Formed in Japan in 1981, Loudness slowly started to make a name for themselves with their brand of Van Halen influenced hard rock & heavy metal sounds. It wasn't until the release of Thunder in the East in 1985 that Loudness were really able to make a splash worldwide, and subsequent releases like Lightning Strikes and Hurricane Eyes further cemented their status in popular metal culture. Now, nearly 25 years and many albums and personnel changes later, the classic line-up of Loudness has reunited and ready for their first US tour in quite some time. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo caught up with lead vocalist Minoru Niihara and spoke about the reunion and future plans of the band.
Read on for the full interview!
Sea of Tranquility: It's been many years since the US has seen Loudness-can you tell us what led to the reunion of the original band a few years back?
Minoru Niihara: Akira Takasaki (guitar player) called up the original members of LOUDNESS in 2001, which was our 20th anniversary year, and was asking "Can we do something about our 20th anniversary? How about we reunite the band and make an album with the original line up again?"
The 20th anniversary tour and album did really great, so we decided continuing the band as long as we can, so now we are ready for rocking in the USA!
SoT: How has reaction been so far to the announcement of the US tour?
Minoru: It seems like old generation people are looking forward seeing LOUDNESS again in USA very much. The younger generation kids don't know LOUDNESS music as well, so they are looking forwards to seeing and hearing the band as well. I hope people will have a good time with us!
SoT: Thunder in the East was your breakthrough here in the US, although the band had already been a hit in back in Japan. What do you think it would take for the US market to "discover" Loudness all over again?
Minoru: We are very excited playing in the USA again and we hope people would enjoy our recent music. We know the show biz is a very tough world; it would not be so easy to breakthrough the US again, but if you want to win the lottery, you have to buy some tickets! It is same thing in the show biz, you have to do something if you want to succeed.
SoT: Can you describe the music of Loudness today as compared to the 80's and early 90's?
Minoru: Very passionate and aggressive and heavier than ever!
SoT: What do you consider to be Loudness' strongest album, and why?
Minoru: I love Hurrican Eyes because I love my performances on the album and the album has some great songs!!
SoT: You left the band back in the late 80's-what did you do in your time apart from Loudness, prior to the recent reformation?
Minoru: I released my first solo album One " through NIPPON COLOMBIA records after I left Loudness in 1989, and after that I formed several bands. One of them was called Ded Chaplin that released 4 studio albums and the other one was called Sly that released 4 studio albums in Japan.
Also I'm working with the band called XYZ-A now at the same time as Loudness and this band released 4 studo albums so far and 5th album will be releasing soon.
I had such a wonderful experience with these bands as a musician and singer and song writer in my music career.
SoT: What kind of set list have you put together for the US tour?
Minoru: It is very difficult to make a set of song list for the each one of audiences in the US. It will be like 60% new songs and 40% previous songs and I hope it will work well for the fans.
SoT: Metal has many subgenres today, power metal, classic metal, progressive metal, death, black metal, etc..-how do feel about the state of the genre today as opposed to 20 years ago?
Minoru: I love Nightwish and Evanescence very much, especiall the singer Amy Lee, who is wonderful!
SoT: If you were to look into the future, where do you see Loudness fitting in
5 years from now?
Minoru: I hope we would become some Asian version of classic rock band like BLACK SABATH or LED ZEPPLIN in 5 years later from now.
SoT: Is the band working on or will be working on a new studio album?
Minoru: Yes, we will be starting preproduction for the next studio album for our 25th anniversary album right after this up coming USA tour.