CHICKENz

When YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz was a part of GACKT’s solo activities, the other members of the band consisted of the last batch of GACKTJob members. But with YFCz’ new make-over, there is now a mix of both familiar and newer members in the band, each with their own unique backgrounds and personalities. Despite their differences in age or how long each has known the other, one thing is clear – all of the members are as close as brothers, and it’s no surprise to see how easily they fit into GACKT’s extended family.

GACKT

Position: Co-Lead Vocal/Lyricist/Overall Band Leader
Title: (Cram School) Student Body Head
A.K.A.: Gackt Camui
D.O.B.: July 4th, 1973
Blood Type: A
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Height: 180 cm (5’11”)
Official Sites:
OHP, Blog, Twitter

GACKT is one of Japan’s top entertainers whose talents extend beyond his successful solo music career into acting, voice acting, modeling, writing, and more. He is also currently the number one best-selling male solo artist on the Oricon Charts, with 41 singles released within the Top 10. After March 11th, 2011 and his charity work with SHOW YOUR HEART, GACKT decided to turn his YFCz project into a band, one of the main goals being to support those affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

Unlike his solo work, for YFCz GACKT only writes lyrics with Jon and leaves the musical compositions to the rest of the band (though he makes the final decisions on all songs). GACKT also does not have a character or theme that he portrays in the lives, though he does seem to be a bit more “wild” and “raw” on stage with YFCz.

JON

Position: Co-Lead Vocal/Lyricist
Title: (Cram School) Student Body Aide
A.K.A.: Jon Underdown, Jonathan Matthew Underdown
D.O.B.: June 8th, 1979
Blood Type: O
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Height: 180 cm (5’11”)
Official Sites:
OHP, Blog, Twitter

Jon is one of the four new members of YFCz (according to the Nico Nico Press Conference, he was ‘kidnapped’). He was introduced to GACKT sometime in 2010 and is the translator for the English version of Mind Forest as well as the translator and narrator for THE GRAFFITI 〜ATTACK OF THE “YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz” IN EUROPE〜『 I LOVE YOU ALL DVD. During this time, Jon and GACKT started an exercise where they would write lyrics together for fun. GACKT didn’t contact Jon for a while after the earthquake, which made Jon a little depressed and he began to think that GACKT didn’t like his style of writing lyrics. But soon GACKT contacted him about joining his new band, and Jon jumped after the offer.

Jon was born in Fallbrook, California but grew up in Seattle, Washington. He was exposed to a variety of different kinds of music from a young age and was vocalist for punk, ska, reggae, and funk groove bands in high school. During his final days of an exchange program in Japan, Jon had a chance encounter with Rui and Kansei, two members of a band called fade. After listening to their demo tapes, Jon joined the band as the lead vocalist in 2002 and since then their band has gone on to produce 6 albums as well as create music for various anime and video games.

Jon is fluent in both English and Japanese, and he and GACKT (or ‘G’ as Jon calls him) talk to each other in a mix of the two languages, which is also how they approach their lyric writing. Jon is fun, sensitive, and the most stoic of the band after GACKT, and the two bounce off of each others’ energies well. He also loves to joke around with the other members, thought apparently he can’t tell jokes properly (Jon claims it’s due to the language barrier, to which GACKT retorts that if that were the case he wouldn’t know how to say “language barrier”). Jon is also very interactive with fans, as shown by the live USTREAM broadcasts that fade holds once in a while. YFCz music challenges Jon’s vocal training but he is always eager to improve.

TAKUMI

Position: Guitar/Main Music Composer
Title: One Truly Skilled with Strings
A.K.A.: Takumi Samejima
D.O.B.: March 21st, 1981
Blood Type: B
Zodiac Sign: Aries
Height: ?
Official Sites:
Blog, Twitter

Takumi is one of the new members of YFCz. Along with GACKT and Jon, Takumi is the third “leader” of YFCz, and the trio (referred to as GJT) are often seen promoting the band through various magazines and TV interviews. He is also the main composer for most of YFCz’ songs and GACKT compliments his musical abilities for someone so young.

Takumi is the son of Hideki Samejima, one of Japan’s well-known bassists from the band HOUND DOG, and he has also worked with artists such as SUGIZO and MIYAVI. As a young boy, Takumi attended school for the musically gifted along with one of GACKT’s close friends (even GACKT is surprised that he and Takumi had never met before by chance). He is also long-time childhood friends and classmates with U:ZO.

