Born in Gunma in 1966, Sakurai joined BUCK-TICK in 1983 as the drummer, and two years later became their vocalist. After 19 years as the vocalist of BUCK-TICK, Sakurai Atsushi began his solo career in 2004.
His activities external to BUCK-TICK include a collaboration with XYMOX featured on the compilation album DANCE 2 NOISE 002 released in 1992. In 2001, he began activities with SCHWEIN, a unit he made with Imai Hisashi (guitarist from BUCK-TICK), Raymond Watts from English industrial band Pig and also German born Sascha Konietzko, frontman for another industrial band, KMFDM. They released the album Schweinstein in May and toured Japan that summer. In September they released Son of Schweinstein, which included remixes of the tracks on Schweinstein.
Sakurai devoted the year 2004 to his solo career, and May began a run of three consecutive months of releases for the vocalist, starting with the single SACRIFICE. His album Ai no wakusei went on sale the next month, and featured the work of composers Wayne Hussey (The Sisters of Mercy), Satou Taiji (Theatre Brook), Tsuchiya Masami (formerly of Ippu-Do) and Robert Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) among others. In July, Sakurai released Yasou, a book of his poems, and another single, Taiji/SMELL. The arranger for the song Taiji was none other than Satou Taiji, who appears in the the music video playing guitar, and also played the song with Sakurai at live shows. In August the vocalist made his acting debut in Kitamura Ryuhei's "Longingus," a short vampire film that Sakurai's somewhat gothic image meshed well with.
In December, the footage for his lives that year appeared in the DVD, -EXPLOSION- Ai no wakusei Live 2004. After that impressive flourish of productivity, Sakurai's solo career started winding down. In February 2005 he released his single Wakusei-Rebirth, his last release as a solo artist so far. Since then he has directed his attention back to his work with BUCK-TICK, but there's no reason to rule out the possibility of further solo work or side projects in the future from this vocalist whose talents seem unlimited.
Sakurai Atsushi, the acclaimed vocalist for rock band BUCK-TICK, has made several hits as a solo artist. Having collaborated with a plethora of various musicians and composers, the music style in his solo work is fairly broad. Consistently identifiable as rock, his songs typically have dark overtones and his lyrics transmit a distinctive world view, exploring the malice and hatred in the depths of our hearts that gouge out the human essence, reason, society and organization, the estrangement and friction produced within the physical world, self-love and self-admonition.
Despite the diversity in his songs, his distinctive voice is immediately identifiable. Having described himself early on as a quiet person not much for talking, once he takes the stage Sakurai is an incredible performer - outgoing, wild, and dynamic, appearing with his trademark longish black hair and black clothes. Regardless of the project he's working on, the vocalist with over two decades of experience has influenced many in the Japanese music scene, and is an amazing entertainer bordering on legendary.