Atsushi Sakurai

Much of the information here came from books (Hyper, Love Me, Hyp #3) and magazine articles. Naturally data from 20 years ago will not be up to date, such as their eyesight or favorite things.

Skip ahead to favorite/influential albums or equipment overview.


real name: Atsushi Sakurai (the kanji has changed however)

nickname: fans have given him many nicknames but even the members of Buck-Tick call him Acchan

instrument: voice (drums during the beginning of Buck-Tick, 1983-1985)

first band: Buck-Tick

date of birth: March 7, 1966 (Showa era, year 41)

hometown: Fujioka, Gunma prefecture

family: father died when he was 19; mother died in April 1990; older brother is married with children

marital status: second marriage in June 2004 with rumors of a daughter
previously divorced with son (married the band's stylist 1991~1992)

education: graduated from Gunma Prefecture Fujioka Senior High School in March 1984

first record bought: "Feel Happy" by Shinji Harada or "Candy" by Shinji Harada (depends on interview)

first concert attended: Linda Yamamoto

pets: Atsushi is known for his love of cats and often posts pictures of his cats in fan club newsletters and the band's web site


musical artists: Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, David Bowie, etc.

fine artists: Taro Okamoto, Salvador Dali, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Marc Chagall, etc.

authors: Natsuhiko Kyogoku, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Ryu Murakami, Osamu Dazai

cigarette: he quit (previously Kool and Lucky Strike)

color: black, red, white

drink: full bodied red Italian wine, chablis, barolo, shochu, vodka to fall asleep (preferred brands are Stolichnaya and Smirnoff), (previously Wild Turkey bourbon on the rocks; actually he'll drink anything besides beer)

food: sushi, Italian, soba, fruit, junk food, curry, truffles, Sicilian anchovy pizza

movie: Bonnie and Clyde (in Japan the title is "Oretachi Ni Wa Ashita Ga Nai" which means: "There is No Tomorrow For Us")

sport: soccer, basketball, volleyball

season: winter

thing about himself: eyes, voice

thing about Buck-Tick: performing on stage

favorite / influential albums:

(this information was compiled from various books and interviews)

favorite album Mask by Bauhaus
Atsushi listened to this a lot during the start of Buck-Tick, he loved Peter Murphy's voice. When asked what was the one album that changed your life, Atsushi declared it was this album.

The Sky's Gone Out by Bauhaus
Atsushi started listening to Bauhaus because he was curious about their cover of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust". He enjoyed their music and videos.

favorite album Boys and Girls by Bryan Ferry
Ferry, Bowie, and Peter Murphy are part of the same sonic world to Atsushi

favorite album Gentlemen Take Polaroids by Japan
Atsushi thinks the songs on this album are really good and he likes pretty bands like this

favorite albumHarem by Sarah Brightman

Time to Say Goodbye Sarah Brightman

favorite album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars by David Bowie
Atsushi loves everything by Bowie, especially this album. When asked who is the one artist that changed your life, Atsushi declared it was Bowie.

favorite album Medusa by Clan of Xymox

favorite albumGod's Own Medicine by The Mission
Atsushi thinks The Mission are like Bauhaus, he thinks the songs are good in that English way

favorite albumThe Bride Ship by Crime and the City Solution
Atsushi feels like these are relaxing songs that could've only be made in Europe (the leader is from Australia and this version of the band was based in Berlin)

favorite album Ignorance by Morrie
Atsushi likes the images painted by the world of Morrie and is a big fan

favorite album Mushi by The Stalin
When Atsushi played drums, he tried to copy The Stalin

favorite albumTerminal by Michiro Endo
Atsushi thinks this album is very literary, like Japanese folk tales

favorite album Tinderbox by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Atsushi listened to this a lot during the start of Buck-Tick and liked Siouxsie's voice

favorite album Tokyo Ballet by Masami Tsuchiya
Atsushi had been listening to Masami since his days in Ippudo and listened to this album a lot

favorite album It'll End in Tears by This Mortal Coil
Atsushi bought this when the band was in London in 1988 and thinks of London when he listens to this album; he also likes the songs because they are tight

Blood by This Mortal Coil
Atsushi feels good listening to this, whether he's paying attention or it's just in the background

Rain Dogs by Tom Waits
Atsushi likes a lot of the songs on this, such as "Singapore"

favorite album MCMXC A.D. by Enigma
Atsushi thinks that the female vocals and chorus are pretty, he also likes that each song has its own drama

