Hide Matsumoto

Groupology: 
X Japan, solo, Spread Beaver, Zilch
Strengths: 

Versitility: In X Japan alone, Hide performed on a wide variety of songs.  Their songs covered territory in Speed/Power/Progressive Metal , Glam Metal , Ballads, interludes and songs often combined elements of all.  Throughout all this Hide and his co guitarist Pata always played memorable guitar solos.  In his side project he has adventured into material as diverse as big band, funk and industrial.  While his more exploratory tangents may not be your cup of tea, his knowlege and interest in such diverse styles is inspiring.                                                         

Technique: Like fellow countryman, Akira Takasaki, he took Anglo-American Metal Guitar and while not reinventing the wheel, improved, refined and cranked riffs and solos with laser precision

Image: Yes, he gave Poison a run for their money but he was very original (he initially trained to be a beautician) and his outlandish outfits, makeup and hair gave him alot of stage presence.

Weaknesses: 

Location/Timing/Image: X Japan became Massively popular in Japan and East Asia but possibly due to them singing in Japanese, they were unable to break into mainstream popularity elsewhere.  Their popularity in Japan exploded around 1991 right as Glam was about to be replaced by Grunge in America and Europe.  Even though they signed with Atlantic Records in 1993 the Label was unable/willing to promote them in the United States, leaving potential fans unaware of their existance.

Guitar Style: 

Hide's work with X Japan covered many styles.  On some of their more speed/power metal type songs ( e.g. Blue Blood, Vanishing Love, I'll Kill You) he uses alot of palm muted 16th note with power chord based riffs.  On their more Glam Material (Week End, Desperate Angel, Sadistic Desire), he uses riff's that sound like a mix between British Metal (rhythmic style) and L.A. Metal (tuning and attitude).  In these songs he and co-guitarist Pata usually play the same rhythm parts.  During their ballady material (Endless Rain, Longing, Tears) the guitar usually arpeggiates diatonic chords played by piano.  In a about half of their songs he and Pata do a harmonized guitar solo, always incredibly melodic.  In the majority of his guitar solos Hide sticks to the Minor Pentatonic, Minor, and harmonic minor scales, though he uses the other diatonic scales as well.  He is a classically trained trumpet player so he definantly knowes theory.  He is alwasy very precies and in time and has very good chops, though always plays for the song.  He occasionally uses a Fernandez sustainer. 

Typical Gear Choices: 

Fernandez Guitars, he had/has his own signature guitar.  A yellow with red hearts mockingbird shape with a sustainer.  He was most commonly seen with Peavey Amps.

What You Need to Know: 

X Japan is regarded as the first Visual Kei Band.  They are essencially the precursor to J-Rock.  They brought about the common trait of Japanese Metal/Rock Bands to be very diverse in their sound, with fast Metal songs and sappy ballads.  Hide often seen as the most flamboyant member of X Japan, as they toned down their crazy glam/goth image in the 90s Hide Remained decked out with pink hair and crazy costumes.  Unfourtunantly after their breakup, Hide lived hard and one day after a drinking binge accidentally hung himself while trying to relieve shoulder pain.  His funeral was attended by over 50,000 people.  His death prevented a planned X Japan Reunion and though the band has reunited he has never officially been replaced.

Essential Recordings: 
Vanishing Visions, Blue Blood, Jelousy, Dalia, The Last Live