Interviewed by Shadow Editor
Special Translation by Kaz Sumida
Hi Akira, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. How are you? I know the band is currently on the road during the celebration for the 30th Anniversary of “Thunder in the East”. Tell us a little bit more about the tour and why this album holds such special meaning to yourself and the band?
Akira: I’m doing great. Thirty years ago this year “Thunder in the East” was released. Even among our own albums it was purely a wonderful work that rock fans from around the world fell in love with.
Is hard to believe it has been 30 years since “Thunder in the East”, how big of a deal for Loudness was this back then? To release a record in the USA, a big breakthrough for the band. How did it change the band going forward?
Akira: Well for us it meant LOUDNESS started to be recognized in Europe and America. That also meant more touring opportunities in Europe and the USA.
How much of a challenge was it to make a complete record in English for the first time?
Akira: I think it was difficult for a Japanese speaker to master, it took us over a month to record a song. Even if the song performance was good, the pronunciation wasn’t right or vice versa. It was tough.
It also propelled the band into Billboard Top 200, how did you feel about that at the time?
Akira: For LOUDNESS to become a globally recognized band in just the span of four years made me very happy for such an accomplishment.
How many songs of that record are you playing live on this tour?
Akira: Maybe 15 to 20 songs.
You are playing a string of dates here in the United States, one of those dates being the famed “Whiskey A Go Go” in West Hollywood. What do you recall about those breakthrough years for Loudness? How different was to play venues back home in Japan as opposed to here in the States? Is there a difference now or it all remains the same? More specifically the fan base, the vibes etc...
Akira: At that time LA metal was in its prime when we were there. Every night after recording at Sound City we would go to drink at the Rainbow. Drink every night, party dude style like a typical living in that scene.
I also went to the beach and to music stores a lot. When it comes to playing live, wherever we go it’s not that much different even now. The reaction from American fans is easier to read compared to fan from other countries.
What’s your recollection of the best venue the band has played live? And why?
Akira: I guess Madison Square Garden. Of course because it’s a world wide famous venue, but also because of Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains The Same” film that I watched a lot.
How difficult was it for yourself to keep the band moving forward after so many line up changes through the years?
Akira: It was difficult but looking back on it now, because every member had potential and was a great player, I was really happy.
When Minoru left the band in 88, was it hard finding a replacement vocalist? And how did Mike Vescera come into play here, how did you two meet up?
Akira: Our producer at the time recommended him.
The Sun Will Rise Again last year was the band’s 26th studio album, how amazing is this? Will there be another record in the near future?
Akira: If I remember correctly, we’ve already got about 80% of new material prepared, but we’ve got some exciting plans before that for everyone to look forward to.
Lets talk a little about your early years. I read somewhere that you we’re in a talent show as a teenager and you we’re covering a Deep Purple tune, is this where things picked up musically for you? What Deep Purple song was it?
Akira: BURN STORM BRINGER SPEED KING HUSH
Tell me about the band “Lazy”, was this a Japanese Pop band?
Akira: It was a unique Japanese pop. The last album got a little hard edge to it.
Which bands or inspiration gave you the metal urge to start playing heavy style music compared to what you had been playing previously?
Akira: DEEP PURPLE and LED ZEPPELIN. They were the pioneers of hard rock so I always had something to learn from them.
What we’re some of the bands and albums that impacted your style of play when you we’re younger? Could the Deep Purple masterpiece “Made in Japan” have been one of those records for you?
Akira: MACHINE HEAD. Yes, it was.
What’s your recollection of the craziest experience you have ever had on stage?
At one of my shows my guitar tech made a bunch of stupid mistakes so I knocked the mic stand towards the guitar tech off stage with my guitar. Then after throwing my guitar on top of the PA I swung my guitar around and let it fly over the drum kit where it crashed and got caught up on the gong stand. I regret doing that and will never do it again.
If you could create yourself into an anime character what would his name be and what’s his superpower?
Akira: AKIRAMAN Roaring lightray!
What’s your favorite guitar solo to play live?
The final words are yours Akira. Thanks for taking the time, rock on with Loudness and hope we see you on the road!!!
Akira: Don’t think LOUDNESS will always be around! Now’s the time! ROCK!!!!!
Thunder in the East 30th Anniversary Tour 2015
The Token Lounge
Glendale Heights, IL
GB Leighton’s Pickle Park
Buffalo Rose Saloon
The Bossanova Ballroom
San Jose, CA
West Hollywood, CA
Whisky a Go Go
Las Vegas, NV
Count’s Vamp’d Rock Bar & Grill
Oklahoma City, OK
San Antonio, TX