Watermark by Enya
Atsushi thinks the music is very pretty and listened to the first track a lot in 1991

favorite album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got by Sinead O'Connor
Atsushi thinks that the energy emitted just below the surface is intense and scary

favorite album Violator by Depeche Mode

Toccata and Fugue by J.S. Bach (performed on organ by Peter Hurford)
Atsushi likes the pipe organ sounds and once got goosebumps listening to it in person

The Four Seasons by Vivaldi (New Philharmonic Orchestra/London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski)

Nocturnes by Chopin (performed on piano by Vladimir Ashkenazy)

Piano Sonatas No.8 "Pathetique," No.14 "Moonlight," No.15 "Pastoral," No.24 by Beethoven (performed by Wilhelm Kempff)

Equipment Overview

Before he was the band's vocalist, he was the band's drummer. No one really discusses this much in terms of what his kit consisted of as it's now irrelevant. He bought a used set and Toll gave him some drum lessons. He would also practice at Toll's place since his father thought drums were too noisy. (Have you ever heard a beginner play? We sympathize.) As can be seen in an early live video of Hinan Go-Go from 1984, Atsushi was playing what seems to be a standard 5-piece Yamaha kit with probably just these cymbals: hi-hats, crash, and ride. It's likely that this was the set he first purchased as Atsushi felt too uncoordinated so later he begged to become the vocalist. However, if you notice, the bass drum head has what appears to be "East West" on it. Since Buck-Tick never played at the East West showcase to my knowledge, there's the possibility that Atsushi was borrowing drums if this wasn't the used kit that he purchased. Toll was in a different band before joining Buck-Tick and his band played at East West in 1985.

atsushi on drums

Interviews don't really discuss much his methods of practicing or microphones that he uses. However, he did make several comments as to his vocal habits during the release Aku No Hana. Before a show he would do 50 sit-ups to strengthen the abdominal muscles but sometimes he would even do 100 sit-ups. He also commented that he has a vocal coach and that starting with the Taboo Tour, he would not think about the upcoming show he may have tomorrow and sing his heart out but it would be very important to take of himself right after the show so as not to damage his ability to sing. This would include sleeping with a humidifier on so high in his hotel room that the floor was wet. Also when touring, it's important to not sing with your throat but from your abdomen, though he sometimes gets caught up in the live action and sings with his throat. Also, he does not drink while on tour as to not ruin his vocals but he does drink during rehearsals and that makes his vocal performance stoic.

I must comment that the things Atsushi mentioned in the article are a bit contrary to his actual actions as his fondness for tobacco and alcohol are widely known, even back then. The band have many times commented that after a show they go out drinking and these drinking sessions can last until dawn. Athough more recently he has given up smoking so perhaps the drinking has gone down during touring. Unlike some other bands, (mostly Western?), the band really didn't drink or smoke on stage overall. It is rare to have seen Atsushi smoke live. He did during the "13th Floor With Moonshine Tour" and one could say it was for the atmosphere. Picture Product has a rare clip of Atsushi smoking onstage in 1988. At the Night Side video as a clip of Atsushi breathing from a can of oxygen after a performance, which is not rare for vocalists to do. In more recent live videos, close-ups reveal he is using a wireless Sony microphone but I am unsure of the model number. I also do not know what brand of ear monitors he uses but they are most likely a custom model to fit his ears. Most vocalists eventually use a megaphone and Atsushi is no different.


It should be noted that Atsushi has used instruments on stage. In the music video for "Speed", Atsushi is seen using a pair of maracas. He may have used them during the Kurutta Taiyo tour. He also played saxophone and tambourine during the Darker Than Darkness tour. Though Atsushi posed with an accordion for the Aku No Hana artwork and in the music video for "The World is Yours", he has not played it live to my knowledge. (Nor is it known if he can actually play an accordion properly though many Japanese children do learn to play piano, recorder, violin, or accordion as part of their studies.) He was also trying to learn sitar at one point but I don't know how long he kept it up.


Below is a photo of Atsushi's pre-show warmup exercise during the "Mona Lisa Overdrive Tour" and it's not rajio taisou ('radio exercise', the national exercise of Japan).

[this page was last updated on 2016.03.03 @ 00:17:01 CST]