MAX (band)


MAX (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = MAX


Img_capt = The cover to MAX's latest album
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Alias =
Origin = Okinawa, Japan
Genre = J-pop, Pop
Years_active = 1995–present
Label = avex trax (1995—2005)
SONIC GROOVE (2005-present)
Associated_acts = Super Monkey's
URL = [http://www.avexnet.or.jp/max/ www.avexnet.or.jp/max]
Current_members =
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =

MAX whose name is an acronym for "Musical Active eXperience" is a popular Japanese vocal group. MAX consist of the members of the Super Monkey's, after lead singer Namie Amuro left the group for super stardom. Debuting in 1995, the group became stars in their own right garnering a string of consecutive top twenty hits. Their lead singer, Mina, left the group in 2002 after becoming pregnant. The current members are Nana, Lina, Reina and Aki.

Members

When the group debuted all members used their real names. Once they became popular they used stage names each possessing the suffix "na." Lina (Ritsuko) used to go by "Rina". However, because of the similarity to "Reina" and the fact that her nickname is more closely pronounced in Japanese as "Lina" anyway, she changed her name to Lina around the time of their first CD. During informal footage such as backstage of their concerts, Mina and Nana are referred to by their full names, Minako and Nanako. The only member not to take on a stage name with the suffix is new member, Aki.

All members of the group hail from Okinawa prefecture including their latest member.

Current members

*Aki Maeda 前田亜紀 (AKI) [Born: 22 October 1980; Height: 163.5cm; Blood Type: O]
*Nanako Takushi 沢詩奈々子 (NANA) [Born: 25 March 1976; Height: 159cm; Blood Type: A]
*Reina Miyauchi 宮内玲奈 (REINA) [Born: 6 January 1978; Height: 157cm; Blood Type: AB]
*Ritsuko Matsuda 松田律子 (LINA) [Born: 26 February 1977; Height: 159cm; Blood Type: O]

Former members

*Minako Ameku 天久美奈子 (MINA) [Born: 29 December 1977; Height: 154cm; Blood Type: A]

History

The beginning

MAX started off as just a project that was never meant to take off. The group's concept was simple. They were presented as a sexy singing and dancing pop group who performed catchy dance music. In 1995, they released their first single to very little success. Their second single was released to the same fate. The group continued to perform with Namie Amuro under the name, Super Monkey's, until the group officially disbanded in the summer of that year. Even though the Super Monkey's were over, MAX performed as dancers for Namie Amuro throughout the early stages of her solo career until March of 1996. The foursome's dual identity as SuperMonkeys and MAX is captured in the video, AMURO NAMIE FIRST ANNIVERSARY LIVE in MARINE STADIUM where they performed as Namie's backup singers and dancers, then Namie announces and congratulates them as MAX.

That month, the girls released their first movie, "Ladie's MAX" and their third single, "TORA TORA TORA," which debuted at #19 giving them their first hit. Their days as glorified backup dancers were finally over.

tardom

MAX followed the success of "TORA TORA TORA" with "Seventies" which brought the girls their first top 10 hit. In December of 1996, they released their debut album "MAXIMUM." The album debuted at #1 and went on to sell over one million copies. Following the success of their album, MAX went back to the big screen in the sequel to their first movie, "Ladie's MAX." The theme song to the movie entitled "Give me a Shake" was the first original song they performed. Before this song, all of MAX's hits were covers of Italian dance music. When the song was released as a single it debuted at #1 garnering the group their first and only #1 hit.

In the fall of 1997, MAX went on their first national tour dubbed "J-POP GIG TOUR." Spanning only two months, the group played sold-out halls including the prestigious Nihon Budokan Hall. They released their second album, "MAXIMUM II" on Christmas day. That album also went on to sell over a million copies. MAX appearing for the first time on Kouhaku Utagassen at the end of 1997 and continued their reign at the top of the music scene throughout 1998. In 1999, MAX released their first greatest hits collection entitled "MAXIMUM COLLECTION" which also topped the charts. The girls scored a major hit at the end of the year with their first ballad single entitled, "Issho Ni." Although the single had charted in the lower half of the top 10, it stayed on the charts for four months selling over 300,000 copies. It would be their second best selling single.

Turning Point

2000 proved to be a time of change for MAX. For their first single of the new millinneum, the girl's decided to take control of their music by writing and producing for the first time. Their result, "Never gonna stop it," a R&B influence pop number debuted at #8 on the charts. However, the single fell short of sales of 100,000 copies. Since 1999, the group's sales were gradually declining but this was the first time since their third single that any of their singles didn't surpass the hundred thousand mark. Their next self produced effort, "MAGIC" would debut at #10 but sold less than the previous single. The next few years were more of the same.

The group came to a dramatic standstill when in January 2002, the group's lead singer, Mina, announced her quickie marriage and pregnancy in a press conference at their record label, Avex Trax's main office. At the press conference, the group also announced that Mina would take a hiatus from the group to have her baby. They released their second ballad single, "Spring rain" the following month to disastrous results. The single charted a lowly #28 breaking their string of 19 consecutive top 20 singles. An original album, their fifth, due for release in March was shelved and instead a second greatest hits collection was released in its place. MAX went into hiatus.

