If anyone else is becoming scared of 2009– join the club. 2009 has so far seen the passing of several major pop-stars and idols– including Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett (totally irrelevant to this blog, but hey, they died, they get added…), and Koakuma Ageha top-model Sumire passed away of a cerebral hemorrhage in June, and now, as of August 9th, Visual Kei band Versaille~ Philharmonic Quintet‘s bass player, Jasmine You, has passed away.
Not to focus on the negative, or anything, but hey, I’m just sayin’….doesn’t do to pretend it doesn’t happen.
On August 3rd, Versailles~ Philharmonic Quintet‘s official website stated that bassist Jasmine You would be taking an indefinite break due to poor physical health. It was announced that the band would continue without Jasmine You in the production of their up-coming album.
On August 9th, it was announced that Jasmine You had passed away. The band stated that they had known nothing about any serious illness or condition that would have warranted such an abrupt passing. Few details are known, and the band is waiting for approval from Jasmine You’s immediate family before they can release information.
In the meantime, the band has asked that their fans kindly support them in their decision to indefinitely suspend all further activities, including the release of the album in production.
Known in Japan as Versailles, the symphonic-rock project of vocalist Kamijo (ex-Lareine), guitarist Hizaki (of Hizaki Grace Project [solo]) and bassist Jasmine You (ex-Jyakura) may be better known to non-motherland-fans by its American dub, Versailles~Philharmonic Quintet. The band took on this “alias” due to the prior existence of singer Versailles (it gets majorly confusing when you try and listen to Versailles radio on last.fm, I’ll tell you that much).
Although Versailles is a young band, having only kicked off in early 2007, it met with success world-wide, and is a promising facet of Visual Kei culture. The band carries on the proud tradition of powerful opera-rock as laid down by Visual Kei prince Mana, from the days of Malice Mizer. Following in the footsteps of MM, who popularized the style of VK called “youshikibi” (beauty of form), Versailles seemed intent on taking it all one, two, three, or ten steps further.
Let’s put it this way– at least Mana looks kind of, well, androgynous. 1st guitarist Hizaki looks anything but androgynous– the only reason we know it’s a man is because everyone says so (presumably he does, or has at one point as well). But you sure wouldn’t guess it by looking. Hizaki has perfected the “hime-gyaru” (princess girl) style with rose-colored lace panache, crowning it with a headful of creamy blond ringlets and a face to make ageha-ites weep.
Versailles made their western-world debut in 2008 with a tour in Europe and the US with Visual Kei band Matenrou Opera. 2nd guitarist Teru remarked that a performance at A-Kon in Texas drew a crowd of 3000, and a performance in L.A. sold out completely. Quite an international debut for such a young band. However, they have what fans want, it would seem. Their perfect visual appeal and symphonic heavy sound are aesthetically pleasing and aurally exciting– how could you resist?
In June, 2009 the band signed with a major label and on June 24th released their first major album, Ascended Master. To say sayounara to their indie days (which were shockingly short-lived), Versailles performed a nationwide Last Indies tour called The Fragment Collectors.
Although I hate to have to draw attention to the band under the shadow of Jasmine You’s tragic death, now is a good moment to feel excitement and anticipation for this band~ surely its members and their families will be comforted by the good feeling of support their fans send to them on rose-scented airways.
Versailles official website
Versailles official Myspace (English)