Dir en Grey Biography
In the year where change and movement was occurring in Japan’s rock scene; as new comers were taking over the old, the band DIR EN GREY forms in Kansai in 1997. In July, as an independent band, they release their first album “MISSA”.
In 1998, still independent, they release singles that go straight to the top of the Oricon chart everytime. Single “-I’ll-” reaches the highest at ranking in 7th. They have the record for having ranked the highest as an independent band at that time. In November, DIR EN GREY performs at Nippon Budokan, before their major debut. This marks the beginning of DIR EN GREY’s never-before-seen, extraordinary music history.
In January 1999, DIR EN GREY’s major debut consisted of releasing 3 singles “Akuro No Oka”, “ZAN” and “Yurameki” simultaneously, as they all hit the Top 10 in the Oricon charts. Their entire original work (singles, albums, and video footages) following this release, would all rank in the Top 10 Oricon chart still to this very day (2011 September). In July, they would release their first major debut album “GAUZE.” In September, they performed at Yokohama Arena followed by Osaka-jo Hall in December.
2000-2004: From MACABRE to VULGAR
In September 2000, they release album “MACABRE”. The image and tone throughout the entire album was dark and deep, giving the audience a glimpse of a new world they represented was coming. At the same time of the release, Kyo was hospitalized with having sudden deafness in his ear. Their tour had to be postponed.
In 2001, they start this year by resuming their postponed tour and ending it in April, returning to Nippon Budokan to perform. Same time in April, they release 4 singles starting with “ain’t afraid to die”. Along with this release, a video footage of their shows, a remix album, and Kyo’s poetry was published and released.
In January 2002, DIR EN GREY release album “Kisou”. Answering the desires of the neighborhood countries, they have their first tour abroad in Asia. The tour included countries China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. With mind blowing fans everywhere welcoming them in every country; it proved that they had taken Asia by storm. In Shanghai, county officials had to be called in to calm down the fanatic fans. In July, they release single “Child prey” and a mini-album “six Ugly”. These 2 titles represent how they have evolved and that they are still evolving.
In 2003, DIR EN GREY performs at Yokohama Arena, a place they performed 3 and 1/2 years ago in January. During the spring, a video concert tour called “Chikaryusyutsu deneiyuugikai” was taken place in various cities. In early summer, they perform 5 nights at Akasaka BLITZ. In September they release their 4th album “VULGAR”. Soon after the release, they tour Japan. You can say that this was the year DIR EN GREY established the foundation of their evolution and original style.
In March 2004, DIR EN GREY release single “THE FINAL”. They tour for 2 and 1/2 months in all-standing venues. In July they release single “SAKU” and they tour again. In autumn, they perform 2 nights at Hibiya Yaon, followed by a “female only show”, “male only show” and “couples only show”. During this time, offers were pouring in from countries around the world for them to perform.
2005-2007: From Withering to Death. to THE MARROW OF A BONE
In March 2005, they release album “Withering to death.” and tour for 2 and 1/2 months around Japan. In May, they perform for the first time in Europe in Berlin, Germany. The capacity holding 3500 people was overcrowded with fans from all over the world, some pulling an all-nighter just to see them perform. The fans got too excited and local police and firefighters had to be called in to put the situation under control. Next day, this incident made headlines in the local papers. Right after this show, they perform at 2 major festivals “ROCK AM RING” and “ROCK IM PARK” both held in Germany. In July, they perform at the historical venue, Olympia in Paris, France with the crowd of 2500. They also perform at Belgium’s festival. The press and media from countries around the world now had to fight for DIR EN GREY’s interview time.
Before their May US release of album “Withering to death.”, they perform a showcase tour in 3 major cities in March to promote. It was a huge success and they had gotten many offers from many powerful people. Billboard magazine featured a special article on them.
In 2006, from May thru June DIR EN GREY tour Europe. They came back to perform again at “ROCK AM RING” and “ROCK IM PARK”. They are the first Japanese artist to perform on center stage along with bands such as GUNS N’ ROSES, TOOL and KORN. In July, after returning to Japan, they release single “RYOUJOKU NO AME”. On July 31st and August 1st , they perform at Nippon Budokan. Tickets for these 2 shows sold out in less than 45 minutes. After their performance with no time to rest, the band flies to the U.S. to join KORN’S “The Family Values Tour”. This tour included 31 shows with more than 60,000 people gathering in total. After returning to Japan, they tour Japan and they perform at Japan’s largest metal festival “LOUD PARK 06”. During this time, the band gets ready to work on their next project. Their music video “SAKU” is voted #1 by the viewers’ choice Top 25 Metal Videos on MTV’s show HEADBANGERS BALL. They are no doubt the first Japanese artists to be voted #1.
