The history of MAVERICK dates back to 1988, when Katsuhiko Hotta <vo,g> formed a power metal band called WARHELL in Sapporo, Hokkaido. This band featured the current LOUDNESS drummer, Masayuki Suzuki, as well as later FAST DRAW members. Initially, their music was under the influence of such bands as Metallica, Accept, Helloween and Heathen, but as the music evolved to more powerful and aggressive style, they changed the moniker to MAVERICK in 1992. The name refers to their ambition to be a one-and-only, incomparable band in the scene, while based around the traditional Heavy Metal style.
Having restarted as a quintet with Hotta concentrating on vocals, the band made a huge impact on the local Heavy Metal scene with their beautiful melodies inspired by Scandinavian bands like Europe or Silver Mountain, combined with majestic, truly Heavy Metallic songs and performances as typified by Judas Priest or Manowar. Within a half-year, they got to a position to play a solo show in Sapporo.
In August 1994, they released the 1st demo entitled "Maverick". Despite being fully self-produced and financed, the demo received rave reviews and brought a huge attention to the band in the underground scene. Following the departure of then guitar player, Hotta decided to double as singer and guitar player again. In November 1997, they released the 2nd demo entitled "Under Fire". Engineered by Akihito Kinoshita of Saber Tiger, this more groove-based release was reviewed by some overseas magazines as well as domestic ones and very well accepted. They also started playing live in other areas of Japan and raising their profile in the domestic scene.
In 1999, Jun Nakatsubo joined the band. Influenced by the greats like Phil Rudd (AC/DC) or Jon Bonham (Led Zeppelin), he has a simple yet very powerful style. Following the release of the 3rd demo entitled "Unfolds the Way" in December 2001, the band gigged extensively throughout Japan. Recorded as a trio, this release contained songs that have defined the style of MAVERICK, combining decent melodies and aggression in a higher level. As their popularity as one of the finest Japanese Power Metal bands increased, a lot of people from in and out of Japan began to expect a full-length release from them.
In the summer of 2002, just when they started preparing for the debut album, two members quit the band one after another. Masaru Hasegawa, heavily influenced by 60's to 70's British Rock music, joined the band as a bass player despite he was taking lead vocals and guitar in his own band Tons Of Sobs. Then in 2003, an experienced guitar player with strong "rocking" style, Noriyasu Kiya joined and completed the lineup, and they re-started the work for the album, aiming for the release in 2004. The plan had to be delayed due to Nakatsubo being hospitalized, but as soon as he’s back and recovered, the band recorded "Blazon Stone" for the Remedy Records' Running Wild tribute album "The Revivalry", and began the final preparations for the recording of the album.
〜Debut to the World〜
In February 2005, they entered "Hit Studio" in Sapporo to record their long-awaited debut album. Produced by Fuyuhiko Inui (SOLITUDE, BUCK-TICK etc), the album represents what MAVERICK are all about - melancholic yet strong melodies, thrilling and dramatic songs, and never-give-up attitude. Preceding the release, they flew to Germany to play the Headbangers Open Air, as well as supported Paul Gilbert in Hong Kong on the way.
After the release of the album in August 2005, the band was supposed to be on a nationwide tour in September, but was forced to postpone this due to illness of Kiya. However, with a support from their ex-guitar player, Mitsuru Yasuda, the band rescheduled the dates in October, playing 21 shows all over Japan. This helped increase their popularity throughout Japan. Yasuda joined the band as a permanent member in January 2006, making the band a 5-piece again, and his aggressive stage presence added new attraction to the band. With this new lineup, the band again toured throughout Japan in April/May 2006 and became a regular favorite all over the place.
~Biding their Time~
However, the momentum didn't last as long as they had wished - Kiya and Hasegawa left the band in December 2006 and June 2007 respectively, and the band was forced to be on hiatus again. Shortly after that, a young flashy guitar player named Shin-ichi Tanaka, as well as an ex-bass player Takahiro Yonehara (re)joined the band to complete the lineup. Extensive touring followed, but just before beginning to work on the 2nd album, Tanaka left the band in May 2010. The band decided to continue as a 4-piece, with Hotta taking the guitar duties again, and the lineup toured Hokkaido with the label-mate SOLITUDE in November.
~Long-awaited New Album~
In the summer of 2011, while the band began pre-production of a new album, Hotta was in search for a producer to achieve the power metal sound he was looking for. Among several candidates, Piet Sielck aka "Mr. Power Metal" was chosen, who had produced bands like Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Grave Digger, Saxon, Hibria among others, and he accepted this offer. Hotta also asked Jonas Hansson of Silver Mountain to play the guitar for the album, whom he admires as a melody maker. He liked the music of MAVERICK and agreed to play on 2 songs.
In November, the band entered "Joedown" studio in Sapporo to record the new album. In January 2012, Hotta flew to Hamburg, Germany, and first hosted a recording session of "German Power Metal Chorus" at "Rekorder Hamburg", owned by the ex-Gamma Ray bass player, Jan Rubach. The singers participated in this session include Piet Sielck (Iron Savior), Lars Ramcke and Alex Guth (Stormwarrior), Andreas Babuschkin (Paragon), Tomcat Kintgen (Gun Barrel) and Didi Shark (Seven Seas). Following that, in order to improve the quality of the performance, Hotta re-recorded some of the lead vocals under the guidance of Sielck at his "Powerhouse Studio". While working on this, it was decided that Sielck would also provide his service on lead vocals.
In February 2012, the originator of German Power Metal, Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, ex-Helloween) recorded his lead vocals in between his hectic schedule with Unisonic. Hansen was the one who influenced Hotta to form a band, and with his long time friend Sielck working on the mixes, as well as the cover artwork by Herve Monjeaud (Iron Maiden, Gamma Ray etc), the album was taking shape into what Hotta had dreamed of.
And after 7 years from the release of the debut, the long awaited 2nd album "Natural Born Steel" is finally hitting the streets in April 2012 in Japan. The band will embark on a nationwide tour to promote the album.
1994 Maverick (demo)
1997 Under Fire (demo)
2001 Unfolds The Way (demo)
2005 Maverick (CD)
2012 Natural Born Steel (CD)
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|* MAVERICK are (l.to r.)
Mitsuru Yasuda (Guitars, Backing Vocals), Takahiro Yonehara (Bass, Backing Vocals),
Katsuhiko Hotta (Lead Vocals, Guitars), Jun Nakatsubo (Drums, Backing Vocals)
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