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20?s with Loudness lead vocalist Minoru Niihara.

20?s with Loudness lead vocalist Minoru Niihara.

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Minoru rocking in the modern day!

First off we have to give a huge shout out to our Sludgeaholic from the land of the rising son, Soichi. He helped coordinate, conduct and translate this great interview. We also want to give props to Darren P. as well. Thanks guys!

As for Loudness, they formed in 1981 and released 4 albums in Japan before "Thunder in the East" was released worldwide. Their guitarist Akira Takasaki was touted as the Eddie Van Halen of Japan. The band also landed the opening slot on the Motley Crue "Theatre of Pain" tour. Add in their Mtv Headbangers Ball smash anthem "Rock n’ Roll Crazy Nights" and you have sushi & success.

Here is an in depth look at the band and their "lock n’ loll bad boy" singer, Minoru Niihara.



1. What are you currently up to? This is your one and only chance to promote whatever it is you have to plug.

My second solo album "ASHES TO GLORY" will be released on February 22nd through TOKUMA JAPAN COMUNICATIONS.  So now I’m doing promotion for that album.

 
The “Rock Shocks” album from LOUDNESS will be coming out in the U.S. through Crash Music on March 7, 2006.

Also we’re having some rehearsals for the next LOUDNESS tour – our first U.S. dates in

a long time:

2/12/2006 – Shibuya-Ax – Tokyo, Japan

3/18/2006 – Galaxy Concert Theatre – Santa Ana, CA

3/19/2006 – Key Club  - West Hollywood, CA

3/20/2006 – The Pound San Francisco  - San Francisco, CA

3/22/2006 – Joe’s On Weed Street – Chicago, IL

3/23/2006 – I-Rock Nightclub  - Detroit, MI

3/24/2006 – Peabody’s Down Under  - Cleveland, OH

3/25/2006 – The Chance Entertainment Complex – Poughkeepsie, NY
3/26/2006 – B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill – New York, NY

3/29/2006 – The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern –
Toronto, Canada


3/31/2006 –
Webster TheatreHartford, CT


4/01/2006 – Jaxx –
West Springfield, VA


4/02/2006 – Jesters Pub –
Fayetteville, NC


4/04/2006 – Starland Ballroom –
Asbury Park, NJ


4/05/2006 – Crocodile Rock Cafe –
Allentown, PA
 
More information is up at http://www.myspace.com/loudnessisback (and http://www3.livemedia.co.jp/loudness, if you can read Japanese).
 
We are working on a licensing deal for the U.S. for our last few albums and DVD’s, and hope to working on our 25th Anniversary album after our U.S. tour.  The original lineup of LOUDNESS is back.
 
Other than that, I’m wrestling with my 5 month-old son’s smelly diapers!

2. You guys have been playing some festivals in Europe and will start touring the U.S.A. in March.  What should the fans be looking forward to?



Enjoy our old and mature-looking JAPANESE metal band and sing along with heavily-accented Japlish like "’Crap your hands, ebulybody” and "Wock and Woll Clazy Nights."

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Loudness early 80′s & Loudness 20 years later!

3. Rank the following singers on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a wank who sounds like they gargle sand, and 10 being a master of the art of voice.



Don Dokken = 8 – One of the voices of
L.A.
metal! Good songwriter, too.

Jeff Scott Soto = 8 – Very good professional singer

Joe Lynn Turner = 8 – Very good professional singer

Tony Harnell = 8 – I was amazed by his stable high notes!

David Coverdale = 10 – A living legend of soulful and bluesy rock

Ronnie James Dio = 10 – DIO RULES!! MASTERPIECE!

Rob Halford = 10 – A voice of true heavy metal!

Ian Gillan = 10 – A living legend of British hard rock, I love the "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" album though.

Ozzy Osbourne = 10 – Intriguing character and charming charisma

Mike Vescera = 8 – One of the best – a clear and strong voice he has

Masaki Yamada = 8 – A cute and shy guy

Vince Neil = 8 – The man of
L.A.
metal

4. What "rock star" deserves a smack in the mouth and why?

AC/DC, RUSH, and ZZ TOP — come to JAPAN more often!

VAN HALEN, rock us again with DAVID LEE ROTH soon!

RITCHIE BLACKMORE, I’m getting bored of hearing his nice and soft acoustic songs — I wanna hear his some hard rock stuff!

New York or Los Angeles = Los Angeles — Lots of good and bad memories in the 80′s.

Burger King or McDonald’s = McDonald’s — When I was in
BUKKYO University in Kyoto
, I used to work there and they treated me very nice.

Hiroshima or Nagasaki = HIROSHIMA
— my family lives there.

5. Of the following, which do you prefer and why?

Anthem or Earthshaker =  Earthshaker — I’m original singer of this band, I

still remember some lyrics of early EARTHSHAKER songs

Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan = Bruce Lee — He is a very mysterious guy.

Budokan or Shibuya Kokaido = Budokan — near my house.

Sushi or Sukiyaki = SUSHI — I love seafood and also I’m on a diet now.

6.Your "Thunder in the East" album cover resembles a Kamikaze design.

Were you guys criticized about this issue in foreign countries before?

NO.

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7.You once told an interviewer that you would become a monk if you were

not a singer now?  Is that true?




Yes, that is true.  My ex-girlfriend, her father was monk and he wanted me succeed to his position, and actually when I was 20 year old I was going to take a class of Buddhism to be a monk in BUKKYO University, in fact I was an undergraduate of sociology in BUKKYO University though, but I was kicked out of the University anyway.



