We all have those bands that stick close to us. Those bands that you “grow up with” in a sense and you feel like you actually can relate to these people even though you’ve never met them. A band like this is a very rare thing, and one that lasts over two years in Japan is considered old school! The fact that Dir en Grey has been around as long as Tool is something that has to have had divine intervention. (Or, we will go with my continued theory that Kyo is either Satan or has sold his soul to said entity. I think there is enough proof to uphold either argument!)
My first experience with Dir en Grey was in High School. My brother had moved back in with us and he was into mostly everything Anime. He had a buddy that was huge into Jrock and had managed to get his hands on some X-Japan cds and a few Japanese radio rips. (You know, the old school kind where you hold a boom box recorder up to the other radio in the room and hit that little record button…that kind of radio rip.) Well, this guy had managed to get his hands on, and copy, a not too old recording of Gauze and Kai, a re-mix album; along with some of Hide’s independent work, amazingly a La;Sadie’s song, some Deu le Quartz, and some older BUCK- TICK. So, kind of like a big o’le bag of Skittles was thrown into Paul’s lap.
The sound was barely there, it was scratchy and the tape had been recorded over a couple of times so you had to crank it up to full volume and deal with the cellophane sound that wrapped the music.. I thought it sounded weird but the more I stole the mix tape, the better I liked it…until it was left in the glove box on a particularly hot summer day in Florida. Gone forever is the least you could say. I wasn’t too upset, as I had yet to even know who did what song on there. I just remembered a couple of the names on the tape; and at the time I was more into punk, old school rock and the late 90’s genres that didn’t involve trance mix or Latin Fever. So, Kai actually annoyed me greatly and I didn’t mourn it’s loss too much when Paul “lost” all of his boxes that Frank( my other brother who pawned the lot of it) helped him move.
It took me a few years to finally re-discover Diru, at Hot Topic of course, My niece and I had been browsing for Cure magazines for me and Invader Zim stuffs for her, I wandered around, recognized a name on an album, guess who!? 13 dollars poorer, I came out with Uroboros and began looking for the rest of the shit that I had missed.
So there you have it, that’s the story of the beginning of my love affair with Dir en Grey. And now I shall give you a treat, the most powerful/influential songs that this band has given us… This is my opinion and this list will not be the same for everyone, new or old Diruphiles, we are all awesome! These songs are not really ranked or in order of importance.
So let’s start off with…
This is the closest thing that DEG has ever done to a love song…because Kyo mostly talks about his love leaving him well…this does follow the same theme, but is a promise dedicated more to the fans than anything. And it kicks ass!
Grief ( uroburos tour)
This lovely little ditty is from The Marrow of A Bone and perfectly calms you down on a frustrating, want to kill everyone, seeing red kind of day. Just plug this in your stereo, scream along and be satisfied. You will have no voice and be very calm when you arrive at your destination.
Now, this one is an example of the double meanings that Kyo uses quite frequently. Depending on how you interpret the lyrics, I either hear Hooker!!! or that girl that got tortured by her boyfriend and his sick ass friends…or child prostitution. Whichever way you slice it, this song does not paint a pretty picture, and it is not meant to. DEG is known for many controversial lyrics, videos and opinions on society. It might surprise some that several of their videos are banned in their own country….you know, the country that laughs at the Human Centipede….
Different Sense PV
Here is another of those songs/ videos that are not wholeheartedly welcomed by the media of Japan. It is a very confrontational piece towards Japan’s government and their handling of the Nuclear crisis that followed the Tsunami. The whole tentacle rape theme to the video actually has a point. But I have no doubt that one late night, a burst of inspiration over too many beers made this whole thing possible.
Taiyou No Ao
OH MY GOD HE HAS NO TATTOOS! This is so old school it’s not even funny…not quite as old school as another song on this list, but still friggin old! This came out around the time that VKei was not so much their true love, but they still had a soft spot for it…as Shinya still does today.
Obscure ( Vulgar tour) track 13
Probably the most famous of Dir en Grey’s songs. If you type their name into youtube, this is the very first song that will come up. The rumor is it’s about an ex-girlfriend…but as Diru hardly ever (Let me correct that with never) talks about their personal lives, that little piece of gossip will continue to be unsubstantiated.
Mr. Newsman PV
A more punk song, not as punk as some of their others from about this time period. This one again is Betchslapping the media so hard that they are still feeling it to this day.
Garden (Original Pv)
This one is even older and is still one of the most popular for them to play at lives. Most who are now just getting into the band will sneer at the cadence of the instruments and vocals. This is classic Jrock though and is meant to sound this way!!! Still kicks ass after all these years and provides a fun game of guess who? with the members. Hint: The pretty little brunette is Kyo.
The Final (Live at Nippon Budokon)
The live version of this song is always beautiful. This particular one is from the live DVD of their two day performance at the Budokon, which is kind of equivalent to our Madison Square Gardens. The Final ranks up with their most popular songs for it’s meaning and the band/crowd’s enthusiasm towards it. It’s a particularly epic concert when this song is played in the encore.
Ain’t afraid to die ( 5 ugly kingdom tour)
This is the version of this song that was the clincher for me. I fell absolutely in love with this band after seeing this. I experienced this not long after my uncle had passed away, and though the version I saw had no subs (and has since disappeared), the tone of the song and what they were communicating was not lost. I actually cried, and still get a little teary eyed sometimes with this song. There has not been a piece of music since that is able to pull that reaction from my cynical ass!