Ichirou Agata, often known simply as Agata, is the guitarist for the Japanesenoise rock band Melt-Banana. Agata is known particularly for his furious stage antics, jumping and constantly moving around, and exceedingly unique approach to playing the guitar which involves extended technique heavy use of effects pedals and guitar slides resulting in sounds not easily attributed to the guitar. He is also known for consistently wearing a surgical mask on stage during performances.
He has also released a solo guitar album, entitled Spike, on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records.
Agata claims that he gets the inspiration for his guitar riffs from the moment of euphoria when achieving something on a video game (Tony Hawk’s is a favourite of his) and at that moment sings out the melody pattern and converts it to guitar.
Agata is normally seen wielding a vintage Gibson SG and plays through a Sunn Beta Lead Head with a Marshal 4×12 cabinet (as of 1999 Guitar Geek Link).Here is a more recent picture of his effects chain (2005). Identifiable effects in this picture are; two Boss Super Shifters, Fulltone Full Drive Pedal, Digitech Whammy, Pro Co Rat, Boss 2-Way Selector, and a Line-6 FM4 Filter Guitar Pedal.
In a brief fan interview it was revealed that the reason he wears a surgical mask on stage is that he is prone to nosebleeds. Beneath the mask he has cotton balls plugging his nose and usually removes them along with the mask quickly and privately off stage after the show.