The Meaning Behind “Dragon Ash” – My exploration of Jpop and Kpop
By Rock Kitaro
Date: March 26, 2013
“Be Stronger, Fly Higher, Don’t Be Afraid”
Those are the opening lyrics to Dragon Ash’s “Underage Song,” a song dedicated to the youth, inspiring them to strive no matter what.
I’m currently in the midst of writing the second episode of one of my short stories. The “Dragon Ash” series I’ve created is named after my favorite band. Not my favorite Japanese band. Not my favorite rock band. But favorite band, period. And out of respect and overwhelming gratitude, I felt it was high-time I explained myself. If by reading the end of this memoir, members of Dragon Ash thinks I should change the title of my story, I will.
Let me take you back to the end of 2004. In the midst of my senior year of high school something was happening to me. I think the last English CD I bought was Slipknot’s “Vol. 3 Subliminal Verses.” After that, I confess that I couldn’t help but to simply download my music. But the music I took an interest in downloading wasn’t American made songs. My dormant rebellious nature kicked it up a notch and I think I just got fed up with English lyrics. I think after 18 years of life, I got tired of hearing the same lyrics over and over again. I felt that I had heard every possible way that an artist could overextend “why” or say “I love you”. Not to mention, the kind of music that was clouding the airwaves during this time was just…just terrible. And so…I moved away from American music for a brief period of time.
Using filesharing sites like limewire, I began with downloading instrumentals. Music from anime, video games like Need for Speed and background music from movies like Daredevil and Vin Diesel’s XXX. My friends back then understandably thought it was puzzling, as did I for a time. But then I found a similarity between those instrumentals and metal, another genre I discovered a liking for at the time.
With some metal songs from artists like System of a Down and Slipknot, until I looked up the lyrics, other than the main chorus I had no idea what they were saying. And on a subconscious level, I think I preferred it that way. I couldn’t articulate “why” back then, but I think I was tired of lyrics dictating to me what to think, how I should feel and how I should go about situations. When I listen to music, I want to simply feel good. And 2004’s mainstream music kind of made me feel shitty because I wasn’t and still don’t, feel like I’m part of the mainstream.
Giving you this background information was crucial to help you understand how I was able to transition into what happens next because something spectacular happened.