Underground’s Artists : Miyavi

If you are into Japanese rock music then you most likely have heard of this guy.  Miyavi is what you would call a “crazy ass professional”.  The reason?  He makes it look like everything he does is silly and crazy but it’s cool and quite entertaining…which is what musicians are supposed to do!  But first a little background.

Miyavi was a bright young thing when he was recruited as the guitarist for Due le Quartz. When I say young…I mean like 17!  He always commented when asked how he learned the guitar that he practiced incessantly.  In the shower, in the streets, sitting around in bed…wherever the guitar fit I suppose.  After the quick disbanding of Due le Quartz, Miyavi decided to branch out on his own!  A very wise decision in my opinion!

For starters he was known as Miyabi and then changed the “b” to a “v”…this made a big impact in Japan…again I’m guessing.  But I supposed it had the same impact as the Beatles changing that “e” to an “a” for him.  He also managed to add modeling in since he is obviously easy on the eyes…even to foreign women who normally like that rock star image!

Another thing that makes Miyavi stand out over his J-rock comrades is his extensive tattoo accumulation!  At first, he had very few tattoos but that changed rather rapidly.  He is famous for them.  Here is a listing of just some of them…if I can’t find all of them!

Right Hand:  ΜΨΩ=MYV (an abbreviation of his name) /  Left Hand: 382

Shoulder: A boastful first person pronoun “ore” in kanji.  I think this came about with the movie Oresama with which he played himself.

Upper Left Arm: Spiral saying “Close your heart to every love but mine; hold no one in your arms but me.”

Left Arm: Exert from Heart Sutra “Emptiness is nothing more than body.” in Kanji.  And another that means to be oneself.  And another that reads in kanji “All my life I’m just a man.” (His left arm gets a lot of action!) He has the number 4 which in Japanese sounds like the word for death. On his left wrist he has “chill” in kanji.

Right Shoulder: “ware” which is first person pronoun.  On his inner right arm is “More haste, less speed.”  Again on his right shoulder was a Buddhist phrase but was changed by Miyavi so it can be translated as “I am the one and only. In heaven and on earth.”  His right arm has a phrase from the heart sutra which reads “Body is nothing more than emptiness.”  Also he has “9” which can be translated into kanji as “suffering”.  Still going down his right arm we have a tribute to his first band “Due le quartz”.

Chest: The one around his neck read “un-do” while the one further down in kanji translates to determination, conviction.

Stomach: An arch tattoo which reads “Don’t hesitate and Go” from his song Pop is Dead.

Back: His largest and most important tattoo.  This is the Buddhist Heart Sutra which Miyavi has said he repeated often in his earlier career.

Once you get past the initial shock of his many, many tattoos, Miyavi is an exceptional guitarist.  He has showmanship which is almost rare for rock artists.  Now on to the albums!

Due le Quartz Albums

During his early years in Due le Quartz the style was visual kei.  This is very particular since this style has a band of devoted followers much like Star Wars fans and just like those Han Solo idol worshipers, they can be unforgiving.  Miyavi was everything a frilly little Gothic Lolita clad schoolgirl wanted.  He was talented, he looked good in miniskirts (he has fabulous legs) and he’s pretty.  He even was a spokesperson for a modeling company on top of designing his own guitars with PS Company.

  • Mikansei no Jekyll and Hyde (1999) Debut Due le Quartz
  • Jisatsu Ganbou (2000)
  • Rodeo (2002)
  • Best Album (2002 and re-released in 2005)

Solo Albums

And then the solo years hit!  Since his style changed from visual kei to more punkish, much of his fan base abandoned him to wallow in his own awesomeness,  yet with all those lost fans he gained many more new ones!   At this time, videos of his prancing in a sunny grain field dancing with a broken umbrella and a stolen grocery cart were common.  But, happily, his bad ass antics increased as he became more and more comfortable in the medium.

  • Gagaku (2002)
  • Galyuu (2003)
  • Miyavizm (2005)
  • MYV Pops (2006)
  • Miyaviuta ~Dokusou~ (2006) This is the album that sealed the deal!  America saw him then.  This album is very bluegrass and and classic rock!  Thia album ladies and gentlemen kicks ass and I highly recommend it to first time Miyavi listeners!
  • This iz the Japanese Kabuki Rock (2008)
  • What’s My Name? (2011)

In between all these studio albums and maxi singles he also managed to stir up controversy…per se!  I don’t consider it so, but many of his fans felt it was a betrayal of sorts.  He got married and had kids.  I know, the end of the world right?  Well, that’s what a lot of his fans thought and reacted in a very childlike manner that he even apologized to them for his arrogant behavior!  ::Sigh:: The only reason I feel obligated to mention this in the first place is because it was such a big deal several years ago.

