Friday, February 15, 2008


For the newbies, Loudness (pronounced "Roudness") were (are) a Japanese Metal band. To be honest, I haven't followed the band since around the time Back To The Future came out... but for a moment in time their brand of Nipponese Steel was something I worshiped.

This post was inspired by an innocent Flickr post of an old photo Umlaut took 25 years ago at a Roudness show:

Loudness - Wolfgang's, S.F. - 7/11/83. They didn't speak English so the singer had this cue card next to his monitor with stage banter to say to the crowd. After the show I snagged it and hung it on my bedroom wall.

(From the Umlaut Archives)

Then, in that magical Metal way that only this space seems to inspire, some of Umlaut's Old Metal friends commented on the picture:

Dalia: "I was there!"

"You were probably standing next to me. Y&T were sitting in the balcony that night."

"...and Lars was hitting on me."

John S.:
"I never did see them live, but I remember taking BART up to the Record Exchange in Walnut Creek so I could get them to sign my records. They all had confused smiles plastered on their faces as all the metalheads attempted to talk to them in English. It eventually devolved into everybody just giving each other "thumbs-up" signals."

Big Wayne: "I remember the 3 1/2 hour bus/BART ride to Walnut Creek with John for the autograph session. When we made it back home, we stopped by the music store that now is Armadillo Willy's BBQ in Cupertino and I left the signed music book in the store. I did get it back the next day since they didn't sell any Japanese metal music tablature and they knew it had to be mine."

Hiro: "They also said, "Pureez well cuum flom Jaappan, Roudness!"

Of course, Umlaut also documented the Roudness cue card in his Whiplash #1 review of the event:

I continue to be amazed how something we were all involved in 25 years ago continues to bind us together. Thanks friends! This pic is for you, which has not been seen by human eyes in over 20 years (!):

Wolfgang's, San Francisco - July 11, 1983
(Pic by Umlaut)

Can anyone burn me the first 3 Roudness albums onto CD?? I still only got 'em on vinyl.

Fast forward 24 hours: Since I originally posted the above, more members of the Umlaut Nation have come forward to share about Roudness.

Tour Manager Doug illegally sent me the first 3 Roudness albums from on tour in Europe via the magic of the Information Superhighway. It wasn't nearly as romantic as getting a package of cassette tapes via Air Mail.. but it did the job. Thanks, brutha!

Scarpetti: "Me and my brother rode our bikes to The Record Exchange to see Loudness. They really didn't have a grasp of the English language yet. They signed my metal patch jacket, but that is long gone. I have some pictures. They spent most of their time behind the counter so most of the shots are of the tops of their heads."

You funny guy, Scarpetti! You make me wraf rong time!

And thanks to Old Metal Asian Brutha Konaquon for this gem:

How much was $5.97 worth in Yen back in 1983??

Fast forward 5 minutes since I posted the above and Tour Manager Doug said:

Yen to the dollar
1983-07-01 240.52
1983-08-01 244.46


Old Metal Brad sent this gem over: "From Japanese t.v. ~1981, 'Loudness' and 'Burning Love' live on a t.v. show. No lypsynching, incredible mix with clear bass, drum , etc.. A mini interview with Akira at the start. Dig the audience clapping with bewildered expressions, and a couple pairs of Headbangers nodding in their chairs. Ang of course in the ghastly rock star gear. :))) Akira could be an extra in a John Waters flick."

Trivia: Umlaut friend Takoyaki informed me that the clip is from the long running music variety show HEY! HEY! HEY! Music Champ.

Sad News: LOUDNESS Drummer Diagnosed With Liver Cancer - Apr. 14, 2008

LOUDNESS drummer Munetaka Higuchi was diagnosed with liver cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) earlier this month, according to Japanese media reports. He is still in the hospital, where he has been undergoing radiotherapy for HCC.

LOUDNESS will play the three previously announced Japanese dates with a replacement drummer, whose name hasn't been revealed yet. After those gigs, the band will be put on hold indefinitely until Munetaka gets his full strength back.

Here's wishing Munetaka the best! Rock on "Devil Soldier"!

Wolfgang's, San Francisco - July 11, 1983
(Pic by Umlaut)