Glay (band)

Glay (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Glay

Img_capt =
Img_size = 220
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Alias =
Origin = flagicon|Japan Hakodate, Hokkaidō, Japan
Genre = Rock
Years_active = 1988 – present
Label = lover soul
Poly Gram (1994-1999)
Mustard/Unlimited Records (1998-2005)
Capitol Records (2006-)
Pony Canyon (1999-2002)
EMI Music Japan(2003-)
Associated_acts =
Current_members = Teru
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =
nihongo|Glay|グレイ is a rock/pop band from Hakodate, Hokkaidō, Japan formed by guitarist Takuro and vocalist Teru during high school in 1988. Glay primarily composes songs in the rock and pop genres, but they have also composed songs using elements of different styles such as reggae and gospel. They have sold over 37 million records as of 2008.


Pre-major era

Glay started off in 1988, as a high school band, when Takuro asked Teru, a schoolmate, to play the drums. They found a bassist but had difficulty to find a vocalist. When Teru made a tape of his singing and gave it to Takuro he was immediately recruited for the part, leaving the drums part to be filled by another person. On the search for a second guitarist, Hisashi was asked to join but turned down the offer, as he was already part of a locally well-known heavy punk/rock band called Ari, which better suited his taste in music. Hisashi ended up accepting Takuro's offer after Ari disbanded and became the lead guitarist of Glaycite web | url=| title=Hisashi's interview for GROOVY Magazine - translation| accessdate=2008-05-23 ] .

By the time of Takuro and Teru's graduation, Glay were enjoying some popularity in their hometown of Hakodate and were playing full live houses. Following Hisashi's high school graduation in 1990,the three moved to Tokyo to try and further expand their musical career. The bassist and the drummer chose to stay in Hakodate. In Tokyo, they found a completely different situation: although they had been relatively popular in their hometown, it was not easy to set a career in the Capital city of Japan on their own. Their concerts attracted few people, and sometimes none at allcite web |url=| title=The Day the Phones Died|accessdate=2008-05-23 ] , and many live houses would not accept them because they did not fit well into either rock or pop categories. The band had to conciliate their music career to part time jobs, and faced financial problems during their first years in Tokyo. [ Rock'on Japan Magazine, 2nd edition] cite web |url=| title=Teru's interview for GROOVY Magazine - Translation|accessdate=2008-09-19 ] [cite web|url=|title=Takuro's 1996 Mother Rock Magazine Inteview|accessdate=2008-09-19 ]

During this time, members (particularly drummers) were constantly joining and leaving the band. When their bassist quit, Takuro had heard that Jiro, who was also from Hakodate and had played with the indie band Pierrot (different from the now disbanded Japanese rock band Pierrot, that enjoyed mainstream popularity), had moved to Tokyo and invited him to join Glay. He, too, declined the offer, insisting that he was already heading in the right direction for himself. It wasn't until Takuro asked him to play at just one show to fill in for their missing bassist that he decided to go. Following that show, Jiro continued to receive invitations to play with Glay, and eventually he became Glay's official bass player, finalizing the official four member lineup cite web |url=| title=Jiro's interview for GROOVY Magazine - Translation|accessdate=2008-05-23 ] .

They promoted the band by handing out flyers on the street and giving out demo tapes. Eventually they became more well known on the Tokyo live house circuit, and began drawing larger crowds. During one of these shows in October 1993, Yoshiki, then drummer and pianist for X Japan, saw their show and offered them a contract to his label Extasy Records. In 1994, their debut single "Rain" was produced and their first album Hai to Diamond released.


After the time of their debut, Glay steadily became more popular. Their 4th single "Freeze My Love" made it onto the Oricon, debuting at #19. Two months later their second album, Speed Pop, peaked at #8. Their first #1 hit was in 1996 with their third album Beat Out!, which was marked as a major turning point in Glay's career. Beloved was their first album to sell over 1 million copies. In August 1997, their single However remained at the top of the charts for two weeks and appeared at the top position other three weeks.

