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BUCK-TICK circa 1988. L-R - Toll, Hoshino, Sakurai, Imai, Higuchi.
BUCK-TICK circa 2000, L-R - Imai, Higuchi, Sakurai, Toll, Hoshino
BUCK-TICK 2011. L-R - Imai, Higuchi, Sakurai, Hoshino, Toll

BUCK-TICK is a Japanese rock band from Fujioka, Gunma Prefecture. Though they have never described themselves as such, they are widely regarded as one of the key founders of Visual Kei, alongside bands like X Japan, D'erlanger, and Color.

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  • Atsushi Sakurai: Vocals (1985-present), Drums (1983-1985)
  • Hisashi Imai: Guitar, backing vocals, noises and Theremin (1983-present)
  • Hidehiko Hoshino: Guitar and backing vocals, occasional keyboards (1983-present)
  • Yutaka Higuchi: Bass (1983-present)
  • Yagami Toll: Drums (1985-present)

Former Members:


Studio Albums:

  • Hurry Up Mode (April 4, 1987)
  • (November 21, 1987)
  • Seventh Heaven (June 21, 1988)
  • Taboo (January 18, 1989)
  • Aku no Hana (悪の華; February 1, 1990)
  • Kurutta Taiyou (狂った太陽; February 21, 1991)
  • Darker Than Darkness -style93- (June 23, 1993)
  • (May 5, 1995)
  • Cosmos (June 21, 1996)
  • (December 10, 1997)
  • One Life, One Death (September 20, 2000)
  • Kyokutou I Love You (極東 I Love You; February 2, 2002)
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive (February 13, 2003)
  • 13kai wa Gekkou (十三階は月光; April 5, 2005)
  • Tenshi no Revolver (天使のリボルバー; September 19, 2007)
  • Memento Mori (February 18, 2009)
  • Razzle Dazzle (October 13, 2010)

Remix Albums:

  • Hurry Up Mode (1990 mix; February 8, 1990)
  • Koroshi no Shirabe This Is NOT Greatest Hits (殺シノ調ベ This Is NOT Greatest Hits; March 21, 1992)
  • Shapeless (シェイプレス; August 24, 1994)

Related Acts:

  • Sakurai Atsushi (Sakurai Atsushi solo, with various collaborations).
  • Schaft (Imai Hisashi. Also featured Fuji Maki of Soft Ballet, members of KMFDM and Raymond Watts of PIG).
  • Schwein (Imai Hisashi, Sakurai Atsushi. Also featured Raymond Watts and members of KMFDM).
  • Lucy (Imai Hisashi. Also features Kiyoshi from hide's solo work
  • Dropz (Hoshino Hidehiko, Also featured Cube Juice, and Kelli Ali of Sneaker Pimps).
  • Wild Wise Apes (Higuchi Yutaka).
  • Yagami Toll and the Blue Sky (Yagami Toll).

