Munetaka Higuchi or Higuchi Munetaka (December 24, 1958 November 30, 2008) was a Japanese Heavy Metal drummer best known for founding Loudness among many, many other bands and acts with which he was associated, as both a drummer and a producer. He left Loudness in 1993 and was reunited with the band in 2001 to a successful career with it before dying of liver cancer in 2008.
He was the premier Hard Rock/Heavy Metal drummer of Japan. Nearly anyone and everyone who has ever played drums for a Japanese rock or metal band, at least to a certain date, looked up to him or credited him for inspiration. Yoshiki Hayashi, who is arguably the best living Japanese rock drummer, said on Munetaka's death that he was one of his greatest inspirations. Also, when Munetaka died, Pearl Drums posted a tribute to him on their YouTube page.
- The Alcoholic: He was reputed to have been a heavy drinker and perhaps an alcoholic, and his heavy drinking likely contributed to the cancer that eventually killed him.
- All Drummers Are Animals: Averted. He tended to stay out of trouble (at least in comparison to other rockers and metal artists of the time), and was, by many accounts, The Smart Guy and The Heart.
- Amen Break: Of COURSE he used this a few times, being a drummer.
- Cassandra Truth: His lyrics for many of the songs on Pandemonium.
- Cool Car: He was the other Japanese rock drummer known for his taste in expensive luxury sports cars...
- Cool Old Guy: Age did little or nothing to make him seem less attractive or less capable. Even with entirely greyed hair and approaching his 50s, his appearance still looked good - and right up until months from his death, he could still kick anyone's ass behind a drum kit.
- Fountain of Expies: Yoshiki is probably the most famous, but in some way every drummer from Japan and from some parts of East Asia, because he and Yoshiki are the premiere Japanese and to some degree the premiere Asian drummers of Hard Rock / Heavy Metal, to the degree that almost anyone starting out as a drummer will at least have some familiarity with them to the degree that Western drummers do with Neal Peart of Rush and Buddy Rich.
- The Mentor: For Taiji. Munetaka had befriended him and, on his leaving X Japan, personally argued for his being selected as Loudness's bassist. They worked together closely as friends and artists, to the point where, when the label demanded Taiji's leaving the band, Munetaka left as well - and they maintained their friendship even after they were no longer in the same band. Taiji would, before his own death, play at two of the memorial shows for Munetaka.