Do you remember the first time you fell in love… with a band? Oh, not necessarily a band, of course. It could have been a solo performer, a duo, a band, an orchestra: remember that first moment you fell in love? It is love; it makes its name known immediately, it breaks into you and shatters everything in its path to create a space so vast and intense, it knocks the breath right out of you. Time stands still, and an eternity passes between two heartbeats. You might find yourself frozen in shock, or giggling and blushing uncontrollably. And you know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this, this is DESTINY. All the strange turns your life has taken, despite all the winding paths and dead ends, regardless of the years gone by, feeling your way in the dark: all of it has led to this. Love.
My first love of this magnitude were Queensrÿche. It was in 1991, and I was sixteen years old. I went to my first concert ever, one of the last Monsters of Rock events, before metal died the mainstream death. The line-up was good: The Black Crowes, Queensrÿche, Mötley Crüe, Metallica, and AC/DC. Now, The Black Crowes, really, are not a metal band, but they were fun, and they did a good job. Personally, I was there for the Crüe and Metallica, both of which I love to this day. But before Nikki Sixx appeared on stage in his „God Smokes Crack“ t-shirt, Queensrÿche arrived, and they were a revelation. Excuse me, a Revelation, with a capital „R“. Their music was unlike anything I’d been listening to, and the singer’s voice was just about the best thing I’d ever heard. Soaring, brilliant, clear and sharp as glass, way up there in the bright blue sky. The soundscape was all-encompassing, and the voice pierced me right through the heart. The next day, I rushed to my local record store and spent my whole allowance on their back catalog; I have never looked back. To this day, and after all that has happened, I owe a debt of gratitude to Geoff Tate, Chris de Garmo, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, and Scott Rockenfield, for opening a door I didn’t even know existed.
My second love were Los Héroes del Silencio. It is the voice, always the voice. So much so that I started writing a novel about it. A novel I still believe in, somehow, and that I know will some day be finished. Their contribution was wholly different; where Queensrÿche were a product of their environment, so were the Héroes. I learnt about the core of blood, gold, and fury, that is at the base of the concept that is Spain. So, so much heat, in every word, in every letter „a“ Enrique Bunbury unleashed upon the world.
But there was something more for me in this, something life altering: a new language. On the basis of their songs, I learnt Spanish. My life was irrevocably expanded. Good things happened, and bad things. Decisions of magnitude were taken, again, some good, some bad. Without them, I would not be who I am today. This is the power of music.
My new love is called Versailles. When I first laid eyes on them, I was mesmerised. Time stopped. Re-read the first paragraph. All of these things. They are, in a word, perfect.
I love that Kamijo is so very Lestat the Vampire. Except that he is much prettier than Tom Cruise.
I love that Hizaki is the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen. I was very surprised to learn that he is a man. I’ve known quite some drag queens, but he’s just such a girly girl. Much love.
I love that Teru is wearing the Rococo equivalent of a crop top and hot pants. In fact, after going over his costumes, it seems he is unwilling to ever cover his thighs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally in favour of pantsless Teru.
I love the mysterious, understated beauty of Yuki. He has such a perfect face.
I love the seething darkness that Masashi’s stern look suggests. The dark, silent type.
The theatrics are so sincere. The gestures between Teru and Hizaki are effortlessly coordinated. The drama so heartfelt. I’ve read some interviews by now, and the theme comes up again and again: their mission is beauty. They seek perfection. They ask us to come to their concerts and sing with them as one, and to wear our finest gowns when we do. My heart is bursting with joy and recognition.
My sister put it as bluntly as only she can: „You are sooo 2009.“ It’s true, I’m late to the game. It seems the heyday of visual kei is gone, but it matters little. I look at Versailles – who, by the way, are reunited and touring soon – and I see yet another door open. They represent a world I did not dare hope existed. They are true magic. Without having been aware of the gaping hole in the middle of me, I recognise them as the missing piece. They are possibility and promise. They are another door, a new language, yet another culture – a culture that first shaped me when I was nine years old. This has long been foretold, the covenant entered into before I had words to formulate such a vow. In short, this is destiny.
I cannot wait to see where the path will lead.
Frost-locked all the winter,
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
What shall make their sap ascend
That they may put forth shoots?
Tips of tender green,
Leaf, or blade, or sheath;
Telling of the hidden life
That breaks forth underneath,
Life nursed in its grave by Death
— Christina Rossetti, „Spring“, first stanza —
Oh. My. God. You are not going to take Japan from me. Like nope. Not going to happen. 😉
And yes. You are 2009. But Versailles (or shall we call them Verusay?) are pretty awesome and so Be-ooooo-ti-ful! Much love.