Everything in this section was stated by the band either on their homepage, in interviews, in blog posts, or on social media. Please be patient as I slowly add citations to everything.
MERRY was formed in 2001 by Gara and Yuu after the dissolution of their previous bands, After Effect and SHIVER. The lineup was completed in October of that year, and the band had their first live in November. For two months, they performed secret lives in Tokyo and Nagoya before beginning full-scale activities in 2002.
They released their first maxi-single, "Haikarasan ga tooru" (はいからさんが通る), on their own record label Gekiyaku Records. On April 13, 2003, they released their first album, Gendai Stoic (現代ストイック).1 The album was produced by Kiyoharu (ex-Kuroyume, ex-SADS), who also advised the band on their early visual style, and released on Kiyoharu's Fullface Records.2
In 2005, MERRY signed with Victor Entertainment, beginning their major career. They concluded their indies career with a Last Indies Tour in July to August.
In 2010, MERRY moved to FREE-WILL. The band had previously styled their name in katakana as メリー (merii), but upon moving, they changed their name to its current styling in uppercase Roman letters.
From February to August 2013, MERRY paused activities due to Gara needing surgery for a herniated spinal disc.
The band's mascot is a sheep.Links:
Gara / ガラ (vo.)
Gara was born Asada Makoto (浅田誠) on July 6, 1978.3 He grew up in rural Gunma Prefecture with his parents and a younger sister. His parents own a sushi shop. When he was young, the sight of blood from the fish in the sushi shop and from the meat in the butcher shop nearby nauseated Gara, and so he still does not eat fish or meat. (He mostly eats noodles.) His favorite subject in school was Japanese history.
Gara took a job as a roadie for Dir en grey after happening upon their help wanted ad in an issue of FOOL'S MATE. He didn't know anything about visual kei at the time, but Dir en grey came to represent to him what a band should be like. He quit after a year to start his own band but remained close to his mentor, Kyo.
From 1998 to 2001, Gara, as Makoto, was vocalist of After Effect with HIDE (ex-Vidoll), KAZZ, Bansaku (ex-baroque), and kuni, who would later be known as Nero. After the dissolution of After Effect, Gara approached Yuu about forming MERRY. He decided even then that MERRY would be his last band. He adopted Kyo's suggestion of the name "Gara," which was suggested along with "Nero" and "Goa."
In the early part of MERRY's career, Gara did not speak onstage he did not want to detract from the atmosphere of the band.4 (This is why Gara's voice is censored in old videos as well.) Instead, he communicated with MERRY's audience through calligraphy. Nowadays Gara allows fans to hear his speaking voice, but he still sometimes performs calligraphy onstage.
Besides calligraphy, his performance style has other distinct recurring characteristics. Gara performs barefoot, and he always has a school desk at the front of the stage, on which he may stand or crouch during the performacne. After calligraphy, he may pour the India ink into his mouth and spit it up onto his face, something that he began as early as MERRY's secret lives in 2001. He often uses props, such as canes or a rabbit head mask. He has been known to stand on his head and clap his feet during lives.
On February 14, 2009, Gara was injured during a fan club-only live in Shibuya. He was revealed to have a herniated spinal disc. For the next month, MERRY continued activities without Gara. He has since worn a leather waist corset during lives as back support. In 2013, MERRY paused activities from February to August due to Gara needing surgery for the same condition. He has written a book about the experience, titled Garakarute (ガラカルテ), set for release in 2015.
Gara is good friends with Tatsuro of MUCC and Kyo of Dir en grey. He was also close to Ochida Daisuke (ex-Kagerou, ex-the studs) before his passing and contributed vocals to Daisuke's unfinished album Shikkoku no Hikari (漆黒の光).
Although Gara is not credited as the composer for any of MERRY's songs, he writes all of the lyrics.
Though he can seem reserved, Gara is actually a jokester during interviews. He is a fan of J-pop idols and has said that he hopes to be an idol producer one day (though who knows how seriously we should take this). His favorite anime is Space Cobra.5 He also has a reputation as a neat freak. Gara has a dog named Punk. In 2005, he had a ferret named Katsuo, but Katsuo has since passed away.Links:
- Gara's ameblo: merrygara0706
Yuu / 結生 (g.)
