Tag Archives: heavy metal

Interview with an Italian Samurai

6 Dec

Have you ever heard of Holy Martyr? My great friend Masa told me about them.


They are a heavy metal band from Italy. But their album titled “Invincible” is quite unique because the songs on that album are about famous Japanese samurai stories and battles!

The guitarist of Holy Martyr, Ivano Spiga, did an interview with me.

The interview is on my website’s “Interviews Page“…Click here to read it.

Even if you’re not a fan of heavy metal, you should read the interview to learn why they decided to make a Japanese-themed album and also if it’s true that Italians use a spoon when they eat spaghetti, as many Japanese people believe.

Of course, I also recommend that you check out the music of Holy Martyr.

After you read the interview, come back to this page and leave a comment to let me know what you thought.

Animetal USA

9 Oct

Have you ever heard of the Japanese heavy metal band “Animetal“?

The Japanese band "Animetal".

They were an extra band made just for fun by members of other established Japanese metal bands. Animetal played heavy metal versions of Japanese anime theme songs.

The artwork of the cover of Animetal's first album (released in the mid-90's).

Animetal disbanded about five years ago…but this year, Marty Friedman (who was the lead guitarist of the American heavy metal band Megadeth but quit that famous band so that he could live in Tokyo with his Japanese wife) helped organize the formation of “Animetal USA“.

"Animetal USA"

Animetal USA consists of Mike Vescera (formally the lead vocalist of the Japanese band “Loudness” for a short time), Chris Impellitteri (of the band “Impellitteri”), Rudy Sarzo (from “Quiet Riot”) and Scott Travis (of “Judas Priest”).

Just like the original “Animetal”, this band sings heavy metal versions of Japanese anime theme songs…but, unlike the Japanese band, only some of their songs are in Japanese—the rest are in English.

They will be releasing their debut album on 2011 October 12 and on October 15, they will perform at this year’s Loudpark Heavy Metal Festival in Saitama, Japan.

The cover artwork for Animetal USA's debut album...due for release on 2011/10/12.

Here is the official video for “Animetal USA“‘s first single…the theme song of the anime 「宇宙戦艦ヤマト」 (“Space Battleship Yamato“):

I like monsters

25 Aug

KISS has announced that they will release an album of all new songs sometime next year (2012) titled “Monster“.

KISS...still the hottest band in the world!

Ever since I was a kid I’ve always liked monsters.

When I watched the Disney cartoon “Peter Pan” as a child, for example, I didn’t care for Peter Pan or any of his friends. They were too “regular”.
Unlike Peter Pan with his pansy outfit and little knife, Captain Hook had a sword and a sharp hook instead of a hand.
(Admittedly though, Peter Pan could fly, which would be fun and Hook didn’t dress much better than Peter Pan.)
Captain Hook was the first movie character that frightened me…and even at that young age I enjoyed being frightened a bit.

Who cares about a practical prosthetic when you can have one that puts the fear of god in people?!

When I was a bit older, I saw Star Wars for the first time.  I was only seven years old when the first movie in the series was released, so I was a bit too young to fully understand the story.  But I still  enjoyed it a lot.  Especially when “Darth Vader” made his entrance!
Luke Skywalker was the hero…but Darth Vader stole every scene in was in.

The "Dark Side"

And of course I’ve always like the “traditional” monsters…Frankenstein’s Monster, The Werewolf, and Dracula.

And when I came to Japan, I learned about 妖怪 (Japanese monsters).

"Ge-ge-ge Kitaro" is Japanese cartoon inspired by traditional Japanese monster and ghost stories.

Even my favorite superhero character has always been “The Incredible Hulk“. He’s anger-incarnate. A huge pissed-off monster! The coolest of the superheroes.

Hulk will smash even Superman

Even the music I listen to reflects my interest in monsters.
I like heavy metal music. There’s a reason that the soundtracks to many horror movies are full of heavy metal music…heavy metal is to music as horror is to movies.

If you’re not interested in heavy metal, you may not know that that genre of music is further divided into sub-genres.
The sub-genre of metal music that I like the most is “Shock Rock“. It’s just as visual as it is musical. Shock Rock artist—such as KISS, W.A.S.P., Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Lordi—often look like monsters.

Alice Cooper

Anyways, as I mentioned at the top of this post, KISS will be releasing a new album soon.  The last time they they released a new album was about two years ago…it was titled “Sonic Boom“.

As I mentioned, KISS‘s new album will be titled “Monster“.  It’s an excellent album title…I can’t believe they haven’t used it before!