BUCK-TICK provides examples of the following tropes:
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Averted. Toll is never less than composed on stage and in interviews, and the entire band refer to him by an affectionate nickname meaning "big brother".
  • Artistic Stimulation: Sakurai is pretty frank about the fact that he likes to drink alone, and particularly when writing song lyrics. Imai hasn't exactly been shy about mentioning his alcohol input while writing the music, either.
  • Badass Baritone: Sakurai, all the way.
  • Badass Longcoat: Sakurai's wardrobe has featured a number of these over the years (along with one or two not-so-badass ones), and he is adept at swishing and twirling them for dramatic effect.
  • Band of Relatives: The rhythm section, at least. Drummer Toll is the elder brother of bassist Higuchi.
  • Breakup Breakout: Toll dropped out of high school in the hope of becoming a professional musician. The breakup of his second band - SP - left him at a loose end and free to (apparently reluctantly) join his kid brother's band as a temporary drummer in 1985. He never left.
  • Concept Album: Juusankai Wa Gekkou, though frankly it pretty much applies to all their studio albums from Taboo onwards.
  • Cool Old Guy: How many near 50 year old men you know still rocking the mohawk?
  • Cover Version: When the band started out, they played cover versions of the Japanese punk band The Stalin. They also recorded a cover version of hide's "DOUBT" for the "hide: Tribute Spirits" album and Michiro Endo's song "Omae no Inu Ninaru" for the "Romantist - The Stalin, Michiro Endo Tribute Album". Subverted for their 20th anniversary when they invited other bands to cover their music for the "Parade: Respective Tracks of Buck-Tick" album, and with the covers of their work appearing on the recent "Crush!-90's V-Rock Best Hit Cover Songs" album series.
  • Darker and Edgier: The band's fourth studio album, Taboo, was this - to the consternation of many at the time. Arguably the band themselves and their entire musical and visual output embody this when compared to their contemporaries.
  • Dye Hard: Atsushi's hair started out bleached blond, and while most of the band have tried different colors over the years, it's mostly Imai who has made an art form of it. By now he's probably run through every available hair color and a few more besides.
  • Dramatic Shattering: "21st Cherry Boy" PV.
  • Dramatic Wind: Often made an appearance on live videos back when Atsushi was a Long-Haired Pretty Boy.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Atsushi and Imai, in some early photo shoots, to some people.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: No, they really did, even if they didn't all know one another until they formed the band. The exception here is Toll, who joined later and is a few years older than the rest - but he knew them all through his brother and he did teach Sakurai to play drums, so it's close enough.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Atsushi's feather boa accessory during the Tenshi No Revolver tour. Also his feather-trimmed hats.
  • Genre Shift: Started out as Punk Rock, but have shifted to Industrial, Post Punk, New Wave, Alternative Rock, Goth Rock, and now what Sakurai is calling "straight rock." In effect, almost every studio album serves as a New Sound Album to some extent. They also reputedly started Visual Kei somewhere in there.
  • Gratuitous English: Most notably on "Love Letter", though their early work is smattered with English titles and random lyrics, often badly pronounced or nonsensical (or both).
  • Great Balls of Fire: BUCK-TICK's stage shows often involve the use of pyrotechnics, and they also have a love affair with fire - particularly candles - in their videos. The video for "Kuchizuke", rather bafflingly, featured a flaming wheelchair - and not in the figurative way.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Atsushi mostly, in the early days of the band, though Imai was no slacker either. It still makes costuming appearances, though these days it's a bit less shiny.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: In the early days, anyway. Now, it's mostly just Toll, although Imai still has his moments.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Sakurai's circle of friends outside of school, until he met Imai and the rest.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Atsushi is the poster child for this trope, though some might argue it crosses into Crazy Cat Man territory.
  • Literary Allusion Title: "Mona Lisa Overdrive" (named after the book by William Gibson), "Aku No Hana" (translation of "Les Fleurs Du Mal" by Baudelaire).
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Atsushi, in his younger days.
  • Mangst: Atsushi's late father was a violent alcoholic, and Atsushi himself was a little on the wild side as a teenager, when he wasn't being That Silent Kid In The Corner. In interviews he has admitted to having problems as a result of this, but rarely dwells on it. He has also reflected on the death of his mother in his lyrics. A touch too wry and self-aware to be The Woobie, though that doesn't stop a lot of fans from wanting to give him a hug.
  • The Merch: BUCK-TICK produce a wide array of this, from the usual special edition DVDs and CDs; through t-shirts, towels and calendars; to jewellery/notepaper/bags/clothing designed by the band and the odd random thing like the grouchiest looking mini-figures you've ever seen. But no one seems to mind. After all, there's never been a lot of money in not being mainstream, and merch pays the bills.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: BUCK-TICK's individual influences are wide and varied, yet together they create a sound that is unmistakeably BUCK-TICK, whatever genre they are leaning towards this week.