Birthday: April 2
Blood type: B
Yuu is originally from Ehime Prefecture.2 His favorite band is X Japan, and he was inspired by X Japan's guitarist hide to become a musician.3 He co-founded MERRY with Gara in 2001 after the dissolution of his previous band, SHIVER. He had returned to his parents' home intending to quit band activities but was harassed by phone calls from Gara.4 Out of all the members, he is credited with writing the most of MERRY's music. He also provides backup vocals during lives and has a couple of rap lines in "Gekisei" (激声).
Yuu likes instrumental jazz and blues music and is largely responsible for bringing it into MERRY's sound. He is techhead who is particularly enthusiastic about Apple products. He frequently makes short videos either of MERRY goods or of his daily life. He also enjoys (video) games, which he has in common with Kenichi, and likes to drink.
Fans refer to Yuu by the nickname "Ketsuo" (ケツオ). This is because an alternate reading of 結 is "ketsu". Yuu references this sometimes, such as in the title of his old blog, "ketulog" ("tu" and "tsu" are often represented by the same sound in Japanese). Yuu has a chubby cat named Hemimaru.5Links:
Kenichi / 健一 (g.)
Birthday: July 14
Blood type: A
Kenichi was born on July 14 in Gunma Prefecture. From October 1999 to June 2001, Kenichi was called ken and was in a band called Syndrome with KISAKI (ex-Phantasmagoria, Lin).
After leaving Syndome, Kenichi played in a number of session bands before joining MERRY. He was the last member to join and was introduced by mutual friend illustrator Daruma Gahaku, who later did cover art for MERRY.2 He was in another band at the time but quit to join MERRY. After Yuu, he composes the most of MERRY's music.
Kenichi is a generally shy person. He likes hardcore music.3 He collects CDs and has said that he has about 2,000. He also likes (video) games, which he has in common with Yuu, and is a fan of soccer/football.4Links:
- Kenichi's Twitter: @merry_kenichi
Tetsu / テツ (ba.)
Birthday: November 21
Blood type: B
Tetsu is originally from Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture. He has two younger sisters. Although Tetsu practiced karate in primary school, he didn't like sports and so spent a lot of time playing games like Dragon Quest III on NES. After graduating high school, he worked as a fry cook for four years.2
In 2001, Gara, who said he'd decided the bassist of his new band should be a tall person, went to Nagoya to attend the last live of Tetsu's previous band ACiD, specifically with the intention of asking Tetsu to join his band. They had been introduced by Daisuke of Kagerou and Ryo of GULLET.3 4
In 2013, Tetsu sustained a spinal injury during a live that rendered him unable to perform with the band. During this time, MERRY toured without him, occasionally with guest bassists, including the band's close friend Yukke of MUCC. At present, he is still in recovery, but he made an appearance at MERRY's Grateful Year 2015 "Vanilla Sky Avant-Garde" live at Shibuya Public Hall and performed "Gunjou" with the rest of the band.7
Tetsu is the most reserved member during interviews and doesn't like to talk about himself. He enjoys cooking but doesn't like being spoken to while he cooks.8 He refers to Gara and Nero has "Gara-chan" and "Nero-chan", whereas the other members call him "Tetsu-san".Sources:
Nero / ネロ (dr.)
Birthday: February 11
Blood type: A1
Nero is from Saitama Prefecture. Before MERRY, Nero was in After Effect with Gara as kuni, short for his birth name, Kunihito. Despite this, it was Yuu who wanted Nero for his and Gara's new band in 2001, based on his unique presence at lives.2 Nero's name was actually suggested by Kyo of Dir en grey as a stage name for Gara, but Gara didn't care for it.
He is very talkative and is usually the member to give MCs at lives. His way of expressing himself is called "Nerorism," as coined by Gara.3 Nero likes heavy metal. His distinguishing feature is his glasses. As of 2006, Nero said he had about ten pairs but that they are lensless frames to prevent glare in photos.4
Nero regularly plays baseball with other bandmen. He is friends with many bandmen, especially lynch.'s Asanao. He can be found at any hour of the day on his Twitter.Links:
- Nero's Twitter: @nerorythem
- Nero's Instagram: @nerorythemdaze
- Nero's bi-monthly Gekirock fashion column: MERRY Nero no Zenshinzenrei Geki Coode