Takara (band)

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OriginUnited States
GenresHard rock
Years active1987 - Present
LabelsProgrock Records, Lion Music
MembersJamie Kelli- Vocals
Neal Grusky - Guitar
Carla Demarco - Bass
Gene Mcewen - Drums
Past membersJeff Scott Soto
Michael J Flatters
Gus Monsanto
Gary Schutt
Bob Duda
Chad Clark
Brook Hansen
Bjorn Englen
Patrick Johannsen

Takara is an American rock band, formed in 1987 in Los Angeles, California. Since 1992, Takara has recorded 6 studio albums for several different record labels in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Founding member and lead guitarist Neal Grusky, and bassist Carl Demarco have remained permanent fixtures in the band since its early days.


1980s - Early days[edit]

Takara was formed in August 1987. After a few months of rehearsals the band made their debut in October with a show in Hollywood, California. The band proceeded to play many more shows throughout 1987-88. In November 1988, Takara went into the studio to record their first demo with producer Jeff Scott Soto. As they entered the studio it became apparent that the singer was not ready to record. In order to finish the new Takara demo, Soto was asked to help out by providing vocals for the demo. This was the beginning of a long relationship between the band and Jeff Scott Soto.

1990s - The Soto era[edit]

In 1990, Takara went back into the studio to record what would eventually become their debut album, Eternal Faith. In 1992 Takara regrouped and added new members who would perform in Eternal Faith. The line-up was ultimately completed with Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Neal Grusky on guitar, Gary Schutt on bass and Bob Duda on drums. In August 1993, Zero Corporation (Japan) and Now and Then records (Europe) offered Takara a deal to release Eternal Faith in December 1993.

After a short break the band began to work on what was to become their second album. Before rehearsals began, bassist Carl Demarco replaced Schutt and they returned to the studio to record Taste of Heaven. The band enlisted Bob Daisley on bass for guest performances on two songs. Taste of Heaven was released in May 1995 by Zero Corporation (Japan) and Long Island records (Europe). Upon its release, Taste of Heaven had commercial success, and Long Island records brought Takara to Germany for a promo tour.

In 1996 Saraya Recordings, a new US label, asked permission to re-release Eternal Faith and Taste of Heaven as its first releases. Feeling that there was momentum starting to build, the band wasted no time in working on their third album. In 1998 they released Blind in Paradise through Zero Corporation (Japan), Point Music (Europe), and Saraya Recordings (US). Shortly after the release of ‘Blind in Paradise’, all of Takara's labels released a greatest hits album Eternity: Best of 93 - 98.

2000-2010 Changes to the Lineup[edit]

In late 1998, the Takara went through significant lineup changes, leaving only guitarist/band leader Neal Grusky and bassist Carl Demarco to rebuild begin writing new material. The band found drummer Chad Clark and keyboardist Brook Hansen. Brook and Neal had known each other for years and always shared similar ideas on music. The last to come aboard was vocalist Michael J. Flatters, who Grusky found through a mutual friend. With the band complete, Takara re-entered the studio in February 2000 to record their fourth album, Perception of Reality. One year later, it was completed and released on the Avalon Marquee (Japan), Lion Music (Europe), and Metal Mayhem (US) labels.

After a hiatus of several years, Grusky decided to reform Takara in 2008, once again with a new lineup. This lineup saw the arrival of several new members including Bjorn Englen (bass), Patrick Johannson (drums), and vocalist Gus Monsanto. Keyboardist Brook Hansen returned to the lineup.Jeff Scott Soto also returned after ten years to provide harmony vocals for the resulting 2008 album entitled Invitation to Forever. This album, released by Progrock Records, marked a turning point for Takara with Grusky taking his powerful songwriting to a much harder edge than on previous Takara albums. The album subsequently gained mass approval by fans and progressive rock critics alike.

Current Lineup and New Album[edit]

After the release of Invitation To Forever guitarist and bandleader Neal Grusky was faced some tough decisions. Feeling that the band had gone too far in the direction of a studio project with hired musicians contributing internationally, he opted to change the lineup once again in hopes of finding fresh local talent willing to pursue the local LA club scene. Grusky brought back Carl Demarco now "Carla DeMarco" "on bass, reuniting the core of Takara. After a long search for a suitable vocal talent, the band found Jamie Kelli, who had been regularly performing in the LA area. Drummer Gene McEwen, also active in the local scene, completed the lineup. With Kelli filling in temporarily on keyboards, Takara proceeded to prepare for a series of live shows intended to re-introduce the modern LA rock scene to both new and old material from the band. On October 30, 2010, Takara's new lineup performed their first live show to showcase new vocalist Jamie Kelli at Paladino's in Los Angeles, California.

In May 2011 Takara announced they had begun work on their 7th studio album Wicked and Beautiful, also to be released by Progrock Records. The band describes the new material as a "strong taste of early, melodic Takara, mixed with a modern edge". Grusky stated that the band will also be simultaneously working to release a collection of rare and unreleased songs entitled Invitation to Faith, which will span entire the history of Takara.

In October 2011 Takara announced they would be contributing a song to a Randy Rhoads/Ozzy Osbourne tribute album due to be released in the spring of 2012 by Versailles Records. Takara will be recording a version of the song "Little Dolls" from the 1981 album "Diary of a Madman".


Studio albums[edit]



External links[edit]