One of the few things that I’m actually really happy didn’t pan out for him was S.K.I.N.  This Japanese super band would have combined Miyavi with X-Japan drummer Yoshiki, Luna Sea’s Sugizo and my favorite person in all the world Gackt into a band which would have melted the Earth’s crust with it’s wonder and strength.  As far as I know, only one show was ever performed and it was sold out in like 5 minutes!  And if Gackt or Yoshiki ever ask you to do something…that’s like Elvis asking you to sing a duet with him!  However, the sheer awesomeness of this band would have been devastating to so many genres that no one would know where to look so it’s okay if it didn’t quite get off the ground.

I recently saw his concert in Orlando and I really was amazed at the great time I had!  Even though I had to wade through all the young school girls with half their heads shaved (this is a style btw that only Japanese men should attempt) I had a incredibly fun time!  This also inspired me to get a proper concert camera for later!

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Music Nostaligia – 5 Great Songs of ’78

Hot damn!  We hit the Village People!  And (surprise, surprise) Queen is still on the list!  The crazy disco years are about to be severely challenged as punk overthrows the music hierarchy and New Wave is about to slink in with its synthesizers and almost emo (I said almost!) personality.

The Ramones – I Want To Be Sedated

Repetition never sounded so delightful!  And what was the 24 hours to go?  Who cares!  He needed to get there fast like!

Village People – YMCA

Wow!  I have seen three years olds who know the dance for this song!  I love the double entandre associated with it…you know, that homosexual meaning behind the song that everyone knows but mainstream radio almost denies!

Van Halen – Runnin’ With The Devil

To me, David Lee Roth was kind of like Morrison for 80’s metal.  Only, without those great poetic lyrics Jim was famous for!  I just remember the opening to Little Nicky and ever since I hear that opening bass!

Cars – My Best Friends Girl

The caption under this video reads that they were ahead of their time!  I agree!  It was a topic later on in the early 80’s with songs about wanting a girl that either belonged to someone else or Jessie in particular!

Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls

This song goes out to my big sister!  I love Queen for bringing out a song that is dedicated to the plus sized ladies!  And dammit, it is an awesome song! Freddie…you are still so awesome!!

Music Nostaligia – 5 Great Songs of ’77

Closer and closer we get!  Sadly, I know I have no disco on here and yes…I know it is a very popular genre to a lot of people.  Sure I can imagine a slick polyester wearing street walker jiving to the Bee Gees, I can see the mile high Afro in a Lycra body suit finger point (whatever it’s called) dancing in the middle of a multicolored disco ball lit discotheque..but I’m sad to say you can imagine them on the list!  See them with their roller skates and hot shorts rolling about winking at ol’ Skeevy Lips Muttonchops lurking in the corner at Studio 54 with his rolled up hundred dollar bill that he uses next to his mirror and razor placed conveniently next to Donna Summer!

Queen – We Will Rock You/ We Are The Champions

If you don’t hear this in a stadium, basketball court, or any other kind of sporting event…it is because it was done for nearly 30 years since this song came out!  I’m pretty sure Freddie had a different interpretation for this song, but we’ll just live in the testosterone driven wonderland that was created in its wake!

Eric Clapton – Cocaine

By damn if this is not one of the longest song you could hear on the radio today.  Back then, songs were meant to last forever so that concerts could last forever.  You hardly get that now since most “hardcore” bands say that they are a business and not a band.  I say you can suck on cocaine!  That’s all that money goes to anyways!

The Clash – White Riot

Yet another sensational British punk band!  Right now, these guys are making 60’s protest hippies look like a bunch of flower sniffing chumps (I’m pretty sure there were, but for arguments sake I’ll say not all of them!)  Think of them as really badass hippies.  I mean, they probably did drugs and sang about current themes in their own countries…I heard hippies did that.

Eddie Money – Two Tickets To Paradise

A song that ended up (mysteriously) on a Grand Theft Auto soundtrack!  Eddie would also have some notoriety in the 80’s, but this may be his only induction on this list!  Then I want someone to give me their interpretation of what “paradise” is!

Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

And yet another punk song.  My, my how do these keep getting on the list?  Because they’re awesome is why!  And if anyone asks…yes, this song is about them being assholes.  But at the time the song was written, it was needed for the pour masses in the UK.