At this period, the band won several prizes, including the Japan Record Awards Best Song Great Prize for Winter, again in 1999, and established some records. In the same year they released However, the album Review - Best of Glay stayed for five weeks in a roll at the top position of Oricon Charts and became the all-time best selling album in Japan at the time, with almost 5 milion copies sold cite web |url=| title=The Day the Phones Died|accessdate=2008-05-23 ] (at present, it is ranked at #3 spot, according to Oricon cite web |url=| title=Oricon Website | language=Japanese] ).

Glay produced several hit singles, most of them reaching #1 on the charts. Yuuwaku topped Oricon yearly single ranking in 1998cite web |url=| title=Oricon Website | language=Japanese] .Both Pure Soul(1998) and Heavy Gauge(1999) albums, along with the compilation album Drive~Glay Complete Best~(2000), sold more than two million copies eachcite web |url=| title=Oricon Website | language=Japanese] .

The impact of their popularity was such that, in 1998, Japan's telephone service was temporarily put out of order due to the mass number of fans trying to reserve tickets to their upcoming tourcite web |url=| title=The Day the Phones Died|accessdate=2008-05-23 ] . The 1998 Winter Olympics were being held, and press coverage of the event became chaotic because of the incidentcite web |url=] . Two years later, their first "Expo" concert would lure a record audience of 200,000 people (see "Glay Expo").

Takuro described the "Expo" as a dream come true. When the album Heavy Gauge was released, in October 1999, Takuro wrote a diary entry in Glay's official home page, describing the album as a representation of his feelings at that moment. His feelings were not of happiness, but of "emptiness" and not knowing what to do after "doing everything" they wanted to. The album is seen as a first step to a new direction in the band's career cite web |url=| title=A Glay Rant (Shiroi Heiya article)|accessdate=2008-05-28] .The band considered disbanding in 2000, after releasing their second compilation album, which was a suggestion made by fellow singer Yuki Isoya, whose group Judy and Mary had disbanded.


After this period of massive success and a considerable steady style in their music, Glay's work took a turn in 2001. Their 2001 album One Love got mixed feelings among the fans, due to its disparities to their earlier works, with a different, generally poppier and experimental sound, and songs that had reggae and R&B influences. Their 2002 album Unity Roots & Family, Away, which was almost completely made of slow paced songs and also had elements from other types of music (gospel, rap and traditional Okinawan music), was not welcomed by most fans cite web |url=| title=A Glay Rant (Shiroi Heiya article)|accessdate=2008-05-28] .

In spite of the "cold" reception these works had, the band was successful in their tours. They played for the first time outside Japan in 2002 (not counting one concert in Hawaii for their fanclub members), when they played a sold-out live performance for a 35,000 audience in Beijing. The concert is the most expensive in China’s historycite web | url= The Japan Zone Newsletter|title=Japan-zone note |accessdate=2008-05-24 ] . Glay also met then-Chinese President Jiang Zemincite web |url=| title=Japantimes article|accessdate=2008-05-24] .

In 2003, they made a contract transfer from Pony Canyon to Toshiba EMI. It is the most expensive transfer in Japan's history, at 4 billion yencite web | url= The Japan Zone Newsletter| title= Japan-zone note|accessdate=2008-05-23 ] . Also in that year, an art gallery dedicated to Glay was opened in their hometown, Hakodate. "Art Style of Glay" was located in the Winning Hall, a famous building in the city. The gallery was closed in 2007.

During this period, GLAY released six albums: Besides "One Love" and "Unity Roots and Family, away", GLAY released the B-side collections Rare Collectives Vol.1 and Rare Collectives Vol. 2 in 2003, the album The Frustrated in 2004, and the Ballad collection -Ballad Best Singles- White Road in 2005. None of these works managed to cross the one million mark , although they have almost always managed to reach #1, with the exception of Rare Collectives Vol. 2 and The Frustrated, which peaked at # 2 on the weekly charts, and Rare Collectives Vol. 1., which peaked at #3 cite web |url=| title=Oricon Website | language=Japanese] .

