Profile: Atsushi Sakurai

Recognized as one of the founders of visual-kei, Buck-Tick is influenced by the likes of David Bowie, Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus, and the band has explored a variety of genres including cyberpunk, goth, electronica and rock. Yet, somehow, the band remains true to its own signature sound and its name — a play on the word "firecracker" (bakuchiku).

Guitarist Hisashi Imai is the band's founder and composer, starting it in 1983 out of Fujioka. But it is Atsushi Sakurai who best embodies the Buck-Tick brand. A bad boy in high-school, "Acchan" was first recruited as the drummer, and then went on to become the vocalist and lyricist.

Whether sultry, emotionally raw, or electronically distorted, Sakurai's distinct vocals and even more distinct angry samurai looks have made him an unforgettable front man. Provocative on stage, yet modest in interviews, dressed to the nines in dark haute couture, a cat lover, Baudelaire-admirer, and a bit of a poet himself — what more could a J-rock fangirl's heart desire? With 18 Buck-Tick studio albums, plus literary, film and solo music projects, as well as numerous collaborations (notably with Raymond Watts and Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM fame) under his impeccably styled belt, Atsushi Sakurai is a true entertainer who only gets better with age.

Nina Kouprianova
19th May, 2011
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