So far only five song titles have been confirmed by the band.  They are: “Hell Or Hallelujah”, “Born To Be A Sinner”, “Out Of This World”, “Are You Ready?”, and “Wall Of Sound”.

I’m looking forward to getting this album.

Upcoming concerts in Japan

16 Jul

What type of music do you like to listen to? Do you go to concerts often?

As for me, I like heavy metal music. Actually I don’t understand why anyone would listen to anything else. 😉

There are a number of great bands scheduled to play shows in Japan soon.

For example:

Linkin Park

– 2011 September 10, 11: Chiba, Japan
– 2011 September 13: Yokohama, Japan
– 2011 September 14: Nagoya, Japan
– 2011 September 16: Osaka, Japan

Also, on 2011 August 31, Linkin Park will play a show in Los Angeles, California to help raise money for the victims of the March 11 earthquake in Japan.
The Japanese hard rock band B’z will be the opening act.

Anthem

The Japanese metal band Anthem are currently on a tour of Japan until the end of July (2011).

Anthrax

In support of their new album, “Worship Music“, Anthrax will play four dates in Japan this December:

– 2011 December 12: Osaka, Japan
– 2011 December 13, 14: Tokyo, Japan
– 2011 December 16: Nagoya, Japan

The band “Hellyeah” will be the opening act for the Anthrax shows.

Aerosmith

Hard rock icons Aerosmith will play shows across Japan in (2011) November and December:

– 2011 November 22: Kanazawa, Japan
– 2011 November 25: Hiroshima, Japan
– 2011 November 28, 30: Tokyo, Japan
– 2011 December 2: Fukuoka, Japan
– 2011 December 6: Osaka, Japan
– 2011 December 8: Nagoya, Japan
– 2011 December 10: Sapporo, Japan

Loudpark Heavy Metal Festival 2011

– 2011 October 15: Saitama, Japan

At this year’s Loudpark, Whitesnake, The Darkness, Stryper and many other acts are scheduled to perform.

Whitesnake

In addition to headlining this year’s Loudpark festival, Whitesnake will play four additional shows in Japan:

– 2011 October 17: Osaka, Japan
– 2011 October 18: Okayama, Japan
– 2011 October 20: Miyazaki, Japan
– 2011 October 22: Nagoya, Japan

Mötley Crüe

– 2011 September 28: Nagoya, Japan
– 2011 September 29, 30: Osaka, Japan
– 2011 October 3, 4, 5: Tokyo, Japan

Def Leppard

– 2011 November 5: Osaka, Japan
– 2011 November 7: Tokyo, Japan

New X-Japan song

30 Jun

I wrote a post about the Japanese heavy metal band X-Japan (they were simply called “X” when I first came to Japan).

I was surprised by the negative comments that post I wrote received from a number of X-Japan fans overseas!  The post is here, by the way.

Well, X-Japan has released a new English-language song via i-tunes.
It’s currently available to for download in America and Europe.
The price is £0.79 (which equals about US$1.27 (or ¥102)).
(Click here if you want to download it from i-tunes.)

It will be available for download in Japan and Asia on 2011 July 13.

The song is titled “Jade“.

Here’s the video for the song:

Also, X-Japan is currently on a short world tour.
They just played a concert in London on Tuesday (July 28) and then they play a few more shows around Europe.
Then on August 13 they’ll be in Osaka, Japan and on August 14th they’ll play in Tokyo.
From there, they’ll play some shows in Central America.

(News and images are from the official X-Japan website).

Postponed…or canceled?

6 Mar

As I mentioned in this post, the American hard rock band KISS were scheduled to perform in concert seven nights in a six-city tour around Japan this coming April (2011).

The KISS flyer for the four dates KISS were scheduled to perform in the Tokyo area.

I say that they “were scheduled” to come to Japan because it was announced today that KISS “postponed” their tour of Japan.

The "radio schedule" from the newspaper that the postponement of the KISS tour will be explained tonight.

My friend told me that the famous hard rock / heavy metal music critic / journalist Masa Ito mentioned on his radio show that KISS are now tentatively scheduled to come to Japan this autumn (2011).

Hopefully they won’t just decide to cancel the tour altogether.

A “Sonic Boom” will hit Japan

27 Feb

First of all, as I mentioned in this comment, the “2011 Tokyo International Marathon” was held today.

30,000 people from Japan and other countries ran the 42.195 KM (over 26 miles) course through the streets of Tokyo.
For the past five years now, the Tokyo Marathon has been an annual event held at the end of February.