8. What do you remember most about the following years:



1974: I was practicing KENDO (a kind of Japanese martial arts) every day and jacking off every night.

1980: I received a phone call from Akira Takasaki’s manager and he asked me if I want to do an audition for AKIRA TAKASAKI project.

1983: I went wild becoming a true professional rock singer and I was very busy trying to finish recording and do many shows.

1986: I met many rock stars in the States and played a lot of shows as an opening act at arenas.

1995: I was little disturbed, I was drunk and depressed so badly almost every night. I hated the

rock show biz and music.

2005: My first son arrived.



9. Yes or No, has Minoru Niihara ever done the following:

Shouted ‘Crap your hands, ebulybody’ to an American audience only to be laughed at = I have never said ‘Crap your hands, ebulybody’ before, who the hell do you think I am? I am a Lock and loll star!

Had a fistfight with Akira Takasaki because of his 20-minute guitar solos = Yes — 20 minutes is too long to be taking that shit!

Sang along with Morning Musume songs = I wish I could sing their song with cuties.



Passed out on-stage = No, but a hard-on on-stage?  Yes.



Seen a ghost = Yes.

 
Had a bottle thrown at you by an American audience because nobody understood your English = Maybe, yes, fortunately they missed at my face!
 
Been pissed off by Mick Mars = What kind of question is this?
 
Sang "Crazy Nights" at the top of Mt. Fuji = NO, but I will!

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Akira Takasaki guitar God of Japan!





10. Judging by our Sludgeaholic Of The Year, Soichi Masuda’s speech in L.A.
, Japanese people have trouble pronouncing "L" and "R," also "B" and "V." How long did that take to master?

Seriously, if you’re older than 6 years old as a Japanese person, I think that no matter how long it takes, the Japanese can never ever correctly pronounce and hear "L" and "R," also "B" and "V."



11. Of all the other bands that you’ve shared the stage with, which ones were the coolest to work with, and which ones were the biggest bunch of jackasses you’ve ever met?

Fortunately all of them were nice to us.

12. For what amount was your largest music-related check and what did you do with it?

It’s too silly of an amount to tell you in the public.

13. The Last of Minoru Niihara:

Last book you read = TOKYO TOWER by Lilly Frankie(Japanese author)

Last concert you watched from the audience = SHOW YA (Japanese female

metal band)

 
Last sporting event you attended = K-1 Grand Prix



Last film you saw in the theater = Constantine




Last celebrity you shook hands with = DON DOKKEN last year



Last tribute CD you performed on = Tribute to COZY POWELL
 
Last time you got lost = Last December in Torrance, Los Angeles

Last time you got a speeding ticket =Never



Last time you got piss drunk = This New Year’s



Last time you talked with the member of Lazy = Last December

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Old Skool Minoru looking like Vince Neil

meets Kevin DuBrow meets Jackie Chan?




14. What does "M.Z.A." stand for?

MY ZEBRA ASS

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Loudness live in Japan 2002!

15. How did the original lineup of Loudness wind up getting back together?

AKIRA started the whole thing in 2000.  He called up each member of the band and he said "LOUDNESS’ 20th anniversary is coming up, can we do something about it?"  We had talked to each other about reuniting, and we all agreed with reuniting the band to do for our 20th Anniversary.

After 20th Anniversary Tour, we decided to continue the band as much as we can.

16. Your original American management tried to turn Loudness into a Motley Crue-type band, even though your original Japanese albums were closer to thrash-metal than hair-metal.  Are there any songs that you wish Loudness never wrote?

There are not any songs that we wish LOUDNESS never wrote.  But Akira did not like the guitar riff of "CRAZY NIGHTS" because he thought the guitar riff was too simple.

 
17. Your song catalogue includes "Crazy Nights," "Crazy Doctor," and "Crazy Samurai" — will your next album include as much "crazyness?"



We call it "THE CRAZY TRILOGY."  So "Crazy SAMURAI" is the last installment of trilogy.

However, "CRAZYNESS" is kind of cool title.  I’ll think about it.

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Loudness appeared in Hit Parader magazine in 1985!

18. Atlantic Records — looking back, was that such a smart contract to sign?

For our career, yes it was.

We could work with some phenomenal talented producers and also we could have excellent experience in the world.



19. Loudness is viewed as the 1st Japanese heavy metal band — the first Japanese artist to play at Madison Square Garden — while EZO is probably the second most known Japanese heavy metal band to Americans. EZO was produced by Gene Simmons and its singer and drummer joined Loudness in the early 1990′s.  Who are some of the heavy metal bands that American audiences should check out?

There are some kinds of new metal types of bands in JAPAN, but there is no pure metal.

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Loudness giving us the business 2002!

20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name, and you give us your thoughts:



X-Japan = The first of the kind of visual band. Very good Japanese ballads they have.



Gene Simmons = Clever man



Keiichi Horiuchi = Work harder, man!

 
Mr. Big = Great band!



Paul Gilbert = Incredible player



Domo Kun = I don’t know



Marty Friedman = Great guitar player and excellent Japanese speaker!



The Last Samurai = Beautiful picture but I think that the story is not so good.

 

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Loudness looking pretty fucking Dokken Crue meets Ratt Krokus batman!

Domo Arigato! Is that correct? Either way, we’re excited to give you some Sludge from the far east. Thanks again to Soichi & Darren. Who’s next? Attention E-Z-O! Breaker-breaker, come in, do you read me E-Z-O?

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