Created in the dawn of 2008, VAMPS is a dynamic duo that has been taking over the J-rock scene with a bang! Fueled by the thundering vocals of Hyde and the raging guitar skills of K.A.Z, VAMPS is only getting bigger and better by the minute.
Born on January 29, 1969 in Wakayama, Japan, Hyde is best known for his role as lead singer of L’arc~en~Ciel.
Hyde officially joined L’arc~en~Ciel in 1991, recruited by the band’s leader and bassist Tetsu. Previously in the band Jerusalem’s Rod, it was with L’arc~en~Ciel that Hyde would soon taste fame. After some changes in the lineup of L’arc~en~Ciel over the first couple of years, the band went on to release their first album "Dune" in 1993. They quickly rose to fame as they soared up the Oricon indies charts to number one. Due to their sudden popularity, L’arc~en~Ciel was soon picked up by Sony’s Ki/oon label, through which they released their second album "Tierra" the following year. The band continued to gain fame and success through the next two years with their subsequent two album releases: "Heavenly" and "True" (the latter being their first album to sell over a million copies).
It was in February of 1997 when the band hit a low point- their drummer Sakura was arrested for possession of heroin. The bands CD’s were immediately pulled from the shelves across Japan. Their song "The Fourth Avenue Caf�" , which was the theme song for Rurouni Kenshin was also pulled and replaced, ultimately leading to the nine-year postponement of the single’s release. After months as a trio, called "The Zombies", L’arc~en~Ciel found a replacement drummer – Yukihiro, ex-Zi:Kill. They marked their return with a Tokyo Dome live, breaking then-records by selling out in four minutes. They kicked off their fresh start with the release of "Winter Fall" in 1998, which again flew up the Oricon charts directly to number one. That year they also released their album "Heart" and then months later simultaneously released two more albums "Ark" and "Ray" – both impressively topping the Oricon charts at the number one and number two slots. Each sold over a scorching 2 million copies.
After nine highly successful years as rock idols, L’arc~en~Ciel went on unofficial hiatus in 2001. While the band was on hiatus, Hyde released his first solo single "Evergreen". He soon after released two more singles and his first solo album "Roentgen" (meaning "X-ray" in German). In 2003, he released another two singles and a second album titled "666". It was also in 2003 in which Hyde dove into acting when he took on the co-starring role in the film Moon Child along side fellow Jrock artist Gackt. The two released a duet along with the film, titled "Orenji no Taiyou". Continuing on the path in the film world, Hyde took on a role in yet another film, Kagen no Tsuki (Last Quarter). In addition to starring in the film, he also performed the theme song "The Cape of Storms", which was from "Roentgen".
With his solo career on fire, Hyde reunited with L’arc~en~Ciel after a three-year hiatus. They went on to perform a series of seven shows in Shibuya and released another album titled "Smile". L’arc~en~Ciel played their first show on American soil in Baltimore, Maryland in the summer of 2004. They then continued onto an Asian tour in 2005, while Hyde continued his solo work on the side, including work under his own record label Haunted Records.
Within his solo work he released another album "Faith", which he followed with an impressive 5-month tour. As a part of this tour, Hyde signed with Tofu Records and made his solo US debut with a sold-out concert at Slim’s in San Francisco, California on July 5, 2005. He followed this with a second sold-out concert at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. Hyde played two more sold out shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco and House of Blues in Hollywood. He continued to compose songs for feature films such as Nana and anime shows such as "Blood+". Making more of an effort on his international status, Hyde appeared at Anime Expo 2006 in Anaheim California. Throughout the next couple of years, Hyde has continued to tour with L’arc~en~Ciel, release yet another album with them (Seventh Heaven), and has just begun his tour with his new project, VAMPS, with ex-Oblivion Dust guitarist K.A.Z
K.A.Z (Kazuhito Iwaike) was born on October 11, 1968 is likely best known as the guitarist of the band Oblivion Dust from the time he formed the band in 1996 until their disbanding in 2001. Before Oblivion Dust, he was guitarist of the bands the Gemmy Rockets and the Lovers. Oblivion Dust went through several lineup and name changes until finally settling and releasing their first single "Sucker" in January of 1997. Being-US based and western-style (with American members), Oblivion Dust toured the west coast late that spring after releasing their second single "Numb". They soon after followed with their first tour of Japan in October of that year. After more lineup changes, Oblivion Dust’s success lead them to tour with well-known acts such as Marilyn Manson and Zilch. They then continued onto their own sold-out tour in 2000 titled "Reborn". During his time with Oblivion Dust, in 1998 K.A.Z participated as guitarist of famed X Japan guitarist hide’s solo project Hide with Spread Beaver.
With complications with the changing lineup of the band, Oblivion Dust disbanded in 2001. At this time, K.A.Z began collaborating with L’arc~en~Ciel bassist Tetsu on his solo project TETSU69. In addition to his solo work, he also created the band Spin Aqua with vocalist/model/actress Anna Tsuchiya (Kamikaze Girls). Spin Aqua went on to produce three singles and one album before disbanding. It was shortly after, during 2003, when K.A.Z began co-writing and co-producing songs for Hyde’s solo album "Faith". Five of the songs on "Faith", including "Season’s Call", were written by K.A.Z During this time he also toured as guitarist of Hyde’s solo support band. Continuing on with his solo projects, he went on to collaborate with ex-Dope Headz member I.N.A. and created the band "Sonic Storage". In May of 2008, K.A.Z reunited with Oblivion Dust on a short tour as well as in a performance at the highly anticipated Hide Memorial Summit. He then announced in June that not only was he officially rejoining Oblivion Dust, but he had also created VAMPS with Hyde.
Not wasting any time in their mission to take over, Hyde and K.A.Z put out their first VAMPS single "Love Addict" on July 2nd, 2008. As they rocketed up the charts, they journeyed through their first tour that same summer, playing out a whopping sold-out 46 shows throughout Japan.
This year is already proving to be another successful year for VAMPS as they dropped their second hot single "I GOTTA KICK START NOW" in March and kicked off their impressive 30-show tour April. But make no mistake- these guys are just getting started! Not only will they be rockin’ Japanese audiences on this summer’s tour, but this time around an entire leg of their tour is taking place in ten cites throughout the US! VAMPS is with out a doubt an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. Never a dull moment with VAMPS, their newest single "EVANESCENT" is set to drop May 13, 2009 and the guys hit American soil on July 11, 2009. The VAMPS support band consists of: Arimatsu (drums), Ju-ken (bassist; Fake?, Gackt, Heath, ex-Oblivion Dust), and Jin (keyboards).
Article by: Nikki
Edited by: Ali W.
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