LOUDNESS Featuring Minoru Niihara And Michael Vescera – “And The Band Played On…”

By Carl Begai

Vescera 1Word began circulating recently that Obsession / ex-Loudness vocalist Michael Vescera – who fronted the band in the late ’80s for two studio albums – will be performing with Loudness as a guest vocalist on April 14th at the Live N’ Louder Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I caught up with Vescera to discuss the planned show, which is going to be a one-off performance with him up front.

“I’m actually singing the whole set with Loudness,” says Vescera. “I was contacted by the US representation a few weeks ago, they asked if I would be interested in doing this festival with Loudness. We all felt that this would be awesome to make happen, so it’s all been put together. It will be great to play with the guys again, I’m sure it’ll be killer. As far as set list, we’re not sure as of yet. We’re discussing this and should know soon.”

As for original Loudness vocalist Minoru Niihara and his status in Loudness, “he’s still in the band and still the vocalist for Loudness,” says Vescera. “I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.”

A day later I spoke with Niihara about the Loudness situation and he filled in the blanks:

“First of all, I am still Loudness’ vocalist and actually I am working on the new album now,” says Niihara. “When Loudness was offered the South America rock festival show a few weeks ago, my side project X.Y.Z.→A’s Japan tour had been booked already on the same week and the same day, so I won’t be able to go to South America. MinoruAkira2_2Akira (Takasaki/guitars) wanted to play in South America so badly and he asked me, ‘You can’t go there because of your schedule; can we have a special guest for that show?’ and I said ‘It is just my schedule-wise thing happening and I’m sorry about that, so please don’t hesitate having a someone for the show, I understand it.’ However, I didn’t know until you told me now that Mike would sing for me, though (laughs).”

“Who can sing for me but Mike?” Niihara adds. “I think he’s the right choice in such a situation. I believe Loudness and Mike will kick some ass in South America show. I’d love to go to sing in South America some day, in the near future.”

Up to this point Vescera has been busy with Animetal USA and enjoying the success of Obsession’s new album, Order Of Chaos, which has struck a chord the world over much the same way the band’s early albums did.

“On the Obsession front, we have a few shows booked for late April,” he reveals. “Still speaking with promoters for Europe, Japan, and the rest of the world. Hopefully some things will surface soon with that. We just finished re-mixing Carnival Of Lies for the re-release with Inner Wound; it sounds awesome and we’re real excited to have a proper release with this. The back catalogue is almost finished as well. Everything has been re-mastered, there will some cool unreleased stuff, never released photos and some video clips.”

Niihara, meanwhile, is gearing up for the April 3rd release of X.Y.Z.→A’s seventh album, Seventh Heaven. Fans of the band’s first two albums – Asian Typhoon and Metalization – and their previous outing, Learn From Yesterday! Live For Today! Hope For Tomorrow!, definitely have something to look forward to.

The tracklist is as follows:

‘Rising Anthem’
‘Patriot’s Dream’
‘Metal Heads’
‘While You’re Still Young’
‘Real Man’
‘Seventh Heaven’
‘Tenka Muteki’
‘Madamada Saiaku Yanaide’
‘A Song For You’
‘Stay Hungry! Stay Foolish!’

In addition, Niihara and Loudness are gearing up for the Hurricane Eyes Tour 2013 in Japan as part of their Classic Loudness Series. Dates are as follows:

30 – Fukuoka – Zepp Fukuoka

5 – Sapporo – Zepp Sapporo
20 – Osaka – Zepp Namba Osaka
21 – Tokyo – Shinagawa Stellar Ball


Watch for an exclusive interview with Niihara, due to be published on these pages soon.

Check out the following websites:


Special thanks to Michael Vescera, Minoru Niihara and Takashi Kanazawa for putting up with all my damn questions. Much appreciated, gentlemen…

Michael Vescera photo by Jerry Angelica Photography
Minoru Niihara / Akira Takasaki photo by Carl Begai