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Hideto Matsumoto (1964-1998), better known as hide (yes, spelled all lowercase, and pronounced "hee-day"), was the guitarist of the extremely popular Japanese big hair band X Japan. A fan of KISS since he was a kid, hide took the makeup-and-long-hair bit further and became essentially androgynous; in many of his (striking) publicity posters you might well be excused for thinking he was female. In addition to his work in X Japan, hide released the solo albums "Hide Your Face" (1995) and "Psyence" (1996).

After X Japan disbanded on September 22, 1997, hide concentrated on his solo career, both with the group Zilch and his formerly anonymous backup band. But for the first single after X Japan, the backup band was finally given a name: Spread Beaver, making the name of the entire group hide with Spread Beaver. Alas, hide committed suicide by hanging himself on May 2, 1998, putting a quick end to this wonderful(ly named) band. His funeral was attended by over 50,000 fans, at least two of whom killed themselves afterwards. hide with Spread Beaver's first and last full length album, "Ja, Zoo" was released posthumously in November 1998, and the rest of the band went their separate ways afterward.

The names of some of hide with Spread Beaver's other works are, if not quite as chuckle-inducing, then at least equally bizarre. The group's second single was called "Pink Spider" and came in a 3" CD single case painted like a bar of chocolate and emblazoned with the inscription "DARK CHOCOLATE WITH PINK SPIDER!". More apt in describing the group, though, would probably be the song Space Monkey Punks from Japan. And no, I'm not sure to what extent Matsumoto-sensei was aware of the connotations of his chosen name, although "Hide Your Face" (with a matching album cover) makes it pretty clear that he was well aware of his own name's English meaning, so I would not put knowledge of the classic game of Hide The Sausage beyond him. (Then again, despite the seeming yonic connotations of the name, Pink Spider merely tells a strange story of a spider wanting to hitch a ride on the wing of a bird.)

CDs and singles by hide with Spread Beaver still circulate in Japanese used record stores like Recofan, and the legendary Spread Beaver: Showing the Vaginal Area bootleg T-shirt continues to cause consternation and/or amusement among visiting gaijin. You can still probably buy one in Harajuku or other classy shops like Violence Jack Off.


http://www.live.co.jp/hide/ (official site)
http://www.tomobiki.com/wagaku/artists/hide.htm (excellent bio, with pics)
http://www.jrocker.com/hide/disco (discography)

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