Continuing to extend the legacy of legendary visual kei entity hide, HEADWAX ORGANIZATION released the first documentary film JUNK STORY on May 23. The movie features a mix of unscripted interviews with various associates of the musician, ranging from those well-known such as his brother Hiroshi Matsumoto (former personal manager and current head representative of HEADWAX) and a number of musicians hide supported during his career to past teachers, and even some staff from a club many of the musicians frequented. One of the interesting features in the film is the story of programmer and percussionist I.N.A.’s role in the creation of hide and his various musical pursuits, culminating in his individual style dubbed ‘PSYBORG ROCK,’ the spirit of which still lives on today in tribute lives and most recently in ‘CoGAL,’ released in December 10 2014.
As with many biographical documentary films, after a brief introduction of the infamous pink-haired musician’s career before his early demise, the main story starts at the birth of Hideto Matsumoto, drawing upon stories from Hiroshi as well as elementary school teachers who spoke of his early interest to play the guitar and make music, the reactions to his various antics ranging from amusement to fond exasperation (especially when the musical pursuit often resulted in his negligence of other studies). From there, each additional contributor makes their appearance among the various cuts of live and backstage footage in what is roughly the chronological order they encountered the man who was initially known as Hideto Matsumoto, each person weaving a portion of the backstory of the various bands joined that all led to the creation of ‘hide’. From there, the tale takes off as it’s made clear that hide had an abundance of ideas and messages he wanted to spread to the world, not limited to Japan as he also made various trips to America. As it has been stated a number of times, many of the ideas did not seem to fit in with the music scene at the time, but hide still pursued his vision.
Each interview contains interesting perspectives from both personal as well as professional points of view, stories of hide’s well-known love of alcohol briefly touched, placing more emphasis on hide’s willingness to support aspiring musicians like ZEPPET STORE (who he brought to America using his own pocket money to play concerts, and was even able to secure some radio play time) coming forth, as well as the limits he was willing to push in his experiments in sound and visual style.
In terms of cinematic style, the splicing and alternating of nostalgic footage with new footage, as well as old recordings retouched to make them seem like new, help in telling the story and building the bridge between the past and future. The restored performance footage can also be seen altered and layered on with modern filters and graphic effects that keep in tone with hide’s overall creative concepts.
Another storytelling piece the film employs is the ‘light hide’ and ‘dark hide’ characters that were created to further aid in spinning the tale of the transition from Hideto Matsumoto to hide. It’s stated that the characters are not meant to represent duality, but rather convey two different aspects that come together, bound together with spider webbing. The ‘white hide’ montages initially portray a more cheerful atmosphere, as the ‘black hide’ lurks about grungy backgrounds before the two come together. At times, these characters seem unnecessary, but their presence doesn’t really take away from the main story either.
Overall, JUNK STORY is just one more piece of the puzzle that makes up the extensive, yet tragically cut short, life of hide. Dedicated fans are likely to enjoy the film, even with the bittersweet ending line, although there is an abundance of backstage and live performance footage (some of which has been updated to higher quality) that makes up for the melancholic notes, while new generation visual fans have the opportunity to learn more about an influential figure in the history of the visual kei genre. The film is currently playing in select theaters around Japan.