Takumi first worked with GACKT during his recording for the single Episode.0, where he provided guitar work. Upon watching GACKT recording his vocals for the single through one of the studio’s monitors, Takumi was impressed with GACKT and wanted to introduce himself properly as soon as possible. Much to his surprise, GACKT already knew Takumi’s name and asked for his opinion on the vocals through the monitor. Takumi instantly referred to GACKT as his elder brother (or ‘aniki’) and knew it was fate that he would follow and work with him in the future.

YOU

Position: Rhythm Guitar
Title: Brave One with Strings on the Left
A.K.A.: You Kurosaki
D.O.B.: February 10th, 1973
Blood Type: A
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
Height: 186 cm (6’1″)
Official Sites:
OHP, Blog

YOU is one of the original members of GACKT’s support band, GACKTJob, and plays the rhythm guitar and violin. He is also the rhythm guitarist for YFCz and has composed three of the songs off of the band’s new album (CIRCLE, Mata, Koko de Aimasho, and NOT ALONE [Kimi wa Hitori janai]). His title in the band refers to his position on stage, as he is always placed on stage left.

YOU is GACKT’s best friend of twenty years. They first met back when GACKT was working as a sound technician at a local studio, and YOU was a part of a band that would come and work in the studio on occasion. The two did not get along at first, but after clearing up a misunderstanding they became friends and made their first band together – CAINS:FEEL. YOU played the guitar and GACKT was the drummer, but their band had no vocalist. As a joke, GACKT suggested he become the vocalist until they found someone better, to which YOU laughed in disbelief. After more arguing, YOU challenged GACKT to prove he could sing and gave him songs to practice on. After a week of vocal training, GACKT sang in front of YOU for the first time, and the rest they say is history. It’s not far-fetched to say that if it weren’t for YOU, GACKT would never have become the vocalist he is now.

In the same way YOU was the catalyst that GACKT needed to become a vocalist, it was GACKT that prompted YOU to learn how to play the violin and piano, just a few years before GACKT left Malice Mizer to start his own solo activities. GACKT often refers to YOU as his best friend, brother, and soul mate, claiming that they spend more time together than with a family member or a girl. Another way of describing their relationship is that GACKT is a living toy box in charge of making messes, and YOU is in charge of putting everything back in order. Aside from music, YOU is a great photographer and has had his work featured in galleries from time to time, and has taken photos of GACKT for the monthly fan club magazine. He is also a bit of an otaku and loves to tinker around with technology.

CHACHAMARU

Position: Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Title: Righteous One with Strings on the Right
A.K.A.: Chacha, Cha, Yukihiro Fujimura, The Legendary Guitarist of Kansai
D.O.B.: March 3rd, 1960
Blood Type: ?
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Height: 170 cm (5’6″)
Official Sites:
Blog

Chachamaru is one of the original members of GACKTJob, serving as the lead guitarist and band leader as well as associate producer for most of GACKT’s work. In YFCz, Chacha is once again on lead guitar and continues to show off his unique style and sound as part of the band’s triple guitar section. He also provides backing vocals for both bands. Chacha’s title in the band refers to his position on stage, as he is always on stage right.

As the eldest member of the band, Yukihiro has quite a history within the Japanese music scene. In 1983, he co-founded the progressive rock band Gerard with Toshio Egawa and was the lead vocalist and guitarist until the band’s disbandment in 1986, when their label decided to no longer support their style of music. In 1988 Yukihiro formed the progressive/hard rock band Vienna with Shusei Tsukamoto, on vocals and guitar once more. The band released two albums and a live record before going on hiatus. Yukihiro became the guitarist for Ded Chaplin in 1989, which was created by Minoru Niihara (vocalist of heavy metal band LOUDNESS), and also participated in a reunion recording with Gerard in 1990. Unfortunately, musical differences causes Yukihiro to leave the band permanently and he continued to perform with Ded Chaplin, recording a total of 3 albums until their disbandment in 1992. From 1994 to 1995, Yukihiro played guitar and composed for Toshi of X JAPAN for his album “Grace,” and provided live support as lead guitar and backing vocals. In 1996, Yukihiro changed to his current stage name “Chachamaru” and joined the hard rock band Girl U Need, releasing their first album in the same year. During this time, Chachamaru also created one last album with Vienna before their final disbandment.

