^ a b c d "Official fan club biography, 1964–1986". hide-city.com. Archived from the original on 2007-05-10. http://web.archive.org/web/20070510234008/http://www.hide-city.com/free/biography/1964-1986.html. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  2. ^ "Official fan club biography, 1987". hide-city.com. Archived from the original on 2007-04-29. http://web.archive.org/web/20070429164026/http://www.hide-city.com/free/biography/1987.html. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  3. ^ As seen on the Art of Life 1993.12.31 Tokyo Dome and Dahlia Tour Final 1996 video releases.
  4. ^ "Official fan club biography, 1993". hide-city.com. Archived from the original on 2007-03-29. http://web.archive.org/web/20070329083414/http://www.hide-city.com/free/biography/1993.html. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  5. ^ "The Hide Your Face mask". giger.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20070927161433/http://giger.com/Home.jsp?middleURL=/FilmDesign/HideYourFace.jsp. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  6. ^ a b As seen on the Alivest Perfect Stage video release.
  7. ^ a b c d Strauss, Neil (1998-06-18). "The Pop Life: End of a Life, End of an Era". nytimes.com. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D00EFD7103DF93BA25755C0A96E958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  8. ^ a b Seno, Alexandra A.; Murakami, Mutsuko (1998-05-22). "Isolated in Their Grief". asiaweek.com. http://www.asiaweek.com/asiaweek/98/0522/feat1.html. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  9. ^ "Official fan club biography, 1998". hide-city.com. Archived from the original on 2007-04-28. http://web.archive.org/web/20070428054417/http://www.hide-city.com/free/biography/1998.html. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  10. ^ "Dare Strap for Guitarists with Back or Neck Pain". guitarsite.com. http://www.guitarsite.com/news/gear/darestrap_guitarists_back_neck_pain/. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  11. ^ Sawada, Taiji (2000). Uchuu o Kakeru Tomo E: Densetsu no Bando X no Sei to Shi (宇宙を翔ける友へ: 伝說のバンド X の生と死?). Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten. ISBN 978-4198611743. 
  12. ^ "Exercises - Head, Neck, Shoulder, Arms". pain-clinic.org. http://www.painclinic.org/treatment-exercises-headneckshoulderarms.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  13. ^ "Heavy Metal 2000 soundtrack information". amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Metal-2000-Various-Artists/dp/B00004R981/. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  14. ^ "Tribute Spirits release information". hide-city.com. Archived from the original on 2007-05-04. http://web.archive.org/web/20070504011536/http://www.hide-city.com/free/discography/al_PCCM-00002.html. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  15. ^ Constructed at a cost of 550 million yen, the "Official fan club biography, 2000". hide-city.com. Archived from the original on 2007-05-18. http://web.archive.org/web/20070518180600/http://www.hide-city.com/free/biography/2000.html. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  16. ^ "Special Features: Hide Museum". musicjapanplus.jp. http://musicjapanplus.jp/specialfeatures/?action=detail&sf_id=3&page=2. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  17. ^ "X Japan to film PV on Aqua City rooftop". tokyograph.com. http://www.tokyograph.com/news/id-1917. Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  18. ^ "hide singles on vinyl". tokyohive.com. http://www.tokyohive.com/2010/09/hides-hits-re-released-on-vinyl-spawns-special-club-events/. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  19. ^ a b "X JAPAN Lawsuit". jame-world.com. http://www.jame-world.com/us/news-66956-x-japan-lawsuit.html. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 
  20. ^ "X Japan involved in another lawsuit". tokyograph.com. http://www.tokyograph.com/news/x-japan-involved-in-another-lawsuit. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 
  21. ^ "hide musical "Pink Spider" in the works". tokyohive.com. http://www.tokyohive.com/2011/01/hide-musical-pink-spider-in-the-works/. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 
  22. ^ "Minamisawa Nao to star in rock musical, "Pink Spider"". tokyohive.com. http://www.tokyohive.com/2010/11/minamisawa-nao-to-star-in-rock-musical-pink-spider/. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 
  23. ^ "Release Information: "Musical Number >> ROCK Musical Pink Spider>>"". musicjapanplus.jp. http://www.musicjapanplus.jp/articles/?action=article_page&articles_id=5395&article_data_id=5396. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 
  24. ^ Hide Your Face Photo & Band Score. Doremi Music Publishing. ISBN 4-8108-3853-6. 
  25. ^ Psyence. Doremi Music Publishing. ISBN 4-8108-3969-9. 
  26. ^ http://www.xiami.com/artist/profile/id/6805
  27. ^ "hide-city" (in Japanese). hide-city.com. 2008-10-22. http://lemonedshop.hide-city.com/guitar2/guitar.html. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  28. ^ "JAPAN Discoveries". japan-discoveries.com. 2010-02-09. http://japan-discoveries.com/index.php?main_page=index. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  29. ^ hide - Eyes Love You (live POP JAM 1993.08.11) on YouTube
  30. ^ As seen on the A Souvenir video release.

External links

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