X Japan are considered by many to be THE band to have brought metal to Japan. However, like the cake, that is a lie. Before X Japan were even calling themselves X, there was Loudness, one of Japan”s first metal bands. (Not THE first, but certainly among the most well known by the Western mainstream until the dawn of Dir en grey.) Indeed, the great X Japan started out playing covers of Loudness songs. Throughout the mid-80s, Loudness did pretty well for themselves within the Western metal market.
Loudness first appeared in around 1981, when three of the members of the pop-rock band Lazy decided to pursue the heavier sound of metal, as made popular in Japan by bands like Earthshaker, Vow Wow, and Anthem. Signed to Nippon Columbia, Loudness proceeded to release several very well received albums, and launched their first US and Europe tours in 1983. The success of those tours encouraged them to sign an international deal with Atco Records in 1985. Up until 1991, Loudness toured all over America, but their lengthy absence from the Japanese scene and the firing of vocalist Minoru Niihara and replacing him with the former Obsession vocalist, Mike Vescera. This however, did nothing to improve the popularity of Loudness in America, and after several years of touring and recording, they were no better off than when they started. Vescera left the band in 1991, and was replaced by Mazaki Yamada of Ezo. Then, out came Kurt Cobain and grunge killed metal like Facebook killed Myspace.
After Loudness”s return to Japan in 1992, Taiji Sawada (formerly of X Japan) was recruited to play bass. After a while, though, Loudness began to fall apart yet again, and almost completely died out. After some rebuilding, they recorded several more albums and toured steadily throughout Asia and Europe steadily through to the end of the 1990s. The new millenium saw them considering hiatus, but the reunion concert of the band”s original lineup was so popular in Japan, they decided not to. The next few years saw the release of live DVD”s, at least one Japan tour a year, and several reissued albums with all English lyrics, meant to appeal to the European markets. Loudness even braved America once more, with a tour that was much more successful. All was somewhat well until April 2008, when Loudness were forced to go on hiatus due to drummer Munetaka Higuchi being diagnosed with liver cancer. The band released the following statement on their official site in December of 2008:
“Munetaka Higuchi passed away from liver cancer at a hospital in Osaka city in the morning of 30 November 2008. With permission from his family, we are officially announcing his passing. We realize this announcement came late and we apologize for that. With his and his family”s request, a wake and funeral best online casino will be held privately. For the press and the fans, we will make sure that you have an opportunity to say your goodbyes to him at later time. For the last eight months since he was diagnosed with liver cancer, he had been in and out of the hospital several times for the treatment. For the entire time, he was very positive and bravely fighting this disease. He had this strong desire to come back to the stage to play for the fans again. His death came very suddenly and was a very immature one. He lived his life to the fullest as a rock drummer who always gave us hopes and dreams. His heart and soul for music will be succeeded for a long time to come. Munetaka, we are grateful for all your hard work and the great 49 years you lived with us here in this world. We would like to express our appreciation for all your condolences sent here for him.”
Despite the sad news, Loudness continued onwards, and released two more albums, and did a tour of Europe in 2010. They are now returning to America yet again. The tour dates are as follows:
- May 11th: Key Club, Hollywood, California
- May 21st: Reggie”s Rock Club, Chicago, Illinois
- May 27th: Tree”s, Dallas, Texas
- June 1st: B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, New York, New York
You can learn more about the dates here: http://www.bandsintown.com/Loudness
And, for those of you who want to hear their music before blindly going to see them.. here”s their latest release. See you in the mosh pit!!!