As a start to the celebration of their 10th anniversary as a major band, Glay presented the concert Rock Shock vol. 3 in 2003. The name was taken from an indie festival organized by GLAY in 1989, which had had two editions at the time. Their 10th anniversary celebration was the theme for most their activities during 2004 and finished in March 2005, with the White Road dome tour.

Glay: Re-Birth (2005-2006)

In 2005, after years of touring, promoting, and recording, the four took a hiatus. Their only new release as a group was the single "Scream", their first collaboration work, with the vocal/dance group Exile. "Scream", which was released under Exile's record company, was the fifth best selling single of the yearcite web |url=| title=Oricon Website|accessdate=2008-05-23 | language=Japanese] .

During that time, Jiro created a side band with the pillows guitarist Yamanaka Sawao and Straightener's drummer Nakayama Shinpei called The Predators, in the summer of 2005. The Predators played in summer festivals at this time and released the mini-album Hunting!. Teru and Hisashi formed a band called Rally with The Mad Capsule Markets drummer Motokatsu and bassist Koji Ueno from Thee Michelle Gun Elephant. They did a Buck-Tick cover to "Aku no Hana" as part of a tribute CD.

Although it was believed that Glay took a break as a group to take a rest, it was later reported in the news that the band had split from their former agency, Unlimited Group. The reasons were obscure, but the event managed to delay the band's work. Information about the episode has always been unclear, as the band just refers to it as a time when they "couldn't move forward" and "had thoughts of quitting" cite web |url=| title=Nikkansports note|accessdate=2008-05-23 | language=Japanese] cite web |url=|title=Daily Sports note|accessdate=2008-05-23 | language=Japanese] .

In February 2006, Glay ended their silence by having a two day live performance in Zepp Tokyo and a three day live performance at Nippon Budokan, titled Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, which was produced as an independent event. Here, they played many of their old songs and introduced two new written songs as their new sound 3.15.2006 "WHAT's IN," issue #225, p.58-59. Published by Sony Magazines] . It was the start of a campaign called "Re-Birth", promoting the band's return to the music scene. with posters displayed around the city and a movie shown during the commercial breaks on television.

Takuro founded his own office, called Lover Soul, and the band signed up with "Amuse", the office of Southern All Stars"s Keysuke Kuwata, in 2006cite web |url=| title=Nikkansports note|accessdate=2008-05-23 | language=Japanese] .

On July 12, 2006, they released a new single titled "G4" after a year and seven months away from the limelight, returning to their rock and roll roots. In the following month, they collaborated with former Boowy vocalist, Kyosuke Himuro in their single, "Answer". Together, they performed in "Kyosuke Himuro + Glay Swing Addiction 2006," with "Answer" being one of the songs. In August, Glay performed at Southern All Stars's summer concert Mujintou alongside various artists. In September, "Natsuoto/Henna Yume -Thousand Dreams-" was released, with Natsuoto being the theme song to TV Show "Koi suru Hanikami."

Following the release of these singles was their tour,Rock 'n' Roll Swindle -Re-Birth- from November 2006 to early 2007.


On January 31, 2007, Glay released their tenth full length album, Love is Beautiful, containing 14 tracks. Following the release of this album was their arena tour, titled after the album. After the album, Glay made few releases: the title song of the single "Kodou", released in April 2007, was the theme song for the movie Taitei no Ken. The mini-album "Ashes.EP", released in October 2007, had three tracks, including a cover of "Mother Nature's Son", by The Beatles.

Although there was not much to promote, Glay was very active as a live band. Over the summer of 2007, they performed at the 15th Anniversary Cue Music Jam-Boree in Yubari on July 1 and produced the Rock Shock. Vol. 4 on August 23, 2007. They relived the side projects: Jiro's band, The Predators, performed at the Rising Sun Rock Festival in Ezo on August 17 and 18 while Teru and Hisashi's side band, Rally, performed at the Buck-Tick Fest 2007 in September. They also performed the Highcommunications Tour 2007-2008 from November 2007 to March 2008.

As of 2008, the band continued the series of shows with the concerts Rock Shock vol. 5, in Zepp Fukuoka, on April 19 and the ap bank fes '08, on July 19 and 20.