Music Nostaligia – 5 Great Songs of ’76

Surprise to say, we are getting closer and closer to my favorite decade for music!  But for now…Punk reigns supreme!!  Or at least it eventually will.  And everyone thought the psychedelic movement would put people on edge!  Just wait until you read the lyrics for most of the songs coming up!  Makes Jefferson Airplane look like puppy loving preschool teachers on a fluffy mountain top covered in rainbows…and no, that is not one of their songs!

Eagles – Hotel California

If they ever made a horror movie based on this…it might, just might, make Rob Zombie feel a little squeamish.  This song might have mislead many into thinking that California was the belly of the devil, which thanks the Charles Mason who tarnished the name of California for many years…it probably seemed that way!

Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the UK

A term, I believe, was misused in V for Vendetta.  Punk was a far cry from the lovey dovey hippie stuff (and boy was some of that shit messed up!) and it all started in the chaotic streets in England.  The lower and middle classes rebelled…and we obtained from that putrid up-rise Sid (later on) and Johnny!  Thanks rebellion!

Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way

Well, thank you for the option!  Fleetwood has a way of making you feel like their songs beg for you to trek the globe, be your own person…go your own way.  In a manner of speaking that is!

Heart – Crazy on You

Man, did they go bat shit on us or what!  Heart is awesome for the very reason that everyone and their grandmothers thought that Nancy and Ann Wilson were…sister lesbians?  I don’t know, I just know there is a whole lot of stupid that comes from everywhere at once doesn’t it?  Heart happily makes a comeback in the late 80’s so we’ll see them again!

AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

If any song could make you feel there are thousands of little demons dancing at your feet like in Fantasia…I think I just thought of it!

Music Nostaligia – 5 Great Songs of ’75

And I thought the 60’s would kill me!  Everyone…I just want you guys to know how hard it is to choose music in this decade since the 70’s (like every decade) has a unique sound…and it’s just leading up to Disco and I can’t…well, I really don’t do disco much.  Don’t get me wrong…I’ll listen to disco once in a while but I prefer other types of music.

Elton John – Someone Saved My Life Tonight

And we are all thankful for it Elton!  And you go ahead and sleep with yourself sir!  And later you can sleep with men…it’s alright!  We still love you a lot!

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Ohio

I have nothing against former hippies singing about a senseless murdering of hippie students…and this one is one of the better songs from this genre.  But as it sticks out as a hit bathed in the blood of hippie college students…just saying.

KISS – Rock And Roll All Nite

And boy can these guys rock your ass off!  This was KISS’s first breakout song!  Nothing says shock rock like KISS!  Well, maybe Alice but he’s a little later!

Pink Floyd – Have a Cigar

A song made for making fun of the music business.  It also left everyone asking the question…Which one’s Pink?  Indeed!

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

I told you Queen would be on this list a lot!  To be honest, I first heard this song like many in my generation via Wayne’s World…which gave this song the distinction of making the top 40 list twice.  The lyrics, sung by Freddie, can only be sung by Freddie and make sense.

Music Nostaligia – 5 Great Songs of ’74

So now we’re seeing the same thing only emerging into harder rock.  We are also seeing the emergence of the early stages of glam rock, reggae, and shock rock.  I’m a huge fan of Queen so you’ll probably be seeing more of them on my lists.  Rock started in the 50’s, took shape in the 60’s, and is now morphing into different areas creating different sounds for different tastes.  Soon, the most unique sound of music is coming soon!

Queen – Killer Queen

If I could travel back in time and see one band perform live I would definitely see Queen!  I mean, Freddie Mercury!  He was so fantastic!  Their music was melodic, it told a tale, and was intensely rock and roll!  Don’t be surprised if you get sick of seeing them on the lists!  I like this song since they describe the lady as a “baroness” and  “Marie Antoinette” !

Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock n’ Roll

And The Pieta is just a statue!  Lamborghini is just a car!  Big Ben is just a bell! I think you got it.

The Who – Long Live Rock

And long live you, Pete Townsend!  Rock on!

Eric Clapton – I Shot The Sheriff

I have heard so many versions of this song and alls I have to say is…you admitted to murder you dumb ass!  You admit you shot the sheriff…so who cares if you didn’t shoot the deputy?  You still killed the sheriff genius!

Slade – Far, Far Away

I can’t explain why I like Slade so much!  I think I like them because they use bagpipes a lot…yep, I think that’s it.  I’m Scotch-Irish so that’s cool as shit to me!  But that’ll be for laters!