SUNAO~ the Demon of a.b.s.

Guitar with warmth

Rush of passionate desire

Knife with a keen edge

Give it the gun

About sums up SUNAO, killer guitarist and composer from Tokyo. Born Sakurai Sunao, on April 28th, 1969, his blood type is B.

You may not recognize his name, or his face, immediately. But let me explain where you may have seen, or rather, heard him before. SUNAO is a session guitarist and support artists for many major Jpop and Jrock groups, working both in tour-support and recordings.

SUNAO has been officially active since 1998, when he did live support for Bluem of Youth, as well as beginning his career as one of T.M‘s revolutionary members with the TMR LIVE REVOLUTION ’98-JOKER TYPE 2- as well as other full-throttle TM projects. In 1999 he worked with a band called S-RAVE, which disbanded in 2003.

For at least ten years SUNAO has worked alongside Shibasaki Hiroshi and Nishikawa Takanori in Nishikawa’s outrageously illustrious pop-prince solo act, T.M. Revolution. Along with some compositional participation, SUNAO has also toured extensively with T.M. Revolution, and played on recordings.

In 2000-’01 SUNAO did live-support and arrangements for DOGGY BAG (Y2K), TMR LIVE REVOLUTION ’00 -SUMMER CRUSH 2000-, and a host of other TMR events.

SUNAO has also worked with artists such as Kinki Kids (recording), Sora Izumikawa (live support), Jade Kwan, Yuki Uchida, IKUO, Ami Suzuki, TRFJAM Project, and others.

In 2005, together with comrades Shibasaki Hiroshi, Nishikawa Takanori, and keyboardist/programmer Kishi Toshiyuki,  SUNAO set out on perhaps his most well-recognized venture, that of assuming his role as one of two phenomenal guitarists for destructive super-group abingdon boys school. Alongside fellow guitarist Shibasaki, the two of them worked as two guitars creating one feeling and melody, and as a result, some of the greatest Jrock on earth has been constructed.

Aside from being a complete powerhouse machine on guitar, SUNAO has an unbelievable stage-presence. In the a.b.s striped blazer, eyes darkly shadowed with makeup, head-banging and shredding beneath glimmering, poisonous-green lights in a crowded venue, SUNAO is like some kind of wild demon. Both elegant and refined, and yet completely unhinged at the same time, his wild, fierce energy is a great complement to not just abingdon boys school’s lineup, but to every group and artist honored by his collaboration.

Through middle-school and high-school SUNAO was involved in sports (volleyball and baseball, respectively).  Although you probably can’t imagine it now, he was actually made baseball captain in high-school. His charisma and leadership qualities were recognized when teachers recommended him as student-body president (a big deal in Japanese schools).

Aside from music, SUNAO has also done several radio slots on ゴチャ・まぜっ! a program through MBS Radio. Apparently he was quite the humorist, and told a lot of jokes and funny stories. Among these, he related that he worked for a year as a pizza home-delivery boy, and during this time, he had many encounters with ecchi (dirty)-manga like situations, such as women in their underwear, and so on. And yet he is now the guitarist for some of the greatest rock acts in Japan. See, there is still hope for the rest of us.

Because he is tall and has long hair, with an aura similar to GLAY’s Takuro, many of Takuro’s fans have mistaken the two of them. Which leads me to demand to know how there could be that many opportunities to make that mistake?! Is SUNAO just wandering around down-town Tokyo?! I suppose the chances aren’t that bad. After all, AnCafe‘s Miku did state that the chances of meeting him in Harajuku are actually quite high– there’s a spaghetti place he really likes there. So never lose hope, never give up, and head-bang to SUNAO’s mind-blowing riffs until you get a nosebleed.

++Associated Acts++

abingdon boys school (Jp.-sound)

T.M. Revolution (Jp., Eng. – sound)

++Sources++

SUNAO Official Website (JP)

abingdon boys school official MySpace

Shibasaki Hiroshi (a.b.s)

柴崎浩

Shibasaki Hiroshi (柴崎 浩), vocalist, composer, arranger, and guitarist, was born on December 13th, 1969 in Arakawa-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Blood type: A. Height: 168 cm (5’5″). Weight: 53 kg (about 116 lbs).

Many of you are probably only familiar with the name Shibasaki Hiroshi due to his role as co-composer/arranger and guitarist of J-hard-rock super-group abingdon boys school. What you probably don’t realize (especially considering the age-group of many a.b.s. fans, you’re probably not listening to that much ’90s Jpop) is that this guy has gotten around. A lot.

Although he is currently making hearts and ears bleed with his shy charm and disgustingly killer guitar-riffs in the hard-rock band now destroying our concepts of good music and rock as we know it, Shibasaki Hiroshi has been going strong since 1991. His career really took off when he co-founded popular Jpop band WANDS. WANDS lasted until 1996, when Shibasaki and the vocalist left the band to form al.ni.co.

In 2001, al.ni.co split, and Shibasaki went ronin, turning to work on various projects with various artists as a session musician. As a session-musician, he composed, arranged, and performed a lot of on-the-rise and well-known Jpop of the 2000’s.

In 2002 he toured live with Aikawa Nanase, as well as composing and arranging several of her songs. In 2004 he arranged an upbeat, jazzy version of pop-idol Ozaki Yutaka’s legendary Oh My Little Girl, which, although enraging Japanese audiences with its audacity of interpretation, explodes the brain with its compositional perfection.

T.M. Revolution

In 2004, and 2006 (UNDER COVER tour), Shibasaki toured live with T.M. Revolution, along with fellow-a.b.s. guitarist and composer SUNAO. Shibasaki also contributed arrangements and some compositional work to the almighty T.M. Revolution project.

Presumably during this time, concepts for abingdon boys school were thrown around, because by 2005, the super-group had recruited keyboardist and programmer Toshiyuki Kishi, and come 2006 they had super-debuted with their first single and D.Gray Man OP: INNOCENT SORROW.

Currently, Shibasaki is still going strong– in fact, stronger than ever before. He is flexing his compositional muscles in abingdon boys school as the band produces increasingly incredible music. He shows his versatility and adaptability in taking on a whole new style of music. The genius moved from Jpop ’90s WANDS, and electric pop dance-o-rama T.M. Revolution, to hardcore Jrock with a metal twist. This man is playing the field and tearing up the tracks on the way.

His more recent activity includes devastating fans world-wide (well…) with an a.b.s. European tour (November ’09). And now what? We anticipate the arrival of new album Abingdon Road like a pack of malnourished, starved wolves lurking in the bushes, waiting for the wounded, blood-oozing stag to wander into the clearing. And then we will strike, and the limited edition will be gone.



Shibasaki Hiroshi Official Website (Jp)

Composition, arrangement, and other works- complete list (Jp)

+Associated Acts:+

abingdon boys school (Jp./ Sound, load-time)

T.M. Revolution (Jp./sound)

WANDS (no longer listed as a member)

al.ni.co

Other: (composition only) Takashi Sorimachi, Matsumoto Eiko [music. Lyrics by Aikawa Nanase], TRF; (arranger only) Minagawa Junko, Atsushi, AAA.