Mooted Comeback

The next few months remained quiet for MAX, until late June when news started circulating around fan websites that flyers announcing a new MAX member were seen. The three remaining members (Nana, Lina and Reina) had previously announced that they would either: 1) continue as a three member group or 2) remain in hiatus until Mina returned. In either case, they were adamant that no one would replace Mina.

Soon after came the news of an official fanclub meeting in July. On the day of the meeting, a three member MAX came out to a crowded club performing their #1 smash, "Give me a Shake." Shortly following the performance, MAX confirmed rumors by introducing their new member, Aki Maeda. Aki's position in the band was initially uncertain, rumors were that she was either just a temporary member until Mina's return or upon Mina's return MAX would become a five member group.

The media was abound and everything seemed to be turning around. A new single and album were scheduled for release the next month along with TV appearances on some of the biggest music shows in the country. However, the single would be cancelled. The album, "MAXIMUM TRANCE" containing trance remixes of old material would be released as scheduled. Their new television appearances were cancelled as well.

In November, MAX finally made their comeback with the bossa nova influenced single, "eternal white." The single debuted at #20 and quickly fell off the charts. Subsequent releases continued to come with larger distances in time. The group released two singles in 2003 both failing to reach the top 30. In 2004, the group released a cover of Atomic Kitten's "Be With You." The single debuted at #34 after a promising but ultimately disappointing promotional push. In August, the group performed in the United States for the first time at Texas's AnimeFEST held at the Hyatt Hotel in Dallas. Following the event, MAX took time out to participate in solo activities including modeling and acting.

10th Anniversary

In 2005, the group celebrated their 10th anniversary. Although the group had not released any new material after the release of "Be With You," they embarked on a hotel tour to commemorate the anniversary. The "MAX LOVE TRIP 2005" spanned four shows in May. During the hotel tour, the group confirmed a new single entitled "NIRAI KANAI" for release in July. The single would be a return to their roots incorporating Eurodance beats with traditional Okinawan elements. MAX also had a greater input in this single, not only picking the song but also writing the lyrics and even performing a bit of the instrumental. The group coined the term "Okinawan Euro" to describe the song. In an interview with "Barks.co.jp," the group explained that the long wait for the single was due to their search for the perfect song. They also stated that unlike in the past where they would release singles in a certain time span, that they would now concentrate on only releasing "good" music regardless of how long it takes. Upon release, the single was only able to capture a few thousand sales on the mainland. However, the song proved to be a runaway hit in Okinawa allowing the group to have several live events on the island.

In September, their management company, VISION FACTORY, announced that they would be participating in a new drama. The drama entitled, "Starlight" will involve competitors in a performing arts school. Nana will play an instructor while Aki, Lina and Reina will play three of the top talents at the school. The show will start airing on Tokyo TV on October 1st. MAX will also be performing the theme song for the show which will be released in November. The new single entitled "Wonder Woman" is said to be a Christmas song and will include a reworking of their 1999 Christmas smash "Isshoni..."

Trivia: Noticeably absent from their concert tour video releases (1997 - 2001) is a release from their 1998 Live Contact tour. Rather than a video release, footage of this concert was only shown as a television special in Okinawa and no official video has been released.

Discography

Studio albums

* 1996: "Maximum"
* 1997: "Maximum II"
* 1998: "Maximum Groove"
* 2001: "Emotional History"
* 2006: "Jewel of Jewels"

Other albums

* 1999: "Maximum Collection"
* 2000: "Super Eurobeat presents Hyper Euro Max"
* 2002: "Precious Collection 1995-2002"
* 2002: "Maximum Trance"

Number-one singles

* 1996: "Give me a Shake"

Tours

*17 August 1997 - 22 September 1997: J-POP GIG TOUR '97
*24 March 1998 - 31 May 1998: MAX LIVE CONTACT 1998 ~max up your life~
*6 March 1999 - 19 August 1999: MAX LIVE CONTACT 1999 ~Sunny Holiday~
*1 May 2000 - 2 July 2000: MAX LIVE CONTACT 2000 ~No boundly~
*7 July 2001 - 2 September 2001: MAX LIVE CONTACT 2001 ~Bitter 4 Sweet~

Filmography

*1995 Yoru mo Hippare (TV Series)
*1996 Ladie's MAX
*1997 Ladie's MAX: Give me a Shake
*1998 Sweet Devil (TV Series)
*2005 Starlight (TV Series)

External links

* [http://www.avexnet.or.jp/max/ MAX Official Site]
* [http://www.visionfactory.jp MAX Official Management Site]
* [http://www.twinkling-paradise.com/~amuromax AMX: Namie Amuro & MAX Unofficial Website]
* [http://www.nt2099.com/J-ENT/INTERVIEWS/MAX/max.pdf J!-ENT special feature article and interview with MAX - 2007]


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