Yoshiki promises a unique ASCAP Music Café performance | ParkRecord.com

Yoshiki promises a unique ASCAP Music Café performance

Drummer and classical pianist Yoshiki, known for his band X Japan, will perform an acoustic set at the ASCAP Music CafŽ on Sunday. The performance will feature Yoshiki on piano, backed by strings. (Passion Pictures)

On Sunday, the ASCAP Music Café will present a unique performance when Yoshiki, the drummer for metal band X Japan, plays an intimate acoustic set featuring piano and strings.

Yoshiki, who’s last name is Hayashi, is the subject of the Stephen Kijak documentary "We Are X," which is one of the Sundance Film Festival’s world documentaries.

Yoshiki said he was looking forward to his appearance at the Café, but regrets his bandmates wouldn’t be able to join him.

"Ideally it would be great if X Japan could have come and performed, but we are recording a new album at this moment, so some of the members are in Japan right now," Yoshiki said during a telephone interview from Los Angeles. "So, I decided to come myself.

This is so interesting to me, and I’m excited at the same time."

The idea of creating an acoustic set of X Japan songs with piano and strings stems from Yoshiki’s classical-music training.

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"I’m a rock drummer, but also a classical pianist and have toured 14 countries as a pianist," he said.

Yoshiki started playing piano when he was 4.

"My father bought me a new classical album by Beethoven, Chopin, Bach and other composers every month," he said. "When I was 10 years old, I met rock ‘n’ roll. I bought Kiss albums and that led me to David Bowie and from there a few years later, I started listening to Iron Maiden and other hard rock bands as well as punk rock bands."

Yoshiki formed X Japan with lead singer Toshi [Deyama] and, after enjoying sold-out success throughout the mid 1980s to the late 1990s, disbanded in 1998.

"The vocalist and I went our separate ways and then one of the guitar players [Hide Matsumoto] died," Yoshiki said. "So, we never thought we would ever reunite."

That changed in 2008.

"Toshi and I started talking about reuniting the band," Yoshiki said.

They recruited new guitarist Sugizo [Yuu] and toured 16 countries in two years. and in the fall of 2014, performed at Madison Square Garden.

"When we were starting out, we never thought to tour outside of Japan," Yoshiki said. "But we were fortunate that people around the world started to pay attention to our music."

The new album the band is working on is their first in 20 years, he said.

"I’m so lucky to be in this position to play music, even though we have been through so many ups and downs," Yoshiki said. "For the future, as long as we can continue doing music, we will be happy. At the same time, we might as well move forward every year. I would like to

spread our new music throughout the world."

Yoshiki will perform at the ASCAP Music Café on Sunday, Jan. 24, at 2:30 p.m. The concert is open to all Sundance Film Festival credential holders as space allows. For more information, visit http://www.sundance.org and ascap.com/sundance .