In February 2007, they release album “THE MARROW OF A BONE”. Unlike the last album “Withering to death.”, 11 countries including America, Germany, France and Northern Europe release this album in their country at the same time. Without waiting for the release, DIR EN GREY tours North America with14 cites and 16shows. Upon returning to Japan with that energy they built up in US, they begin their Japan tour. After joining DEFTONES in their US tour, they tour Europe and perform in some of the major festivals. From September to October they come back to tour in Japan. This year marks a decade for DIR EN GREY. And in that decade, they have toured and performed in 12 countries and have 120 shows under their belt. In November, they perform as a guest band for Linkin Park’s Japan show at Saitama Super Arena. In December they invite band 10YEARS from the US; a band that toured with them at “The Family Values Tour”. 10YEARS opened for DIR EN GREY on their 5 major cities tour in Japan. In October they release single “DOZING GREEN” which ranked 3rd in the charts; the highest for DIR EN GREY. In December they release 2 best compilation albums “DECADE 1998-2002” and “DECADE 2003-2007” commemorating their decade as DIR EN GREY. Both albums were released on the same day and both were manufactured in limited amounts.
2008-2011: From UROBOROS to DUM SPIRO SPERO
In 2008, DIR EN GREY spends the early half of this year working on their new album. In April, they were nominated BEST INTERNATIONAL BAND at the Hammer Golden Gods 2008 organized by METAL HAMMER Magazine in Europe. They are yet again the first Japanese band to be nominated. In May, they tour Japan with 16 shows. After the tour, they go back to recording their new album. In September they release their new single “GLASS SKIN”, a long 11months since their last release. At the same time, their Japan tour starts, a tour with18 shows. From November to December their headlining U.S. tour begins hitting 22 cities. During the tour, on November 12th they release “UROBOROS” the most extreme album up to date. This album was also released at the same time in 16 other countries. It was ranked 114th in the U.S. Billboard Album Chart, but ranked near the very top on the “heatseekers” chart. A chart where the artist not ranked in the top 100 would be ranked as a new comer. On December 28th, they perform “UROBOROS -breathing-“ a complete experience of the new album at Osaka-jo Hall where it has been almost 9 years since they last performed. Music Video “DOZING GREEN” was again voted #1 by the viewers’ choice Top 25 Metal Videos on MTV’s show The Headbangers Ball. This is the second time they have been voted #1 since their music video “SAKU”.
In January 2009, DIR EN GREY grace the cover of KERRANG!, the world’s biggest selling weekly rock magazine published in the UK. During this time, they join the magazine’s packaged tour “KERRANG Relentless Energy Drink Tour 2009” along with such bands as BRING ME THE HORIZON. The tour takes them all over UK and Ireland. In February, “TOUR09 FEAST of V SENSES” begins in Japan. They perform in small live show venues, enlarging as they went along to large all-standing venues. This tour had 38 shows, including a “fan club exclusive show” and a “male only show”. Same month, they release DVD “A KNOT OF” . This DVD includes highlights of their past shows that go back years. In April, they release DVD “TOUR08 THE ROSE TRIMS AGAIN”. A complete footage of the show they performed last October at SHINKIBA STUDIO COAST. In June, they perform for the third time at “ROCK AM RING” and “ROCK IM PARK”. They also perform for the first time at UK’s “Download Festival” during their European tour along with monster bands such as MONTLEY CRUE, KORN and NINE INCH NAILS. They also perform with KILLSWITCH ENAGE in Paris. With their headlining tour shows combined, they performed 14 shows before they went back to Japan. From end of August to the middle of September, DIR EN GREY’s “TOUR09 ALL VISIBLE THINGS”takes place in Japan; a tour that included 10 shows in major cities. DIR EN GREY’s most sought out music video compilation DVD will be released on October 28th, titled “AVERAGE BLASPHEMY”. In November, they will tour major cities in the U.S. and will also perform for the first time in South America. Their newest single “Hageshisa To, Kono Mune No Naka De Karamitsuita Shakunetsu No Yami” is released on December 2nd, 15 months since their last single release.
In 2010, the band played the Nippon Budokan, 2 nights in a row for “UROBOROS -with the proof in the name of living…-” on January 9th and 10th. Tickets were sold out for both nights in less than 15 minutes after they went on sale. In May, the DVD showcasing both shows “UROBOROS -with the proof in the name of living…- AT NIPPON BUDOKAN” was released simultaneously in Japan and 17 countries worldwide. From June to July, the band embarked on the “THE UNWAVERING FACT OF TOMORROW TOUR2010″ making a stop in Korea to play at the “PENTAPORT ROCK FESTIVAL” on July 25th, marking their comeback after their show 8 years ago. In August, they played at one of UK’s largest festivals, “SONISPHERE”, that boasted headliner IRON MAIDEN. The band also played a sold out headline show in London, followed by their first ever Russian shows in Moscow and St. Petersburg. At the end of August through September, the band teamed up with Finnish neoclassical metal cello band APOCALYPTICA for a double headline tour in North America. Vocalist Kyo delivered for the fans, when he took the stage with APOCALYPTICA as a guest vocalist at the urging of the cello band, amassing great acclaim. In October 2010, they kicked off their Japanese nationwide tour. This tour welcomed the band’s overseas live sound engineer Rick Diesing, to bring his world class sound to rock each city with the band’s live performances. The band appeared at “LOUD PARK 10″ which took place in Saitama Super Arena on October 16th, with a ferocity that cannot be compared to their appearance at the festival in 2006. The band took their actives into the studio working on the album to follow “UROBOROS”, but kicked off the “THE UNWAVERING FACT OF TOMORROW TOUR2010-2011″ in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka at the end of December. The New Year’s Eve show in Nagoya marked the end of 2010 for the band but their New Year’s Day show, also in the same city, was their first leap into the new year.