++++++

Anyways, my friend has just informed me that the American rock band KISS will be coming to Japan this April to play seven shows around Japan to support their “Sonic Boom” album.

(I did an interview with the artist who designed this album cover, by the way.)

The dates of the shows that KISS are scheduled to play in Japan are:

2011 April 13 – Nagoya, Japan at the Aichi Prefecture Gymnasium
2011 April 14 – Yokohama, Japan at the Pacifico Yokohama
2011 April 17 – Saitama, Japan at the Saitama Super Arena
2011 April 18 – Kobe, Japan at the World Hall
2011 April 20 – Tokyo, Japan at the Nippon Budokan
2011 April 21 – Tokyo, Japan at the Nippon Budokan
2011 April 23 – Sapporo, Japan at the Makomanai Indoor Stadium

Tickets for the shows in the Tokyo area (which are Yokohama, Saitama and Tokyo) will go on sale on 2011 March 12th.

I have seen KISS play in Japan in both Yokohama and Tokyo before. In Yokohama, I saw them at the “Yokohama Arena” (not the “Pacifico”, where they’ll being playing this time). In Tokyo, I saw them at both the “Tokyo Dome” and the “Nippon Budokan”.

An interesting thing about this tour is that KISS will play a show in Sapporo, Japan. KISS has played many shows in Japan since their first time here in the 1970’s and they’ve never played northern Japan before. I’m sure that KISS fans in Hokkaido are happy to hear that there will finally be a KISS concert in their area!

The name of the 「日本武道館」 (Nippon Budokan) in Tokyo means “Japan Martial-arts Hall”.
Traditionalists don’t really like the idea of musicians playing pop music in this “sacred” hall. The first pop band to play there were The Beatles when they first came to Japan. The traditionalists protested their concerts. But The Beatles drew huge crowds to the Budokan…and they held the record for the most consecutive sell-out shows there. They played four sold-out shows in a row at the Budokan.
But KISS beat The Beatles‘s record when they played five sold-out shows at the Budokan on their first Japan tour in the late ’70s.

Since then it’s become quite normal for musicians to perform at the Nippon Budokan. Even with the bigger and newer “Tokyo Dome” not far from the Budokan, upcoming Japanese pop stars still consider it a sign of success to play at the Nippon Budokan…not unlike American musicians playing at the “Madison Square Garden”.

The famous "Nippon Budokan"; Tokyo, Japan

Have you ever seen a KISS concert? If not, you’re missing out on the best live show by any band. Their shows are quite exciting…fire-breathing, blood, flying guitars, flying musicians, outrageous costumes, kabuki-style face paint.

To get an idea, watch this music promotion video for the single “Modern Day Delilah” from their most recent album “Sonic Boom”:

And, in a more good news for us KISS fans…the band has announced that a new KISS studio album of brand-new songs is due out later this year (2011)!

A number of newspapers in Japan had articles about the upcoming KISS tour here.
I bought today’s copy of 「夕刊フジ」 (“Yuukan-Fuji“) evening paper:

Here’s a close-up of the article about KISS:

 

The headline says: "Hell's group" KISS return for a Japan tour after four-and-a-half years!

Is my music collection considered “oldies” now?

18 Feb

In 1986, when I was sixteen years old, if you had asked me my opinion of music that was released twenty-five prior to that (in 1961)…music by artists such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Chuck Berry was popular at that time…I wasn’t interested in that type of music and I probably would of considered it “ancient”.

It’s now 2011 and 1986 is now twenty-five years in the past!
My taste in music hasn’t changed at all. I still listen to the same great albums that I bought in the ’80s.
My I-pod has a number of albums from 1986.

Look at this list of albums that are now twenty-five years old (listed here in order of release). You can’t deny that they’re all excellent…much better than most of the forgettable “music” that is released today:

  • Black Sabbath “Seventh Star” 
  • Ozzy Osbourne “The Ultimate Sin
  • Metallica “Master Of Puppets
  • Van Halen “5150
  • Judas Priest “Turbo”
  • AC/DC “Who Made Who
  • Savatage “Fight For The Rock
  • Loudness “Lightning Strikes
  • Great White “Shot In The Dark
  • Iron Maiden “Somewhere In Time
  • W.A.S.P. “Inside The Electric Circus
  • KiLLeR DWaRfS “Stand Tall

Have you heard any of these albums? What do you think of them?
As for me, even though they’re twenty-five years old now…and nearly every one of these bands have better albums in their catalog (except Metallica—“Master Of Puppets” is legend!…these albums still stand the test of time!