Chachamaru has worked with GACKT since 2000 and it seems like their collaboration together will continue on for years to come. In 2002 Chachamaru released a solo album, “Air,” and asked his old band members and other work colleagues to come and collaborate on the album. GACKT provides the vocals for the track “Kagerou.” You can always count on Chachamaru to be smiling during performances and to rile up the crowd when GACKT or Jon are offstage. Quick facts – Chachamaru is incredibly fond of the color pink, leopard print patterns, and is terrified of heights!

U:ZO

Position: Bass
Title: Defender of/with Strings
A.K.A.: Takeshi Ogawa
D.O.B.: April 11, ?
Blood Type: ?
Zodiac Sign: Aries
Height: ?
Official Sites:
Blog, Twitter

U:ZO (pronounced Yuu-zo) is one of the new members of YFCz, coming in as the band’s new bassist. U:ZO has played for a number of bands and artists, including MIYAVI, Inoran of LUNA SEA, and fade. He was also a member of a band called Myth and the bassist for RIZE, from 2001 until his departure in 2006.

U:ZO is a bit of a mystery, as not much is known about him, but he can be considered the band’s goofball. He is best friends with Jon and is a very big fan of the Star Wars franchise, even talking to a Yoda bot on Twitter and usually greeting people or signing off with a “May the force be with you.” It wouldn’t be surprising if YFC’s signature introduction (“Death Star”) was influenced by U:ZO’s admiration for the movies. He is also a bit clumsy, forgetting his room key and also arriving at the wrong airport, just hours before he was scheduled to perform with Inoran.

As the youngest member/brother of the band, U:ZO is prone to getting into trouble; he has gotten into drunken fights with childhood friend Takumi and has also been on the receiving end of GACKT’s scolding more than once. Despite that, he continues to prove his worth in the band and holds down the rhythm section along with Shinya.

SHINYA

Position: Drums
Title: One Who Hits & Fall
A.K.A.: Shinya Yamada
D.O.B.: January 13th, 1970
Blood Type: O
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
Height: 165 cm (5’4″)
Official Sites:
OHP, Blog

Shinya is one of Japan’s well-known and respected musicians, best-known for his work as drummer of LUNA SEA, one of the most successful and influential bands of the visual kei movement. He is also married to former Morning Musume member Aya Ishiguro since May of 2000, and they have three children together: two daughters, Rimu and Sona, and a son named Youta. Shinya is now one of the newest members of YFCz, and he lives up to his name by inserting his own crazy style of drumming into the band’s works.

In high school, Shinya was a part of the bands Pinoccio and Kashmir with future band mate SUGIZO before the two joined LUNA SEA in 1989. The band has since gone on to release seven albums, two live albums, fourteen singles, twenty VHS/DVD/Blu-ray releases and have sold over nine million records in Japan alone. Shinya provided drum work for band mate J’s solo album “Pyromania” in 1997 and also started a solo career of his own, releasing his first album “No Sticks” in that same year (there has been no word on his solo career since). After LUNA SEA’s disbandment in 2000, Shinya went on to become a support drummer for artists like MIYAVI, Nanase Aikawa, FAKE?, Creature Creature, and more. In 2010 LUNA SEA announced their reunion and the band toured around the world, with activities continuing today.

Shinya and GACKT have known each other for a number of years, as both are big names and active in the music industry, and have even appeared together on a number of shows such as Domoto Kyoudai. GACKT has an incredibly high opinion of Shinya and his skills as a drummer, despite his size, and is constantly praising his abilities. Unlike the rest of YFCz, Shinya’s training consists of him gaining weight instead of losing, because GACKT feels that him losing weight would only hinder his abilities. Shinya was the first person GACKT contacted about joining YFCz, saying “Do you want to take on the world with me?” to which he happily agreed.

All photos from: OUT of MUSIC Vol. 17 2012.14, scans by pyroyale
Edited by: Jo

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Responses

  1. I was reading all this during Media class and couldn’t stop giggling through U:zo’s page. I didn’t know a lot about the YFCz until now. Thank you!

    • Haha he’s an interesting fellow isn’t he?
      You’re welcome!


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