In June 11, they released the single "Verb", the first CD in eight months, which had two different versions, each one with a different “coupling with” song, Starless Night or –Venus, both released previously as downloadable tracks. Both versions had also a cover of the song “With or Without You”, originally recorded by Irish band U2.

In August, they performed for the first time in the United States. The Verb tour 2008 in U.S. was held at The Fillmore, in San Francisco, on August 12)cite web |url=| title=Last Night: Glay at the Fillmore|accessdate=2008-08-24 ] , and at the House of Bluescite web |url=| title=J!-ENT SPECIAL FEATURE - GLAY - VERB TOUR 2008 IN USA CONCERT REPORT by J!-ENT's Wynne Ip|accessdate=2008-09-10 ] ,, in Los Angeles, on August 15 and 16, 2008 cite web |url=| title=Glay Pride (New Musical Express Review)|accessdate=2008-08-24 ] . In October 2008, they released their latest single, "Aka to Kuro no MATADORA/I LOVE YOU wo Sagashiteru" in two versions, one in a digi-pak cover, the other in a regular jewel case. This single contains a cover song of "Surfragette City" by David Bowie. In December, the band will continue their Verb tour in Japan, with four concerts in Zepp Sendai, Zepp Osaka, Zepp Nagoya and Zepp Tokyo for their fan-club members. In December 31 to January 1st, they will play their "Come Together" countdown concert, as they've done in 1999 and in 2004.


Officially, the name "Glay" is a deliberate misspelling of the word "gray" and represents the style of music they wanted to play: a mixture between rock (black) and pop (white)cite web |url=| title=The Day the Phones Died|accessdate=2008-05-23 ] . However, it is thought by many English-speaking residents that the misspelling of the band's name may actually have been due to a genuine error, and the official reason was only decided in retrospectFact|date= May 2008 . In support of this, they point out that confusing the R and L is a very common mistake amongst Japanese speakers of English, because the Japanese language does not distinguish between the retroflex ("r") and lateral ("l") phonemes of the liquid morpheme.


Main members

All members were born in Hakodate, Hokkaidō except Hisashi, who was born in Hirosaki, Aomori. When he was in elementary school, he moved to Hakodate.

* Takuro: real name Takuro Kubo : guitar (leader and primary songwriter)
* Teru: real name Teruhiko Kobashi : vocals
* Jiro: real name Yoshihito Wayama : bass
* Hisashi: real name Hisashi Tonomura : guitar

Past and current support members

* Seiichiro Nagai: keyboard (2007-)
* Yuta : real name Yuta Saitou : Keyboard (2004 – 2005)
* Toshi : real name Toshimitsu Nagai : drums (1995 – present)
* Sakuma : real name Masahide Sakuma : guitar, keyboard, producer (mid-1994 – present)
* Shige : real name Shigeo "sk55" Komori : keyboard (1998 – 2004)
* D.I.E. : real name Daijiro Nozawa : keyboard (1995 – 1998)
* Nobumasa : drums (1994 – 1995)
* Akira : drums (1993 – 1994)

Glay Expo

From time to time, not in a regular basis, Glay holds a concert called Glay Expo, which is always expensively produced and lures greater audiences than their normal stadium concerts. The first edition of the event was held on July 31, 1999. The “Glay Expo 1999 - Survival" at Makuhari Messe, gathered a total audience of 200,000 people, making it the largest single concert to ever be held in Japancite web |url=| title=Barks|accessdate=2008-05-23| language=Japanese] . The second edition was held in 2001. “Glay Expo 2001- Global Communication” was divided into three performances: one in Tokyo, one in Ishikari (Hokkaido), and an all-night long performance in Fukuoka, which featured artists from other countries of Asia. This Expo accumulated a total audience of over 280,000Fact|date= February 2008. Glay "Expo 2004" celebrated their 10th anniversary, and was held in the parking lot of Universal Studios Japan selling out the 100,000 tickets in under 15 minutescite web |url=| title=Barks|accessdate=2008-05-23| language=Japanese] .