In memory of “The Fox”

24 Nov

The late Eric Carr died nineteen years ago today.

Eric Carr was the second drummer for the rock band “KISS“. He replaced the original drummer Peter Criss who quit the band in 1980.

When Eric Carr joined KISS, they were still wearing their trademark make-up. So it was decided that Eric Carr would wear make-up in the persona of “The Fox” (former drummer Peter Criss had been “The Catman“).

"Creatures Of The Night", the only KISS album cover that has Eric Carr in his "Fox" make-up (he's at the top of the cover).

Eric Carr remained a member of KISS until he died of heart cancer at the age of 41 on 1991 November 24th.

I was already in Japan when Eric Carr passed away and I was shocked when I first heard the news that he had died.
As a KISS fan, I was dismayed that Eric Carr’s death was overshadowed by the death of Freddie Mercury, the vocalist of the band Queen, who died of AIDS the exact same day.

It’s not overlooked by KISS fans in Japan that Eric Carr died at the age of 41.

In Japan, there are three ages for men and three for women that are considered by be unlucky with a higher chance of illness or injury.

These ages are called 「厄年」 (“Yakudoshi“) which means “Calamity years”.
For women these ages are: 19, 33 and 37.
For men, they are: 25, 42 and 61.

Maybe you noticed that Eric Carr died at the age of 41 and the closest 「厄年」 (“Yakudoshi“) age is 42.
But the year before and the after 「厄年」 (“Yakudoshi“) are considered dangerous as well. They’re called 「前厄」 (“Maeyaku”) and 「後厄」 (“Atoyaku”), respectively.

It’s believed that people’s bodies are changing at those ages and are prone for sickness or injury.

Actually, I twisted my ankle a few days after my 41st birthday a few weeks ago. True story.

Are you at the age of 「厄年」 (“Yakudoshi“)? Take care!

Eric Carr, 1950 July 12 - 1991 Nov 24, R.I.P.

Most of my life in Japan

17 Oct

Today is 2010 October 17.
I came to Japan on 1990 October 17. Twenty years ago.
I was 20 years old when I came to Tokyo…so I’ve now lived half of my life here. Starting tomorrow, I will have been in Japan for “most of my life”.

Time goes by so fast.

In 2008 on this date I wrote a post that compared some of the differences between Japan in 1990 and Japan today.
Click here to read it.

Today is also the anniversary of the day that Yoshihiro Hattori was shot to death in America because he went to the wrong house by mistake on his way to a Halloween party.
Last year I wrote a post on the seventeenth anniversary of his death.
Click here to read a bit about his story in the post I wrote last year.

I can’t believe I’ve already been in Japan for twenty years. October 1990 doesn’t seem that long ago.
Unless that is, you look at I list of the music and movies that were released in 1990!
I checked on Wikipedia…and twenty years seems much longer now that I realized that in 1990 Macaulay Culkin was a cute kid and “Home Alone” was a new movie!

The top-ten movies of 1990 were:
1. “Ghost“…This movie was pretty good, I think.
2. “Home Alone“…This was one funny…but all the sequels (some with different actors in the lead role) were ridiculous.
3. “Pretty Woman
4. “Dances With Wolves
5. “Total Recall“…I like action and suspense movies, but this one was mediocre.
6. “Back To The Future Part III“…This is an excellent trilogy. Of course the first one was the best, but the two sequels were good too.
7. “Die Hard 2: Die Harder“…The four “Die Hard” movies are among my all-time favorites—and I recently heard that they’ll will be making “Part 5” soon. I hope so!
8. “Presumed Innocent“…Harrison Ford is a great actor who has starred in many excellent films!
9. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles“…I knew about this comic book because in the liner notes of the excellent 1986 “Master Of Puppets” album by the heavy metal band Metallica it has in the “Thank you” list, among other things, “sushi, Absolut Vodka, Alka Seltzer, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles“.
Metallica is cool, this movie isn’t.

As a sidenote, there’s a similar story with the metal band Anthrax. On their 1987 “Among The Living” album there is a song titled “I Am The Law“. In the album’s liner notes it says that the song is inspired by the “Judge Dredd” comics. In 1995, Sylvester Stallone starred in a terrible movie adaptation of this comic series.

But I digress. Back to the list.

10. “Kindergarten Cop

I was going to include a list of the music albums that were released in October 1990, too. But I’ve either never heard of most of the bands on that list or they’re albums by bands that I can’t tolerate.
There were a couple good albums released the time I came to Japan in October 1990:

No Prayer For The Dying” by Iron Maiden


And the “Led Zeppelin box set“.