All Music Guide Biography by Jason Ankeny
The premier guitarist of the Japanese underground psychedelic movement, Michio Kurihara was born November 23, 1961, in Tokyo. Though raised on a diet of classical music, as a teen his interests turned to rock & roll, and he began playing guitar at age 14. Kurihara made his recorded debut in 1983 with ONNA, a group led by cartoonist Keizo Miyanishi, followed a year later by a tenure with YB02. In mid-1986, he was invited to join the You Ishihara-led White Heaven, considered in some quarters the most significant band of Japan's psychedelic revival. Here Kurihara's guitar playing blossomed, its ferocious, feedback-rich lyricism often evoking Quicksilver Messenger Service's John Cippolina. He remained with White Heaven until 1991, going on to play with Henkyo Gakudan and others.
In 1994 Kurihara first collaborated with Ghost, whose ranks he officially joined three years later. As a result of the band's U.S. distribution deal with Drag City, many Western listeners discovered Japan's blooming psychedelic culture for the first time — in particular, acid folk duo Damon & Naomi championed their admiration for Ghost in interviews, later inviting the group to open their U.S. tour and in 2000 releasing the LP collaboration Damon & Naomi With Ghost. Kurihara played guitar on the duo's subsequent world tour, and remained a frequent collaborator in the years to follow. In late 1999, he also joined with White Heaven bandmates You Ishihara and Chiyo Kamekawa in the Stars, and in 2005 finally issued his debut solo album, Sunset Notes.