Media Exposure

Glay has appeared on several TV programs and front covers of many famous band/music magazines in Japan, such as "Gigs", "What's In?", "BPass", "Ongaku to Hito", "PatiPati", "Newsmaker", etc. Kadokawa Shoten has also produced two "Glay only" special edition books. To promote the “Expo’99”, at the peak of their mainstream popularity, they had their faces printed on the sides of Japan Airlines jumbo jets [ [ of the plane] ] , the sponsor of the event. The campaign was also a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Tokyo-Hakodate route [ Article on JAL website] .

Every member of Glay (excluding Teru) has written a book of their own (Jiro has made two and Takuro, three). In 2001, as a part of their EXPO 2001 preparation, they presented the TV show Glay Global Communication. Besides appearing in magazines and on TV, all of them have or used to have their own weekly radio shows. As of 2008, only Teru and Jiro keep their shows (aired on bayFM and FM802, respectively).


"For a detailed discography, information on singles, videos and other releases, see" Glay discography



** "Gold Request Award" for the single "Beloved" at the "29th All Japan Cable Broadcast Awards"

** Grand Prize winner at the "30th All Japan Cable Broadcast Awards"
** Grand Prize winner at the "30th Japan Cable Broadcast Awards" - However [ name="Nihon Yusen Taisho"cite web | url=| title=Nihon Yusen Taisho | language=Japanese]
** 39th Annual Japan Record Awards "Best Album - Grand Prize" - Beloved
** 39th Annual Japan Record Awards "Excellent work prize" - However cite web | url= | title=第39回日本レコード大賞 (The 39th annual Japanese record prize) | | accessdate=2008-01-01 | language=Japanese]

** Grand Prize winner at the "35th Golden Arrow Awards"
** Best Selling Japanese Artist at the World Music Awards
** Best Rock Album of the Year at the "12th Annual Gold Disk Awards"
** Best Musical Video of the Year at the "12th Annual Gold Disk Awards"
** Best Artist of the Year at the "12th Annual Gold Disk Awards"
** 40th Annual Japan Record Awards "Best Album" - Pure Soulcite web | url= | title=第40回日本レコード大賞 (The 40th annual Japanese record prize) | | accessdate=2008-01-01 | language=Japanese]
** 40th Annual Japan Record Awards "Excellent work prize" - Soul Love

** Grand Prize winner at the "32nd All Japan Cable Broadcast Awards" - Winter, again cite web | url=| title=Nihon Yusen Taisho | language=Japanese]
** Most Requested Artist at the "32nd Japan Cable Broadcast Awards"
** 41st Annual Japan Record Awards "Grand Prize" - Winter, againcite web | url= | title=第41回日本レコード大賞 (The 41st annual Japanese record prize) | | accessdate=2008-01-01 | language=Japanese]
** 41st Annual Japan Record Awards "Excellent work prize" - Winter, again
** 41st Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Song Of The Year" - Yuwakucite web | url= | title=Japan Gold Disc Award Official Website | | accessdate=2008-01-01 | language=Japanese]
** 13th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Song Of The Year" - Soul Love
** 13th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Song Of The Year" - Be with you
** 13th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Rock Album Of The Year" - Pure Soul

** 14th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Song Of The Year" - Kokodeha nai dokoka
** 14th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Song Of The Year" - Winter, again
** 14th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Rock Album Of The Year" - Heavy Gauge

** 15th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Song Of The Year" - Tomadoi/Special thanks
** 15th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Rock Album Of The Year" - Drive 'Glay complete Best'

** 16th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Song Of The Year" - Way of Difference

** Special prize for their career at the "Space Shower Music Video Awards"

** 20th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards "Song of the Year" - Scream (Glay X Exile)


Glay Official Homepage. " [ HAPPY SWING SPACE SITE] ". (Article information)

External links

* [ Happy Swing Space Site] - Official site ja icon
* [] - Official Teru's radio website ja icon
* [ Buggy Crash Night] - Jiro's radio website ja icon
* [ Cyber Net City] - Hisashi's radio website ja icon

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