Pieces of a Memory
Future L'Arc-en-Ciel bassist tetsu and guitarist ken had been friends for a long time. In high school, they even began performing together in a band called Bystonwell. But when high school ended, ken found himself going to a university to pursue architecture, leaving tetsu behind by himself. Though he stayed active in the music scene, always going to live performances of underground bands, he did not have a band of his own.
That changed, however, when he was introduced to hiro by a friend in another band. hiro had been in the bands First Blood and De-velguer, who had recently disbanded. tetsu jumped at this chance and asked him to be the guitarist for his currently one-man band, and hiro agreed.
Meanwhile, another band named Kiddy Bombs was having some member issues. Members were constantly leaving and this left guitarist Hideto Takarai and drummer pero in an odd position. The two of them managed to find a couple of guys to play with them for awhile though, and they started the band JELSAREM'S ROD. Unfortunately, they could not find a vocalist, but they could find a guitarist. So it meant that Hideto Takarai would have to become vocals for this band, for which he stopped using his real name and began going under the name hyde.
tetsu, still active in the music scene and looking for more members for his (still) nameless band, happened upon JELSAREM'S ROD and thought, "If I don't get together with these guys, they will become our rivals." He was especially attracted to the vocalist's voice, and he thought he would be excellent for his band.
So by March of 1991, tetsu had come to know pero and hyde a bit, and he had also come up with a name for his band: L'Arc~en~Ciel, after watching a movie with that name. He decided he liked the meaning and hiro agreed. On 3/7/91, JELSAREM'S ROD played their last live at BAHAMA, and from there hyde and pero became vocalist and drummer respectively for L'Arc~en~Ciel. tetsu, now with a full band behind him, was now ready to debut L'Arc~en~Ciel to the world.
On May 30th of 1991, L'Arc~en~Ciel performed for the first time at Nanba ROCKETS. This concert, and many that followed, opened with "I PREFER", a song by MINISTRY. They played 9 songs, mostly penned by hiro. It's interesting to note that most of these songs were not just early indies trash; no, most of these songs were just early versions of songs fixed up for albums/singles later. Included were early versions of kioku no kakera (called "HELL" originally), tsuioku no joukei (called "Call to mind"), Be destined (very different version), and of course Shutting from the sky, known then as Claustro phobia. They also played "With Silence", a song originally from JELSAREM'S ROD that they continued playing throughout many of their early lives.
1991 ended with L'Arc~en~Ciel playing small gigs throughout Oosaka mostly, gaining popularity slowly but steadily. By September they started playing "one man" lives as well, or lives in which they are not just guests but their own performance. On 12/31, they played once again at Nanba ROCKETS, this time having the foresight to record the performance. The audio was later distributed as a demo tape. It was in 1992 that things really began moving forward for the band, despite some setbacks as well.
To Chapter 2...