Rock 'n' Roll Vol. 93
The Guitar Heroes, January 27, 1995
Interview with hide
Text by: Yusuke Kato
Translation: w_b

hide-chan, these days I'm seeing you less and less as a true guitarist, you don't quite have that guitarist image anymore. And somehow I don't think everyone showing me your solo album is the sole reason for that.
That would be because to me guitar is simply the tool I make music with, and it just happens that this music is rock.

Then maybe if you'd been born some ten years later you would now play keyboards, or synthesizer?
I doubt it. But if you're asking why guitar, it's because when I first got into rock I found the vocals too labored, because I found singers like Paul Stanley (KISS), Freddie Mercury (Queen) or Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) much too heavy. *smiles* I couldn't stand that Western style.

But you love Ace Frehley and I find his singing pretty intense.*smiles*
How could I explain it...I like people who make it look effortless. Take a guitarist like Jimmy Paige (Led Zeppelin), don't you find he plays effortlessly even though he's always frowning? And Joe Perry (Aerosmith), you don't find him cool? That's the kind of person I like. That's why for me it was never about the type of instrument being played, I chose guitar because vocalists weren't smooth enough to be my idols. In junior high I only kept photos of guitarists in my desk pad. I didn't choose guitar because I wanted to play it, I picked it because I wanted to be like those people, you know?

What do you think of Mark Bolan (T-Rex) and his style of glam rock?
It's intense but I never was into glam. Besides, he's more glitter than glam.

You say that yet isn't KISS glitter?
You can say what you want, I don't care. *laughs* But the truth is I used to think glam sucked until I listened to Japan. (1) I thought Queen sucked too.

And David Bowie?
Him too. But then my taste changed slowly with Japan's releases.

Tell me, did you hate metal as well? It looks labored so...
I did but there are a few bands that I liked. Thin Lizzy for example, despite Phil Lynott being as heavy as he is. And I used to like Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne Band) and Michael Schenker (MSG). It's just because I like weeping guitars. Or's because I like memorable guitar solos.

Who then would be your ideal rock guitarist?
One who has the musical skill, the looks and the attitude, you could say I've always liked that. Someone like Jimmy Paige or Ace. But he needs to have it all. I don't care how fast he can play, he needs to impress me for me to like him.

Do you think your ideal was influenced by punk and new wave?
It's possible. Probably since punk became popular just when I had gotten serious about learning guitar. Mick Jones' (The Clash) muting (2) was so cool that I went on a hunt for punk and new wave. And then in the meantime Iron Maiden came out. It's their first album that made me pause and think hah, maybe that's what I should be doing!? It had that punk wildness I longed for yet I had never heard anything like it before. The distortion on their weeping guitars felt amazing. It's Iron Maiden who taught me how to arrange twin guitars. I might not have understood the lyrics after three or even five listens but I knew how I was supposed to harmonize my guitars, I knew how to get that depth of sound. It then got to the point where I would automatically write songs for two guitars. I forgot how to compose for a single guitarist.

That kind of controlled sound is key to your style.
I can't take it when a phrase has no structure. When 16 measures are enough but they drag it out to 32 for the sake of length it only ends up sounding forced, I don't want to listen to something like that. It's like they think 32 measures is way too short for guitar. But it's enough if you're listening to a guitar solo.

This applies to X as well?
In our case, the solos aren't real solos. We practically never do true ad-lib. Even when Yoshiki only gives me the chords I use them to complete the song. Besides, I find inspiration for songs away from my guitar. It's only once I found it that I'll transcribe it into music.

I must admit, I've never seen anyone in X get carried away during a solo.
Because we can't just hit any chords we like. *laughs* There needs to be a melody! *laughs*

True enough. *smiles* But being a guitarist, do you ever feel like breaking out and rocking a solo on your own?
Not really, since I'm part of a band.

So you've never wanted to do something like that, just to look cool?
I hear other people doing it but I've never. I think I'd miss the others. *smiles* And keep in mind that if you're going to make people listen to guitar by itself, then your instrumental parts will have to sound that much better, just like in jazz.

Are you saying you'd never give up guitar?
Yup. It's the only instrument I can compose on and that means it's essential if I'm going to play my own music. I like it the best even among all the sounds I use for sampling.

You're telling me all these things but there was more than guitar playing in the background during your solo.
That was bound to happen. *laughs* It's basically because I hate guitar solos in the middle of a concert. I remember when I went to see Black Sabbath once and Toni Iommi took his sweet time with a 30 minute solo. *laughs* Or when Ronnie (James Dio) caught a cold, there wasn't much else the band could do about it but I still thought it was too much! *laughs* Ever since then I've disliked guitar solos, I still can't believe I'm doing them now. I started during our major debut at the Shibuya Koukaidou, Yoshiki told me to play one to give him time to set his drum set back up for his solo. So I went ahead and did it. I hadn't the slightest idea what to do so I started hitting the strings at random and then in the middle of that I thought to do this (he raises his hands to his ears as if asking for a cheer) for a moment but that's when I got really fed up with the whole thing and screamed into the mike instead. *laughs* That's when I started slipping into this dark world, my solos have lost most of their guitar character by now. *laughs*

I guess if you liked guitar solos we wouldn't have the hide we all know today. *smiles* Speaking of which, when I interviewed Pata for our special feature he told me you're one nitpicky guitar player.
That's because I like planning everything ahead. *laughs* Because even though there's two of us he's never prepared. *laughs* And since he's never ready, if I'm not ready either it'll all turn into one big mess, you know? *laughs*

1. Japan:
2. Muting (palm muting) consists of muting the strings with the side of your palm, resulting in a chugging or staccato sound.