MERRY

biography - 03.20.2014 08:00

With a unique sound that has been described as everything from blues to acid-jazz, from ska to punk rock, and everything in-between, MERRY is a difficult band to define but certainly not difficult to enjoy.

Originally the brain child of vocalist Gara and guitarist Yuu, Merry was formed in late 2001. Consisting of five experienced musicians, Merry set out to create something not only visually different in the sea of outlandish visual kei bands but, most importantly, something different and unique musically.

After being joined by fellow guitarist kenichi, bassist Tetsu, and drummer Nero, the band set to work. They held their first live in the Meguro Rock May Kan and began handing out a free mini-disc containing two tracks, Rojiura Elegy and Binibon Ni-choume Yachiyokan. Oddly, all of their lives at this time were "secret"; already they were establishing themselves as a group unafraid to do things differently. On January 28th of the next year, they held their first "real" non-secret live, which was followed by the release their first single, Haikarasan ga Tooru, the following the month. In March they held their first one-man back where they began at Meguro Rock May Kan, which promptly sold out.

Merry released their first album, Gendai Stoic, the following year and the album was so hotly anticipated that it actually sold out during its pre-order period, prompting a second press to come out only a month later. Never a band to slow down, Merry toured like mad to promote the album and sold out live house after live house including the Shibuya Kokaido (now known as C.C. Lemon Hall) and its two thousand seats. Near the end of the year they took part in the "Beauti-Fool's Fest 03" event alongside acts such as MUCC and MIYAVI. This helped further cement Merry’s reputation as a band that must be experienced live to fully appreciate. Between the energy of the guitarists, the vocalist who sings but does not speak, and the powerful rhythm section, many in the crowd were caught completely by surprise by this group. It was roughly around this time that they also opened their official fan club, "CORE".

In 2004, the politically-charged Modern Garde was released, and the indie group soon caught the eye of Victor Entertainment Japan, who offered them a contract. After a highly successful "LAST INDIES" tour, Merry signed to Victor and released their first major album, nu Chemical Rhetoric, to rave critical reviews in 2005. The band then held a sold-out show at the Hibiya Yagai Ongakudo, a famous open-air venue in Tokyo at which they have since held a live every year.

Opening for American horror punk band Wednesday 13 in September, Merry wrapped up 2005 with a schedule packed with touring and events along with a DVD release of the concert held at the Hibiya Yagai Ongakudo. The year 2006 brought the release of their first major single, Sayonara Ame, which was followed two months later by the album PEEP SHOW and seemingly endless touring including their first appearances overseas in Germany and France at the end of the year. They ended 2006 with an outstanding pair of back-to-back shows at C.C. Lemon Hall celebrating not only the start of 2007, but also their five years together as a band.

The year 2007 brought news of a coupling tour with the famous Japanese punk band BALZAC, a new single featured as the ending theme song of the anime Over Drive, and Merry’s first trip across the Pacific to perform for their American fans as part of the "JRock Revolution" event held that May.

Merry’s star continued to rise in the years after. The year 2008 brought three new singles into the world, as well as a remastered version of their first album, Gendai Stoic. The next year provided even more excitement with the albums under-world and M.E.R.R.Y. receiving European releases courtesy of Gan-shin Records. Merry then kicked off a series of tribute album appearances, contributing tracks to albums recognizing THE BLUE HEARTS, Endo Michirou, BUCK-TICK, and the most popular visual artists of the 90s. In 2010, the name of the band was changed slightly from Merry to MERRY with all of the letters in uppercase. The following year saw the release of a new album, Beautiful Freaks.

Although only one new single, Gunjou, was released in 2012, the band performed extensively throughout the year. Many of these performances were with other artists, including collaborations with Angelo, lynch., Sadie, and BUCK-TICK. Near the end of the year, MERRY released a best-of album titled MERRY VERY BEST - Shiroi Hitsuji / Kuroi Hitsuji -.

In January of 2013, MERRY announced a hiatus after it was discovered Gara required surgery to correct a spinal disc herniation. Despite the break, the band was back on tour by the end of the year, managing to round out the year having released two singles and a live DVD.

As a band renowned for its live performances, MERRY is almost constantly on stage. The year 2014 promises more of the same, with several lives already completed and a new tour, THE ZOMBIE ~Jigoku ni Ochita Yaroudomo~. Despite injuries, hiatuses, and the incredible energy of their shows, MERRY is a band that cannot be stopped. At the pace they're going, it's likely they don't plan on it anytime soon either, meaning their uniquely nostalgic brand of "retrock" will be around well into the future.
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