Chapter 7 ~ 1997
"toki wa kanadete, omoi wa afureru"
A new year rolling around, the band pushed forward without realizing that 1997 would hold the most devastating blow of all. By February, after "Carnival of True" had ended, the band was already back in the studio preparing for a new work. But it soon came to a screeching hault.
In February, sakura was caught with heroin possession, and by the end of the month all activity of the band was stopped. All plans, including the upcoming single "the Fourth Avenue Cafe", were cancelled. L'Arc~en~Ciel items were pulled from the shelves. Their songs were cut from the airwaves and no longer used as theme songs. The media attention surrounding the band was terrible. Now that they had reached their peak, they had been shoved out of existance. It was if L'Arc~en~Ciel had died.
In April, through his own decision, sakura left the band. He was no longer able to face them after what he had done. They had grown so close through the years, and having killed all that was the ultimate price. In a letter of apology he told his bandmates he would leave.
tetsu was not going to let his dreams be torn apart though. For much of their career, they had a support member in the background. His name often appeared in the "thanks" section of CD booklets. It was none other than yukihiro: who, like sakura, had played drums in many bands but was currently without one. tetsu was in luck once again, and approached yukihiro to be their support drummer for awhile.
Undoubtedly to escape all the negative media attention surrounding them, the remaining three band members + yukihiro hopped a plane out of Japan during May, headed towards Europe for stops in London and Germany. By August, they had already began shooting a video and recording a new song.
On October 17th, L'Arc~en~Ciel came back as hyde, tetsu and ken. They released their single "niji". This means "rainbow", which is the same meaning as L'Arc~en~Ciel. This song was written to mean the "rainbow after the storm"... in other words, this is the song that would represent the new band, now that they had returned. yukihiro played drums on this track but was not considered a full member of the band.
They made their first live appearance under the name "the Zombies". They claimed to be a Laruku "cover band" but were just themselves. They played in small clubs, mostly their "True" songs as well as "niji" and a few selected songs from their upcoming album. They also covered Marilyn Manson quite a bit.
But the comeback live was at Tokyo Dome on December 23rd. They sold out the entire venue - all 56,000 seats - in 4 minutes. This not only broke the record for selling out a concert, but it proved that fans wanted L'Arc~en~Ciel back, with or without sakura. They were ready to accept the new band. "niji" opened the concert, and was repeated at the end of the concert. hyde told the huge audience, before the concert ended, that "we couldn't have done this without you."
To Chapter 8...