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Minoru Niihara was born on 12th march 1960 in Osaka.
He was with the band from the very beginning - from may 1981 (some sources say that it was february though), when the band was already formed by Akira and Munetaka. Earlier - before he joined Loudness - Minoru was a vocalist and bassist (!!!) of Earthshaker, which he didn't reach any succes with (the band became known later, without Minoru in their line-up). Today Niihara is considered as the ''one'' and only true Loudness vocalist. Although the band had vocalists like Mike Vescera and Masaki Yamada it was Minoru who deserved the title. He recorded 13 LP's with Loudness, 8 of them before 1988 when he leaved Loudness and 5 after the reunion. The last album recorded with Niihara was ''Huricane Eyes'' (EP ''Jealousy'' still with Niihara was released next year). Niihara himelf says, that he didn't leave the group because of his own will - it's said that his leaving was exacted by the bosses from the record company or even Akira himself, who wanted to have a vocalist that sang ''for real in english''. Niihara's bad accent was often pointed out, but it didn't concern his true fans and colleague, and it still doesn't (Akira joking about that: ''Minoru has a bad accent, so nobody understands what he's singing anyway'')... An american vocalist who was known from his appearances on Yngwie Malmsteen's albums took Minoru's place. Mike Vescera (his first band was Obsession) recorded 2 albums with Loudness. After that Yamashita and Higuchi leaved the band.... That's when only one member from the original lineup left in the band - that was Akira Takasaki. Next vocalist who became Loudness member was Masaki Yamada (E.Z.O. ,Flatbacker). In this highly ''un-classic'' lineup the band recorded 4 studio albums. In 2001 Loudness records ''Spiritual Canoe'' (''SC'')... Higuchi, Niihara and Yamashita are gathered by Takasaki after many years of separation. That's how the reunion album ''SC'' is born... Since that time the band recorded overally 6 albums with ''Breaking the Taboo'' (2007) being the last of them.
In 1989 the vocalist records his only solo album ''One''. The artist was supported by (not all are mentioned!) guitarists - Reb Beach (played in many projects, known mainly from his activity with Winger and Dokken), Dough Aldrich (linked with groups like Lion, Bad Moon Rising and Burning Rain), bassista - Ross Valory (Journey), drummer - Steve Smith (worked with many many musicians - jazz as well as... pop...), vocalists - Kal Swan (Bad Moon Rising, Tytan, Lion), Mark Slaughter (Slaughter).
First band that Minoru joined after he quit Loudness was Ded Chaplin. During 3 years, the vocalist recorded 3 albums and one ''the best of'' with this band. Besides Niihara, the group's members were Yukihiro Fujimura (guitarist and vocalist of Gerard and Vienna, he also helped on the album ''One''), Kozo Suganuma (quite known and priced in Japan, drummer who also played in Fragile and Vienna) and Toshimi Nagai (bass guitars, known mainly from Vienna but played also in Gerard).
Later, along with Munetaka Higuchi, he played in a group SLY (besides these two, the band was formed with two other legendary Loudness musicians - Earthshaker guitarist Shinichiro Ishihara and Blizard bassist Koichi Terasawa). During those 4 years (1994 - 1998), SLY released 4 LP's and an EP.
In 1999 Minoru Niihara's new project's cd was released. The group X.Y.Z.→A is still active and chanched to regular band, it has released several live shows, albums and singles, videos. Other members of the band are: drums - Funky Sueyoshi (Bakufu-Slanp, Blast Slump), guitar - Fumihiko Kitsutaka (known from Muscular Girl Band, Arouge), bass - Tatsuhiko 'Barbecue' Wasada (Bakufu-Slanp, Blast Slump).
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