  • Nice Hat: Atsushi has paraded a number of these onstage, most recently a top hat in the 2010 Razzle Dazzle tour. Drummer Toll, meanwhile, favors nice hats with the crown removed to allow his Spiky Hair to poke through. It actually looks pretty cool.
  • No Ending: The albums "Mona Lisa Overdrive" and "Kyokutou I Love You" were originally intended to be a double album. Though they were released separately, they are structured musically to feed into one another in an endless loop. The last track on each album contains musical elements that also appear in the first track on the other.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Averted. EVERYONE loves Yutaka, and when the band first formed he was reputedly the one who was most often their public face, being the friendliest and most willing to talk to people.
  • Non-Appearing Title: There are quite a few of these but "Cream Soda" is a nice example, just for the clever wordplay. The words in the song SOUND LIKE THE TITLE, but they're not.
  • Older Than They Look: Applies to all of them to some degree, most notable with Yutaka.
  • One-Woman Song: "Maria" from the album Cosmos. "Lily" from Tenshi No Revolver. "Mona Lisa" from Mona Lisa Overdrive.
  • Performance Video: Though not ALL their promotional videos are this, MOST feature the band playing their songs, even if in an unusual setting or intercut with more surreal elements. Notable exceptions are "Love Me", the singles version of "Kodou" and "Love Letter".
  • Precision F-Strike: "My Valentine", "Sid Vicious on the Beach", "Jonathan Jet Coaster", "Cream Soda", "Nakayubi", "Living on the Net".
  • Promoted Fanboy: All the band are this, to some extent, since they started out as a Stalin cover band and later had Michiro Endo guest at one of their shows and cover one of their songs. Both Sakurai and Imai have gone on to perform on stage/record with, have their songs covered by, or (in Sakurai's case) have songs WRITTEN for him by musicians they idolised back when they first started the band.
  • Putting on the Reich: J-Rock seems to have a love affair with faux-Nazi uniforms, presumably for the shock-factor. There's a well-known photo shoot from the early days of the band that features Sakurai in one of these, looming over Yoshiki Hayashi of X Japan, who seems to be taking the role of the Damsel in Distress (or Femme Fatale, depending on how you view it).
  • Rearrange the Song: The band often play new arrangements of both old and new songs at live shows. See also the "NOT Greatest Hits" album, which is a collection of their older songs, rearranged.
  • Rockstar Song: "Itoshi no Rock Star".
  • Rule of Cool: Used by the band in the early days to explain their Improbable Hair and make-up. Later used by Atsushi to explain his early lyrical output.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Imai. Dear God Imai.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: Atsushi has made no secret of his love of alcohol, and the band took a hiatus back in 1989 when Imai was arrested for LSD possession. Arguably he was the unlucky one, as opposed to the only one. Drugs are also the probable or obvious subject of the songs "Speed" and "Heroin", possibly also "Candy".
  • Sexy Sax Man: Atsushi has played sax live and on recorded tracks in the past.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Atsushi has embodied this for years in a million magazine shoots and on stage. Often combined with a Waistcoat of Style, a glass of wine, a cane and black nail polish to give an overall effect of Wicked Cultured. Once or twice he's successfully experimented with Gorgeous Period Dress or being a Man in White. Basically he looks good in a suit, whatever the style or color.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Played straight for years until most of the members gave up the habit.
  • Something Blues: "Madman Blues".
  • Spoken Word in Music: "Uta" contains a couple of sampled lines of dialogue from Day Of The Dead. "Loop" features Sakurai talking over music.
  • Stage Names: Yagami Toll. To this day his real name remains unconfirmed. Sakurai has also had a name change of sorts, altering the kanji spelling of his name to an older form after the death of his mother.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: In the initial line-up, Sakurai was BUCK-TICK's drummer. Imai sometimes performs lead vocals (both live and recorded) on songs for which he has written the lyrics.
  • Surreal Music Video: "Candy" PV, anyone? Or if that doesn't take your fancy, try "Loop" or "Love Me", because everything is better with a talking oven-ready chicken.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: While Atsushi fits, Hidehiko IS this Trope!
  • Visual Kei: While a contemporary of noted visual kei bands like X Japan, Buck-Tick never laid claim to being part of the scene. Nevertheless, they are repeatedly credited as being an inspiration for many bands who followed. Their song "Jupiter" was recently covered by Duel Jewel on "Crush!-90's V-Rock Best Hit Cover Songs" - an album on which current visual kei bands cover songs by bands who are considered important to the original '90s scene. Another Buck-Tick song, "Speed" is due to be covered by 9Goats Black Out on the sequel.
  • What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Averted - at least in regard to some of their earliest work - in the light of music-writer Imai's arrest for possession of LSD in 1989.