At first, Dragon Ash started out as a rock band, writing and performing music that could have come straight out of Seattle in the early 1990s. But the band's taste started to gravitate toward rap music, and before long, it adopted a sound that has since made them immensely popular.
Dragon Ash formed in 1996 by vocalist/guitarist Furuya Kenji. He and high school friend Sakurai Makoto enlisted 29-year-old bass guitarist Baba Ikuzo, who served as mentor to the young Furuya and Sakurai.
According to the web site Tokyo Classified (from where most of the information for this entry come), Furuya, the son of actor Furuya Ikko, appeared in the Japanese drama Gerende ga Tokeru Hodo Koi Shitai before turning to music.
Recognizing its growing interest in rap, Dragon Ash invited turntablist DJ Bots to join the band. In 1998, the group released Buzz Songs, the first album to sport Dragon Ash's signature rap and rock sound.
Subsequent singles such as "Grateful Days" and "Let Yourself Go, Let Myself Go" cracked the Oricon charts, and by the release of Viva La Revolution in 1999, Dragon Ash were a bona fide hit.
Dragon Ash organized the Total Music Communication 2000 tour, which featured other upstart bands such as Missile Girl Scoot, Penpals and Skebo Kings.
After releasing its fourth album Lily in Da Valley in 2001, DJ Bots and Furuya hooked up with Ilmari of Rip Slyme and Shigeo of Skebo Kings to form Steady & Co. The spin-off group released a series of singles and an album, Chambers later that year.
Dragon Ash came back together in early 2002 to release a few singles. In March 2003, the band, sharing billing with Mach25 and Source, released Mob Squad.