Merry (メリー, merii) is a Japanese rock band formed in Tokyo in 2001. The current member lineup consists of Gara on vocals, Yuu and Kenichi on guitar, Tetsu on bass, and Nero on the drums.
Vocalist: Gara (ガラ) (Ex-Visage (as Makoto), Ex-Dir en grey roadie, Ex-After effect (as Makoto); Born 6 July in Gunma prefecture, bloodtype A)
Guitarist: Yuu (結生) (Ex-Shiver; Born 2 April in Ehime prefecture, bloodtype B)
Guitarist: Kenichi (健一) (Ex-Crescent (as Ken), Ex-Syndrome (as Ken); Born 14 July in Gunma prefecture, bloodtype A)
Bassist: Tetsu (テツ) (Ex-ACiD; Born 21 November in Aichi prefecture, bloodtype B)
Drummer: Nero (ネロ) (Ex-Smoky Flavor (as Kuni), Ex-After effect (as Kuni); Born 11 February in Saitama prefecture, bloodtype A)
In late 2000, after the disbandment of their bands After effect and Shiver respectively, vocalist Gara and guitarist Yuu, only briefly acquainted through a few live events, contacted each other in hopes of a fresh beginning. In the following months of 2001, a series of meetings and discussions over the phone eventually led to the recruitment of the three other members, Tetsu, Nero and Kenichi in that order, and the five of them formed in October 2001 what was to be known as Merry today. Early activities as an obscure indies band included the distribution of 500 copies of a 2-track MD in indie CD stores nationwide, accompanied by a number of secret live shows held in Tokyo and Nagoya.
Regular "serious" activities only began in 2002. Following more live shows, the band created their own independent label Gekiyaku records and released their first maxi-single titled Haikarasan ga tooru in February. There were three versions of this single - gold, silver and bronze - each one limited to 1000 copies. Gold and bronze versions were only available through mail order through the rock magazine FOOL'S MATE, while the silver version was available in stores. All were sold out at pre-order. In March, the band had their first one-man live at Meguro Rockmaykan. A second press of Haikarasan ga tooru, which included a new song "Tokyo telephone", was then later released in May.
In mid to late 2002, a pair of maxi-singles were released, Koseiha blend ~tasogare-hen~ and Koseiha blend ~junjou jounetsu-hen~, containing three new tracks each and packaged in LP-sized sleeves illustrated by infamous EroGuro comic artist Suehiro Maruo. Both were limited to 3000 copies and were once again sold out at pre-order. The band also contributed to two Omnibus CDs. These releases were accompanied by numerous live events.
In March 2003 the band released their first full album Gendai stoic on Kiyoharu's (founder and lead singer of SADS, previously Kuroyume) Fullface records, selling over 10,000 copies on the day of its release. In June Merry opened for SADS at Zepp Tokyo, and in August released a third press of Haikarasan ga tooru entitled Haikarasan ga toorisugita ato..., which contained re-recordings of the original songs and a secret track. In the same month the band were working on their first promotional video (PV) of "Violet harenchi", which was then released on a DVD limited to the oneman live at Shibuya Koukaidou on 29 August. The closing months of 2003 saw a live tour and the band's participation in Beautifool's fest '03, a live event organised by Fool's Mate.
2004 began with the release of a pair of maxi-singles in February before the band went into a brief hiatus, working on their second full album. Modern garde was finally released on 30 June, accompanied by a live tour "New standard renaissance." In September Merry participated in a large-scale event, Kingdom Rock Show 2004, held at the Nippon Budokan, performing beside major bands like Psycho le Cemu, Janne Da Arc and Sex Machineguns.
March 2005 saw the release of Sakashima end roll ~the phantom of the gallery~, a brand new maxi-single and DVD on reverse sides of single disc - it was to be one of Japan's first titles on the new DualDisc. First press was sold out at preorder, and the release itself quickly made it to the 2nd spot on the Oricon indies chart.
The sold-out and highly successful one-man live at Shibuya Koukaidou on 31 March saw the long-awaited announcement of the band's major contract with JVC's Victor Entertainment - home to artists such as Buck-Tick, Boøwy, Cali≠Gari, THE BACK HORN and Love Psychedelico - much to the tearful elation of loyal fans. It is also worth noting that the record company was the one to offer a proposal to the band first and not the reverse.
The transition to a major label prompted the release of a best-of album - Koseiha blend classic ~Oldies Tracks~ - which contained re-recorded and remastered tracks off the older releases, together with two new songs; first press came with a new PV of "Tick-tock" and second press with the rare "Violet harenchi" video previously released only at a live show. Fool's Mate published a pair of history books documenting the band's appearances in the magazine, coupled with long interviews and a special CD and DVD. From July to August, Merry set out on their Last Indies Tour, which finally culminated at the Hibiya outdoors music hall on 10 September - their first major oneman show.
The band's major debut album, Nu chemical rhetoric, made it to the 10th spot on the Oricon daily album chart a day before its official release. Concert footage of the Hibiya live was later released on a DVD entitled SCI-FI nu chemical rhetoric ~first cut~, which similarly made it to the top of the charts.
A pair of DVDs documenting the Last Indies Tour were released at the beginning of 2006. Nu chemical rhetoric was then released all over Europe, specifically Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Scandinavia and Italy. In the meantime, Merry filmed two promotional videos while working on their upcoming album; the first major single Sayonara rain successfully made it to the 24th spot on the Oricon weekly top 30 singles chart (5 June) while the second one titled Ringo to uso, released a month later, was #25.
Merry once again played at the Hibiya outdoors music hall on 30 July, following the release of their 2nd major album Peep Show on 19 July - footage of the concert will be released on DVD on 20 December. A nationwide oneman tour then took place in August and September.
In late October, the band filmed the video for upcoming single Calling at Izu Oshima, enduring stormy weather. At the same time Peep Show had a European release.
At the start of December, Merry travelled to Europe to perform overseas for the first time in Munich and Paris on 1 December and 3 December respectively. Their third major single Calling was released on 6 December and featured collaborations with Balzac and The Mad Capsule Markets's Takeshi Ueda.
As a closing to 2006 and in commemoration of the band's 5th anniversary, a special countdown live was held at the Shibuya Koukaidou on New Year's Eve. A collaboration tour with Balzac has been planned for February 2007, and a new single has been announced and expected to be released the following spring.