Dec 28, 2011: 2 PLUS to sign Japanese metal legends LOUDNESS to their management roster

2 PLUS MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT is signing Japanese metal legends LOUDNESS to their management roster.

Drummer MUNETAKA HIGUCHI and guitarist AKIRA TAKASAKI  launched LOUDNESS in May 1981. The duo was joined by former EARTHSHAKER vocalist MINORU NIIHARA and Takasaki’s childhood friend MASAYOSHI YAMASHITA on bass. LOUDNESS ensconced themselves in the studio and three months later the band’s debut album, “THE BIRTHDAY EVE” was released. The second LOUDNESS album, “DEVIL SOLDIER”, was released in July 1982, followed by “THE LAW OF DEVIL’S LAND” in January 1983. In July 1983, the band conducted their first American tour, followed by a European tour one month later. An A&R man from Atlantic Records was impressed by the LOUDNESS shows in the U.S. between July 1983 and May 1984, which led to the band being signed by the label for an international record deal – a first in Japanese music history. In August ’84, LOUDNESS entered a studio in Los Angeles with producer Max Norman, renowned for his work with Ozzy Osbourne, among others, to record their first worldwide release, “THUNDER IN THE EAST”. The album was released January ’85 and went all the way to No. 4 on Japan’s domestic charts. The band then embarked on a US tour that April, and a month later the album appeared at No. 74 on the U.S. Billboard album charts. In August, LOUDNESS opened for Mötley Crüe on their US tour. On August 14, they became the first Japanese act in history to play at the prestigious Madison Square Garden in New York City. In December, the band went to the studio to record their second release on Atlantic, again with Max Norman manning the controls. “LIGHTNING STRIKES”, topped the band’s previous chart success, appearing at No.64 on the Billboard charts. As the band kept touring all over the US, they earned themselves a reputation as a great live act.

Despite their on-going success, Niihara left the band in December 1988. The news came as a shock, not only to the Japanese but also to the international rock community. After countless auditions, the remaining band members arrived at the conclusion that they would never be able find a Japanese singer to live up to Niihara’s talent, and hired former Obsession vocalist, MIKE VESCERA, in September 1989. The result was the album “SOLDIER OF FORTUNE”, followed by “ON THE PROWL” in February 1991, a compilation of cover versions of the band’s earlier work, as well as a number of new songs. Vescera left soon after the arrival of “SLAP IN THE FACE” in October 1991, followed by Yamashita, and the second LOUDNESS era came to an end in 1992. In the years following, the band’s line-up fluctuated, but Loudness remained active. In 2000, Takasaki began toying with the idea of a LOUDNESS reformation, featuring the group’s original members, and the news was formally announced in May of that year with the band going into preproduction soon afterwards. Multiple album and DVD releases followed as the band remained hugely successful in their homeland of Japan.

On November 30th, 2008 Munataka Higuchi sadly succumbed to liver cancer. “The Everlasting” release from 2009 would be the final recording with the classic Loudness line up. The remaining original members continue on with their new drummer Masayuki Suzuki. Loudness returned to the USA for their 30th Anniversary tour in May/June 2011. Upon completion of the tour, the band returned to Japan and put the finishing touches on their new studio album “EVE TO DAWN” which they hope to release in the U.S. and Europe in early 2012 with extensive worldwide touring to follow. “Eve To Dawn” finds the band rejuvenated and sounding hungrier than ever. Longtime fans will surely be pleased with the effort, but new fans will also be made with the excellent songwriting and absolutely blazing fretwork by Akira.